Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Here: review and a Cover Reveal + Giveaway!

(COVER REVEAL FOR BOOK 2 BELOW. :))

Title: Here (On the Other Side #1)
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Genres: contemporary high school/sci-fi otherworldliness
Rating: 3.6 stars
Source: e-book from the author for an honest review
Summary: Sixteen year old Julia Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend Monica in a car accident. Julia awoke in the hospital with a broken leg, a new talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies and Monica lives. The doctors attribute this to her head injury, but no one can explain how a bracelet engraved with her name ended up at the scene of the accident. A bracelet no one has ever seen before.

Classmate Evan Whittaker paid Julia no attention before the accident, let alone after. Now suddenly he’s volunteering to tutor her and offering to drive her home. She can't ignore that his new obsession started after his two-day disappearance last week and that he wears a pendant she’s been drawing for months. When the police show up one night looking for Evan, he begs Julia to run with him, convincing her that Monica is still alive. Julia agrees to go, never guessing where he’s really from.


   There's two distinct parts to here. The first half I didn't like: pretty much contemporary and the first real interaction I see of Julia is her freaking out over the "popular guy" looking at her. That didn't help me get to like her. Also, she's in a huge slump (which is understandable) but I found myself kind of depressing reading about how depressed she was, and how she wasn't trying to do anything about it. So where the beginning didn't at all grab my attention, I had heard and read there was something completely different about the other half so...

   The second, I really liked. Here comes the otherness cool stuff. She gets transported to...well another place. There's futuristic techy gadgets, strange customs of the familiar people, and side effects...how's that for mysterious? I feel I shouldn't say much, cause if you haven't guessed it by halfway through the book then it's a pretty awesome surprise.

   Most of the events and mysteries in the first half I actually predicted easily. From the first page I could tell what would end up happening (who Evan is and all these subtle foreshadowing hints related to the prologue), but I will admit toward the end of the book, the plot took so many frantic turns that it was easy to let myself stop analyzing and go with the flow, not guessing.

   This story is hugely character driven, which is absolutely great for the development of Julia, but for the second half, I only got glimpses and mentions of this alternate world. I wanted more of that, but that's a personal preference, not necessarily what Here is supposed to focus on. Understandable.

   As for Julia's romance. First of all, I don't like a love triangle to become very established in the first of a series. That's immediately off-putting to me. Second, it's pretty instalove in a high-schoolish manner. Redeemably, the whole instalove thing is explained in the second half. Even Julia almost admits sometime that it's a bit odd for Evan and Reece to suddenly like her. (Doesn't stop her from gladly taking attention from both.)

   It might look like I'm complaining about pretty much everything in here (haha) but I really enjoyed the story and everything not complained-about, I did like. And even though it's in the YA category, I think it could be one of those tween books easily; the romance it very PG and there isn't any outstanding violence.

Cover Love? Absolutely. This cover rocks and really relates to the story. She's standing on her reflection! And the color tones are all purpley creepo.

_________________________________________________________________________________

And I'm happy to be a part of the cover reveal for the second book, There:

Warning: The blurb for Book Two has spoilers for those who haven't read Here so read no further if you want to avoid those spoilers! 


There's RELEASE DATE: December 24, 2012    




Summary (same as the back cover ^^): Julia Phillips’ world is an alternate universe away.
Trapped in a land where government leaders want her dead, Julia is forced to run for her life with Evan and Reece, the two boys who brought her here. They’re on their own in a hostile landscape ruled by scavengers and thieves.
But Evan is battling a deadly infection, and Julia finds herself racing against time as she tries to find the
medicine that will save his life. She and Reece find an unlikely ally—Jo, a girl they free after finding her captured in a bandits’ hideout.
As the four travel across the country, Julia has something else to worry about—her memories are slowly being replaced by the Julia of Evan and Reece’s world. Will they find a way to send Julia home before it’s too late? Or will Julia’s body and mind be trapped THERE? 

                                                      
                                                          Here!
There!
   




Click below to buy Here! The ebook will be on sale for $.99 on Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Smashwords until Friday, November 30th! Don't miss out. :)   





Don't forget to enter the Here giveaway on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/38434-here


 And: 



About the author:


Denise Grover Swank lives in Lee's Summit, Missouri. She writes urban fantasies without vampires and werewolves. She also writes romantic comedy mysteries set in the south. Denise has six children, three dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in her kitchen with her children, reading or writing her next book. You will rarely find her cleaning.


Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook    

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Obsidian: review

Title: Obsidian (Lux #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genres: sci-fi ya, hot guys
Rating: five stars!!!
Source: library
Summary: Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is.

   I got so enraptured with Obsidian from page one that I forgot to take notes. Any. Nada. Nothing. Which sucks now, because ahead is pretty much just me fangirling. I apologize in advance.

   This book is *everywhere* on the Internet. Goodreads. Blogs. I've been seeing it around since it came out. But stupid me, I took one look at the cover, and figured it was some weird adult fantasy twisted thing. Last week I happened to read the actual synopsis...yeah, a second later I was on the library site, putting it on hold. But really, you can't blame me. I've never seen it at my indie bookstore, so how was I supposed to know it was YA? Now I'm recommending it to everyone I know.

   I've decided this is my new favorite paranormalish series since City of Bones. I tentatively say It's a mix of I Am Number Four and Twilight. And this is SO much better than both. You can love both stories, or not like them. It's the best combo and she really knows her audience. (I really despise using comparisons against Twilight. But it's like the basis for all things paranormal now, and I couldn't help but think of it.) Oh, actually maybe a better comparison would be Vampire Diaries? Nah, there isn't a love triangle yet at least. It's your average paranormal but like awesomer. And intense. Really intense.

   The writing reads like a fan fiction. A GOOD fan fic; the one you find in all those thousands of browsing that makes you go "this should be published." I think it's an easy read, because I literally could not stop reading it, and finished in one sitting broken up between meals. (Hey, it was Thanksgiving, I couldn't get out of it.) I was in great need of a book I could lose myself in, that didn't require much thinking, and I got it.

   There is serious chemistry between Katy and Daemon. They have the ultimate hate-hate relationship and the air just hurts with the tension. Of all kinds. And by the end of the book? It's not even boring and they still don't like each other. Which means in book two it will still be all crackly atmosphere. Bring it on! Their bantering was exhausting at times, but completely natural and made me squeal and laugh at the same time. See? Fangirling. Warned you.

   Great world building--er species building? The mythology? It's everyday life not a dystopian world, but with this awesome paranormal/sci-fi aspect to her small creepy town. What Daemon and his sister are... It's incredibly unique, with the lightning and supercool powers. I couldn't get enough. And the bad guys are great. Realistic intriguing backstory for everything Daemon explained and I hope I learn more about the Luxen in Onyx because they sound like an interesting species.

   Also, I cam relate to Katy in some way because she is a book blogger! That's a first. I resisted jumping for joy upon learning that, but a grin set in nonetheless. Which lasted the whole story. Her hobby is so modern, and really sets the story to be: "well, that could be me. I read stories every day like she does, and she manages to get an out-of-this-world life!"

   Dee, Daemon's sister, also deserves a mention. She wasn't what I first expected, as the usual "sister-friend" and then becomes a witch with a B. Dee broke that stereotype and became the big sister I never had. Katy and her are fast friends, and her attitude is so shiny, it's hard not to become happy around her.

   There are so many funny quotes that I couldn't even begin to share them. I would have had to bookmark every single page. And libraries don't appreciate that very much, I've learned. So just trust me you'll be smiling the whole time at the witty dialogue.

   Now right after I finish this sentence I have to go request the second one, Onyx from the library. There are perks to getting to a series way behind everyone else!!!

   WHAT. This is torture. There are six people ahead of me at the library till I can get my hands on the next chapter of Katy and Daemon. And since my bookstore doesn't actually sell any of Armentrout's books (despite my subtle insistence) I have to wait impatiently. Patiently. I can do this.

   Anything else I have to say....? Nothing's coming to mind. I guess only: If you're part of the minority who hasn't gotten their hands and heart into Obsidian yet, well, you have to mend that immediately. It's one of my favorite reads this year!

-Jane

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Beginning Friday 11-23-12

Sorry I've been off the radar, you know how the holidays go. Also, I've been a little bored with the normal weekly memes I participate in, so after much google searching, I found a new one I'll try out. Haven't seen it around too much, but it fit the book I'm reading right now, so here we go!

