Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Best of the Bunch ~ October 2012

Best of the Bunch is a monthly meme hosted by Always Lost in Stories on the last day of every month.
The aim of this meme is to share the best book that we have read or reviewed in that month and give it our Best of the Bunch award.

~October reads:





Peter Pan: Peter and Wendy and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie ~ 5 stars ~  My Review.
Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi ~ 5 stars ~ My Review.
Daughters (Nordic Fairies #4) by Saga Berg ~ 5 stars ~ Goodreads.
Dreams of Reality by Beth Bares ~ 3 stars ~ My Review.
Dust by Devon Ashley ~ 5 stars ~ My Review.
Once Prey, Twice Forsaken by Tiffany Allee ~ 3 stars ~ Goodreads.
The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener ~ 5 stars ~ My Review.
In a Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener ~ 5 stars ~ My Review.
Prophecy of the Setting Sunrise (Oracle of Delphi #2) by Diantha Jones ~ 5 stars ~ Review to come on November 18th for the blog tour!
The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa ~ 2 stars ~ My Review.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare ~ 3 stars ~ Goodreads.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue and other stories by Edgar Allan Poe ~ 4 stars ~ Goodreads.

And the Best of the Bunch winner of October 2012 is...

~The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener
Paperback, 320 pages
November 27th 2012 by Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster Imprint)
From nineteenth-century London’s elegant ballrooms to its darkest slums, a spirited young woman and a nobleman investigating for the Crown unmask a plot by Napoleon to bleed England of its gold.

Chance led to Charlotte Raven’s transformation from chimney sweep to wealthy, educated noblewoman, but she still walks a delicate tightrope between two worlds, unable to turn her back on the ruthless crime lord who was once her childhood protector.

When Lord Edward Durnham is tapped to solve the mystery of England’s rapidly disappearing gold, his search leads him to the stews of London, and Charlotte becomes his intriguing guide to the city’s dark, forbidding underworld. But as her involvement brings Charlotte to the attention of men who have no qualms about who they hurt, and as Edward forges a grudging alliance with the dangerous ghosts of Charlotte’s former life, she faces a choice: to continue living in limbo, or to close the door on the past and risk her heart and her happiness on an unpredictable future.

October was a fabulous book month! I've read so many amazing books but The Emperor's Conspiracy was by far the best of all. Mind blowing! If you want to know why, just check out my review of it. 
A lot of the other books I read were also 5 star reads like the other book by Michelle Diener which was equally amazing as The Emperor's Conspiracy. Michelle is definitely my new favorite author! I also immensely enjoyd Destroy Me. Warner love! ♥ Dust by Devon Ashley was absolutely wonderful, I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. So, yeah, I was definitely surprised. Awesome! Daughters was very good too, as always a book from Nordic Fairies is in my opnion. Saga Berg rocks! And Prophecy of the Setting Sunrise was just addicting and an even better book than the first one. My character interview with Apollo will be up on the 15th of november and the review on the 18th for the awesome blog tour! :D   So be sure to check it out!

Waiting On Wednesday #40: Crash by Lisa McMann

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

~Crash by Lisa Mcmann
Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: January 8th 2013 by Simon Pulse
If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays #39: The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

My teaser: 
I reached out my hand, and it fell heavenly upon something damp and hard. There I suffered it to remain for many minutes, while I strove to imagine where and what I could be. I longed yet dared not to employ my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see.

-page 116, The Pit and the Pendulum

~The Murders in the Rue Morgue and other stories by Edgar Allan Poe
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published by Konemann (first published April 4th 1841)
"Of Madame L'Espanaye no traces where here seen; but an unusual quantity of soot being observed in the fireplace, a search was made in the chimney, and (horrible to relate!) the corpse of the daughter, head downward, was dragged therefrom."
Fourteen classic tales by the grand master of mystery and horror.

Anyone can participate in Teaser Tuesdays. 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 too much away! 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 teasers!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Arc Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
Publication: January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 377 pages
Cover Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
Purchase: The Book Depository ~ Fishpond ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family.

