Saturday, 30 June 2012

Review: Her Sweetest Downfall (Forever Girl Journals, Ophelia) by Rebecca Hamilton


Her Sweetest Downfall by Rebecca Hamilton


Author: Rebecca Hamilton
Expected Publication Date: July 2012
Publisher: Immortal Ink Publishing
Pages: 128
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Occult
Source: ARC Received from Author for review (Thank you!)



Book Description from Goodreads:
Ophelia’s been successful at hiding her true identity, until the mark of the serpent appears on her neck - a death sentence, should it be seen by anyone in her town. Hiding the mark might save her from falling victim to the witch hunts of her era, but the scorching sensation it carries can’t be ignored.
When mysterious Ethan is sent to collect her for a life of something more, she learns concealing the mark is the least of her concerns. She’s destined to do a new task - to join a dark, supernatural world and protect the future of people she may never meet.

Review:
The task that Sophia Parsons (from the first book The Forever Girl) is destined to fulfill has been hundreds of years in the making, with pieces of the puzzles strategically placed for their turn in Sophia’s journey.

We’re first introduced to Ophelia nearing the end of The Forever Girl, as she plays an instrumental role in Sophia’s escape. Now in the novella Her Sweetest Downfall we travel back in time to see a glimpse into the inner workings of this intricate story.

I love these covers oh so much! This one especially with the dramatic ice blue eyes that are so startling, and reflect perfectly on the character of Ophelia.

Ophelia came into The Forever Girl at a very tense moment, where I was definitely more concerned about the main characters and how they were going to get out of that situation than who this random helpful stranger was. In my rush, I didn’t really give her a second thought. In Her Sweetest Downfall we get to see who she was before, and how she ended up in such an important moment later on.

But here’s the trouble with novella’s, they’re usually a short quick information filler to tide over fan’s while waiting for the next full length novel. As such, it’s difficult to develop characters and relationships to a fully engaging level.

With the character of Ophelia, while she’s admirable in her determination and passion in dangerous witch hunting times, her character kind of fell flat for me. I just felt like she was going through fated motions (and in a way she really was), and I didn’t feel as interested in her as I wanted to be.

The character of Ethan was intriguing, he had a straight forward goal from the get-go. He's got this incredible devotion to his duty, but it gets a bit muddled when he meets Ophelia and it was enthralling to see him struggle between his responsibilities and love.

Ophelia and Ethan’s romance is a bit iffy in that it was like Stockholm syndrome on steroids. It felt like their entire romance was based on just getting to the physical aspect of it all because that’s how their relationship developed - on looks. But while going through some very difficult situations together, I could see that they were growing closer together, and Hamilton manages to tie their romance up in a very neat sensual bow.

However, the secondary characters take the cake. I loved seeing Lenore again! She’s primal and fierce - you’re never really sure of what she’s going to do. For the briefest moments when we’re introduced to the Queen, she’s definitely a character that stood out firmly in my mind, and the tidbits of crucial information revealed about her left me more curious about her story than any other character so far.

Hamilton doesn’t disappoint in her writing style, if anything she’s managed to hone it. She crafts amazing lilts to character voices, and fluidly rich descriptions of surroundings and action sequences. Having read The Forever Girl, I knew where this was ultimately headed, but I still enjoyed watching this path unfold with self discovery, forbidden love and tense decisions that can alter the course of the future.

Her Sweetest Downfall acts as a “sequel-prequel” book. You can read it before The Forever Girl because Hamilton does rehash the elemental creature mythology. But there’s subtle moments where characters are revealed and the major plot, I feel cannot be fully appreciated without reading The Forever Girl first.

Overall: 3/5 Cups of Drinkable Tea.
It’s a quick light read, and serves its purpose by opening up more backstory for The Forever Girl, but with it’s 128 page length, it was hard to really feel fully enveloped by the story. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Tea Time Thursday: Flavoured Black Tea: Read My Lips


Flavoured Black Tea: Read My Lips


Ingredients: Chinese black tea, peppermint, dark chocolate, red lip sprinkles, pink peppercorns, natural and artificial flavouring.