This meme is hosted by Rose City Reader, and it's sharing the first sentence of the book you're reading now, and your thoughts about it. :)

I just started Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout yesterday. (You know the one.) And I often do judge books by their first sentence. This one wasn't bad:

I started at the pile of boxes in my bedroom, wishing the Internet had been hooked up.

Made me think, what makes her attached to the internet? And second, that I would be thinking the same thing. Dude, I live on the internet, just as much as my books. Hello, Netflix requires internet connection! As does this blog. And also, you see she's moving from somewhere. *intrigued*

Not bad, compared to some! 

But the real good first sentence is the one for Chapter 3: I just have to share it because it made me laugh:

The day my Internet was hooked up was better than having a hot guy check out my butt and ask for my phone number.

Hehe. I can relate to this girl, Katy. 

Anyone else participating in the meme this week? :)

-Jane

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rise: review

Title: Rise (Eve #3)
Author: Anna Carey
Genres: dystopian, adventure
Rating: 3.8 stars (good read!)
Summary: The fate of The New America rests with Eve in this stunning finale to the Eve trilogy.

Eve is trapped in the City of Sand, married to a man of her father’s choosing, but she can’t forget her love for Caleb—or her passion for the rebel cause. When rebel armies invade the city, Eve uses her position as princess for the ultimate act of rebellion—to kill her father, the king. Then tragedy strikes, and Eve must choose who to leave behind, who to save, and who to fight in this final battle for freedom.


(There will be spoilers from the first two books, since this is the third in the trilogy! So read no further if you have yet to read Eve or Once.)


Another series ended! I seem to be completing a lot of series lately. Kind of a relief, so I have the time to get addicted to another one, but I'll miss looking forward to what's coming next in Eve's adventures.

What sets this apart from other dystopian series out there right now, is the age of the world. Eve's new world is only about 12 years after the "apocalypse" which happens to be a plague. She still remembers her mother dying in it, but it's a fuzzy memory. Since it's so recent, lots of the surviving adults still know of old technologies and words, so in my opinion, this leaves less room for world building and cool futuristic lingo, but there's still places like Califa and Marin to keep things interesting.

Eve is a character I've never really liked. Honestly she's grown up a TON since the beginning of the first book. She can't really help it, being stuck in a 'school' for most of her life, being fed lies. So I excuse her for her naivety most of the time. And since she became a big part of the rebellion in Once I've gotten to like her more. It's hard not to put all the spoilers I'm thinking in here, but in Rise she does something that I honestly didn't think she had the guts to do after all this time! After that I felt pretty proud of her, and I think you will too!

I kind of missed Caleb, and actually forgot he died in the previous book...it had been a while...but his absense isn't a gaping hole, and though Eve misses him terribly, the hole is filled with everything else going on, like her looking for her School friends and helping save the rebels, so I'm not complaining too much about the love-interest's death. (Still annoyed a little.)

Rise is a quick, energetic, and an easy one-sitting read. The action starts in the first chapter, and Anna Carey really doesn't waste time getting to the rebellion uprising that's been building for the past two books. I'm glad she did that, but a few chapters in took that action I looked forward to, in a way different turn than I expected. It's a topic I'm iffy on in YA genres to begin with...but I'm still deciding how I feel about it. I know, mysterious and annoying, right? But it's revealed right in the beginning, so you don't have long to wait. Anyway, that led into other happy and sad events that surprised me at every corner. Wasn't sure what to expect, really, because last books are always different.

Speaking of the ending...the climax sort of snuck up on me, and played out well. BUT. The last page, paragraph, sentence sort of annoyed me. I don't like very abrupt endings for books or series, and I'm so glad it wasn't a cliffy for a next book (like in Pandemonium??), because I definitely would have screamed. In annoyance or elation? Probably both. let's say I was crossing my fingers the entire book, and everything finally happened, just in an unusual way.

All in all, this trilogy ended with a literal bang, and I am glad I accompanied Eve from the very beginning, to her...happy ending? Well, you'll find out!

-Jane

Anti-cover-love note: I do love the covers for all three books. However, the thing that bugs me is that Eve doesn't have red hair! And it's so prominently shown in all the covers. So I always pictured her with it, even though hers is really dark brown.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'll be gone this weekend..