She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My thoughts: 

Once upon a time (which would be a few months ago in april or may 2012) I entered a giveaway to win an arc copy of Splintered. I never would've guessed that I would actually win this. To me winning Splintered was mind blowing. 

Just one look at the cover and you get pretty much sucked in already, right? So it wasn't until august that I received my copy but it was so worth the wait. Not only that but the author was also really nice, always letting me now what was happening and when the arcs were being printed. A huuuuge thanks for that! :D

Splintered is the story of Alyssa Gardner, a descendant of Alice Liddell who was the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Yes, that Alice!

Ever since little Alice descended down the rabbit hole and came out bringing a terrible curse with her, every female in Alyssa's family has been affected by madness; hearing the voices of bugs and plants.
To save her mother and herself, Alyssa must go down the rabbit hole herself to try and break the curse. 

I must admit I never really finished Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, I've read about half of it until other books got in the way. You know how it goes. But even so I love anything related to Alice in Wonderland. Splintered is no exception. Not by a long shot. It was so wonderful to read. Pretty much every character you know from Lewis Carroll's tale is there, only a bit different. More mad and wicked. 

Alyssa was a good heroine. I'm not saying my favorite heroine ever but eventually I started to really like her. I wasn't a fan of her at the beginning because I wasn't sure if she would live up to my standards that I know I have for my book heroines. Especially once she and Jeb, her friend and secret crush, entered Wonderland. 
I also wasn't an immediate fan of Jeb. I didn't love him or anything. But I didn't dislike the fact that he was there with Alyssa. He was just Jeb. *shrugs*
And then there was Morpheus *grins* Wicked and wild, as A.G. Howard calls him. He was one of the characters in Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, you'll sure have read/heard about. I could never quite figure out is he was a bad guy, even when most of the time he was, or he was a good guy deep inside. He was so enchanting, dark and just plain sexy with his half mask that it's no wonder Alyssa had a hard time concentrating around him. I loved their relationship a lot more than Alyssa's relationship with Jeb, that was a little boring. Morpheus was way more exciting.Yeah, I just love him. 

“He's a contradiction: taut magic coiled to strike, gentleness at war with severity, a tongue as sharp as a whip's edge, yet skin so soft he could be swathed in clouds.” 

Of course there were other very interesting characters. Sometimes very disturbing to read about like those killer flowers... *gulp* Anyway... all of them were amazing and so original in their own way, different, even though they are from Carroll's tale. This Wonderland world is nothing like the one in the original book, it way more dangerous and gruesome. Just delicious.

Splintered was one amazing retelling of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. A.G. Howard gave a very original spin to the story, making it a whole lot more creepy, frightening and just fantastical. With its omnious characters and beautiful writing it was breathtaking to read about the Wonderland that Alice left behind.

~Favorite Quotes~ 
I scroll past images every bit as violent and beautiful as Jeb's paintings: luminious, rainbow-skinned creatures with bulbous eyes and sparkly, silken wings who carry knives and swords; hideous, naked hobgoblins in chains who crawl on all fours and have corkscrew tails and cloven feet like pigs; silvery pixielike beings trapped in cages and crying oily black tears.
“I go where Al goes, dances-with-bugs. And just so you know, if anything happens to her, I'll pin you by your wings to a corkboard and use you for dart practice.”
“I hate you," I say, the sentiment muffled against his heart, hoping to make it true.
"And I love you," he answers without hesitation, voice resolved and raw as he holds me tighter so I can't break away and react. "A crossroads, my beautiful princess, that was unavoidable—given our situations.”
Raising one hand, he tilts his hat to that sexy slant. "You want me. Admit it."
Even if he's partly right, I'll never tell him. "Why would I want you?"
He lifts thee fingers to countdown. "Mysterious. Rebellious. Troubled. All those qualities women find irresistible."
"Such an optimist."
"My cup is never empty."
"Too bad your brain is." The words bite, but my smile softens with affection.”

~About the author~
A.G. HowardA.G. Howard is most at home when weaving the melancholy and macabre into settings and scenes, twisting the expected into the unexpected. She was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Her debut YA fantasy, SPLINTERED, a dark Alice in Wonderland spinoff, is slated for release *Fall 2012 by Amulet.


