12/29/11

Follow Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone! Since it's the last one of the year, I'd like to give a huge cyber hug & shout-out to all my friends in the lovely blogosphere - you guys are awesome and my blog could not have made it this far without your help! Thank you all so much!


Question: What are your New Years Blogging Resolutions?


*Takes a deep breath* Well, first off, I love my template and layout (I really do!) but I think it's time for a change; I'm gunna keep it sweet and simple, but I wanna play around with the colour scheme and the positions of certain things. Also, my quotes page has been under construction for a while and I think it's time I make it pretty again... Lastly, I have this habit of buying books and not reading them until months later (which doesn't really have anything to do with blogging but kinda does, in a way). It's going to be one of my resolutions to read a book within a few weeks of purchase (because when I don't, I feel bad for spending more money on others). What about you guys? What were some of your resolutions?

12/22/11

Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 
--- 
My SummaryJuliette has been a freak for her entire life. After being born with the ability to seriously injure or kill with just a touch, she spent her life avoiding human contact. After a horrible accident when she's 14, she's taken away from her family and locked up.
At 17, Juliette is living in a 8 by 10 concrete cell with nothing but a notebook and a broken pen for company. After 264 days of isolation, the amazing occurs: she gets a cell mate. The arrival of this cell mate spurs a chain reaction that leads Juliette away from everything she thought she knew and into a world where her curse is actually discovered to be an extremely valuable gift.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this novel! It definitely wasn't like anything else I've read in a while, and the characters were really interesting. I really enjoyed the view of Juliette's life of solitude and getting to see her thoughts - it really helped the reader connect with her. The author really got the feeling of solitude and loneliness across to the reader, making it feel edgy and gritty (which I love). I really liked the way the author described the dystopian society: she helped us see it through the eyes of the main character instead of just describing it to us. 

I also really liked the whole element of gift vs. curse, and the responsibilities of being born with an ability like Juliette's - it added an extra layer to the book that made it feel like more than just another dystopian novel. 

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one; I recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian YA, paranormal YA, and romance. Can't wait to see how the rest of the series will turn out!

12/15/11

Follow Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone (finally)! 


What do you do with your books after you've finished reading them?


This is gunna sound horrible, but I have pretty much hoarded every book I ever had. I have them all, and believe me when I say they're not going anywhere, ever. Usually when I finish reading them, though, I'll take them to my cousin (who is just as OCD as I am when it comes to books) so she can read them and give me her opinion on them. After she's read them, they either go one of two places: on a shelf, where they'll be on display for a while (usually my favourites go on the shelves) while the others go on a different shelf or into one of the boxes I have for my books (think one of those old trunks people used to put clothes in). 


Wow, I just read over what I typed and realized I sound a little obsessed. Oh well! What above you guys?


***Important: If you leave me your blog name (or just a comment on this post) I WILL follow you back NO MATTER WHAT! So even if I don't leave a comment, rest assured that I have returned your follow. Thanks guys! :)

12/13/11

500 Follower Giveaway!

500 Follower Giveaway: international; closes to entries on December 31st. 


*There will be a total of 6 winners who will each receive a book!*

LINKS YOU MAY NEED:
my twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/sch_94



12/12/11

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Author: Laini Taylor
Pages: 418
Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)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?
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My Summary: Karou was raised by a loving family ... of monsters. Living with them in their shop, Karou was raised in the world of chimera and magic. She's had everything she could ever wish for, but Karou always felt that she was supposed to be doing something else; supposed to be somewhere else....

But its not until mysterious burning handprints begin to appear on the doorways to her family's world - cutting her off from the only people who have ever cared about her - does Karou discover the truth about who she is and where she came from. In the midst of all this, Karou is drawn to the mysterious stranger she met with the piercing eyes; he almost killed her the first time they met, but she's determined to figure out what his role is in the disappearance of her chimera family.

