Thursday, November 29, 2012

Update: Books To Read, Reviews To Write, 時間がない

Yes, I threw up some Japanese there, watcha gonna do?

Okay, I'm done (cough). I just wanted to update saying that I'm still reading and I'm still reviewing, but due to work, a test I've been studying for for a while (the Japanese Language Profiency Test is this Sunday, gah),  and trying to set myself up as a graphic design freelancer so I can get more experience and get myself a 9 to 5 job (or ship myself to Japan whichever happens first), I have had no time to really indulge and obsess and post all over this blog, which makes me sad since that was one of my favourite things about having a blog, but the reading and the reviewing will forever continue!

So really this update is about what's to come withing the next couple of months review wise from me:

First of all I am a few chapters away from finishing Alternity by Mari Mancusi so that will most likely be the next review up. After that would be Marking Time by April White, which I am a little more than halfway done with (I need to stop simultaneously reading books). After that I have the two new Karina Halle books (the next in Experiments in Terror and The Devil's Metal which sounded way too interesting to pass up). I also have Florence by Ciye Cho that I was asked to review.

So that's about five books I have on my plate (two almost done with and I'm hoping to have reviews up within the next two weeks). And I think I have about two more reviews saved from before, so even though I'm not posting a lot of fun extra things, the reviews are still coming.

I love you all!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book Review: Scarlette by Davonna Juroe


Scarlette

Davonna Juroe


Publication Date: October 12th 2012

Publisher: BumbleB Media, Inc

Pages: 325

Genre:  Fairytale, Paranormal, Historical, Young Adult

Find the Beast ~ Find the Cure

Scarlette, an 18-year-old peasant, lives under a dark threat. A nightmarish creature lurks in the surrounding forest, killing the villagers one by one. When Scarlette's grandmother survives an attack, Scarlette learns that her grandmother hasn't suffered the bite of just any normal animal.

Now desperate, Scarlette searches throughout her province to find a cure. But there are those who want to keep their pasts hidden. As she begins to uncover the dark secrets of her village, Scarlette is befriended by a local nobleman and a woodcutter who share a gruesome history with the beast. To save her grandmother, Scarlette must unravel their mystery and solve an age-old crime. But as she pieces together the clues, Scarlette finds herself torn between the two men, both of whom want to be more than friends and hold the key to the cure.

What if Little Red Riding Hood was Real?

Based on both the Grimm and Perrault versions of Little Red Riding Hood and set against the terrifying, historic Beast of Gévaudan attacks, this dark YA retelling blends two epic legends, giving the fabled girl-in-the-red-cloak a new, shockingly real existence.

There are a lot of books out there that have gorgeous covers and are professionally published, but when you read them there just isn't much substance and enjoyment to them. Then there comes a book that has a cover that makes you want to pass over it because something seems off and less professional about it or you see an easily spotted photoshop filter.

I'm sorry to say that Scarlette by Davonna Juroe has one of those covers, and I'm sorry to say that because what's inside the cover is so well written.

Scarlette is an adaptation of Red Riding Hood based in the historical events of werewolf paranoia in France. When Juroe sent me an e-mail asking if I would review the book, this is what caught my attention first because I wondered if she could pull it off, because in my opinion if she could it would be amazing. So the verdict? She pulled it off indeed. There is a good balance in this book of historical, character development, intrigue and paranormal. In fact one thing I really enjoyed was the fact that Scarlette just outright rejects any paranormal explanations for most of the book (it's not like the supernatural occurances are smacking her in the face, especially in the beginning).

I also really enjoyed Scarlette's character. She is called naïve by many characters, but honestly as the reader, knowing what she knows, she reacted to everything in a very realistic and level headed way. She does do some dumb things, but compared to the popular characterization of eighteen year old heroines in books with paranormal elements, it's a lot less and it's nice that she's less dramatic about it.

Throughout the book, I found myself making a lot of guessing about who could be behind everything and how everyone connects and then found myself revising the guesses over and over again. The answers are not as obvious as they seem and I found myself surprised a lot by the twists.