Hey guys, I'll be walking in the San Diego 3-Day this weekend, so no more posts till Monday! I didn't have any time to line any up, sorry. I'll be walking with my mom, who's a survivor for four years now, and I'm really excited! San Diego is a pretty huge one, so look for us on the news! ;)

As far as books go, I only have room for one in my duffel...so I got Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout from the library; I've heard great things about it! Right? It's apparently awesome. Anyway, I'll try to make it last the whole three days.

Have a nice weekend!!!

-Jane

(60 miles...I can do this!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Confessions of a Murder Suspect: review

Title: Confessions of a Murder Suspect
Author: James Patterson
Genres: mystery, suspense
Rating: 4 stars
Source: library
Summary: On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone--maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?




   When I picked this up from the library, I immediately went to Goodreads to see people's reviews...I don't usually do that, but I was on the fence about reading this, having only put it on hold upon reading about it in at the end of Nevermore.

   I do not recommend doing that. The reviews range from "absolutely amazing!" to "what the hell did I just waste my time reading?" so it did not help me decide if I wanted to read it, whatsoever. So I just started it with an open mind, not sure what to expect. My opinions are somewhat in the middle, so I'll try to say a bit on both sides.

   First of all, it's WEIRD. Yes, caps weird. That's really the only word I can say that makes sense. And once you start reading the confusing story, you'll get exactly what I mean. Otherwise it's hard to explain.

   Tandy and her siblings, the Angels, (who are so ironically named) remind me a lot of....you guessed it, Max and her gang! Unnaturally enhanced (well, it's not that much of a spoiler, it's pretty obvious these kids are something more.) and working together against the evil "adults", there's nothing new there, but I do like that point of view.

   I really liked the setting, a classic impossible murder in the famous Dakota building, NYC. Their apartment is described as really awesome, from bioluminescent-sharks in a tank for a coffee table, and some disturbing lifelike (seriously lifelike) statues literally hanging around. The way the kids, Tandy, tells you about each feature of their home, you can tell they don't realize how out of the norm their situation is.

   Tandy has some (okay a lot) of suppressed memories, which makes her story so confusing. She's confiding in the reader, but not really sure of half the things she says. Memories have been taken from her and I'd like to see that theory expanded and explained as the series progresses; this may be the "series arc" I'm looking for. So they're equally interesting and annoying, these gaps.

   Even though I'm a fan of James Patterson's books, I really despise his writing style...it reads like a fan fiction to me, something not quite completed, fast paced, shallow...not quality, just something to lose yourself in. But he (and whoever he co-authors with) sure does have a way of pulling you into an interesting plot. And that's what gets me, why I couldn't really put it down.

   About the ending, when the climax comes, and the murder may or may not have been solved...well I'm sad to say I guessed it. It didn't make reading the book any less enjoyable, I just had an idea of what happened to Tandy's parents, and I was right. There are possible subtle clues now and then, but you're really not given enough information from Tandy herself to actually piece together

So I guess this is the first book in the "Teen Mystery Series" but it's a weird introduction to a series. Tandy wants to become a detective someday, so I guess these will be her adventures? I'm interested to see what comes next.

Jane

If you like James Patterson's books, or Confessions of a Murder Suspect, I recommend the Virals series by Kathy Reichs. It reads the same way, and Reichs is an equally prolific writer. They're fast paced adventure books set in everyday contemporary life, but have just a touch of something else, scientific and unexplainable.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 11-14-12


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme/event/blog hop hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine, so be sure to check back there for more blogs participating each week. :) It allows us to spotlight, or drool over an up-coming release we really can't wait to get our hands on.


I LOVED the first, Illuminate. It's an angel book slash Picture of Dorian Gray retelling. It's awesome, and my review of that book is here

Now, honestly I'm not a big fan of this cover...at all. But I'm really looking forward to the book itself! It comes out March 5th 2013 according to Goodreads. Still a ways away, but plenty of time to catch up and read the first, if you haven't already!

Infatuate is the second in the Guilded Wings trilogy by Aimee Agresti. Here's the summary, but it does have spoilers from the first book!!!