My Thoughts: Once in a while a book comes along that's unlike any other in its genre - Daughter of Smoke & Bone is definitely that book. When I read the first stopped to read the first few lines in the bookstore, it turned into the first few pages, and then into the first two chapters. At that point I checked my watch and realized I was going to be late for work, so I grabbed a copy, paid for it, and ran out the door. My thoughts were still stuck on the book all through my shift, and when I finally got home, I didn't stop reading until I was done the book.

The writing was flawless, and I adored the use of Prague as the setting - I mean, it's Prague! It added to the whole mysterious atmosphere of the novel and made me want to book a ticket on the next plane. I also really liked the fact that it's not a typical YA romance where boy meets girl and they find out they're meant to be together forever and music starts playing and everything is pink and smells like cotton candy... you know what I mean. This novel was edgy (which I love) and didn't have that typical YA story-line. 

Final Thoughts: If you haven't already, pick up a copy of Daughter of Smoke & Bone! I recommend it to anyone over 16 who enjoys more complex and mature paranormal YA.

12/8/11

Follow Friday!

It's finally Friday! :P


Q: What book do you think everyone should read?


I personally think Harry Potter should be something everyone has the opportunity to read (I know, I'm obsessed, it's time to admit it). And if I could, I'd make it required reading for high school English - I mean, seriously, it's 987454985468 times more interesting than some of the things I've had to trudge through! But hey, that's just my opinion! Stolen by Lucy Christopher is a great one too, but some people may not be able to handle it. Anyways, how about you guys?

12/4/11

The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Pages: 387
Publisher: Doubleday
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
---
My Summary: Celia and Marco have been trained in the magical arts since they were children. Told only that they will have to face a powerful opponent one day, each is taught using a different school of thought: Celia's a crude course designed by her father, and Marco's a more study-based curriculum. After being pitted against one another for years, the two begin to fall in love - a love that cannot possibly last, since the object of the game is to be the last one standing.

My Thoughts: I adored this novel. It had everything I love in a book mashed together and wrapped in black, white, and silver. The mystery and suspense kept my eyes glued to the pages and kept me from thinking about anything else but the book when I wasn't reading - I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. 

The author's writing was amazing: I'm a huge fan of intertwining story-lines, and Morgenstern pulls it off beautifully. The characters were great as well - they feel like real people that you can't help but feel bad for. What I really, really loved about this novel, though, was the way that the circus itself felt like a character (for those of you who've read Incarceron and Sapphique, you know what I mean by that). Reading this novel was an amazing experience, and I know I'll definitely be re-reading this one soon.

Final Thoughts: If you haven't checked out The Night Circus yet, you're missing out. I recommend it for readers 16 and up - especially if you liked Water for Elephants.

Liesl & Po

Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 307
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.
--- 
My Summary: Ever since the devastating loss of her father, Liesl has been kept hidden in the attic by her stepmother. Given little food and nothing else to do, Liesl comforts herself with her drawings. 
Liesl's talent catches the eye of a mysterious ghost named Po and his pet Bundle, who keep Liesl company in her dreary prison cell. But once a chain of events is set off and Liesl's father's ashes are mixed up with a box containing something extremely precious, Liesl and Po escape the attic, setting off on an adventure that will - unbeknownst to them - save the world as they know it.
My Thoughts: The minute I found out Lauren Oliver had written a children's book, I knew I'd be reading it - she's one of my all-time favourite authors, and I adore her writing style; the way she intertwines multiple story lines to create one big story is awesome and always well-done. I had extremely high expectations for this novel, and it did not disappoint.
There's a quote that describes Liesl & Po pretty well in my opinion: "You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it's going to be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children." Although it is a children's book, Liesl & Po deals with some pretty difficult issues and makes it easy to understand for kids. I loved the concept of the Other Side - the author paints such a vivid picture of Po's world that its impossible to not want to see it.
The writing was flawless as usual, and the characters were great - my favourite were Will and Moe. The drawings were amazing as well, and I thought they really added to the story.
Final Thoughts: I recommend this to parents of kid 8 and up - it would make a great bedtime story or just something you read together. I loved it myself and I'm way too old for children's books, so I think adults and teens would like it as well. Check out out!

11/25/11

Follow Friday!

