Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: Trial By Fire




Title: Trial By Fire (The WorldWalker #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Young Adult // Magic // Romance // Parallel Universes
Format: Audio Book
Source: Purchased (Audible.com)
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.
What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected (goodreads).


This was a great novel with the perfect mixture of heart, romance, and snark. 

Plot: After a horrendous date with her "boyfriend" Tristian, Lily finds herself transported to an alternate reality of her own world, where magic is good and science is bad, and her alter self is a psycho witch (literally). I liked that Trial By Fire started off as a small problem (Lily wanting to go back to her own realm) and slowly growing to be this all encompassing rebellion with Lily at the center of it. Lily is seen as indispensable in this world because she harnesses a great power, a great power that Angelini takes the time to actually describe how particular magic works. While I admire the attempt to fully explain her world, I felt that the magic was sometimes over explained, there were times where I skipped over the passages of explanation because I couldn't make sense of it anyway. One thing that surprised me about this book was the lack of plot twists. With the general synopsis, I felt certain that I was going to be thrown a curve ball but nope. I'm sure there will be some sort of great reveal in the following installments though. 

Characters: Trial By Fire won my heart with its exceptional characterization. I immediately identified with Lily because I too suffer from asthma and allergies and feel like the world is out to get me. I liked that, no matter how physically weak she was, she had an entertaining amount of snark and sass. The interaction between Lily and others always made me laugh or tugged at my heart. I loved each secondary character for their own reasons, Lilian was the only character who I felt I didn't get enough of and hope that she plays a bigger role in the sequel. The romance in this one is extremely light as it has to play second fiddle to the overall story line, but it's still cute and heartwarming.

World Building: I found it difficult at times to completely understand the world that Angelini built. There were many times where I forgot that it was present day Salem but in an alternate universe, I often pictured the world as 15th century Salem due to the lack of technological advancements. That beings aid, the author took a lot of time and love to portray her world, and I hope that we are introduced to other worlds as well (the series is called world walkers)!

Audio Book Performance: I knew that I was in love with Emma Galvin the moment she opened her mouth (sounds creepy I know). She embodied Lily completely, I felt every ounce of weakness, desperation, and determination as she read. If you have the option to get physical copy or audio book, I highly recommend the audio book performance!

Short N Sweet: Trial By Fire is a strong opening book to what is sure to be an unforgettable series! With strong characters and an evolving plot, this book kept me on my toes! 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Book Review] Queen of Tearling

Title: The Queen of Tearling (The Queen of Tearling #1)
Author: Erika Johansen 
Publisher: Harper
Genre: High Fantasy // Magic // Adult
Format: Physical Copy
Source: Library
Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.
It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.
Combining thrilling adventure and action, dark magic, mystery and romance, The Queen of the Tearling is the debut of a born storyteller blessed with a startling imagination (goodreads).



In the beginning, this book didn't quite know what it wanted to be. I'm happy that it managed to get back on track towards the end of this first installment.

Plot: The Queen of Tearling opens with the reading being dropped right dab in the action. Kelsea is finally of age and is ready to be transported to the kingdom (or the Keep) to take her throne back from her uncle who has been serving as regent king. I was really confused about Kelsea's family life and her world as the author does not take much time to explain anything to us newcomers, we kind of just have to go with the flow. The book picks up when Kelsea is finally safely delivered to the Keep and begins her reign as the one-true queen, while dodging assassination attempts. I was most interested in this portion of the novel because it dealt with betrayal and family secrets, and uprisings. It was the second half of the book that The Queen of Tearling felt like a true high fantasy novel. One thing to note, even though Kelsea is only nineteen, this is not a young adult or even new adult novel. The language can be graphic and the scenes are bloody. I have an example from my Teaser Tuesday to show you what kind of language you should expect and see if you feel comfortable reading this novel.

Characters: Kelsea is quite naive and sometimes even annoying. I can't fault her for that because she is only 19 years old and spent her entire life in hiding. As she is young and naive, she is suspectible to the dreaded insta-love, or maybe it's just insta-attraction. I don't know. All I know is that if Kelsea were queen of my kingdom, I would not be okay with her fawning over paid assassins. They are here to kill you! You don't play nice and drink the night away with them. No queenie, no! I don't know if this series will have a love story as the romance was very light and doesn't seem to have any connection to the plot quite yet. Even though Kelsea is our main character, I found myself more interested in the secondary characters who come into play once Kelsea reaches the Keep. There are definitely a lot of family secrets that need to be explored and some characters even have magical abilities that help move the story along. More than anything, I want to know more about the Red Queen who doesn't come into play a lot in this novel, but is clearlyl a key figure in the overall series.

