Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hidden

I'm leaving on a jetplane today! Well...sorta. I'm off to Hawaii for a week. You know what that means? READING ON THE BEACH. I've packed 4 books and I'm really excited to read them. I'm taking along The Mark of Athena, Finnikin of the Rock, Dark Triumph, and Forever. A nice mix of fantasy and...yeah, mostly fantasy. I'll be updating my blog while I'm gone so there will be reviews in the offing! On a more subdued note, I got sunburned the other day and it triggered a cold sore. Which really sucks. Especially since it'll be in my photos. But anyway, to today's review!


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Jacinda is going into the heart of the draki hunters' territory--directly into their labs--in order to save Cassian's sister, Miriam. The plan is to be delivered to the enkros, and then Will and Cassian will rescue them both that night. But when she gets inside, Jacinda realizes the plan isn't going to go as smoothly as they hope.

That's all you really need to know about this book. I'm going to keep this review short, because I don't have many good things to say about Hidden, the final book in the Firelight trilogy. Jacinda is whiny and naive about obvious things. Plots holes abound and things are over explained again and again. Will is a boring love interest, Deghan had the potential to be interesting but wasn't. And what draki look like is again never explained. They have hair and can walk like normal people, but enkros never made the connection between them and humans? Huh? But perhaps the thing that bothered me the most is how Jacinda feels like an expert on being a captive of the enkros when she was in their labs less than 24 hours. She doesn't even get hurt. And yet she says that the place almost destroyed her. I just...barely finished this book. And that was only so I could say I finished the series. I know a lot of people loved this book. I think Jordan's novels are not for me.

Goodreads Rating: 2 Stars
Up Next: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fierce Reads Tour

I got to meet Leigh Bardugo! It was so awesome. This was actually last week, but I haven't gotten then chance to write about it until now. It was part of the Fierce Reads Tour which also included Emmy Laybourne (author of the Monument14 trilogy), Ava Dellaira (author of Love Letters to the Dead), and Jennifer Mathieu (author of The Truth About Alice). And, guys, it was so cool!!

It started off with some of your basic questions to the panel about their books, and then moved into the deep stuff, and then into fun stuff, and then to questions from the audience. I've decided that the next time I go to an author event I'm going to live tweet it because I never remember all the funny things I want to tell you all. But I'm going to try.

Emmy Laybourne was especially funny. She hated her healthy breakfast and joked that her favorite late night room service order was a stripper before admitting it was a bowl of mixed berries. She thinks what she's learned most from her characters is how to get in touch with her anger when her rights have been infringed upon. She also is really excited about her upcoming book, Sweet,  which when she described it to the audience let out a collective "OOOOH." It sounds pretty awesome, guys.

Jennifer Mathieu and Ava Dellaira were also fantastic, talking about their debut novels.

But for me the highlight of the evening (and this should not reflect at all on the other authors, I've just only read her books at this point) was Leigh Bardugo. She was so sassy. Almost every time she opened her mouth the audience laughed. She had clearly read the Slate article (you know which one I mean) and was quick to say how stupid it was. She was awesome about not giving away spoilers, thank god, because I haven't read Ruin and Rising yet.

When we got to the part for audience questions I swallowed my fear of speaking in front of people and raised my hand. I asked what the query process was like for them. Jennifer answered that it was a long slog, and she gave me some tips on resources to which Ava added. And you know what was cool? I knew almost all of them. That really made me happy. These NYT bestselling authors and I had something in common. I was using the same resources they had to get published.

When I waited in line to get my books signed Ava thanked me for being such a good audience member (*blush*) and Leigh was so nice when she signed my book.

It was a fantastic evening, guys. I can't wait to go to another signing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The One

I am sunburned and sore from canoeing. Yesterday my SO and I went out on the water and saw some lovely baby ducks and some really pretty water lilies. And then we went home, broke open a pint of raspberry sorbet, and collapsed into near-unconscious states. I used this time to read The One by Kiera Cass. This is the last book in The Selection Trilogy, so beware of spoilers.