 It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are Thankful for – blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?

Despite the fact that I'm Canadian and our thanksgiving was weeks ago, I'll join in :P I have to say, the biggest thing I'm thankful for is my parents! They put up with all of my weird little quirks and no longer question the fact that more and more books seem to appear in my room every day. They've definitely helped with the blog - buying me books for my birthday and other occassions - and of course when they see me feverishly typing out a review or trying to finish a chapter, they never disturb me. (Thanks guys! Love you!)


Some books I'm thankful for reading:

- the Harry Potter series, of course
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong
- The Sky is Everywhere by  Jandy Nelson

11/23/11

The Lover's Dictionary

Author: David Levithan
Pages: 211
Publisher: F, S & G
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)basis, n. 

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment 
does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
---
My Summary: Through a series of alphabetically-arranged definitions, The Lover's Dictionary tells the story of a modern couple who have struggled to stay together. 

My Thoughts: I know my summary really stinks, but believe me when I say that this is one of the best books I've read this year. I've always been a fan of David Levithan's collaborations with Rachel Cohn, but this is the first independent novel of his that I've read, and I loved every minute of it. Despite its shortness, the novel paints a vivid picture in your mind; through the narrator's flashbacks and definitions, we learn about the ups and downs of the relationship and get to know the people involved. The writing is gritty and honest, never sugar-coating anything (which I loved), showing us just how much work and sacrifice has to go into a relationship. I finished this novel in less than 2 hours, and it was, without a doubt, time well spent.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction and is looking for something new and refreshing. I can't say that I'd recommend it to anyone under 18 - there are mature themes like drinking, sex, and cheating - but I think mature readers will really enjoy it. Do yourselves a favour and check it out! :)

11/22/11

Juliet


Author: Anne Fortier
Pages: 480
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from the author's official website)When Julie Jacobs inherits a key to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy, she is told it will lead her to an old family treasure. Soon she is launched on a winding and perilous journey into the history of her ancestor Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo rocked the foundations of medieval Siena. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families
involved in Shakespeare’s unforgettable blood feud, she begins to realize that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is the next target. It seems that the only one who can save Julie from her fate is Romeo—but where is he?
--- 
My Summary: Julie Jacobs has always lived in the shadow of her younger twin, Janice. Being the designated 'good child', Julie is astounded to discover that their aunt - who raised them like they were her own daughters - left her entire fortune to Janice, cutting Julie out of the will completely. Grieving the loss of her aunt and the fact that she's been kicked out by her sister, Julie has no idea where her life is headed... until she receives a mysterious letter from her dead aunt, describing a chain of events that will lead Julie back to her birthplace to uncover the unsettling circumstances of her parents' deaths and her own star-crossed ancestors.

My Thoughts: I picked this novel up on a whim and couldn't put it down. Everything about the premise - an old family curse, Shakespeare, a mysterious letter - sounded like something that I would really enjoy. And man did I enjoy it. I loved the way the author blended the past and the present, giving each time period a great set of characters. I adored the history we got about Shakespeare's inspiration for the play, and the way that the author made it seem all the more real by tracing the different versions of the story through history. Being a huge Shakespeare geek myself, I loved getting a look at the differences and similarities between his version and the others. Also, the author's descriptions of Siena make you feel like you're right there with Julie as she tries to decode her mom's clues and break the curse.

Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a more mature read that has it all, I definitely recommend you check out Juliet by Anne Fortier! Trust me, you won't be disappointed. 

11/17/11

I'm Not Her

Author: Janet Gurtler
Pages: 285
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads): “For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel envy…” 

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?

--- 
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

My Summary: Tess and her sister have always been total opposites: her sister is that girl - the popular sporty one with a tonne of friends, while Tess is more quiet and focused on school. Both sisters know the role they're meant to play, and they don't question the way things have worked out for them.

Until Tess' sister is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess isn't quite so sure who she's supposed to be, and when her seemingly-perfect family starts to fall apart, all she can do is try to be the perfect daughter and watch as her sister battles the horrible disease.

