Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week's pick still has a long wait...

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life. (summary from author's website)

I've only just been seeing this one pop up here and there and it sounds so different and intriguing! Plus that cover! Gorgeous!

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows is due for release 31 January 2012!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (7)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the 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 SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

"She was not aware of the fact that she was running towards him, but she could hear the voices of the three sobbing sisters rise into a keening wail, could see them standing behind the tall, dark boy she knew was Lucas, and the smaller, brown-haired boy next to him. The sisters were tearing at their hair until it came out of their scalps in bloody hanks." p. 46

Insta-hate instead of insta-love! Woot! Seriously, I am having trouble putting this book down it is SO good!

What's your teaser this week?

Monday, June 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Late again! I really must schedule my IMMs - Sunday's are family day here and I just never seem to find the time to post on the day!

Well, this week the last of my Book Depository order arrived! So this'll be the last big one for a long while! And I won books! Yay! My first time winning!

Bought:

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Possession by Elana Johnson
Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Faithful by Janet Fox
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

NetGalley:

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Won:

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Enticed by Jessica Shirvington

Thanks Lisa of Badass Bookie and Hachette!!

That's it for me this week! So excited to have won my first giveaway! What did you get?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - No Future For You by Brian K. Vaughan et al

While Buffy is busy trying to uncover the mysterious new Big Bad known only as "Twilight," Giles takes on a mission of his own that will require a Slayer who can handle a little dirty work. He recruits the notoriously rebellious Faith for an undercover job that demands her well-known penchant for violence. She must infiltrate the estate of a rogue Slayer and put a stop to this girl's evil deeds no matter the cost.

Volume 2 of Buffy's season 8 jumps right into the thick of things, revealing a little more and throwing enough punches - both physical and emotional - to ensure readers remain on the edge of their seats, desperate for more.

This time, we're with Faith as she does her usual - the dirty work no one else can bring themselves to take care of. When Giles offers her one last mission, with a high enough payment that she can finally leave it all behind her, Faith accepts. All she has to do is kill Lady Genevieve - nobility and Slayer all wrapped up in one snotty package. Easy, right? Especially as whatever plan she has may bring about the end of the world. But what Faith actually finds in Genevieve is someone who understands her, someone who could be her best friend. When it is revealed that Genevieve's supposed world ending plot is to assassinate Buffy, Faith questions her mission. Which side will she finally choose?

When I realised that this volume was focused on Faith, I admit I was disappointed. I'm not the biggest Faith fan. In season 7 when everyone boycotted Buffy and placed Faith in charge? I was so pissed. I guess I've held a bit of a grudge. In some ways, Faith bores me - I find her attitude a bit predictable. But here? I take it back. Vaughan and co give readers some much needed insight into Faith and everything we think she is. I read this whole volume with my heart weighing me down, it was so heavy. I loved the revelations of the cracks in Faith's smart mouthed, kick ass, don't give a shit attitude. Her thoughts about Buffy and the Mayor brought tears to my eyes. The inevitable confrontation between Faith and Buffy was explosive and lays the necessary foundations to what I think will be one heck of a killer closure between the two in a future volume. I also really enjoyed Faith's moments with Giles, and their new camaraderie definitely has me intrigued. I'm truly looking forward to more Faith, for possibly the first time ever.

This was very much Faith's story, though the plot touched base with the usual gang. We meet "Twilight", a floating, masked and trench coat wearing individual, though little is actually revealed. Xander's appearances were light hearted, as expected, as he tries to get to the truth behind Dawn's giant issue (did I mention that Dawn's been turned into a giant? No? Well.) Buffy and Willow's scenes were a little more intense, as they visit a demon in the hopes of getting some answers. I truly enjoyed the revelations that we're given here. How Slayer actions are defining this new Big Bad, and the tensions between Willow and Kennedy. All of it is building for a killer story line, I can feel it - and I can't wait.

Again, I'm still liking the art. It's gritty and it's really building the world of the story.