World Building: I remember reading this novel one night. My husband was playing Destiny on PS4 and I finally got fed up with the novel. I gave him The Queen of Tearling and asked him-based on the cover and synopsis- what genre this book would fall under. Like most people, he assumed high fantasy and probably young adult. This is my biggest problem with the book, the world building doesn't many any sense. Kelsea and her team travels by horses and they live in giant castles. So why are there allusions to The Hobbit, and modern day science. Seriously, they talk about birth control. I have no idea when this book takes place. There is a point where someone mentions the year 278, so then how do they reflect on American doctors, British conquerors, and computers. AND WHY DON'T COMPUTERS EXIST IF MODERN MEDICINE DOES. NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE. If you can overlook the lack of proper world building, you may really enjoy this; unfortunately this inconsistency kept me from really getting into the book.

Short N Sweet:The Queen of Tearling promises adventure and political intrigue along the lines of The Game of Thrones. Thankfully it delivers in that aspect, if only the characters and world were as developed as this cat-and-mouse storyline.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

[Meme]Waiting on Wednesday [#48]


Title: Illusionarium
Author: Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow
Expected Publication Date: May 19, 2015

From the author of Entwined, a brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. This sweeping, cinematic tale of an apprentice scientist desperate to save his family—and his world—is The Night Circus meets Pixar.
Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that is breathtaking and wholly original (goodreads).




I read Entwined by Ms Heather Dixon a while back and I loved it! Her writing was addictive and the witty banter between the characters always caused me to laugh out loud, and let's not forget the adorable love interest. Since 2012, I have been on Heather's blog hoping to find a release date or synopsis for her latest piece (btw you should stop by her blog, she's a fab artist). And now FINALLY. FINALLY. We have a cover and a release date! May is looking good!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Meme]Teaser Tuesday [#43]


"Why don't you like her?"
"Because she wants to hurt Mister Tarquin. She wants to hurt me. She wants to hurt everybody. Except she can't. Not while she's still in prison."
Page 35

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco



Monday, October 27, 2014

[Discussion]Books -> TV

So by now, I'm pretty sure we're all aware that best-selling series The Mortal Instruments was made into a movie. And I'm pretty sure we're all aware that that movie didn't do too well (to be fair, IMDb gave it a 6/10 while Rotten Tomatoes gave it 12%). Even though the movie made $30 million more than the cost of production, The film's studio is opting to make a TV series instead. 



I personally think that this will do more harm than good to the title. Although critics like to gloat about how American TV surpasses American cinema (and in this case, Canadian?), I don't think that The Mortal Instruments is going to get the same love and care that series like The Walking Dead, and The Game of Thrones. 


  1. The budget isn't there 
  2. It's Young Adult. 
Now I love Young Adult, clearly, just check out my blog. But more often than not it does not translate well. I think it's because Young Adult has the tendency to be cheesy. Whether it be the dialogue, or the acting, something just doesn't translate well. We can squeal and gush all we want about fictional characters but something about hearing the same lines coming out of the mouths of actors makes me want to cringe. 

I mean we all saw the Delirium pilot right (what the hell was that? I only got through 20 minutes before I had to shut that off)?

I think Pretty Little Liars is so popular because it's pretty much influenced by the books now. Last time I checked, the story had veered pretty far away from the book, and so it's pretty much Gossip Girl 2.0. Plus it's crack TV. 

And today is the premiere of The Morganville Vampires web series. I think that a web series is a much better choice than cable television because there is less pressure from big wigs to get top ratings. I haven't read the series (I've been meaning to for like four years now), but I'm excited that they took to a different form of media, and I don't know about you but I love web series! They're so creative and I feel great helping out fledgling writers and directors. 


So what do you think? Are you going to watch Thee Mortal Instruments TV series? What about Morganville Vampires? Are there any books/graphic novels that you would like to see made into a TV series? 

PS: Sherrilyn Kenyon has been been saying that HBO was interested in the rights to Dark Hunters but it's been about five years now, I'm really starting to doubt if this is a thing. :/



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: Oct 19-25


Tuesday: Teaser Tuesday


   





  



Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan [GoodReads]
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins [GoodReads]
Omen by Kelley Armstrong [GoodReads]

 






 So guyssss. I got the internship!


That's how excited I am! Luckily at the point in my career where I can actually take an unpaid position and I'm excited to learn. I don't think it should take away from my blogging, I am going to have some pretty long days though (730-10PM, yeah boy!)

I think I'm in a reading rut. I just finished the Grisha trilogy and I don't know where to go from there. I'm about 100 pages into Exquisite Captive but it's boring me to tears. I then decided to try Rites of Passage and found that I wasn't in the mood for it. So even though I'm supposed to be reading Unmade, I decided to try The Girl from the Well instead. I think I'm just afraid to finish another trilogy. Maybe I need a light romance. Hmmm. 

Well I hope you all are doing well. This weekend was rather nice (except for me feeling pretty sicky), I can see that it's going to get colder in the coming weeks. :/

Oh speaking of cold weather! I'm attempting to make new desserts for the holiday season. If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments!