So, I've spent the majority of this week in an insane cleaning/painting/preparing for my sister and nephews visit, after a long work day. As a result, I have gotten ZILCH ZIPPO NATTA done on the blog/reading wise. 
But the one redeeming factor to this week is this tea.
Oh my am I ever in love with this tea! Probably because it combines two of my most favorite flavours (dark chocolate and mint) into a tea! It has the smooth creaminess of chocolate, with the refreshing uplift of the mint. The red lip sprinkles, mostly for aesthetics - also provide the perfect amount of sugar to combat the bitterness of the black tea. The flavour isn’t far off from mint chocolate chip ice cream… it’s so delicious.
But do you know what really goes well with this tea? Chocolate chip cookies!! I was trying this tea, and got snackish - grabbed a chocolate chip cookie and there’s something about the chocolate/brown sugar/mint combination that just made it that much better!!
This is the perfect relax with a book and cookie tea, and I will definitely keep it around.

Overall: 5/5 Steaming HOT cups of tea! 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (8): Glitch


Waiting on Wednesday (8): Glitch
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine to highlight upcoming eagerly anticipated book releases
I'm waiting for:
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Expected Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
From Goodreads: 
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network. 
When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.
As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they're caught and deactivated, or worse.










Science fiction, a utopia with cracks, possible love triangle? I'm so intrigued! Ironically, as I was writing this WoW up, I got an email from NetGalley approving me to read this one :D So I'm super duper excited! 


What's your WoW this week? Leave me a link in the comments so I can check yours out! 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Teaser Tuesday (7): Shadow and Bone


Teaser Tuesday: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do as following: 
·Grab your current read 
·
Open to a random page 
·
Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page 
·
Be careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others.

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Pages: 358
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Book description from Goodreads: 
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life-a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha...and the secrets of her heart.



Teaser:

     "...I've risked my life for you. I've walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I'd do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don't tell me we don't belong together," he said fiercely. (Page 298).


I love this book so so so much! It's amazing!! What're you guys reading this fine Tuesday? Leave a link in the comments and I'll be sure to swing by!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)


The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 480
Genre: YA, Dystopian/Post Apocalypse, Paranormal, Vampires
Source: Bought it




Book Description from Goodreads:
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked-and given the ultimate choice. Die or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend-a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of human kind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what-and who- is worth dying for.

Reivew:
So… I’ve never read any Julie Kagawa books before this… *ducks the boo’s and paper balls*. Now I can firmly say that it was crazy to ignore her writing for so long!

The cover features Allie post transition in dramatic monochrome as she sheds a bloody tear. I especially love the elaborate front and back endpapers, they give a feeling of the vampiric aristocracy.

The story begins with a human Allie trying to survive in this post apocalyptic world where if you’re not kept as a walking blood bag for vampires, especially for the spoiled royal court, you’re scrounging around on your own - just waiting to be a midnight snack to some night time creature. Besides the vampires there’s also the rabids, mindless ever hungry beings created by a mutated virus that threatens the existence of humans and vampires.

Kagawa creates a perfectly dark and gritty world for this story. You can feel the desperation of survival when Allie is surrounded by ruins of former buildings, or the eeriness of an apocalypse with abandoned vehicles on roads and bloodied homes.

Kagawa takes the very overused idea of vampires and puts an engrossing science spin to it. Kagawa kept some of the original lore of vampires (no sunlight, super strength, blood lust) but she manages to set them a bit apart with unique rules for what changes into what with the virus spreading. I especially loved the idea of the rabids, they’re like a blend of vampiric zombies that are relentless in their pursuit of blood.

Allie initially may not be a super kick ass heroine, but I admire her for her strong will to always survive no matter what. She even tries to help others, even if they’re ridiculously useless because while the world has fallen to absolute shit - she doesn’t want to give up hope in humankind and what it used to be like. But faced with her own mortality, she chooses to survive - no matter the consequences.