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America Singer has finally decided between Prince Maxon and her childhood sweetheart Aspen. This means she has to commit to the idea of being Princess of Ilea and somehow not get kicked out of the palace by the king. Meanwhile the southern rebels are getting more and more vicious, calling for a shutdown of the Selection with deadly consequences if it continues. America still has to contend with the other three members of the Elite who all want Maxon's hand as well. It would be much easier if she hated them, but they're almost like sisters to her now.

I loved The Selection despite its difficulties in picking a genre. I loved that America seemed like a nice girl willing to get in trouble if it meant she could do the right thing. And I loved the competition between the girls because it seemed so wrong and similar to the Hunger Games. The Elite left me hoping the last book in the trilogy would be better. The One didn't quite hit the level of The Selection, but it was certainly better than The Elite. America doesn't wiffle waffle between Maxon and Aspen in this one. Her struggle is more about feeling comfortable enough to express her feelings to him when there are three other girls still competing for his love. I ended up liking the mean character of Celeste in this book much more than in the other two. There were sections of telling where there should have been showing, but I didn't mind so much. This book is a nice, easy read. I was sort of disappointed that there wasn't much resolution with the southern rebels, and I would have liked the part of the northern rebels to be more fleshed out. But on the whole it was a nice read for a lazy afternoon.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Siege and Storm

Last summer I read Shadow and Bone and was immediately drawn in by the unique world and magic. I loved that I didn't know what to expect, and I loved the food porn. Well, Siege and Storm, the sequel, finally came out in paperback so I got a copy! Luckily right before I met the lovely author, Leigh Bardugo, but that's a post for another time. So, without further ado, I give you Siege and Storm.


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Alina Starkov has fled from Ravka and the Darkling. She wants to get as far away as possible, but hiding her identity as the Sun Summoner isn't easy. The Darkling has emerged from the Fold with a new deadly power, and he still wants Alina at his side. With the help of a reckless privateer, Alina returns to Ravka to help the country prepare for battle against the Darkling. A cult has sprung up in her absence, calling her Saint Alina, the Grisha fight her control, and Alina is having hallucinations about the Darkling. At least she has Mal. For now.

The first half of this book is much more fast paced than the second half. However, I found that I loved this book, if not as much as Shadow and Bone, then enough to have me clamoring for Ruin and Rising. Alina struggles a lot in this book with balancing power, her sanity, and her personal relationships. She's trying to come into her own but doing so might mean losing her humanity. And when she does start to thrive in a role of power, her relationship with Mal starts to slip. Now, I found Mal to be great in Shadow and Bone. He's sorta whiny in this one, but I still liked him. His arguments about Alina giving up on them were actually reasonable rather than the usual "oh no I'm being ignored the world is ending." Much more enjoyable this way. I really really wish the Darkling had been in more of the book. He was soooo creepy in the first one. Overall, loved the book and can't wait for the finale and I am hating that I have to wait for it in paperback.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Thursday, June 19, 2014

House of Ivy and Sorrow

Sorry for the silence this past week. It's been weirdly crazy. I got really popular all of a sudden and everyone has wanted to see me. Well, it's been pretty great seeing everyone. But I also haven't had time to sit down and read. I've been slowly working my way through House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple, and yesterday I finally finished it.


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In an ivy-covered house under a freeway there lives two witches. One is the head of the house, and the other is her granddaughter Josephine Hemlock. They spend their days mixing potions and eating pudding. That is until the day Jo finds herself accosted by a strange man who knew her mother. There's something dark inside him that doesn't belong, and it's the Curse which has killed countless Hemlock women. It seems someone is out to get Jo and her grandmother. As she tries to uncover who the killer is, she comes perilously close to embracing the darker side of her magic.