The ending was a bit rushed as a warning. There was so much build-up that the final climax ended up being too much too fast and the wrap-up felt short. That was really my only thing in the writing that kept me from giving it a higher rating. Though I will say that I like the way the aftermath connected with the historical fact about the whole situation.



Scarlette is a book that combines historical events, paranormal (from a historical point of view) and a classic fairytale. If you like books that keep you guessing with mystery, I recommend this book. It is definitely one of my favourite retellings of the fairytale.

4.5 Bookmarks

Extras
One of the most interesting parts of this book is the fact that Juroe put a lot of research into it involving the historical "werewolf" attacks in France. She's written at least a couple of posts about information she had found:


http://www.davonnajuroe.com/2010/10/what-if-little-red-riding-hood-was-real.html

http://www.davonnajuroe.com/2010/03/fab-facts-werewolves-peasants-and.html

Finally, TODAY SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH the book is being offered for free on Amazon, so if you have the slightest interest due to my review, go go go go here and I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

ARC Book Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse



The Forsaken

Lisa M. Stasse


ARC Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way by the publishers to review this book favourably. The review is my own honest opinion (Whether or not it is agreed with). 

Publication Date:
July 10th
 2012

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 375

Genre:  Dystopia, Young Adult

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway. 

Welcome to a book that is Hunger Games meets The Lord of the Flies meets Gone by Michael Grant meets Unwind meets… Alcatraz? The Forsaken was a great surprise for me and I think for the dystopian genre. It does take a lot of ideas that have been dealt with before (kids vs kids, adults sending kids away as a warning), but it also has some pretty scary and realistic feeling issues put in as well. One of these things that I love is that the government realizes exactly what they need to do to keep its citizens from being able to rebel against them.

We are given a very brief overview of how America is at this point, but it's enough to establish it as a comparison point for what Alenna and others are led to believe about everything government wise and about The Wheel. When we do get to The Wheel I also really enjoyed the madness of it all. Like Alenna, we have no idea what's going on, why it's going on, but we know that it is insane, that life is hard and dangerous there.

We think we know who to trust, but we aren't entirely sure and it puts an edge to the novel.



If you are a lover of YA Dystopian fics, do not let this one pass you by, it has many of the great elements you probably love in other ones, though it is strictly YA formula in the way it's pulled off, so if you're a fan of classic Dystopias it might be less of your thing.


4.5 Bookmarks

Monday, October 22, 2012

(Last Day for Mystic City) It's Monday What are you Reading?



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, check it out and join in the fun! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!




REMINDER, LAST DAY TO ENTER TO WIN MYSTIC CITY


Alternity by Mari Mancussi
Oh~ NetGalley~ <3 The idea sounded really intriguing so I'm already on pins and needles while starting this up wondering about the moon and what's real and what is going on.








Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

One of my favourite less known Jones books. Polly is looking at a photo in her room while packing to return to college when she realizes suddenly that something is missing which leads to her realizing she has two sets of memories. As she explores the memories of her childhood that she has forgotten she realizes something very bizarre has happened and is happening.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

ARC Book Review: Unlocking the Spell by E.D. Baker



Unlocking the Spell (Sequel to Wide-Awake Princess)

E.D. Baker


ARC Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way by the publishers to review this book favourably. The review is my own honest opinion (Whether or not it is agreed with). 

Review of Wide-Awake Princess (prequel)

Publication Date:
October 2nd 
2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 272

Genre:  Fantasy, Middle-Grade, Fairytale

Now that Annie has helped her sister Gwendolyn (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) wake up from the 100-year curse by finding her beloved prince, you would think that things would get back to normal. Think again! That beloved prince, Beldegard, is stuck in the body of a bear and the only way that Annie can be free of the two irritating lovebirds is to help-by finding the evil dwarf who cast the spell. Luckily, Annie has assistance from handsome prince Liam, and she has many tricks up her non-magical sleeve . . .

This book picks up right off where The Wide-Awake Princess stopped. Obviously we can't just keep the bear prince stuck in bear form, and of course everyone taps poor Princess Annabelle for the job.

