Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BLLB Teaser Trailer

Blue Lily, Lily Blue book teaser trailer!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Why I Like The Raven Cycle Books

(Note: This is the second time I have submitted this, because I almost completely changed it. Sorry for any inconvenience. Please count this as my one entry. Sorry.)

Recently Maggie Stiefvater posted on her Tumblr a Rafflecopter competition to win an Advanced Reader's Copy of Blue Lily, Lily Blue- the third book in the Raven Cycle series, coming out this fall.

The task was to write a post on whichever blog we may run explaining why we like the Raven Cycle series.

I must admit, I was a little daunted by this prospect; explaining the sheer delight I felt at reading The Raven Boys and then its sequel, The Dream Thieves, for the first time seemed as impossible as completing the twelve tasks Hera set for Hercules. But after an hour or so of contemplation, I have formed an answer (below) and wait with fingers crossed for what might perhaps be the best day of my life.

Before I answer, though, I feel obligated to point out that:

Many an hour I have spent walking the ley lines of Seattle with my EMP detector, which I bought off Amazon sorely because Stiefvater has inspired me to tap into the mystical and magical surrounding us every day. I've seen unexplained power outages on these trips, flashes of light when there were no cars or light sources around, extreme temperature changes- and once, memorably, a little girl wearing a blue frock. I could see straight through her to the wall beyond. These trips are all thrilling and unforgettable, and without the Raven Boys as my "guide," my inspiration, I never would have thought to even go.

And now:

I love the Raven Cycle books for a million reasons, but first and foremost, I must speak about one.

The characters.

Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Noah, and Adam. Maura, Calla, and Persephone. The Grey Man. Kavinsky. Artemus, although he has not yet been introduced.

Each one is completely different; unique in the way their glimmering, golden threads bind together into one woven tapestry. The sheer magnificence of the way their fires burn, akin to those of Jay Gatsby and Leonard Peacock; their inner strength, even in times of peril; their anger and passion, fighting for their lives and the things, the people, they love.

They burn, as brightly as the sun, shining and blazing through the paper and ink Stiefvater uses to weave her worlds that, though they came from her head, are as real as any other.

Blue, cursed, brilliant Blue, with her eccentric, inquisitive nature; Gansey, the boy with two faces- one of the polished Aglionby nobility, and the other, a hopelessly lost, yearning soul, searching for something that no others have found; Adam, the silently screaming, passionate individual with a past he can't erase; Ronan, the reckless, impulsive, powerful and strong fighter with the heart maybe a smidge more golden than he lets on; and Noah, the ghost of a boy who once was, the silent watcher.

These five teenagers form the spine, the backbone, of the Raven Cycle series. I identified with them immediately and even, in all their faults, with all their brilliance, found something to love.

Side note: My favorite character is Kavinsky. Despite the drugs and the liquor, something about his savage, violent nature I find appealing. Or possibly Ronan. More likely Ronan.

Camaros, high school, street racing, caves and dream thieves. Drugs, assassins, dragons, and psychics. Adventure and romance. I am at a loss for words at how to praise the author for a work of art as compelling and thought-provoking as the one she has spun from straw, making it gold before the end of the first chapters.

The truth is, I love the Raven Cycle series because I feel connected to it. Connected to the characters, the story, even the lost king and the mystery surrounding his final resting place. It just rings true inside me. I've found very few other books that do that.

And so I end with this parting note to Maggie Stiefvater, should she ever read this:

It doesn't matter if I win the ARC or not. Because in the end, it is enough to know that the story will go on. I will carry Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Henrietta with me forever.

Thank you.

Thank you for giving me a new home, so compelling, within the pages of these books. Thank you for inspiring me and giving me hope and new friends that hide in ink and paper, but are forever in my mind.

Thank you for allowing me to dream.

(But- erm- I died at the last cliffhanger. Just saying.)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Favorite/Not So Favorite Book Cover Changes

This is a post about book covers.

                                     From this...                                                      ... To this.

            I really liked the cover on the left, and I'm not too pumped about the second one. People in bathing suits on the cover just screams ROMANCE! and I'm not sure that is what this book is totally about. It shows none of the scifi/ fantasy aspects of the book, and makes me think of cheesy rich kid romances. However, the first is slightly mysterious and eye-catching, and I feel like it fits the book far better than the on the left.