This book. I don't know where to start talking about it. I guess I'll preface it by saying how much I enjoyed reading Whipple's Transparent. I also follow her blog and love her real talk about being a published author. I really wanted to love this book. It had a cool premise and a creepy title. It had some cool combinations in potions that reminded me of Claudia Gray's Spellcaster. I really wanted to love it. I just...didn't. It wasn't gothic, it had almost no narrative tension, and there was apparently a love V that I completely missed until the last 50 pages because it wasn't fleshed out. I never really got invested in the witching politics or the idea of Shadows. I liked Jo's grandmother because of her cackle and love of pudding. I disliked the instalove between Jo and her dad, even though they hadn't seen each other...ever. I ended up finishing this book feeling meh. I still want to read Whipple's Blindsided, the sequel to Transparent, and I still love her blog and tweets. I just wish I could say I loved this book.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Up Next: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sweet Reckoning

Today I took an easier day. As usual I tend to cram my schedule as much as possible, so the last couple days I haven't had as much chance to read. But today was different. I was tired, I didn't have much of a reason to leave bed, so I stayed there and read. I said the next book I was going to read was House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple. But this morning I woke up wanting something a little different, and it had me reaching for Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins. This is the last book in a trilogy so there will be mild spoilers. Beware.


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The time has come for the Nephilim to stand against their demon fathers. Anna Whitt is the offspring of an angel and a demon, and so is destined to fulfill the prophecy that says the demons will be banished back to hell if they don't choose redemption. With time short, Anna needs all the supporters she can get, but they're hard to come by when she has to avoid the Dukes (head honcho demons) and make it seem like she's not in contact with any of her fellow Neph. Making this even harder is the love she has for her boyfriend Kaidan. She wants to be with him, but being with him would make her choose between him and her destiny.

It's rather hard to describe the plot of this book. It really is a close extension of Sweet Peril, where Anna has accepted her destiny and is working to get followers. She and Kaidan have decided to be together despite its perils, and let the sexy times commence. Hot damn, were these scenes well written. I have read and edited erotica, and this still had me blushing. But in a way that fit the story. In the end, I loved this book. It is overly romantic in places, and I thought the Sword of Righteousness would play a larger role than it did. But...I honestly didn't care. I need overly romantic in my life sometimes. I like happy endings and sweet kisses and declarations of love. I don't need them ALL the time, but it's nice. Sweet Reckoning is a quick, nice read with some twists that may surprise readers. The epilogue will make you tear up. It's just guaranteed. I would highly recommend the Sweet Trilogy for anyone who likes a kind protagonist, some hot makeout sessions, and a fight for the death.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up next: House of Ivy and Sorry by Natalie Whipple

Monday, June 9, 2014

Spell Bound

After finishing up The Selection Stories yesterday I dove right into Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins, the last book in her Hex Hall series. I'm still recovering from jet lag, and now it seems I have a cold on my hands. Or, more accurately, in my throat. Sooo I'm not the most lively person at the moment. I have already reviewed the first two books in the Hex Hall series (Hex Hall and Demonglass), so beware, there will be spoilers.


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Sometimes magic sucks. Especially when it's been trapped inside you so you can't use it, and taken away from your father, and used to turn innocent kids into demons to wipe out the human race. Sophie Mercer just escaped the evil witches, the Casnoffs, but the last thing she saw was her fiance Cal running back into the burning house to save her father and boyfriend. So things aren't looking too good. Then she's attacked by a ninja twelve year old who turns out to be a monster-hunting Brannick who is also her cousin. With the Casnoffs attempting to build a demon army, Sophie teams up with her father, mother, the Brannicks, her boyfriend, her fiance, and her vampire best friend to defeat them. Which is a great plan until she, Cal, Archer, and Jenna are transported back to Hex Hall where they are told they are to start the new semester.