Afterwards we’re thrown into this intense world of vampires, with super senses, strength and above all, Blood Lust. Katana’s seem to be the weapon of choice these days in books, and it’s no different in The Immortal Rules, but Allie wields it with surgical accuracy and grace with her new abilities. Kanin is an intriguing character as Allie’s creator, driven into hiding and full of secrets, he teaches Allie the ropes until his past finally catches up to them.

Allie goes through some changes in her transition from living to undead, but she manages to keep some semblance of her humanity throughout it all. She struggles with it everyday, but she uses her determination to keep a shadow of her former self as long as she can. This created an amazing internal debate throughout the story between primal need and what she feels is right. This tension is further fed by being surrounded by a dependant group of humans that creates some of the most stress inducing moments ever as she attempts to pass as human. But with her immortal life in front of her, she finds a cause worth fighting for that has a fast approaching expiry date if the rabids and vampires have anything to say about it.

The cast of secondary characters throughout the story, although minor in their parts - come together to form a complex story that in turn makes each character sear themselves into your head through their actions. This was especially true with the character of Stick - who takes the role of slimy rat to a whole new level.

The love interest/second in command of a small human group Zeke was amazing as a strong, but sensitive character in a landscape where softness can quickly get you killed; Zeke definitely turns it into a strength. The relationship that develops between Allie and Zeke is so genuine, and built on life or death moments that ends up creating a much stronger relationship than normal - which is definitely put to the test.

The Immortal Rules is packed with terrifying-run-for-your-life action, deep dark secrets, and a glimmer of hope at the end of a rabid infested tunnel. It ends on an amazing note, with a definite direction for the next book. I can’t wait to read the next one, whose title has just been released as “The Eternity Cure”. 

Rating: 5/5 Steaming HOT Cups of Tea!
Vampires, Post Apocalypse and science... it has my attention completely captured! I could definitely see this as an epic movie!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Movie Review: Mirror Mirror

Snow White Retelling Mania! Featuring: Mirror Mirror 
Released: March 30, 2012
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writers: Jason Keller, Marc Klein
Starring:
Julia Roberts as The Queen
Lily Collins as Snow White
Armie Hammer as Prince Alcott
Synopsis from IMDB: 
After the beloved King vanishes, his ruthless wife seizes control of the kingdom and keeps her beautiful 18-year-old stepdaughter, Snow White, hidden away in the palace. But when the Princess attracts the attention of a charming and wealthy visiting prince, the jealous Queen banishes the girl to a nearby forest. Taken in by a band of rebellious but kindhearted dwarfs, Snow White blossoms into a brave young woman determined to save her country from the Queen. With the support of her new friends, she roars into action to reclaim her birthright and win back her Prince in this magical adventure comedy that will capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences. 


Review: 


     So the theme these days is the retelling of fairytales, the Disney version or otherwise. This year in particular seems to be Snow White themed (ABC's Once Upon A Time, Snow White and the Huntsman *shudder* just to name a few). I hadn't really heard anything about Mirror Mirror promotion wise it wasn't huge, and when it premiered way back in March it was kind of buried under the shadow of The Hunger Games. So when I got free cheap-movie passes that were set to expire this week and out of all the options, Mirror Mirror was the best one (Battleship was the other, but I was pretty iffy about a movie based on the game...).


     I went into Mirror Mirror with pretty low expectations, I had seen previews for it and all I could recall was a blur of skirts in bright colors. The story remains fairly true to the usual script, Snow White is kept hidden away and opressed while the Queen takes center stage (she loves to spend money she doesn't have). Then there's the slew of ever helpful servants that open Snow White's eyes to the world and it makes her want to be a better person. They do add a few elements to the story, and shift things around a bit - but all in all it was a very recognizable story.


     Since this is pitched as a comedy, on that front it doesn't disappoint. The whole movie is a giant farce. It has slap-stick humor and crude jokes. Some moments are genuinely funny, and others are just so ridiculous you have to laugh. It even manages to incorporate slightly cartoonish elements like sparkles when there's "magic" or little popping hearts above heads when they're in love - it was a little weird at first. 