The TV series left us with somewhat of a lighthearted hope for the gang's futures - and the existence of thousands of Slayers. This comic series season poses much deeper questions about the effects of this, and also just how this new threat may be bringing about a bigger battle than any expect - with severe consequences that don't bode well. The feeling that this is IT - the capitalised, final IT - oh, yeah, that's really got me hooked. It's warning me to expect anything and everything. But I'm the first to admit that no one can blindside me quite like Joss Whedon, can catch me by surprise, punch through my chest, rip out my heart, and simply leave me aching. So all I can do? Is brace myself. And boy, has No Future For Me left me taking a deep breath ready to read the next volume.

Rating:

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Published Year: 2008
Format: e-Galley from NetGalley

Winner: Follower Appreciation Giveaway

We have a winner!! Thank you so much to everyone who entered my first ever giveaway, and to all my followers - I truly appreciate it!

Without further ado, the randomly selected winner is...

Aubrey L.

Congrats, Aubrey! You've won books of your choice worth up to $34US from The Book Depository! Please check your email!



Photo: silver star background
(christmasstockimages.com) / CC BY 3.0

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week I'm desperately looking forward to...

Brenna Yovanoff's The Space Between!


Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped—and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible.

Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie’s whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be. (summary from author's website)

YES PLEASE!

What are you waiting on?

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff is due to be released 15 November 2011.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (6)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the 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 SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

"I don't remember what he sang about; I'm not sure I ever knew. It was his voice, gritty but gentle, like my father's hands when I was too small to see past them, and the slow way his melody moved along its path, not in any hurry but enjoying every note for itself, rather than looking forward to the next note, and the next, until the song's end. This song would have no end; it couldn't possibly. This song was forever." p. 42.

I really like this description. What do you think? What's your teaser this week?

Review: Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

A Spanish Princess.
An American Boy.

A King set on revenge.

An unrequited love
and a disturbing family secret
bring a World to the brink of War.

In this coming-of-age story set in a medieval kingdom, Andrea is a headstrong princess longing to be a knight who finds her way to modern-day California. But her accidental return to her family's kingdom and a disastrous romance brings war, along with her discovery of some dark family secrets. Readers will love this mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists and will identify with Andrea and her difficult choices between duty and desire. (summary from author's website)

I finished Two Moon Princess with mixed feelings, as there were parts to it I really enjoyed and others that I found frustrating. It's concept and romance however kept me reading until the end.

The youngest of four Princesses, Andrea wants nothing more than to be a Knight. However her father and mother are determined she finally learn to become the thing she dreads most - a Lady. Enduring daily lessons with her sisters and the Queen is the worst Andrea believes can happen to her. She feels imprisoned, like she doesn't belong. When Andrea discovers a doorway to a new world - our world - she finally feels at home. Accidentally reopening the doorway after months of freedom, Andrea finds herself back in her world - along with her crush and modern day college student, John - and inadvertently causes war between her kingdom and it's rival. Don Julian, the enemy King, is determined to prove the existence of these doorways and take revenge on Andrea's father for past actions. But who is really the enemy? Caught in the middle - of two kingdoms and two worlds - Andrea must face truths about those around her, try to stop the war, and finally figure out who it is she is meant to be...while also stumbling through the hazards of romance.

There is a lot to Two Moon Princess, certainly more than I originally expected. With so many plot points it has the making of an epic fantasy adventure story but unfortunately falls a little flat. The story is slow to start. Much of the first half felt entirely introductory, and a lot of the time I found myself questioning what the point was, where it was supposed to be heading. The action felt forced, more surface plot than real depth, so I found it hard to connect with the story. It wasn't until the last half of the book that the action picked up and the plot felt like it finally found purpose. I still didn't entirely connect with it however, as some of the writing seemed targeted more towards younger readers, like middle grade. As if readers were being spoon fed rather than making discoveries, if that makes sense?

While I mostly liked Andrea, sometimes I found her very frustrating. I could identify with her feeling lost and wanting to find her place in the world, and I really hated the way so many of the characters treated her, like she was inconsequential or much more childish than she actually was. It was because of this that I didn't connect with many of the other characters. But then at times Andrea would do what felt like a 180 and become what those characters treated her as. I could never quite pin her down. I'm fairly adamant about my dislike for the other characters though. Most felt like background characters, simply playing their part to move the plot. I found Tio Ramiro and Andrea's mother to be the worst - they were so judgmental of Andrea, to the point of hypocrisy, and I felt that out of all of the characters their interactions with her should have held more meaning. Like with the story, I didn't truly feel much of a connection - truthfully, some of their actions and motivations either didn't feel completely developed or just didn't make sense. I did like Don Julian, he at least was well-rounded and didn't leave me feeling like I was missing something.