My Thoughts: This novel was incredibly realistic, especially when it came to the characters - the author writes them in such a way that you begin to see them as real people. The protagonist's voice is so genuine, you can't help but feel bad for her and wish she wasn't stuck in her situation.

I also really liked the way this novel is not from the perspective of the ill sibling. As someone who has watched a family member struggle with cancer, I really liked getting the perspective of the family members. Nobody really thinks about it much, but it's those people who are always there that tend to sacrifice the most for the people they love - I really liked that this novel was able to show this.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to fans of edgier contemporary YA.

Greek Mythology for Teens: Classic Myths in Today's World

Author: Zachary Hamby
Pages: 185
Publisher: Prufrock Press
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Greek Mythology for Teens takes classical mythology to a new level by relating ancient stories to the culture, history, art, and literature of today. The book uses the innovative approach of reader's theater to teach mythology to teens, asking them to act out the stories and become engaged in a common learning experience. By looking at topics instrumental to both mythology and modern culture, teens are encouraged to question topics such as heroism, foolishness, love, and more. Each chapter builds on a particular theme found in the central myth and includes activities, discussion questions, and exercises that connect the myth to the modern world and everyday life. Visually-appealing sidebars also give background on Greek and Roman mythology and culture. Greek Mythology for Teens takes the classic myths taught in school and turns them into an engaging, interesting, and modern way of looking at old material.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.


Greek Mythology for Teens is a great way to teach today's teens about some of the most popular classical Greek myths. Packed with theme-based stories and activities, Greek Mythology for teens is a great resource for both the home and classroom! Even though I've been studying all things mythology for a few years now, I learned a lot from this guide. It made the less-interesting myths a lot more relate-able by comparing them to situations in a modern teen's everyday life and describing the personality of each god. I really enjoyed the little plays at the beginning of each new section - they could be a great way to get less-interested students to participate and learn the material while still having fun. I recommend this to high school teachers - English teachers especially!

Beautiful Chaos

Author: K. Garcia & M. Stohl
Pages: 518

Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads):
 Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.
---
My Summary: It's been about a month since the events of Lena's Seventeenth Moon, and the town of Gatlin still hasn't returned to normal: there are lubbers everywhere, the heatwave hasn't let up in weeks, and the lake has dried up. In short, it's beginning to feel like the end of the world in Ethan and Lena's little town.
But that's not all that's happening - Ethan has been losing little pieces of himself: memories, phone numbers, and names, all disappearing from his mind without a trace. Worse still is the way Amma's been acting, and the appearance of Abraham and Sarafine - who, for some reason, think Ethan and Lena know the location of John Breed...
My Thoughts: This book is the hardest to review of the series, because I both loved it and hated it (in a good way). The writing, as usual, was flawless, and the character development gets better in every installment. It was great to see Lena and Ethan make peace with the mistakes of their past and try to move on with their lives, and I've really enjoyed the way the paranormal element builds in each book, teaching us more about the world of the Casters chapter by chapter instead of dumping a bunch of information on the reader all at once. But man, this one had some major angst (which I love, as you all should know, but my wee piggy heart can only handle so much!). You could feel the pain Ethan was in, watching his life unravel, and you couldn't help feeling for Lena as you watched her learn the truth about her mother.  In short, I loved this book. It was amazing, and I seriously have no clue how I'll be able to wait for next fall to read the last one in the series.
Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a refreshing change from the usual vampire/werewolf/faerie book, I definitely recommend this series! Check it out! The use of a male first-person narrative makes it all the more interesting, and the new take on the paranormal element makes for a great read.

11/14/11

The Iron Knight

Author: Julie Kagawa
Pages: 361
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)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.
--- 
My Summary: After being ordered by Meghan to leave the Iron Kingdom and never return, Ash is desperate to return - but the only way it could ever be possible is if he becomes human and gains a soul. Now, along with Puck, Grim, and two more unlikely companions, Ash sets out to reach the End of the World, where he'll have to endure grueling challenges in order to complete his quest, earn a soul, and return to the Iron Kingdom to be with Meghan. 

