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Sunday, November 23, 2014

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DNF Review: Released by Megan Duncan (Um...)

Released by Megan Duncan


Agents of Evil #1
Author:
Megan Duncan
Publication Date: March 19, 2011
Publisher: Self Published:
Reviewer: Sophia

After a demon apocalypse kills their parents and everyone they know, 17-year old Abby Phillips, her brother, Carter, and friend, Max flee their home to travel through what has become the wastelands of America. When radio transmissions of a resistance offering shelter and safety cease, Abby is tempted to give up. Struggling to overcome life-threatening obstacles in their dangerous journey, Abby and her companions quickly discover there are much worse things lurking in the dark than they could have ever imagined.


Updated review copy provided by the author originally for the blog tour

The coolest thing about Megan Duncan's Released is the mere fact that the characters seemed to be around before and during the "apocalypse." I mean, compared to most dystopian books out there, it's generations - at least to the point where the people are used to the way the new things are and are basically happy with the way everything is.

At least, until something bad happens. Then the ball gets rolling, the main character starts to question everything, s/he probably meets the love of their life, they find more rebels, they join the rebellion, they take down the government and start all over again! And maybe, just maybe, there will be a happily ever after.

That sort of depends on what the author is up to. I'm no mind reader, of course, and I'd rather not be a mind reader because as much as that sounds really cool, I would probably go insane reading everyone's thoughts. If that ever happens, I demand to be home-schooled. That way... I can try and control it before testing my tolerance out in the world.

I had also hoped there would be zombies involved from the way the demons were described, but really, the so-called zombies were... demons. (That was before the demon part was revealed.)

The uncoolest thing about Released is the mere fact the book starts heading in a romance like direction at like, 15% of the book. At the time, it wasn't terribly a problem because it wasn't as obvious to the point where I can hear the character implying, "OMG HE'S SO HOT AND I WANT TO TAKE HIS CLOTHES OFF". Yes, that's happened. In a Young Adult book no less (I DNFed it before my eyes came upon awkwardness and lost its purity). Another had a sex scene. Graphic and all. If you want my blogger horror stories, maybe I'll plan one for Halloween next year. Snarky and Sarcastic Sophia is likely to appear.

Here's where it actually becomes a semi-big problem: a character just enters the book – the entire picture! – and the main character is like, "Oooo, I think she's gotta a crush on him!" AFTER said person crushing on a person decided to help out during an attack... which is what I really don't get. Said person could just have a kind heart and soul. I mean, this is the "apocalypse!" Isn't this about surviving and trusting virtually no one?

Released, however, is very fast paced. Action, action, action. Hoorah! But despite the fast pace – has its perks sometimes, but not always a good thing (Sophia likes details. She wants to know the characters like the back of her hand) – I feel like I'm reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road again. Just with names and not "the man" or "the boy." I'm obviously not planning to stick around only to find out all the main characters die except for one*. Sounds very Hamlet-y, doesn't it (Best required literature read of last year.)? The fast-paced first book in the Agents of Evil series will most likely be great for those who want to go through a book fast enough and don't pay attention to the details, OR they have much more patience than me.

*Note: Whether or not the characters actually die at the end of the series is unknown to me. I also had better books to look forward to.

1.5 Owls


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Friday, November 21, 2014

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Blog Tour: A Place Beyond by Laura Howard - Review + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
A Place Beyond by Laura Howard

Danaan #3
Author:
Laura Howard
Book Links: Amazon
Publication Date: October 27, 2014
Publisher: Finding Bliss Publishing
Reviewer: Sophia


The time has come. Allison's quest to save her mother from Aoife's wicked enchantment will test everything she believes in. Who is trustworthy in the land of the Fair Folk, the Tuatha de Danaan?

It's up to Allison, along with her ragtag host of allies, to unravel the truth. Journey along and discover the power of love and duty as Allison faces the most difficult trial of her life.
Review copy provided by the author for review during the blog tour

I fully enjoyed the last few months of reading the first two books in the Danaan trilogy – The Forgotten Ones and Stone of Destiny. After reading the second book, I was extremely excited to read the final book in the trilogy just to see what Laura Howard had in mind for some of my favorite characters of the summer – emphasis on some – because I was hoping for something huge, spectacular, and out of this world. Of course, I have high expectations for the last books of a series. You guys are special (read: reallyyyy special)!

Oh, and The Forgotten Ones did land in one of my best reads of 2014.

Sadly, A Place Beyond suffered a little bit of what I call "Last Book Syndrome," in which compared to the prior books, the last book didn't exceed my expectations. Let me repeat: The last books are special. Simply because most of the time, I rarely get to the last book of the series, reason or no reason.

There are probably a few reasons why Laura Howard's ending to her debut series didn't exactly meet up to my expectations:

First, I feel as though A Place Beyond is questioning all of the Danaans' loyalties and where it lies – are the characters on the same side, or are the characters puppets and there's a puppeteer behind the scenes (aside from the author, who actually created the world) playing all the characters? It seems to particularly question royalty, especially Saoirse.