What's fun about this book is, where the last book seemed to focus on fairytales where a Prince seeks a Princess or needs a Princess, or pretty much the Prince is the savior, this one focuses on all the fairytales with talking animals. We visit "Little Red Riding Hood" "The Three Little Pigs" "Goldilocks" among others. While stringing the many fairytales mentioned seamlessly together.

We get to meet up with Rose Red which made my day (Snow-White and Rose-Red for the win!) and I loved how the dwarf from that fairytale turned out to be one of the dwarves from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (different Snow White, of course).

One thing that did come to annoy me, and honestly I think it annoyed Annie as well, was the fact that all that the male characters seemed to feel like they should be leading the journey, when really Annie is the one knowing how to go about it and coming up with the ideas, but I feel like she gets shoved aside a lot. For example in the beginning with the Princes argue about who should be leading, no one suggests that Annie should do it, yet she's the one who ends up delegating tasks to break up their fight.

In general I enjoyed this book as much as the first, especially since there was a different tale focus, thus giving the two books some distinction from each other. I recommend this and its prequel to all fairytale lovers who like seeing them taking in a light and fun manner.


4 Bookmarks

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, check it out and join in the fun! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!





Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier

Rereading books before bed for the win! I have actually already reviewed this book back in April (Review), so need to review it again. Anyone still keeping up with me who was around for my last giveaway (Midsummer's Night Giveaway), this is Wildwood Dancing's sequel, starring a different sister.







The Dark Light by Sara Walsh

Just finished up this book this week and enjoyed it a lot. So I really should review it (laughs)









デルトラ・クエストの沈黙の森 ...or
Deltora Quest's Chinmoku no Mori ...or
Deltora Quest's Forests of Silence (JP)

......yes, I am still working my way through this, however I think there's only 1.5 more chapters so hopefully next week you'll see the second book here instead!



Cover Reveal: The Dead and Buried

So! I adore YA Horror/Ghost stories and there really aren't as many as I wished there would be ):.

So when I saw The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington floating about, needless to say I got SUPER excited.

So here is my first cover reveal!

A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.
Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

Okay I will admit I liked the idea of the old cover better because it was spooky and different, while this reminds me too much of a million on their covers. On the other hand typography is the same and I am quite partial to that font whatever it might be. I did try and get this on netgalley.com, but being Scholastic.... Gah, but January is so far away guys.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick



Ashes

Ilsa J. Bick


Publication Date: September 6th 2011

Publisher: Egmont USA

Pages: 465

Genre:  Post-Apocalypse, Young Adult

It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.


Ashes is a spectacular and well done post-apocalyptical story that takes the idea of zombies and twists it into something unique. The main character, Alex, is hiking up a mountain when a Electro-Magentic pulse goes off and kills off many people, destroys the tumor in her brain that was killing her and turns teenagers and young adults into lunatics whose only goal is to well eat you. The idea has to do with the brains of the  people during the pulse is something that I really love. There are "not" zombies and then of course there is the exploration of what people do when faced with such a situation.

Some people pillage, other try to create safe havens, some lose all of their moral judgement in favor of survival, others refuse to leave loved ones that have gone feral and instead choose to go down with them. Others, of course, try to be heroes.

Alex is a very interesting character, at the beginning she pretty much only has one goal and wants to avoid people at all costs, but as soon as she is forced into Ellie's company, a very protective loyal side of her emerges. She is independent and intellectual, trying to figure out what in the world is going on and not ready to just accept whatever other people tell her as fact.

The writing sucked me in and kept me reading until the very end. It is a thriller, fast paced and full of action (and the horror of a world falling apart).



If you like post-apocalyptical books, you will love this book. If you like fast paced thrillers, involving independent teenaged heroines who don't take shit, you will love this book. Oh, and of course if you're a fan of interesting and unique zombie ideas you will love this book.