The thing is though, despite what I've said above, I did enjoy Two Moon Princess. I liked the ideas behind it - the doorways between worlds, that Andrea's ancestors were actually from Spain, Andrea's adventures. The last half really drew me in once the action picked up. What really saved it though was the romance. I am a sucker for romance, and Ferreiro-Esteban surprised me with the romance here. I honestly thought it was going one way but then it completely went another way, and I really liked it. I don't want to say too much as it will spoil it. I will say that it was fun and had me giggling. It's one of those where as readers we can see how they feel about each other but the characters just don't get it, and so there are these tense moments where I just wanted to scream "open your eyes!" I ended this book with a huge, sappy smile on my face thanks to its romance.

Overall, Two Moon Princess was a nice read if you enjoy romance and some old time fantasy. The story could've flowed better and the characters have more depth, however. But by the end it was an enjoyable read.

Rating:

Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Published Date: 16 June 2010
Format: Kindle (e-Galley from NetGalley)

Many thanks to Tanglewood and NetGalley.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

I am so glad one of my courses is over, cause I definitely need the extra time to read all these books!

Bought:

Passion by Lauren Kate
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

On Kindle:

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Solstice by P.J. Hoover
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Legacy by Cayla Kulver
Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
Entangled by Cat Clarke
Bloodspell by Amalie Howard
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Is there such a thing as Book Buying Anonymous? Cause I'm definitely addicted! It'll take time for sure, but I can't wait to read every single one of these! What did you get this week?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon et al

World wide cult phenomenon Buffy the Vampire Slayer returns with Season Eight - only in comics! Series creator Joss Whedon once again takes up writing duties for this official sequel to the show, running the comics as he ran seven seasons of Buffy on TV. This opening story introduces a mysterious threat known as "Twilight" and plunges Buffy and the gang into their biggest adventure - without the limitations of a small-screen budget.

Without limitations indeed! The beginning of The Long Way Home has Buffy and slayers dropping out of the sky all geared up, with Xander back at base (in Scotland!) - surrounded by computers and big screens, linked to the action via satellite! Oh my! I had to pause for a second to let it sink in...but I liked what I saw!

The Long Way Home is really fast paced, introducing new slayers, new - and old - villains, and touching base with all of our beloved original characters. It's also a little confusing trying to piece together what's happening - but that's only to be expected of vol. 1 of any comic series! It fell right back into familiar Buffy territory though - drama between Buffy and Dawn, Xander still keeping the peace, Willow wowing us with her power, Giles passing along advice...and being eternally exasperated, Andrew...well, he's Andrew. All topped off with the one liners and witty comebacks we've grown to love and expect! Oh, how I have missed the gang!

I was a little surprised to see Amy back, but it works. I was much more surprised by who she brought with her - but I'll leave you to enjoy that little "W.T.F?!" moment. It both makes me shudder and look forward to the upcoming confrontations. The new threat, ""Twilight", was minimally touched on, but enough so that I'm definitely intrigued to see where we go from here.

I most enjoyed the little tidbits linking it to the series, and Angel. The bit about the Immortal? Had me cracking up laughing! And a look-see into Buffy's dreams was interesting, especially the one involving her, Angel and Spike. Um, yes please, can I have more? Trust me, there was plenty more that had me snorting or giggling.

I don't know much about art, so I'm not all that qualified to comment significantly on the art of The Long Way Home other than to say that I like it. For me, it's raw and real, which suits the ultimate feel of Buffy as a whole, and this plot. The characters aren't exactly the actors we're used to seeing, and I liked that as this is new and original, despite being an extension of the series.

All in all, a fantastic start to the series, and I'm so glad I have the next comics to continue reading! If you're a fan of the original series, you'll enjoy the comics.

Rating:

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Published Date: October 2007
Format: e-Galley

Thanks to Dark Horse Comics and NetGalley.

Review: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

It starts off so simply.

Draw a circle...place a dead lead in the center...sprinkle some salt...recite a little Latin...add a drop of blood...