     I think since the writers and directors knew with the cookie cutter script, they weren't likely to win any awards for story or acting, so they threw all their pennies into visual stimulation overload. The costumes were bright and extremely elaborate, if not a little bit weird at times (A swan on the head? Really?). But I loved each and every one of them! They're so gorgeous! 




     On a side note, @PaisleyTran and I have a long standing and odd fascination with Lily Collin's eyebrows. With the dark hair and ebony skin they give her, it looks like they might've darkened and possibly over expanded her eyebrows, just to give her a hyper expressive face. Even my boyfriend noticed, and Paisley was right when she said that it's not just us if even a guy noticed, because it has to be something HUGE if a guy notices something so frivolous. 


    Eyebrows aside, Collins played the role well, it's not that difficult to play the quiet reserved girl with few lines and all you have to do is smile sweetly. But she does take the more action oriented side of her role very well, and she eventually convinced me that she's more than just a soft spoken sweet face (queue training montage here). 


     Julia Roberts was brilliant as the Queen though. She's well practiced in how to be haughty, lavish and mischievous. She even manages to deliver the snarky comedy with perfect timing and shrillness to the voice. 


     I do like how the writers/directors decided to incorporate the talking mirror, it was a very unique but effective way of letting the viewer get inside the Queen's head.  


     Prince Alcott was either the best Prince ever or the worst Prince ever, I'm a bit conflicted. On one hand he's got the privileged Prince down, the masochism, the large ego and instant attraction to Snow. Then once in awhile you get a glimpse of a half decent guy. But to me he was still a douche 90% of the time, and I really wondered how Snow could be attracted to him (I'm betting on the whole "she never really met anyone else"). 


     The dwarves/acrobats, stole the show. They MADE the movie in my opinion. They're a hilarious bad ass group, mining gold in a different kind of way, and when they're paired with Snow they become absolutely the sweetest group of guys ever! 


     The ending does diverge from the traditional story a bit - and I had waited the whole movie to wonder how they'd incorporate the apple. I could live with the ending though, it showed a more mature Snow that isn't as daft as I initially thought. Then in some weird twist of fate we get a Bollywood musical at the end complete with high pitched singing, choreographed dances and swirls of colorful skirts. I just went with it.


     Mirror Mirror is one of those guilty pleasure kind of movies. You'll probably watch it when you're really really bored and need a bizarre pick me up or you'll watch it once and go with it and then probably never watch it again. But in the end, you'll probably never speak of it to anyone because it's a shameful, shameful secret. 


Rating: 3/5 Drinkable cups of tea!
It was genuinely entertaining, I mean it's not like it has some soul shattering revelations that will change your life. You'll watch it for the laughs and the costumes and it's my first taste of how well Lily Collins acts - and how well she'll do for The Mortal Instruments movies. I think she'll do just fine, especially when they need the whole hesitant-turned kick ass heroine part. I just ask that they reign in her eyebrows a bit.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tea Time Thursday: Rooibos: Birthday Cake!!


Rooibos Tea: Birthday Cake

Ingredients: Red and green rooibos, honeybush, sprinkles, ice cream bits, natural and artificial flavoring.




Cake flavoured tea?! Who knew these things existed?! David’s Tea came out with a line of Cake themed teas which include: Carrot Cake, Ice Cream Cake, Chocolate Cake, Strawberry Shortcake and Birthday Cake. I figured I’d start with Birthday Cake.

First off, there’s real sprinkles in this tea…that’s how surreal it is! When I opened the packet, I immediately get a waft of sweetness. It reminds of a vanilla maple syrup donut - so it’s kind of cake smelling.

The first time I brewed the tea - I guess I didn’t let it steep long enough because it really didn’t get much flavour - it was like sweet water mostly. So the second time around I just left the tea in as I drank (with rooibos tea this is a common practice as rooibos doesn’t get dark and bitter).

It’s got a nice soft flavour to it that goes down smooth and with the sprinkles it has just the right amount of sweetness. This is a perfect guilty pleasure tea without all the real guilt that accompanies a big slice of cake.