5 Bookmarks

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Into The Hollow




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by 
Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:

Into The Hollow (Experiments in Terror #6)
Karina Halle


Expected Publication Date:  November 2012

Perry Palomino has fought her demons – and won – but the battle is far from over. She’s now left broken and on her own, leaving behind her life and family in Portland to focus on giving Dex Foray – and the Experiment in Terror show – a second chance. But their past mistakes continue to tease and test their relationship, as does the wild and desolate terrain of the Canadian Rockies. The snow-covered peaks and ravenous forests hide an urban legend too unbelievably frightening to be true and the only way the duo has a chance of surviving is if Perry can let in the very man who sent her to hell and back.


Why:
Experiments in Terror has to be one of my favourite all time series that I've read in the past year or so. It's horror and it's well done. Last book I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the Blog Tour, this time I failed and missed out on the call out *laughs*. That does not make me any less excited though.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, check it out and join in the fun! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!




SO since I'm going to be posting less and whatnot, I thought updating on what random things I've been reading... YAY

So, all important, my sad typo aside on the banner for the giveaway, the first book I've been reading this week (and finished Sunday, so it still counts) is...

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence~

Hmmm... I think pictures are nice so let's try this again.

The first book is...

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Of course I'm finished now, and the post before this one is the review I wrote, yay reviews. Also you can win this, yay giveaways, yay Abuzz-I mean Ambuzzadorship.

X-men meets Delirium meets.... Romeo and Juliet? YA Dystopian?





Another book I've been chugging through is....

デルトラ・クエストの沈黙の森 ...or
Deltora Quest's Chinmoku no Mori ...or
Deltora Quest's Forests of Silence (JP)

So if anyone didn't know by now I majored in Japanese (along with Graphic Design) and have been to Japan twice (and thus Book Off where I got this book in fact). I own the first four Harry Potters and the first half of Deltora Quest in Japanese and if I was a good girl I would be reading it more often.

(I have the JLPT this Dec, any practice welcome).



As for other things, I need to pick out a new before bed book to read. Especially since my e-reader konked so I can't read more Pierce at work... but I digress. That's it for now~

ARC Book Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence & Giveaway


Mystic City

Theo Lawrence

ARC Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way by the publishers to review this book favourably. The review is my own honest opinion (Whether or not it is agreed with). Thanks to Random Buzzers for choosing me for Ambuzzadorship
Publication Date:
October 9th 2012

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 416

Genre:  Scifi, Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.
I am going to admit that I read the back of Mystic City, looked at the taglines and wasn't entirely sure how I felt about it. On one hand "Yes! Dystopia! Oo! Messing with memories!" and on the other hand "Oh god, not the true love beats all tagline." Don't get me wrong, I like corny (I am quite a fan of Hunter's rendition of the "Flying Dachshund"), but most of the books toting that tagline are not well written or at least written in an enjoyable way that I can take seriously.

As I began to read however, I began to really enjoy the world being created here. I think of it as an Alternate Universe, X-men type world where they came out, them being the Mystics. In shows and comics where people with powers come out there is always the whole "normal people will not accept us" but as they are usually "beginnings" stories, we never quite see what would happen if people didn't accept them due to fear and prejudice. Mystic City is that world.

The plot itself follows the daughter of one of the major politicians who have been pushing down the Mystics and using their powers to fuel the city. She wakes up with no memories and is told that she had had a drug overdose, but before than had revealed that she had been sneaking around with her father's political rival and are now engaged, a true Romeo and Juliet story… right?

I really enjoy the idea of telling the story after the true courting already happened. It also takes care of that pesky insta-love issue Young Adult Romance books tend to have. It also gave the main character, Aria, a good sense of paranoia to begin with, instead of a naïve rich girl that she could have been.

There are many parts that the mystery is completely obvious, but there are others that took me completely by surprise. The pacing is well done, and the end had me gripped. I don't know if there's sequel planned, but honestly I wish the book had gone further, setting up for Aria's next step as opposed to just rehashing the aftermath.

Overall this book was not the most amazing book I've read in my life that blew my mind, but I also enjoyed it and I'll probably read it again at sometime and recommend it to friends who enjoy a bit of romantic escapism.


4 Bookmarks

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