I have described this book as similar to Harry Potter. This book is the same way, with lots of witty banter in between the sad/dangerous parts. But, that being said, I think this was my least favorite book in the series. I still really enjoyed it, but things were so rushed. Emotional moments were trampled over, and there is a series of bits where Sophie is possessed by a ghost which seemed to creep me out waaay more than it creeped out Sophie. The big reveals were so....rushed. I wanted time to see people react to the Big Information, but it zipped along to the big battle at the end. And the end. Oh my god. I'm mostly happy with the way it ended, but there is one bit that just left me so sad, and it felt so unnecessary to the generally happy-go-lucky plot. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading the Hex Hall series, and I think I'll dive into School Spirits after this summer!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Selection Stories

I am home from Europe! I spent 14 hours on a plane yesterday, and when all was said in done I was awake for an entire day. So today I am battling jet lag. I've been vacillating between extreme exhaustion, extreme hyperness, extreme hunger, and extreme distaste for any and all food. It's been really fun. So today I get to relax. Today I am letting myself read as much as I want. First up in this summer's reading project is The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass. This is a compilation of two novellas from the POVs of Maxon and Aspen and concern the events of The Selection and The Elite.

Prince Maxon thought he was prepared for the Selection of his wife. But that was before he realized he somehow had to fall in love with someone, have them fall in love with him, have his parents and the public approve, and have the girl be a capable co-monarch. Suddenly the task ahead seems daunting. Then the night before the public meeting with the 35 Selected options, he meets America. And she is fiery and doesn't want to marry him. But he may have found a friend who can get him through this monumental task.
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Aspen Leger was a Six. Now he's a Two and a palace guard. And he can't bear to watch America go through the process of Selection when he loves her, especially now that she's made it into the Elite. But he also knows how hard, if not impossible, it would be for them to get together. When another Elite is caught with a guard and cast out of the palace, and rebels storm the gates, Aspen's thoughts are all of America, and how he wants to be able to love her freely.

This was a nice short book that was easily digestible for my jet lagged brain. I always enjoy seeing love stories from both POVs, so it was nice to see what Maxon and Aspen are thinking. Their different thoughts about America were especially interesting because they're similar but also quite different. Where Aspen longs for America and how things were before they came to the palace, Maxon finds her refreshingly blunt and interesting. New love versus old love. It's an interesting mix. Of course, it's been a while since I've read The Selection and The Elite, so some of the references were lost on me. But I still enjoyed this quick read. I must say I am a fan of the novellas authors are putting out these days. It really satiates my inner fangirl.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up next: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Friday, June 6, 2014

My New Job

After two months of sending out my resume and interviewing, I have accepted a position as an editor at Month9Books!

I was actually planning on building that up a bit more, but I couldn't wait to tell you guys. At the end of March, as you guys know, the publisher I worked for and that Balancing Act was released through closed down. This left me jobless, book-contract-less, and very sad. But I very quickly picked myself up and dusted off.

I've been a fan of Month9Books for some time. I've followed their authors and editors on twitter, and thought I would love to work there. And through some witchery, I now am!

I'm really excited, guys. I'm back in the game, and I'm working for an awesome YA/MG publisher. 

Now, back to work!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

3 Year Blogoversary

I guess I missed my actual Blogoversary! It was on 5/19. It's so hard to believe I've been running this blog for three years. It seems like just a few months ago that I decided it would be a good way to start a platform if I wrote a blog. And man, were those some awful posts at the beginning. All hoity toity and formal.

I just want to thank the readers out there who glance here from time to time. I know I'm nowhere near being the most heavily trafficked blog, but I still love going online and seeing that someone's been reading.


Since I started this blog I have graduated high school, started college, gotten into my majors, gotten my first internship in editing, gotten my first job in publishing, gotten a book deal, had my book released and then taken down a couple months later. There has been frustration, elation, and many, many books. This blog is such a hodgepodge of writing tips and book reviews and random stuff about my life. I hope you enjoy it.


Have some cake on me!

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Well I'm almost through with my stay in Europe. Crazy stuff. I told you guys I finally broke down and bought a book because it's finals week. I finished The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black this afternoon and let it stew for a while before sitting down to write my review. I'm getting sick again, which sucks because I've got a hellishly long flight coming up. But anyways, that's a different post for another day. For now, here's what I thought of this book.


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When Tana wakes up in a house filled with corpses, she thinks the worst has happened. That's until she finds her ex, Aidan who's been infected with vampirism tied up in a nearby room and a hungry vampire chained near him. She saves both of them and they set off for a  Coldtown, walled off cities where the infected and those seeking to be turned go. And once you're in a Coldtown, there's almost no chance of escape. To save the people with her, Tana is heading straight toward hell.