Maybe that last part isn't exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents' horrific deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family - even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep...and spill some blood.


The book isn't the only recent arrival in Silla's life. There's Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She's not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes
that this may not be Nick's first encounter with blood magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction. And they can't ignore the dark presence lurking nearby - waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.

Tessa Gratton's intoxicating first novel will keep pulses racing, minds reeling, and pages turning right up to the very last drop of blood.


That last sentence there? Exactly right. It describes how I feel about Blood Magic perfectly! I lost my breath reading this book. Even just thinking about it now, after I've finished, is making my heart skip a beat. It is just that good.

We meet Silla Kennicott in the old cemetery by her house, sitting at the graves of her parents. She's received a mysterious book from someone calling themselves The Deacon, a book full of spells written in her father's hand. Each spell requires blood. Since finding her parents dead, their blood splattered everywhere, Silla isn't handling thoughts of blood well. Still, she tries what appears to be a simple spell and learns that magic is very real. But how was her father involved? And does it have something to do with his death? At the same time she meets Nick, who has his own memories of blood and magic. Their attraction feels like the magic and they can't help but be drawn to each other. Yet something very dark lingers in the cemetery, and it will stop at nothing to get everything it wants.

I really, really liked Silla, from page one. She's as real as a character in a book can get for me. I could see her and I felt for her - and with her - throughout the entire story. Honestly, I felt that way about most of the characters, they all jumped out of the page at me. I loved Silla's faith in her family. That no matter the evidence or the talk of those around her, she always believed in her father. She had real strength. Every time she conjured an imaginary mask to hide her true feelings behind I'd physically react - I'd sigh, I'd bite my lip, I'd clench my fingers around the book. I'd even imagine myself wearing the mask. I lost myself in Gratton's characters and world, that's for sure.

I also adored Nick. His sense of humour and dress style were fantastic, and I loved how he'd write haiku's. I instantly liked him and the way he could see straight through Silla's masks. And their romance. Wowza! Their attraction was so intense that I'd have to shake myself out of a stupor sometimes! Seriously, some of their kissing scenes - ok, all of them - were so burning hot I was afraid my book was going to catch on fire! I'm getting a little flushed just thinking about it now, so let's move on, shall we? As much as Nick rocked, however, Silla can keep him because me? I want Reese, her older brother. The smarts, the looks, the vulnerability, his interactions with Silla, all of it - he's beautiful and I'm a little in love. Even when he'd lost faith in his father, he still believed in Silla, or at the least loved her enough to want her to have her faith. I'm sighing here, can you tell? Gram Judy also deserves a mention. Now there's an awesome woman and Grandmother, she kept me grinning!

Lastly, I loved Josephine. I loved to hate her too. I couldn't help but love the way she talked, and acted, and her diary entries. She leapt off the page, she was so full of confidence. It also helped that Tessa recorded videos of herself reciting - acting! - a few of Josephine's diary entries. I'd watched these long before I read the book, and so right from the beginning I wanted to know about Josephine. She truly came alive in my imagination.

A lot of Blood Magic came alive for me. The atmosphere of this book is undeniable, it took a hold of me and I'm afraid it still hasn't let go. Gratton's writing is stunning, seeped in feeling so that every word left a mark. Her descriptions of the cemetery, the animals, the feeling of being watched, it all took my breath away. Literally. I read much of this book in the middle of the night with a book light, the house pitch black around me. I am not ashamed to admit that a few times while reading I got goosebumps, and so creeped out that I'd shine the light around my room. Just to check I was still alone, you know? Usually it's mostly the characters that make a book for me, and while Gratton certainly has that in spades, the world of this book, every feeling it evoked, is going to stay with me for a good long while.

The plot of Blood Magic moves along at a fast pace. If I could have I would've read it in one sitting because I never wanted to put it down. Those pages practically turned themselves, I was so eager to know what would happen next, especially the last 100 or so pages. I was even able to ignore my dog barking at me to play ball with him because I simply had to finish it NOW! A few of it's revelations were unexpected and surprising, which I enjoyed. At one point I was so stunned I just sat and stared at the page for a minute, reminding myself to breathe. Which is brilliant, but personally I'm unhappy about it (I feel like stomping my foot here, like a child. Why, Tessa, why?!). You'll know if or when you read it. I did however figure out Josephine's identity pretty early on, but it didn't effect my reading of the rest of the book at all. It wrapped up many of it's early questions neatly, though there are still some left unanswered ready for the next book. I'm definitely looking forward to finding out more about Nick's Mum, Donna, and The Deacon. I don't doubt Gratton has many surprises in store for us yet!