              The cover on the left is hands-down my favorite. The girl, lying down with the blood bird things in her hands, just screams MAGIC! INTRIGUE! while the cover on the right is just... boring. I mean, sure, the rune and fire/blood setup is cool, but it doesn't draw me in like the one on the left. Also, the left cover is a subtle tie-in to the book, with the bloody birds and all, and the dark forest in the background is creepy and alluring.


               The first cover: Boring. It shows a certain level of mystery and occult, but it is... plain. The second cover doesn't really do it for me either, but just because I don't think it relates to the book very well at all. However, I do like the third cover. The eerie purple lighting gives off a certain air of mystery, while the lettering makes me think that the book is set in an older time period. The whole thing is eye-catching and appealing to the reader, and I think it just fits the book better than the others.


                The second cover is probably my favorite, because I feel like it represents the book better than the first one, which looks girly and fake. Also, the second one has a more... dynamic feeling than the first one, and makes me want to read the book more than I normally would.


                  Hands down, definitely the second one. It is dynamic and eye-catching, completely unlike the first one, which is just a face. I can't say I really enjoyed the book, but I love love love the second cover.

                                                             Now for movie covers.


                    The first one is the version I read, and I can't say I like the cover. It seems plain, and not at all like the action-packed book. However, Version 2, the movie cover, is dynamic and lets us see the danger that being Ender represents, if you get what I'm saying. Anyway, the second one is definitely better.


                      For me, I like the first cover better, even though it really has next to nothing to do with the book. It's mysterious and alluring, and catches my eye and makes me want to rip it off the shelf and plow through it in four hours. The second cover, however, just screams CHEESY ROMANCE MOVIE, and when I look at it, I think, "Pfff, great. Another romance. Whoop-de-doo," and shows no promise of really anything actually happening.

                 Okay, the second one isn't strictly the book cover, but I did see it on a book cover at the bookstore, even if I wasn't able to find an image of the actual cover. But whatever. Anyway, I think the second book cover is my favorite- it just holds a certain allure that the first one doesn't have. I do like the first cover a lot, though, and it's pretty close competition.


                  I think this one is a tie. The first cover is marvelous in its simplicity, much like Twilight, bur the second one is eye-catching and... cool. I know that sounds weird, but it is. It's cool. I am glad they kept the title font for the second book cover, as well,  because it's awesome. Just saying.


                 This one is a tie as well. I love the original cover, with the creepy eye and such, but I also like the movie tie-in cover. They both scream SCI-FI with the lens-flare type "ring" of sorts on each cover, and they are both slightly mysterious, the first one probably a little bit more than the second. But I think they both work for this book.

     These comparisons are completely my opinion, and in no way are you required to feel the same way about any of them. Leave a comment below saying which is your favorite- I'd like to know!

Book Review: Article 5, by Kristen Simmons

Book Review: Article 5, by Kristen Simmons
Spoilers alert!


New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Book Review:

     I recieved Article 5 as a Christmas present and plowed through it in one sitting. Yes, it was that good. I was hooked from the very first page, entranced by this dystopian world in a way I have not been since Divergent and The Hunger Games. Kristen Simmons effortlessly entwined danger, heartbreak, excitement, and romance into an enthralling tale of a world where there are virtually no human rights, no freedom of speech or anything else, and a desperate bid for survival.
     Ember's mother is taken by the FBR for noncompliance with Article 5, and Ember is transported to a reform school run by vicious "sisters" and soldiers, where she makes a desperate bargain for escape. However, this attempt is compromised, and then a soldier shows up to take her away. This soldier is none other than Chase Jennings, Ember's ex that she hasn't seen in over a year.
     At first I was like, oh, great, another book about rebelling against the military- now with romance! Yaaay... Not. But Article 5 proved to be different from anything I could ever have imagined.
     From early on in the book, it is clear that Chase would do anything for Ember, even if he is cold and heartless around her. But he quickly softens, and their romance blooms amidst running from the military, shooting things, being captured over and over, and miraculously finding enough money to survive on the run.
     Simmons inserts little flashback segments randomly throughout the book, but they are, in fact, perfectly placed and offer a glimpse into what Ember's world was like before her mother was taken and Chase was drafted for the military. These flashbacks were just enough to keep me starving for more, and every so often I would sit up and be like, "Ohhhh, so that's what happened."
     Article 5 is completely different from any other dystopian book out there (probably- I haven't read them all, so I wouldn't know) and the cliffhanger at the end will make you want to jump up and run to the bookstore for book two.
     I strongly recommend this book for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent, as well as anyone 12 and up.
     Five out of five stars.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Book Review: Sweet Evil, by Wendy Higgins

Book Review: Sweet Evil, by Wendy Higgins
Spoilers alert!