My Thoughts: I jumped on the Iron Fey Bandwagon about a month ago, after years of being told by fellow bloggers that it was a series I absolutely had to read. I never listened before, thinking that faerie books probably weren't for me. But man was I wrong.

I bought the first book on a whim. I was bored of the usual stuff and wanted something unlike anything I'd ever read before, so I pulled it off the shelf, read the summary, and bought it without thinking twice. Then I sat down to read. Two hours later I was almost halfway through the book and loving every minute - I'm 100% certain that I would have finished the book in one sitting had I not had to leave for work shortly after. Later that night, despite my exhaustion, I finished the book, needing  to know what was going to happen. The next day I pretty much ran to the YA section of the bookstore and grabbed The Iron Daughter, and the day after that I rushed in 3 minutes before closing to grab The Iron Queen. And man was I bawling by the end of that sucker.

It was a long, grueling wait for The Iron Knight (I can hear the long-time fans screaming, "you think you had it bad? We had to wait a whole YEAR!") but it was so worth it. I loved getting to see the world through one of the fey's point of view, and seeing everything through Ash's eyes and getting a glimpse at his thoughts was great. I loved the way that Kagawa wrapped up all the loose ends in this one! And I seriously can't say anymore or I'll ruin the entire book and then everyone will hate me for it...

Final Thoughts: If you like anything paranormal YA (or are looking for a place to start) I definitely recommend the entire Iron Fey series. Do yourselves a favour and pick them all up at once though - gas it getting expense these days, and you'll be driving back and forth to the bookstore if you don't :P

11/12/11

Author Interview with Nova Sparks!

The lovely Nova Sparks is here today to answer a few questions about her reading preferences and her sci-fi/urban fantasy series The Dome Trilogy (now available on amazon!).

What inspired you to write a sci-fi/urban fantasy novel? Was it a conscious decision or did it just sort of happen?
I'm absolutely IN LOVE with science fiction! Ever since I was a little girl, that's all I would gravitate towards, science fiction television shows, movies, books, etc. I knew that I was going to write a television show for HBO and that I was going to make it science fiction, eventually I changed my mind and turned the television show treatment into a book and that's how the DOME trilogy came to be. I really do believe that science fiction runs through my veins. It just comes so natural to me. I guess I could say this whole thing just sort of happened.

What is your favourite paranormal / sci-fi element (vampires, werewolves, faeries, angels, etc)?
My FAVORITE is definitely ALIENS, and you can see my love for aliens in my first book series, the DOME trilogy. If I could, I would write about aliens forever, but I know that would suck for everyone else after a while. I will say that my next sort of paranormal/sci-fi series will center around angels and demons but will definitely have a twist to it. Although I'm not a religious person, I've always been fascinated with angels and demons, so I'm really excited to start working on it.

Do you prefer to read e-books or paper books? Why?
If you woud've asked me this a few years ago, I would've definitely said Paperback books, but ever since I got my Kindle, it's E-books all the way. I really like the convenience of e-books. With books, if I wanted to read more than one while I'm out and about, I'd have to carry them all with me and I hate carrying things. With an e-book, I can have hundreds of books with me and only have to carry one lightweight device. LOL sounds like I work for Amazon, right?

How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Well I guess I can say not that long. The first thing I do before I start writing a book is do an outline, and my outlines are always really really really brief. I'm talking one paragraph. And from that paragraph I just start writing the book. I can finish writing a book in two months with my schedule, but its the editing and fixing things and the constant changing of my mind that takes up a lot of my time with releasing a book. If I had all the time in the world, I'm sure I could write a whole book in about two weeks. But I'm glad I don't have that kind of time. That would mean I'm poor or living on the street. But then I wouldn't have a computer let alone a pen or paper.  