Overall: 4/5 Hot cups of tea!
It’s delicious, while it doesn’t perfectly replicate a cake taste, it’s pretty close. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (7): Eve and Adam


Waiting on Wednesday (7): Eve and Adam
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine to highlight upcoming eagerly anticipated book releases
I'm waiting for:

Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant 
Expected Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
From Goodreads: 
Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, Emma Rose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she's never really questioned it. Much like how she's never stopped to think how off it is that she's never been sick. That is, until she's struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.
While recuperating in Spiker Biotech's lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he's never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn't right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.


This book just calls to the science geek in me and I smell a huge government conspiracy, so I'm hoping it really won't disappoint! 

What're you waiting for this Wednesday? Leave a link in the comments and I'll be sure to swing by! 

Also, up today (really late last night) is my Review of Soulbound by Heather Brewer if you'd like to check it out! 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Review: Soulbound (Legacy of Tril #1) by Heather Brewer


Soulbound (Legacy of Tril #1) by Heather Brewer

Author: Heather Brewer
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: ARC provided for review by Penguin Canada (Thank you!)





Book Description from Goodreads:
What’s worse than being blackmailed to attend a hidden school where you’re treated like a second-class citizen? How about nearly getting eaten by a monster when you arrive? Or learning that your soulmate was killed in a centuries-old secret war? And then there’s the evil king who’s determined to rule the world unless you can stop him…
Meet Kaya, a young woman with the power to heal and the determination to fight. But struggle as she will, she remains tied to three very different men: a hero who has forsaken glory, a tyrannical ruler who wants to use Kaya, and a warrior who’s stolen her heart. Kaya learns the hard way that some ties can’t be broken…and blood is the strongest bond of all.

Review:
Soulbound was a great mix of all things fantasy. You’ve got superhuman beings (Barrons and Healers), ferocious beasts (Graplars) and a school hidden away from it all, to teach these special students how to use their powers to fight for a mysterious cause.

The cover is perfect in giving us a glimpse into this world where the katana in its intricately forged glory is the weapon of choice in defeating Graplars. I love the attitude that comes off of the cover, and the chain mail mask hints at the importance of training masks later on.

The story follows Kaya, a Healer, and her Barron parents as they live a relatively quiet but happy life tucked away in the obscurity of a countryside village. Until one fateful day, Kaya’s carefree world comes tumbling down in a rain of blood. Kaya’s parent’s attempts to hide her from a senseless war is no longer possible when they are delivered with an ultimatum by the Zettai Council - the ruling authority of Barrons and Healers - that Kaya is to join their ranks, or else and so begins Kaya’s journey into the heart of it all where she learns just how important to the cause she truly is.

Kaya is definitely a character to be admired for her strong sense of duty, persistence, morals and overall smart ass remarks. Although at times, there’s a certain petulance to her voice when she continually mouths off to her teachers and it just serves to make her seem far younger to the reader than her 17 years. But she does have a clear head about her, she asks all the right questions (which the adults of course never give a straight answer to) and when she doesn’t get what she wants she takes matters into her own hands.

There’s two main male characters to really pay attention to in this story, and each one has his own unique role to Kaya.

A tiny aside that you need to know is that Barrons are specifically paired with Healers who each have a specific role in the battlefield. The character Trayton is Barron to Kaya’s Healer and he was so adorable from the beginning! He’s always super nice to everyone, and he just seems to radiate an air of comfort, safety and confidence - I took a liking to him immediately like Kaya did. Their relationship is a bit complicated, and it does escalate to something a bit more. What I absolutely love about their relationship is that anytime any feelings get muddled, or drama ridden - they sit down and talk it out! I applaud Brewer for this because it was so refreshing to not have to agonize and think “Ugh this could all be solved if they just sat down and TALKED!”

Now while Trayton was adorable for the most part, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s a darker side to him. He follows rules to the letter, and would die before even thinking of doing something against his teachings - even for Kaya.