Haven Terra is still recovering from an internship that brought her literally to the brink of hell when a trip to New Orleans leads to more trouble. Graduating early from high school leaves the spring semester free, so Haven and her friends Dante and Lance head to the Big Easy to volunteer with community service projects. But their true mission becomes clear when they run across an enclave of devils known as the Krewe. New Orleans is a free-for-all for these shape-shifting devils, who are more reckless and vicious than any Haven, Lance, and Dante have encountered. And they soon discover their French Quarter housemates are also angels-in-training, and together they must face off with the Krewe in their quest for wings. But Haven’s resolve is tested when Lucian, the repentant devil with whom she was infatuated, resurfaces and asks her for help escaping the underworld. Can he be trusted? Or will aiding him cost Haven her angel wings—and her life? Thrilling, romantic, and full of surprises, this gripping sequel to Illuminate takes the battle of good and evil to the next level.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave your links below!

Jane

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Guest Post: Dr. Lesley's The Midas Tree


To Sleep Perchance to Dream

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…

These words of William Shakespeare come from the play Hamlet.

How many people have suffered to the extent that they wonder if they would be better off either asleep or “not to be” here at all?

Yes life in the real world can be tough at times. I remember one whole year at school where I preferred to be asleep than awake because I had a teacher who I believed did not like me and made my life a misery.

There was always a right and wrong way to do things and not matter how carefully I listened to and followed her instructions, I always seemed to end up having done it “the wrong way.”

Things seemed so much better when I was in the world of dreams

If I was dreaming then I could be in an amazing world of color and light and adventure, far from my waking reality of being a shy and nervous nine year old, ill equipped to stand up to the likes of the stern and haughty Miss Vaughn.

I could commune with the angels, ride with the unicorns and cavort with the fairies. My dream life at the time was vivid and wonderful. In fact I created an entire family of loving individuals who surrounded me and played with me each and every night, until I no longer was in Miss Vaughn’s class.

Dreams can Become Reality

I moved up a grade and was now taught by Miss Atkinson. She was really lovely and I especially liked it when we did art. In Miss Atkinson’s art class I could paint my dreams onto canvas and revel at the sight of the most beautiful and colorful creations.

Miss Atkinson would always be very complimentary. She validated my sense of color and adventure and my unique way of creating. There was no right or wrong way for Miss Atkinson. For her it was all about being expressive and being true to your own individuality.

I loved going to school when I was in Miss Atkinson’s class!


The Influence of Others on Our Creativity
It’s interesting how much impact adults can have on us as children. They can make or break our souls in two if we let them. As a kid I was very influenced by the adults around me and I always wanted to please them first.

I did this to such an extent that I actually ended up not knowing my own mind or my own wants and needs for many years. I was a people pleaser and I used my energy to try and keep others happy.

So no doubt my creative expression was focused like it was in Miss Vaughn’s class on doing it “right” not displeasing people. Luckily as an adult I found a way out of my dilemma.

Meditation Helps Us Validate Uniqueness

I learned to meditate and through meditation was able to deprogram all of those early influences that set my reality away. I peeled back the layers of judgment and criticism from others and saw that it had more to do with their own feelings of inadequacy than any inadequacies inside me.

Meditation changed my life. Through clearing myself I was able to fly free again, like the dreamer I once was, but now I am able to dream while I am awake!

Finally I am able to validate my uniqueness and my creativity.

The Midas Tree is my Way of Sharing What I Learned

I wrote my book “The Midas Tree” to share what I have learned with the world. The hero Joshua is like each and every one of us. He has struggles of his ego and he encounters difficult people. He has emotional outbursts and is all at sea, until he learns that the answers are inside him self.

After being guided to chase a golden acorn he discovers in a stream, Joshua discovers a door at the base of a tree; and enters a new life of adventure inside a tree. This spellbinding story overflows with challenges, magical creatures and mystical superpowers, which you too will discover within yourself along the way.  

The Midas Tree has many teachings. It is an adventure story, a guidebook for personal spiritual unfolding and even includes lessons about biology and nature.  

The Midas Tree is a book of light that offers techniques that can help all people cope when they are going through difficult times in their lives; as well as illuminating the path to personal enlightenment in a fun and entertaining way.