Overall, Blood Magic was a thrilling and atmospheric read that I lost myself in. I still don't think I've fully caught my breath! I'd been waiting to read it for months and it did not disappoint in anyway. I'm already desperate to read The Blood Keeper, the next book in the series!

Rating:

Publisher: Random House
Published Date: 24 May 2011
Pages: 405
Series: The Blood Journals #1

Challenges: 2011 Debut Author Challenge

Friday, June 17, 2011

Giveaway: Follower Appreciation!

Free Pretty Pink & Purple Party Balloons Creative Commons

I've decided to have my very first giveaway here at Baggins's Book Blabber! My number of Followers has increased from 4 to 24 in about a month, which I am so excited about, so obviously it's time to celebrate!

In honour of 24 Followers, I'm giving one (1) winner books of their choice worth up to $24US from The Book Depository. (Edit: Make that $34US!)

So if they ship to you (you can check here), you can enter! Also, as this giveaway is in celebration of my Followers, I do ask that you be a Follower of this blog to enter.

This giveaway will run for a week. It ends Friday June 24th at 11.59pm AEST. Which I believe, according to an internet timezone conversion calculator, is Friday June 24th at 9.59am EDT. The winner will be selected using Random.org

To make it interesting, for every new follower I get between now and when the giveaway ends, I will increase the total cost of books to be won by $1...but only up to $50US at the most. Does that sound good? I hope so!

Please note, you can gain one extra entry for spreading the word!

TO ENTER PLEASE FILL OUT FORM HERE!


Thanks, and good luck!!

Review: Wicked by Gegory Maguire

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her archnemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at O
z the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and stive to be treaed like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seel the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West - a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

Wicked is an interesting and original twist on a well-known classic that as stated above, will have you viewing all you know about Oz and it's wonderful Wizard a little differently. It is also a dense read that can be a bit of a struggle to get through!

Wicked is the story of Elphaba, a girl born with green skin and a little monstrous, growing up as an outcast, craving the love of a father who thinks her his punshiment for his failings in life. It chronicles her years as a toddler; as a student at Shiz University; as an Animal Rights activist fighting the Wizard's regime; as Fiyero's lover; and as a Witch simply looking for peace - and then revenge. Told from alternating points of view, Wicked shockingly details just how Elphaba came to be one of the most well-known and easily-recognised literary (and film) character.

Maguire has created a world and characters with Wicked that are spot on. Everything came to life in my mind and it was interesting to look at a world as familiar as Oz in such a different light. And not a pretty light, let me tell you. There is much in this book aimed to shock, I think, and for me it did. Many of Maguire's descriptions are vulgar and in your face, but I feel that's the point - so much of it felt over the top as a constant reminder that it is, in a sense, a retelling.

I do think that this also kept me at a distance from the story, however. I never felt much of an identification with the characters, though I did like Elphaba overall and felt for her plight. Certainly there were some characters - ok, most - that I wish I could slap around a little. So in some ways it scores points for eliciting some strong reactions! But I spent a lot of the book just wanting to get it finished (I had to write an essay about it, too) and not in the good 'oh, I can't wait to find out what happens next' way. My interest in it's original twist soon waned, unfortunately. Wicked is a much bigger read than it seems if only because there is so much to it. I'd read for what felt like ages and hadn't actually gotten far at all. It became frustrating, and honestly I probably wouldn't have finished it if I wasn't reading it as part of my studies.

Overall, Maguire has provided a thought-provoking twist of an incredibly well-known classic. I applaud much of it's originality. Certainly my thoughts about The Wizard of Oz have been affected! However I really just couldn't get into this novel the way I would've liked and it became a real struggle to finish it. Also, if you've seen the Wicked musical and love it - doesn't mean you'll love this. There is much, much more to the book, and I prefer to stick with the musical.