Find her also on: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~ YouTube

~A.G. Howard's Splintered Playlist:


                                                       & Book trailer;

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #3
Publication: January 25th 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 358 pages
Cover Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 2/5
Purchase: The Book Depository ~ Amazon ~ Fishpond ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

~My thoughts:

First of all I'd like to say that The Iron Queen wasn't entirely bad. There were definitely some awesome moments but they didn't overshadow all that I disliked.
I think my issues with it are more with Meghan and Ash than everything else. I'm just not feeling her as the heroine. I know from myself, that I'm really tough on my heroines in books and Meghan just didn't do it for me. I just find her annoying. 
I used to love Ash. I really did. But in this book I didn't like him at all and even wished for him to go away. Meghan and Ash might be meant to be but I found myself skimming, something I usually never do, over the parts of them together. It was rather boring.
Normally I love action in a book. But all the battle and action scenes in The Iron Qeen were making me frustrated. I didn't like them at all and just wanted them to be over.
I'm not trying to discourage anyone from reading this book but it's just how I feel.
I hated the end. I really did. I hated that Ash was gone and Meghan hadn't seen him again and I hated that Meghan had to say goodbye to her family. That part was really sad. 

Now, luckily there were some good parts in it too like every scene where Puck was in! I love Puck so much. Actually every since I recently read William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream I've loved him. I used to be team Ash but I'm now totally on Puck's side. I love that redhead. I like that he's going with Ash to wherever they're going and I sincerely I hope that I'll like The Iron Knight better. I'm definitely gonna read it. 
I also loved the scenes with Grimalkin. I love that cat! It was also terribly sad when he said goodbye to Meghan. 

So except for Puck and Grim this book was just okay for me. I hate that I felt like this because I do think Julie Kagawa is an amazing writer and I did love The Iron King, the first book in this series. So I wouldn't discourage anyone for reading this book and series. There's still some pretty amazing characters in this book and the fae world is wonderful and magical to me.

~Favorite Quote~
"Goodfellow?" Glitch stared at Puck nervously. "Robin Goodfellow?"
"Oh, look at that, he's heard of me My fame grows."
Puck snorted and leaped off the rood. In midair, he became a giant black raven, who swooped toward us with a raucous cry before dropping into the circle as Puck in an explosion of feathers. "Ta-daaaaaaaaaa."

Julie Kagawa~About the author:
Julie Kagawa, the New York Times Bestselling author of The Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series, was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn't getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.


Find her also on: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Blogspot ~ Goodreads

Mini Review: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Title: Peter Pan: Peter and Wendy and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
Author: J.M. Barrie
1st 2005 by Penguin Classics (first published January 1st 1991)

Genre: Childrens
Format: Paperback, 234 pages
Cover Rating: 4/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
Purchase: The Book Depository ~ Amazon ~ Fishpond ~ 
Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo (free)

Peter Pan, the "boy who would not grow up," originally appeared as a baby living a magical life among birds and fairies in J.M. Barrie's sequence of stories, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. His later role as flying boy hero was brought to the stage by Barrie in the beloved play Peter Pan, which opened in 1904 and became the novel Peter and Wendy in 1911. In a narrative filled with vivid characters, epic battles, pirates, fairies, and fantastic imagination, Peter Pan's adventures capture the spirit of childhood-and of rebellion against the role of adulthood in conventional society. This edition includes the novel and the stories, as well as an introduction by eminent scholar Jack Zipes. Looking at the man behind Peter Pan and sifting through the psychological interpretations that have engaged many a critic, Zipes explores the larger cultural and literary contexts in which we should appreciate Barrie's enduring creation and shows why Peter Pan is a work not for children but for adults seeking to reconnect with their own imagination.

My thoughts: 

Back in August, I read Tiger Lily by Jody Lynn Anderson, a retelling of Peter Pan told by Tinker Bell's point of view. (Sounds awesome, right? :D) I was so impressed by this wonderful book that I just had to read the original story by J.M. Barrie. When I finally found it at a local bookstore I immediately bought it and not much later I started reading it. I finished in about four days so yes, I absolutely loved it. My obsession with everything involving Peter Pan has been fueled even more now than ever. 
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens was a little odd for me to read. I couldn't always follow half of what was happening but I did enjoy it. It's nice to know Peter's full story.