Dr. Lesley Phillips is a speaker, author, workshop leader, spiritual and meditation teacher based in Vancouver BC, Canada. Her book “The Midas Tree,” a spiritual adventure story for children of all ages is available on Amazon as a paperback or e-book. She can be reached at:-
Twitter: @DrLesleyP

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lorien Legacies, The Lost Files: mini-review

The Lost Files, aka Fallen Legacies. It actually goes by like three different names so it's kinda confusing.

Author: Pittacus Lore
Source: library
Rating: 4 stars

Summary: backstories to Six's and Nine's legacy development. and the first three Garde's demise.

Three parts to this collection of in-between stories!

Six: Alright, we see Six's less badass side in here, her training, moving around a lot and most importantly, losing Katarina. Glad i read this little history. It gave me more of an appreciation to why she acts the way she does.

Nine: so Nine's pretty cool when I met him in The Rise of Nine but he's completely different in here. I had no idea he had a totally different backstory, never would have guessed it. Kinda similar to Six's but different in a few key points, involving his CĂȘpan.

Part Three: Aha, so this is what I did not expect. I expected to see the perspectives of the first three fallen Garde, not the POV of one of the teenage MOGS! That was super cool! I actually enjoyed it a whole bunch. One was sort of haunting the poor kid, and it really gave me some insight to some of the Mogs's customs and how they train, etc.

So there's my mini review. I recommend checking this out from the library, or downloading the ebooks separately. At the very least, the last one. They're great additions to the series!

Jane

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Laini Taylor Giveaway!! (US)

I met Laini Taylor at Changing Hands Bookstore yesterday evening! My hair happened to be pink as well, so we matched! She was super nice and a pleasure to meet..and also signed some swag for you guys! My review of Days of Blood and Starlight will be up soon, I'm so excited to get my hands on it. All shiny-new with that wonderful smell...

All right, here's what's up for grabs:

1 winner will recieve signed and dated ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and swag pack, and there will be five other winners that will receive a signed "Exclusive Extended Preview" for Days of Blood and Starlight. (Pretty spiffy!)




So as usual, enter the Rafflecopter below and good luck! US only this time, sorry guys!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Other Side of Dawn: review

Title: The Other Side of Dawn (Tomorrow #7)
Author: John Marsden
Genres: war fiction, adventure, adrenaline
Rating: 5 stars!
Source: library
Summary: At last, the final episode of the gripping Tomorrow series by wildly popular Aussie author John Marsden has crossed the Pacific, and this concluding chapter in the lives of Ellie, Fi, Homer, Kevin, and Lee may be the most exciting one yet. Informed by Colonel Finley that the military is making a move that could be compared to the D-day attack of WWII, the outback teen guerillas know that the end of the bewildering war that changed their lives is drawing near. Armed with plastic explosives and grenades, courtesy of the New Zealand Army, they have been instructed to "spread chaos and confusion behind their (enemy) lines in every way, shape and form." For Ellie and company, this means targeting a hostile refueling station and train tracks. Of course, nothing is ever easy. There are still the feral kids to worry about and the dismal discovery that soldiers have infiltrated Hell, their only secured hiding place in the bush. As The Other Side of Dawn rockets at breakneck speed towards its stunning climax, only one thing is certain: there is no guarantee that any of them will make it through this last conflict alive.

  This is a first...I've read this entire seven-book series all in one year. It's the longest series I've stuck to, besides Max Ride and Harry Potter. And it's just as worthy and awesome! I wish it didn't have to end.

   These books have been a great cure to "so many books, what should I pick up for a relaxing read in between?" Now that may sound weird considering these are war books and not a bit relaxing, but over the past year, I've become so attached to Ellie and her friends, reading the next one was like a comfortable visit to see them all.

   Now, I haven't written reviews on every single book. But I did review the first book on here, at the beginning of this blog. And to this day, it's the most viewed review I've ever written. I really wish this series'd get more publicity here in the States, but I know you guys in Aussie appreciate it's greatness. ;)

   So there's a few spoilers mentioned ahead from the previous six books...I mean, it's kind of hard not to include some accidentally. But I'll try my best, and also not include any from this one...even though it's realllly hard not too. Lots of my opinions have to do with major events that would spoil for the not-yet-readers.