Rating:

Publisher: Harper
Published Year: 1995
Pages: 519

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week I can't wait for...

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin!

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.


I have been hearing such great things about Mara Dyer, so I absolutely cannot wait to read this one!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin will be released 27 September 2011.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a prodigously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand - one who can see faeries.

Unexpectedly, Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy names Luke who enters her ordinary life, seemingly out of thin air. But his interest in her might be something darker than summer romance. When a sinister faerie name Aodhan shows up with deadly orders from the Faerie Queen, it forces Dee right into the midst of Faerie. Caught in the crossfire with Deidre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend.


Deirdre had been wishing her summer weren't so dull, but taking on
a centuries-old Faerie Queen isn't exactly what she had in mind.

Lament is an easy read that moves along at a fast pace, light and enjoyable but not quite everything I wanted it to be.

Deirdre has lived her life by the say so of everyone around her, labelled extraordinary for her musical talents but feeling as if no one sees her for who she truly is. That is until Luke Dillon, the beautiful boy from her dream, walks into the girl's bathroom to hold her hair back as she pukes. Now Dee's noticing odd people and creatures, seeing faces in the shadows, and moving objects with her mind! Irresistably drawn to Luke, Dee soon becomes immersed in the Faerie world, a world equally full of allure and danger.

I really like Maggie's writing, it's graceful and just flows in a way that keeps you reading. She also has a great sense of humour. One minute her descriptions are eerie enough to creep me out - to the point that I was checking to make sure there were no shapeless forms looking out at me from the shadows (not that I would be able to see them if there were, of course!) - and the next I'd be snorting or giggling. Or rolling my eyes, I admit. Because while I did enjoy the overall story of Lament and never felt the need to put it down, it did feel like something was missing. For me, it was mostly connection with the characters.

The truth is, I wanted to slap Deirdre more than anything. Boy, did I find her frustrating. She's told faeries want to steal away. They can't be trusted. They're dangerous. Her answer? She's a little flattered they're so interested in her. Um...no. Honestly, where I think we're meant to look at her as a little lost and unfeeling of the attention she usually gets, she just came across as a tad clueless to me. Later, when she starts becoming more feisty, I didn't dislike her as much. But I wasn't invested in her, and that disappointed me. I also didn't entirely click with Luke. I found him interesting and I liked the little snapshots of information we got about his life, but I wanted more and didn't get it.

That's how I pretty much felt for the entirety of this book, like there needed to be more. I didn't feel Dee and Luke's romance. While descriptions of their exchanges were full of intensity and great to read, I couldn't shake the disbelief. Because their's was the biggest case of insta-love with no development and I just couldn't help but roll my eyes. It was seriously like they met on one page and were in a relationship the next. Away from the romance, I was intrigued by the faerie world and much of the action of the story - but so much felt like it was quickly skipped over. I got to the end of the book and asked "where's the rest?!" Sure, Dee and Luke's relationship was mostly wrapped up but there was so much left unsaid about Dee's mother, her Aunt Delia, James. I know there's a second book, so I can only hope it fills in the blanks.

I definitely still want to read the next book. I want to know what else happens. And that's what saved Lament for me, that still had me enjoying it enough, despite what I've said above. The world Maggie's created was intriguing enough that I wanted to keep reading, and as it moved so quickly it was easy to do so. Despite this though, I did end it frustrated and so my feelings about it are mixed. What I'm most looking forward to is that Ballad seems to be more centred on James. I loved James and like other characters, I felt there was too little of him. If the story were to continue with just Dee and Luke I might not be as enthusiastic, to be honest.

Overall, Lament wasn't everything it could have been. I did leave it feeling cheated. The story moves fast though and Maggie's descriptions are enticing. It was an enjoyable enough story to wile away a few hours.

Rating:

Publisher: Flux
Published Year: 2009
Pages: 325

Readathon: Fairy Fever Readathon! Though my review is past the deadline!

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Got a few this week, thanks to my huge orders from The Book Depository trickling in, one by one!

Bought:


Vixen by Jillian Larkin
XVI by Julia Karr
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Ten Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

NetGalley:

Misfit
by Jon Skovron

More great books! I am so getting my read on the next couple of weeks, and I can't wait!