And last but not least: do you believe in aliens?
Is this even a question? OF COURSE I believe in aliens! When I was a little girl I used to believe that I was an alien and would stare out my window everynight, hoping my real parents would come down from the sky and get me. Plus, I watch way too many documentaries and read too many books that have tremendous amounts of evidence pointing to aliens being real. I guess I think of it like this. This universe is bigger than we can even imagine, bigger than we can even measure, and it's expanding all the time. We live in one galaxy, one solar system. There are soooooo many other galaxies out there, so many other planets. How silly would I be to believe that we're the only ones? Oh yeah, and I've seen a UFO before. Right here in NYC. I thought I was the only one, but thousands of people saw it and filmed it and you can see the video of it on youtube. That ain't no weather balloon!


Thank you so much Stephanie for having me on your blog! It has been really fun!

No problem Nova, it's been great having you!

And now, lovely readers, here's a sneak peak at The Dome by Nova Sparks:

What if you knew the exact date and time the world will end, what would you do? Sam Tucker was faced with that dilemma when he began getting visions of the Earth's demise. Luckily for him, he was able to save his family and as many people as he could before the tragic event occurred, and he did so with the help of unknown visitors. With Earth now destroyed, Sam, his family and thousands of other lucky survivors must live the rest of their lives on a faraway planet in a Dome that simulates life on Earth. But Sam's mind can't seem to rest as a few questions arise. Why did the aliens save them? How did they know about Earth's sure fate? And exactly what are they hiding? 

Emma Tucker begged for an escape from her boring life but never in a million years did she think it would come at the destruction of Earth. Living on a new planet and finding it difficult to get rid of her rebellious habits, Emma finds herself making friends with a member of the alien race and it soon develops into an unexplainable love; a love that is more dangerous than she could ever imagine. While her father is searching for his own truths, she has no idea that she is stumbling on a truth of her own. 

Told from the point of view of both Sam and Emma, author Nova Sparks takes readers on a journey to discover love, fate, faith, truth and the mystery of the DOME!

Check out the book trailers!

Trailer #1: Sam




Trailer #2: Emma




Click on one of the links below to sample or purchase the DOME (the DOME trilogy #1):


http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/64825
http://amzn.to/itzlO6
http://bit.ly/me1LxX



Visit Nova's blog to find out more about The Domehttp://novasparks.blogspot.com

11/8/11

The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan

Author: P.B. Kerr
Pages: 448
Publisher: Orchard Books
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)The final installment of bestselling P. B. Kerr's magical Children of the Lamp series!
Djinn twins John and Philippa are off on another enchanting, and dangerous, adventure in the last book in the bestselling Children of the Lamp series. As volcanoes begin erupting all over the world, spilling golden lava, the twins must go on a hunt for the wicked djinn who wants to rob the grave of the great Genghis Khan. Can the twins stop this latest disaster before the world is overwhelmed?
Join John and Philippa, their parents, Uncle Nimrod, and Groanin as they must defeat an evil more powerful than any they've ever faced before. . . .
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My Summary: While on holiday with their uncle Nimrod, djinn twins John and Philippa witness something incredible: a previously dormant volcano erupts, spewing a strange golden substance. As more an more reports flood in from around the world describing a vast amount of these inexplicable events, the twins (and Nimrod and Groanin, of course) are spurred into action, setting off on what will be their final adventure.
My Thoughts: When one of your all-time favourite series ends, you have to grieve a little. You just have to. And an amazing series like this one deserves to be grieved. 
Not many people have had the pleasure of reading this series, which is unfortunate. The writing is awesome and intelligent and doesn't make the reader feel 'talked down to' like some children's books. I began reading these books at the age of 9 or 10 and adored them, and to this day I still adore them and laugh at the jokes and the puns. I always loved the way that facts were sprinkled into the novel, teaching you a little something while entertaining you at the same time. These books are pure brilliance, and I am extremely sad to see the end of the series. I'll definitely be re-reading them and passing them on to my 11 year old brother... and then probably to my kids one day!
I adore this series, but that doesn't mean it's without its faults. There were a few loose ends left at the end of this one that irked me... but I think the author may have left them purposely. Who knows? 
Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a funny, intelligent series to give to the kids who've outgrown children's novels, this series is for you. It's also great for anyone looking for a refreshing, interesting read. I swear you will not regret picking it up.