Which makes way for the enigma that is Darius, an Unskilled (aka humans without super powers). He captivated my attention from the very beginning when he makes his very dramatic sword-swinging entrance. He’s such a multi-layered character with a rich backstory and secrets galore! He’s been through a lot, and it’s definitely reflected in his voice. He sounds and acts incredibly mature, despite his 17 years, and serves as a battle trainer at the academy. After we get past his hard exterior, his interactions with Kaya are among some of my favorite - they make a kick ass pair!

The world that Brewer crafts makes me think of medieval villages mixed with a Hogwarts-esque academy. The secondary characters from the snarky devoted guard/best friend, to the drama queen bee of the school and the neurotic teachers were a great support cast in the story.

Brewer takes this book to establish the mythology of this world, and the stringent roles that Barrons and Healers play. My only real complaint would probably be that we never really get an explanation for the “why” of this war, and we don’t meet the main villain yet, we just get his minions and glimpses of his influence for now. I’m expecting this to probably be rectified in the subsequent books.

The whole story starts out strong, but it ends up slowing down and lingering for a bit before driving the reader through an intense ending that’s packed with plot twists, blood spraying action and a jaw dropping event at the end that makes me want the next one right now!! 

Rating: 4/5 Hot cups of tea! 
It was an interesting read, lots of drama, action and teenagers raging against the Zettai authority. The academy aspect of this whole story really reminds of Hogwarts and wizards training - so if you're a fan of Harry Potter you may enjoy this one. 

Teaser Tuesday (6): Die for Me


Teaser Tuesday: Die for Me (Revenants #1)
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do as following: 
·Grab your current read 
·
Open to a random page 
·
Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page 
·
Be careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others.

Author: Amy Plum
Publication Date: May 10,2011
Pages: 357
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Book Description from Goodreads:
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.
When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life- and memories- behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.
Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant - an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

Teaser:
     "Well, spit on my empty grave - if it ain't the attack of the Disney princesses!" (Kindle Edition, Loc. 4449)

I haven't gotten too far into this yet, but I've heard rave reviews for this one, and I pretty much teased myself with that teaser. I'm going to have to read at a break neck speed to find out what's going on!

What's your teaser this Tuesday? Be sure to leave a link in the comments and I'll stop by!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Review: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mythology
Source: Bought it




Book Description from Goodreads:
The Hematoi descend from unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals - well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.
Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem — staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

Review:

After reading Obsidian from Armentrout’s Lux series, I figured I’d go in search of her other books to read since I enjoyed Obsidian immensely. I wasn’t really sure how well Armentrout would be able to cross from the alien genre to a more classical mythology based genre. But she definitely doesn’t disappoint!

Half-Blood is much darker, grittier and more action packed. However she still manages to illustrate her signature skills in crafting rich characters with sarcastic and sharp dialogue and weaving a complex mythology into her stories.

In the beginning of Half-Blood, the reader is immediately thrown into a tense situation with Alex (aka Alexandria). She’s fending for her life against Daimon’s after a escaping a horrific attack, while trying to make it to the safe haven of a Covenant. It really helps if you’ve read the prequel novella Daimon, but as I iterated in my review of that one - it’s not completely necessary. Armentrout gets to the bloody details soon enough.

I loved the character of Alex. She’s hilarious, doesn’t take crap from anyone, and has a bad ass attitude that’s just seeping from her pores. Although, this cockiness can sometimes be her downfall, especially with the adults in her life that try to reign in her free will, but it wasn’t anything that a few training kicks to the head couldn’t correct. She’s very much one of those girl’s that’s “one of the boys”, what with being surrounded by a gaggle of headstrong soldiers and being able to hold her own in a fight.

Aiden the love interest that’s ever present in Alex’s mind is amazing as a stern but effective instructor while having this absolutely adorable side to him. He cares much more than he lets on, and he was surprisingly really passionate…which lead to some really steamy scenes between him and Alex (which so happens to be another specialty of Armentrout’s).

I found that Aiden was slightly overshadowed by the other male secondary characters like Caleb the ever dependable best friend, Kain the more aloof Sentinel friend of Aiden and insanely powerful riddle that is Seth. I mean, sure I felt for Aiden, but I was emotionally stressed at points for Caleb and Kain, and I really wondered (and still do wonder) where Armentrout will take us with Seth.