Bisous!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: The Diviners




Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult // Supernatural // Paranormal 
Format: Physical Copy
Source: Library
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
 Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened (goodreads).

I don't know why it took me so long to read this, I was FOOLISH. The Diviners was everything I wanted AND needed!

Plot: Oh. Me. Gee. The book had me HOOKED at the first page I swear. The story opens with a bunch of bored kids playing with a Oujia board and it all goes down hill for there. The atmosphere is downright creepy and fun when it needs to be and it kept me glued until the very last page (and then I ran to Goodreads to see when the second book was coming out). It's no surprise who the killer is, he's pretty much introduced to you by the third or fourth chapter, the question is why and how that kept my attention all 578 pages of it. The only reason why I gave this novel 4.5 stars instead of a full 5 stars is because sometimes the 500 pages could feel daunting. While I enjoyed this novel immensely, there were times where I questioned if anything was happening. The novel moved at all times, but some chapters moved slower than others. 

Characters: Our main character Evie is a downright riot and I adored her! She's got sass, talent, and adults just don't understand her flapper ways- and she's okay with that. I loved peeling back Evie's layers, it became clear that her "happy go lucky" persona was just the tip of the iceberg and that she had a lot more to offer as a character.The secondary characters are all well developed and lend themselves marvelously to the story's plot. And for a book set in the 1920s, this book is DIVERSE. We have black characters, we have gay characters, and they're all REAL, not just caricatures. I swear, this book has more diversity than some contemporary novels that are set in present day, but I won't go there. There is a tad bit of a love triangle - sort of. But it plays a very small role in the plot and is only acknowledged in the final chapters. I must say, I am happy with Evie's choice in romantic partner. I'm pleasantly surprised because when we are first introduced to Evie and the mystery guy I thought that this was going to follow a played out trope and I was not interested, but little by little, they both took my breath away and I started cheering for them. 

World Building: The Diviners straight up TRANSPORTED me to 1920s New York, I felt the glitz and glam of  Manhattan, and I felt the poetry and blues echoing from Harlem. Bray impressed me the most by her dedication to learn and appropriately use 1920s slang, not only did I learn some more fun catchphrases, but it really help me understand that this is a completely different time and culture with different values. Each setting was perfectly painted in my imagination, be it the Museum of Creepy Crawlies or the crime site of a recent murder. 

Short N Sweet: The Diviners was a breath of fresh air with unforgettable characters and a mystery that kept me rapt with attention. I can't wait to see how this story is developed further in The Lair of Dreams.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: Scandal

Title: Scandal (The Ivy #4)
Author: Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: New Adult // Drama // Contemporary // Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library 

ACCUSATIONS, ACCUSATIONS . . .
You know you're not the author of the "Ivy Insider" articles.But how are you going to prove it?
Callie Andrews returns from spring break to find herself facing expulsion. Someone has framed her as the author of a series of anonymous articles vilifying an elite social club and now, unless she can prove her innocence, she can kiss her college education good-bye. So who is the Ivy Insider?
ALEXISthe girl who has had it out for Callie since day one
GREGORYthe guy who told her he loved her (at least she thought she heard that) but then he vanished in the middle of the night
MATThis friendship supersedes his hatred for social clubs—right?
or VANESSA Callie's best frenemy
. . . or is it someone else entirely? Callie's made more than a few enemies during her freshman year, but can she count on her true friends—and the (missing, just-maybe-meant-to-be) love of her life—to pull through (goodreads)?

Scandal marks the end of my guilty pleasure/ crack series. I don't know how to go on without this cast of remarkable characters!

Plot: Scandal picks up where Rivals left off and we are met another another big misunderstanding that will keep my dream couple apart. Besides romance, Callie has to clear her name from The Ivy Reader mix up and still pass finals! While I liked this book, I didn't think that a lot happened. The main drama of the final installment is The Ivy Reader mix up, but that isn't even fleshed out. Everything seems to come together at the end with very little work on Callie's half. While the action disappointed me, the conclusion put a smile on my face. 

Characters: This novel's biggest downfall is its lack of Gregory. I LIVE for Gregory and it hurt me that he was absent for about 95% of the book. The rest of the cast was still there and still made me chuckle, and we even got a better look at other characters who had just made their debut in Rivals.
World Building: By the fourth novel, the setting has been pretty much established. There aren't too many areas of Harvard to explore. 

Short N Sweet: While Scandal seemed to tone down the drama that I had grown accustomed to in the three previous works, it was still a cute ending for a fun series!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[Meme]Waiting on Wednesday [#47]



Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them (goodreads).



I really don't think I have to explain this one. Did you NOT read my glowing review for The Winner's Curse?? I can't wait to see where Kestrel and Arin go from here. SO MUCH BETRAYAL. SO MUCH.