   I'm a normally peaceful person...pacifist. War books are a turn off for me. Not this series though. And I think the reason I love them so much, is because of the intense psychology involved. None of it is exaggerated to sound cooler, people die. A lot. Friends change, relationships are extremely unstable and this is war, and it sucks

   Expanding on the relationships. For the first three books, romantic relationships were very present. But as the story moved along, there was less time for that, and more time to figure out if your friends could hold your back in a shootout. I liked that, and the romances in here I never really liked in the first place. Well, except Homer and Fi. They were awkwardly sweet for a while.

   Ellie's not one of my favorite protagonists. Lots of decisions she makes, and things she does I did not agree with and I got mad at her sometimes. I think that's because if I were in her shoes, I wouldn't be able to handle anything at all, just end up like Kevin did with a nervous breakdown and hinder my friends for two books worth of adventures. So I admire for her strength of what had to be done, but it makes me sad to think she's my age and had to kill so many people.

   Homer, to the very end, remained my favorite character. He always says the wrong thing, but that keeps things just a little bit brighter sometimes and I could tell he cared so much about his friends. Fi went through the most character development throughout the year-and-a-half-long war; from a girly city girl afraid to misplace her make-up bag, to a loyal best friend of Ellie's and not afraid to blow stuff up. She actually enjoyed it a lot more than she should have.

   The ending...epilogue...man, I was kind of a mess. There is obviously no happily ever after; that would just be inconsistent and stupid. But it's realistic, and scary because of that. Marsden did an excellent job at tying everything up, especially some ends that had been loose for a few books. Ellie's troubles are not over, and she has a hard time ahead of her still...and that's pretty much all I can say without even hinting at how the book ends. Throughout the entire book I had no idea how it would all end up, so I want to keep that feeling for you guys too. Just know I got chills a few times, and cried a bit.

   I could go on and on with every detail in the entire series, but this is too long already, and I'll just let you get to reading the book, or series, if you haven't started already.

   The movie for Tomorrow, When the War Began just appeared on my Netflix the other day. So after screaming in excitement, I watched it. And it was perfect!!! Totally good job, especially the casting! I recommend seeing it whether you've read the book(s) or not! Can't wait for the second one.

   From some Goodreads browsing I found, to my delight, a follow-up series! The Ellie Chronicles! I'm very interested to read those, and I hope my library has them...BUT don't even look at the page unless you want entire series spoilers like I did a few months ago. Not on purpose. *headdesk* You've been warned.

   Alright, now I need another long series to get addicted to! Anyone? :)

Peace out!
Jane

Monday, November 5, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone: review

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (" " #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Genres: modern mythology, magic, angels, blue hair
Rating: 5 stars!!
Source: bought hardback at CHB.
Summary: Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


I'm using the UK cover, because I think it's equally great and deserves some looking-at.

(If you want to skip my review, below it there's some cool info that might interest some of you...)

   Some of you may remember the "Stopped Short Sunday" post I did a while back on this book...yeah, so I did start it again! And almost a year to the day, in between--not on purpose. And now I'm sort of glad for the delay, because the second, Days of Blood and Starlight comes out this Tuesday!! Baha, now no waiting for a year to see what happens after that rather awful cliffy!

   Just a warning, I'm afraid this review won't be too intelligent sounding, because that kind of happens when I really like a book. It all just gushes out and the main message is: YOU GOTTA READ IT. :)

   All right, all right, I did let my prejudices get in the way of this "angel" book...because I really don't like angel books. Like at all. Besides two. NOW three. It was hard at first, because there is nothing to hint at the book's angelic nature until about page 203. That's where I had put it down. I really hate putting down books when I'm that far into it. Anyway, I am past that now. The reason I liked this angel book was because it was more of the mythology of the Seraphin (I think that's spelled right? No?) like how City of Bones works it, than the usual God influence and backstory. So there, maybe if you're like me, you'll give it another shot now that you know that.

   The first half of the book, and the second half, are so very different and awesome in their own way. I had no idea this story would turn out where it did. Where at first much of the story is seeing where Karou lives, her borderline strange life; wishes and teeth, art class, and oh look, an angel falling from the sky! Second part consists of mostly history of Akiva (the beautiful angel dude falling from the sky) and...someone else. I'll leave it at that. It's mostly back-flashes. Both parts are equally interesting.