Short description for a book, yeah? Well that's because there's almost no plot to speak of. Tana frees her ex and the vampire in the most gripping couple chapters in the whole book, and then sets off on a long-winded journey to and through Coldtown in which the vampire Gavriel spouts off lines of weird poetry and broods, Aidan wants to eat Tana, and Tana is weirdly indifferent to all of it. Before I get into the minutiae of why this book left me going "meh," I will say the things I liked about it. The writing was good. There was a decent amount of detail, and I greatly appreciated the description of a set of characters who wore things other than jeans and tshirts.

Okay, on to the other stuff. 1) Tana. She frees a vampire and a boy who wants to drink her blood, and in fact tries to do so on multiple occasions. Dumb. Couldn't get behind it. Also, her voice and personality are not very strong. She is drowned in worldbuilding. 2) Secondary characters. Didn't care about any of them. Those that had potential were killed off quickly or never developed. Especially Pearl and Jameson. 3) Gavriel. Has no reason to love Tana except because she saved him. They spend a total of about 2 hours together in Coldtown. Didn't buy the love. 4) Overly complicated world with holes. I wanted to know why the feeds in San Francisco went dark, or one of the other Coldtowns fell apart. Never explained. Vampires are considered evil, but also celebrities? Couldn't quite wrap my head around the dichotomy. So many rules about how to turn into a vampire. Hard to keep it straight. 5) No climax. This was my biggest issue in the whole story. Normally in books there is a progression, a building of tension. No such luck here. With the lack of Tana freaking out, even when she gets infected, there's basically no tension. And then we get to the apex of the story and it just...trickles away. I didn't feel satisfied, or happy for the heroine. Just...meh.

I have heard similar things from other reviewers about this book, and they say her Curse Workers series is better. I have White Cat to read this summer and I sincerely hope it is better. She's got an eloquent way of writing.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reasons I Love June Iparis

I broke down and bought a book over here. Finals week has begun, and as usual I need to binge a little to stay sane. I can't believe I'm almost done with my junior year at University. It's flown by and I've had such a good time. There have been some lows of course. Losing my job and my novel coming off the shelves after only two months of publication when Entranced closed was horrible. But I've tried to stay optimistic. I've been querying and looking for a new job ever since. I should have some news on that front for you soon. But some awesome things have happened too. Like coming to England. But anyway, that is a post for another time. Right now I just wanted to say that I haven't finished reading my current book, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, but I'll have a review for you soon. For today I'm going to explain why I love June Iparis from Marie Lu's Legend series.
  • She's a genius. There's a reason she's considered the prodigy of her school. One of the things I said in my review of Legend was how I loved the little days she picked up on when she was looking for Day. It reminded me of Tamora Pierce's Aly, who I adore. I wish I could pick up on stuff like that. I've been trying to Sherlock people on the Underground, but it's hard to when everyone's trying so hard not to look at each other.
  • She doesn't let love make her an idiot. Hate it when this happens. Hate hate hate. When a character is all smart and then HORMONES. But June doesn't do this. Yes, love affects how she looks at the world and that eventually leads to her thinking differently about the regime she works for, but she still isn't dumb. She maintains a mostly-cool head so she can save those she loves.
  • She makes sacrifices. I won't spoil Champion for those of you who haven't read it, but June is willing to give things up so others will be happy. And not in a I'm-a-martyr-hear-me-roar way.
  • She has an awesome dog. Maybe I'm just missing my puppy because I haven't been home in so long, but I love Olly to this day. Again, not to spoil Champion but Olly was such an important part of the story for me. He was innocence and a representation of June's old life before things fell apart. And he's friendly. I like that.
  • She doesn't trust easily. Even when she likes someone she doesn't automatically go "Oh, everything they say is true. They couldn't possibly have other motives!" Considering how smart she is, and how unstable her world is and her place in it as well, this made me admire her even more.
So there you have it! Another badass heroine. Have you read Marie Lu's Legend series? What did you think of June?