I would recommend this book to everone. Young and old, doesn't matter. You have to at least have read it once in your lifetime. You may love it or not but you can't deny the nostalgic feeling you'll be getting for sure. 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie is a brilliant, imaginative, outstanding children's book that left me turning page after page without stop. I found Barrie such an amazing storyteller. The way he takes you through Neverland with the pirates, indians, mermaids and of course let's not forget Peter Pan, is so enjoyable to read.

"All children, except one, grow up."
"To die will be an awfully big adventure."

~About the author:
J.M. BarrieSir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (9 May 1860 
– 19 June 1937) was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright. There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The Little White Bird), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, a "fairy play" about this ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. This play quickly overshadowed his previous work and although he continued to write successfully, it became his best-known work, credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously.[1] Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents. Before his death, he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which continues to benefit from them.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cover Crush #3: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Cover Crush is a new meme hosted on saturdays by Vyki @ On The Shelf where eye-catching covers get featured.

~Entwined by Heather Dixon
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Greenwillow Books

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to "keep" things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late

~Why I love this cover: 

I love it because it's so fairy tale-ish. From the dress of the girl to the garden she, I suppose is ine to the castle on the background. I love how the girl is facing away from us, as if she's walking to the castle. It's definitely one of those covers that's telling a story. I also love the swirly font of the title and the swirly flower and leaves thingies all around the cover. So pretty!

Stacking The Shelves #10

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga @ Tynga's Reviews.
The point of this meme is to showcase the books you bought, borrowed, won, downloaded or received for review.

Dangerous Sanctuary by Michelle Diener (Amazon)
Entangled (Amazon)

~For Review:
Reality of Life by Beth Bares

Veil by Aaron Overfield 

~From Library:
The Murders in the Rue Morgue and other stories by Edgar Allan Poe

What books or other goodies did you receive? Leave me links! :D

Series Catch-Up ~ 2012

Series Catch-Up challenge is hosted between November 1st and December 31st, 2012 by Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide. The aim of this challenge is to try and catch up on any series you might be behind on. 

When I saw this challenge I thought, "This is perfect!". I am soooo behind on some series that I just needed something like this. So this is the perfect challenge for me. I'm not going to list too many books to catch up on because I also have some reviews to do and I want to keep it real. Here we go!

~What I plan to catch up on:

Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer;
  • Spark (Elemental #2)

Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout;
  • Onyx (Lux #2)

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh;
  • Enshadowed (Nevermore #2)

Matched by Ally Condie;
  • Crossed (Matched #2)

If I would have any more time, I will also try to finish the following books:

Fifty Shades by E.L. James;
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifity Shades #3)

I think I already put too much on my plate with all these books so we'll see how it goes! :D

Friday, October 26, 2012

Feature & Follow #8

Feature & Follow is a weekly meme hosted on friday by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read.

Q: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.

A: Insta-Love. I kind of hate it. It might work in some books but mostly it's just annoying. Even in one of those "we shared past lives" books. Ugh!
Epilogues. Man, do I hate them! I seriously feel bad when I read them. Especially with a last book in a series... like it's really the final end and the author will never ever go back to it. Like, epilogues where the characters are "grown up". I really don't want to know that at all. I like to keep at least some mystery there.
Changing POVs. Again, in some books it might work but most of the time it confuses the hell out of me. I like books where it's just one POV. And if the books has to have several, please no more than two! *coughcoughHouseofNight*
Cliffhangers. They will be the death of me! I especially hate it when there's this huge cliffhanger and then you have to wait a whole freakin' year for the next book. No, please, just shoot me in the head then!
Love Triangles. I have a love/hate relationship with them. In some books they do work but lately in every YA book there is one, so it's definitely getting old. Especially since most every book you can guess which guy the heroine will end up with. So if there's a best friend guy and mysterious new guy, you know it's most likely the MC will not end up with the best friend. This really sucks.

~Wat about you? Leave me links so I can hop back! :D