   The plot of this book is underscored by a war going on between the chimera and the seraph. That means sides of course, but the way it's written, you really see both perspectives so that gives you, as the reader, some really unbiased views. I loved that,

   Her writing is soo beautiful to read, I just wanted to bookmark passages to go back to read over and over and over. My favorite one is that first long bit of dialogue Akiva says to Karou on page...210 (hardback) I believe. It's like swoonable and from pretty much that point on, I was hooked and couldn't really put it down. Also, the bridge scene...!!! *clutches heart*

   Magic, magic I am a big fan of magic/mythology all that stuff. There are so many mythological creatures and stories, and customs...you get the idea. Very well thought out and executed, original in it's own unique way!!

   The one thing I'll almost complain about...but won't quite because the second half of the book gives some explanation...is the insta-love romance. If there's a dealbreaker in whether I'll read a book, it's that factor. But even though there's a little bit of that going on like instantly, I'll vouch for this being the only insta-relationship I absolutely adore. Just trust me and don't judge the characters too quickly (like I originally did) when you see it happening.

   The vocabulary is intelligent, and it impressed me that as a word-nerd I actually had to look a few pretty  sounding words up (about a dozen). Major kudos, because that doesn't happen too often. I haven't read anything else by Laini Taylor, so I now want to see how this compares to her other work.

   Unusual settings always capture my interest, and this one is in Prague. Yes, the Czech Republic. Now I haven't actually been there, but my dad has, so remembering his pictures, and reading the wonderful descriptions in here, made the world very three-dimensional to me.

   I really should shut up now, if you're even reading this far. Okay, review done! News below.

   This next Friday, the 9th, if you're in Phoenix at all, don't miss Laini Taylor at Changing Hands Bookstore for a talk and signing! 7pm people, you can't miss it. I will actually be volunteering at the event, so I get to talk to her and everything. ;) (maybe you'll see me, too...)

   The ever-difficult question: do I get my ARC signed, or the hardback to match the new second-book-hardback that I just have to buy?? So I'll most likely get my ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone signed, (not personalized) and crossing some fingers for swag, and boom, keep an eye out for that giveaway.

   I sure wish these reviews could count as part of my daily NaNo word count...

-Jane


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Upcoming in November



Just wanted to give you guys a heads up on a couple things!

First, November means one thing to me, NaNoWriMo!!! Which incidentally means less reading and more writing...yayy...This will be my fourth year participating and I'm still working on that same novel!

Also! Last week I went to a signing at Changing Hands Bookstore and met a few awesome authors as a part of the Finale tour. Two of those include Tonya Hurley, who's new book is The Blessed; and Becca Fitzpatrick, author of the Hush, Hush series. From the event, I gathered some pretty awesome signed swag, so when I actually read their books (got them from the library yesterday I promise!) I shall post my reviews with the giveaways! Believe me, there is a special surprise. Hopefully it will make up for the slight lacking in posts this month.

As for feedback...a friend of mine is working on designing a new theme to my blog, so look out for that sometime soon. I read everybody's comments on the 100th Post Giveaway and am doing my best. As for wanting more giveaways, I do the best I can as a student on a minimum wage part-time job. I try to participate in as many as I can. 

Best wishes to those of you on the east coast; times like these make me appreciate the desert I live in, more, but some good news to share! My friend who's currently going to Yale, started this Facebook page and 'fundraiser' while huddling inside from the storm with some friends. Shirts for Sandy (Facebook). 100% of the proceeds go to the relief efforts! My friend is an artist, and designed the t-shirts herself, so supporting this cause is all over good. :) The site is here: http://www.shirtsforsandy.com

On a cinematic related note, I'm recently obsessed with Buffy. I've seen every other Whedon creation and call myself a diehard fan/borderline obsessed, but I'm only in the second season. (I know, I know, I'm a latecomer.) Let me just say that it ROCKS? And thanks to Netflix, I can spend wayy too much time than's good for me watching episode after episode...and not reading. *guilty* So I'm making an effort to lay off it for a bit, to balance out my reading time. ;) 

Ah! I better turn off my internet and start writing now.


As always, stay shiny! Oh and don't eat too much candy from last night.

-Jane