So, what did you get?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week my pick is...

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber!

The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...

Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul. (summary from Goodreads)

Mmm, that first sentence alone won it for me! Doesn't it sound fantastic? And look at that gorgeous cover!! Definitely one I can't wait patiently for!

Darker Still will be available 1 November!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (5)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the 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 SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

"Nick ran his hands back through his hair, paused, and rolled his eyes up as if trying to see the damage.
His hair stuck up in every possible direction. I giggled."
p. 107

So there you have it! My teaser for the week! What do you think? Me? I am loving Blood Magic, I never want to stop reading it once I start!

Please share your own teasers with me!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fairy Fever Readathon

Kristin and Kate of The Book Monsters are hosting a readathon this week! The Fairy Fever Readathon, to be exact!

The Goal:

To read as many fairy (or similar characters, like pixies) books as you can! And have fun doing so, of course!

The readathon runs from Monday 6th June 7am until Saturday 11th June 11.59pm, and there's books and book related prizes to be won!

Fairies plus prizes? Count me in! Sign up is open all week, so what are you waiting for? Get on over to The Book Monsters and fill out the Linky!

I'll be starting to read a little late, but I have a few I hope I'll get through:

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

I'm sure I'll find more, and I'll update as I go! Let the Fairy Fever begin! Have fun!

Vacation Reads Reading Challenge

I've decided to take part in another challenge! This one only runs from 21 June until 23 September! Summer for some, but here in Australia it's Winter! I'll be needing something to keep my mind off the cold...especially after living 20 years in a tropical climate!

Vacation Reads Reading Challenge, hosted by Ruby's Reads & Manga Maniac Cafe!

Info:

  • Those who decide to participate in the reading challenge will strive to read at least six Vacation Reads.
  • Anyone can participate, even non-bloggers. Non-bloggers can post their reviews on LibraryThing, Goodreads etc.
  • Because of the short time the challenge is going to run, the deadline to join is June 21. The challenge runs from June 21 to September 23.
Qualifying Books:
  • Any books in any genre, as long as the setting is somewhere you'd like to visit.
  • The setting may be fictional, fantastical, or historical, so long as you explain in your review why you want to "visit" there.

Sounds like heaps of fun! So if you're interested, head on over HERE and join up!

I hope to read more than 6 books, and I'll start compiling a list closer to the date!

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

I'm a day late getting this one posted! Spent yesterday with my family, playing with my nephew! Last week I went on a bit of a book spree thanks to The Book Depository...but unfortunately they haven't all arrived yet! But here's what I did get!

Bought:

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton (currently losing sleep reading this one - loving it!)

NetGalley:

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff
This Girl is Different by J.J. Johnson
Circle Nine by Anne Heltzel
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (& Siobhan Dowd)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Time of Your Life by Joss Whedon et al
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Predators and Prey by Joss Whedon et al
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Retreat by Jane Espenson et al

Some great ones this week!! My next couple of IMMs may well be HUGE! I'm looking forward to it! Though I'm really behind on reviews at the moment. One last essay to finish this week and then I'll be overloading my good ol' blog! Stay tuned!

In the meantime, please share what you got this week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week I'm waiting on...

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay!

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .


Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But Romeo didn't anticipate that Juliet would be granted eternal life, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light.

For 700 years, Juliet has struggled to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent, while Romeo has fought for the dark side, seeking to destroy the human heart. Until now.

Now Juliet has found her own forbidden love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy their happiness. (summary from author's website)

I'm a sucker for Romeo & Juliet, I will admit, but I definitely had many 'pfft' and 'urgh' moments with it too. So this? Is brilliant! Evil Romeo! An entirely new retelling! Just. YES! I can't wait to read it!

Stacey Jay's Juliet Immortal is expected to be released August 9 2011.

The Hunger Games Movie News: President Snow officially cast!

Time to add another huge name to the already awesome cast of The Hunger Games movie! I had no clue where they might go with this one, but I can't say I'm disappointed - this guy is brilliant, of course!



















Donald Sutherland as President Snow!


I will say he's not exactly what I pictured for Snow, but Sutherland is always fantastic in everything he does, so I cannot wait to see him in this movie!

Can you believe this cast?! I sure can't! Amazing!