Armentrout was surprising in her portrayal of the Daimon’s. It was terrifying reading the visceral feeding descriptions and the flickering images between their ghoulish and beautiful guises.

The atmosphere that Armentrout creates is one that’s filled with tense political situations where one improper move can cost Alex everything that she’s managed to salvage back together. But there’s something much bigger and darker at play that comes as a complete curve ball to the reader. While Armentrout gives us a sample of the escalating tension between Daimons and Hematoi, it’s the taste of Alex’s possible future that really piqued my attention after some huge secrets are revealed and Alex faces some serious moral dilemmas. 

Rating: 5/5 Steaming HOT Cups of tea! 
Armentrout doesn't disappoint yet again! She combines humor, love interests with heart pounding action, political intrigue, heart wrenching decisions and a destiny that's greater than anything Alex ever imagined.
I'm so glad that I still have Pure (Covenant #2) to read still so that I can find out what's up next for Alex before Deity (Covenant #3) comes out this fall.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Review: Daimon (Covenant #0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Daimon (Covenant #0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 62
Genre: YA, Mythology, Fantasy
Source: Free Here 

Book Description from Goodreads:
For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals - pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she’d been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she’s pretty much accepted that she’s a freak by mortal standards… and that she’ll never be prepared for that duty.
According to her mother, that’s a good thing.
But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return - the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she’s being hunted by the very creatures she’d once trained to kill.
The daimons have found her.

Review:
I was just a few pages into Half-Blood when I remembered that there was this short novella prequel, then I figured I should go back and start with this one. While it’s not completely necessary to start at this one because Armentrout pretty much covers the same events that happens here in Half-Blood, I do feel that it further enhanced my reading experience of Half-Blood. Plus it was free and short, so really I didn’t have anything to lose.

The covers of this series in particular are so gorgeous, with different flowers in bright colors and shrouded in elemental fire.

In this little novella we’re introduced to the heroine of the Covenant Series: Alexandria Andros. It begins with a flashback to her childhood in The Covenant where she reminisces about her life there. It’s intermingled with flashes to the present where in her attempts to blend in with her peers by dating and partying has some pretty scary but kick ass consequences.

Alexandria is such a strong headed and strong willed character, these are both valuable characteristics and at times her downfall. We get a taste of what training she has retained over the years and how deadly she can still be - even if only by mortal standards.

I love that we actually get to see and hear her mother in this little story. It definitely strengthens the plot of Half-Blood when we get to experience the eccentricities of her mom first hand.

The whole novella definitely gives us a quicker run down of the history of Hematoi and Daimons in a helpful and concise form so that we understand how strict or terrifying these creatures are. It also gives us a first hand account of the horrors that Alex has to face first-hand in order to survive being hunted by Daimons.

Armentrout’s signature humor is still present in this little novella, even if it’s just in small quantities. This story is mostly just to put the stilts of the story down for Armentrout to fully build the house up later on. I definitely recommend reading this one first though, you’ll feel a little less lost in Half-Blood if you do. 
Rating: 5/5 Steaming HOT cups of tea! 
I mean for a 64 page little novella, I can't really find much fault in it, it does what it's supposed to do and that's giving you a great intro into the Covenant series while fulfilling a JLA addiction.


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Stacking the Shelves (3)



Okay, so I'm having a terrible time resisting buying books... But at least I've spread it out over a few weeks in this attempt! 
 


I bought: 
For Review:


  • Soulbound by Heather Brewer <- Thank you Penguin Canada! 
  • The Dark Man's Son by Meg Whitlock <- Thank's to the author, also I love this cover!
  • The Ultimate Inferior Beings by Mark Roman <- On top of this guy being an awesome published scientist, he's hilarious. 
  • Larby Lodge by Gail and Paul Gallacher <- Thanks to this awesome writing pair!
What'd you guys get this week? Leave a link in the comments and I'll be sure to stop by! 
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