Embrace the Forbidden.

What is there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull towards danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her true heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about.

If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Book Review:

     I expected Sweet Evil to be another sappy love story with no spine to it, but a chapter in, I was like... wait, what? This book was absolutely nothing like I was expecting. Wendy Higgins showed me angels and demons in a way I had never seen before, winding in a complex maze of... demon politics? Angel/demon rivalries? that was easy to understand, but not cheesy at all.
     Anna Whitt is the daughter of the demon of substance abuse, which seems a little weird to me and not as deadly and scary as the demons of Wrath, Murder, and Lust, but at the end of the book, everything fit together and made perfect sense. I was drawn in by Anna's good-girl attitude, but also her secret dark side, and fell in love with her story almost immediately.
     Kaidan Rowe is the son of the demon of Lust, and Anna falls quickly for him, despite his rude demeanor and his "work," which basically includes luring girls into bed to corrupt them. Seriously, if he doesn't do it, he'll be killed by his father. Talk about romance friction. I decided to reserve judgement on his character, but I couldn't help feeling like he was a bit of a jerk and a player.
     The author, Wendy Higgins, uses time lapse a lot, but in a way that didn't make me feel rushed or that I was being cheated out of information. In fact, I felt like I was reading several books, perhaps in a series, and I was seeing Anna's life as it really was, and not just some battle over a series of days. Actually, I really enjoyed the writing style of this book.
      When Anna's father, the demon of substance abuse, comes to "train" her, I was expecting swords or something. Instead, he gave her drinking lessons, which was random but hilarious and fit in perfectly with the flow of the story.
      What Anna and her fellow Nephilim have to do to pretend like they are working- excluding Kaidan, of course- is despicable, but I understand the reasoning behind it and learned to enjoy the subtle comic humor provided by side characters. Higgins effortlessly introduces a world of Nephilim oppression, angel prophecies, and demon politics, a world in which Anna has to find her place when she is part demon, part angel, and learn what she has to do to survive.
      Sweet Evil is absolutely amazing, and all I have to say is, read it. Now. You will not be disappointed.
      Five out of five stars.

Christmas Book Haul

For Christmas this year I got a whole trunkful of books, and I decided to do my first "Breaking the Spine" blog post- a post in which I recount my recent book hauls. Be expecting reviews on most of these books in the near future! Happy Holidays!
  Beta, by Jenna Black

    Pawn, by Aimee Carter

  The Iron Witch, by Karen Mahoney

    Article 5, by Kristen Simmons

  Shadowspell, by Jenna Black

    The Shadow Society, by Marie Rutkoski

  Sacred, by Elana K. Arnold

    Blood Magic, by Tessa Gratton
  The Wolf Springs Chronicles: Unleashed, by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

    Sweet Evil, by Wendy Higgins

I hope your guys' holidays were awesome! I'll resume regular posting tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review: City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare

Book Review: City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
Spoilers alert!


When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.
But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know.... 

Book Review:

     It isn't often that I find a book so flawless as this one. From the very first page, I was hooked, reading late into the night every night. I was literally unable to put it down.
     This is definitely not the first demon-hunter book out there, but Cassandra Clare invents a whole new world completely different from anything one might expect. Effortlessly weaving a tale of  magic, intrigue, mystery, and romance, Clare introduces us readers into the dangerous world of Shadowhunters,  a race of demon hunters that were created by the angel Raziel a thousand years ago.
     When Clary Fray sees several of these Shadowhunters kill a demon, one of them, Jace Wayland, appears before Clary the next day and takes her to the Institute, which is basically a safe house for the New York Shadowhunters. 
       Clary is suddenly thrust into a dangerous battle between Shadowhunters and demons, as well as faeries, werewolves, vampires, and warlocks. She also develops feelings for the handsome Shadowhunter Jace.
     Clary, Jace,  and Simon's love triangle was absolutely riveting. When Simon walked in on Clary and Jace making out, I sat up and squealed like a little girl. The chemistry between the two is undeniable, but Simon has been Clary's friend for almost her whole life, which makes for some killer romantic friction.
     (Note: I'm listening to Anthem of the Angels, does anyone else get the irony? Demon hunters? No? Okay.)
     Cassandra Clare's writing was exciting and powerful and City of Bones is an exhilarating, moving read, perfect for fantasy romance lovers. I enjoyed every minute.
     Six out of five stars.

 Post-script: This will be the only blog post today. Happy Holidays!