Second, the ENDING (aka final battle). Third, the villain. I'm putting both reasons together – in a way – because they go interchangeably.

If anything, I find the ending pretty important. It's the final battle! Who shall prevail?!?!?! All fans are sitting at the edge of their seats, flipping the pages, waiting to see what the author would throw at them next, anticipating the next move. Drama! Hooray! We all love drama in a way.

But in A Place Beyond, the villain gives up. Typical "NOOOOO." Roar.

The villain agrees to break the curse she had on Allison's mother and father – it's been there since The Forgotten Ones. There doesn't seem to be a bit of a fight. Again, I point to the villain giving up. It's like Aoife readily agreed – if she was going to give up, why even bother in the first place? Or maybe I'm just one of those weirdos who think you should go down fighting. It's funny, honestly. I have this tendency to ask for a draw sometimes in a chess match at a tournament, but I choose not to in the end.

Which is precisely why I'm probably currently one of the worst chess players in my state (I'm not the competitive type – competitive hardly goes well). And I honestly don't care too much because I'm too busy being scholarly to study chess. School, work and books are my priorities. Obviously, blogging is part of it.

But I repeat (for like the third time): the villain basically gives up. I would have loved to see her trapped in a fey globe again if you ask me – are there stronger ones out there? After making Aoife break the geis first, of course.

Oh, and Aoife's so nonchalant about sacrificing herself. It's total irony, guys. Just complete irony. Now that I think about it, the villain is so bad, it's good. Not to be so critical or anything – I'm absolutely peachy.

But hey, I still enjoyed A Place Beyond while it lasted. That's all that matters, right? No, A Place Beyond wasn't a great end to a trilogy, but it was a happy read (read: Ever After by Chloe Miles is just one of those happy reads I'm talking about). A quick read that gave me a break from the essays and projects I had earlier this month (yeah, yeah. I have more things to worry about in December. 8th graders, stop complaining so much. I worry about your future in three years). And really, I needed a good, quick read.

3.5 Owls


Author Bio


Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

Author Links:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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Read First, or Watch First?

In the couple of Catching Thoughts conversations over movies I've had with Lupe from Catching Bookz, she's always told me this: "Don't judge a movie by its book, Soph."

Pondering over the question myself, I started wondering: Is it better to watch the movie first before reading the book, or is it better to read the book before watching the movie? Are all those stickers and labels that say, "READ IT BEFORE YOU SEE IT IN THEATERS!" true, or do they simply lead to the downfall of most YA movies except for the ever occasional rare gem? Examples include City of Bones (drain hole), The Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, Vampire Academy (Sophia and Lupe don't really understand why), Beautiful Creatures (please don't get me started. That was honestly TERRIBLE.), etc.

The human mind is a curious thing in my opinion – isn't that why psychology is invented? Being judgemental is something we do naturally, despite the fact one may say they are not judgemental. We simply do it subconsciously – the books we read, the clothes we wear, the people we spend time with – you name it.
Think about the biggest reason why a book to movie get a lot of negative or positive reviews. The first thoughts that might pop in your head may include the cast not looking like the characters you imagined them to be, the director added or removed one too many things, you hated the book so that automatically means you'll hate the movie (I really hope this isn't your reason), or perhaps the most common reason: one does not simply love a movie when it does not follow closely to the book.
Which I totally get. I'm sure lots of people understand that. But there are quite a few pros and cons to both.

Reading Before Watching

  • You jump on the fan wagon before everyone else does. Of course, I have an absolutely reasonable reason not to read Harry Potter when it first came out – I wasn't born... YET. Couple months off probably. :p
  • You know the characters like the back of your hand – you've gone through everything they have, step by step of the book, and now you get to see it in reality! Yay! Who isn't excited to see their favorite characters come to life?
  • You know what's going to happen – the best quotes, the funniest scenes, the sad scenes, the romantic ones that make the hopeless romantics melt, etc.
  • You get REALLY excited when you hear the movie rights to The Infernal Devices have been bought. Mega squeals from all the fangirls. Do fanboys squeal by any chance? I mean, it's probably not as high pitch as my squeal may be...
    • Okay, you might be doing a happy dance as well. You're celebrating, alright?!
  • You have 100% bragging rights over the people who haven't read the book. As in, this did not happen in the book. Your argument is invalid.

Watching Before Reading

  • Chances are, you're probably a visual person and simply don't have the time to read the book. Completely reasonable I suppose, but you can't be busy 100% of the day, right? I mean, how do you sleep then? Oh, yes. 2 hours every night. Sadly, that won't last very long without tiring you out.
  • You know what's going to happen... except sadly to say, there's a loophole to this.
  • You get a taste of what the book might be like... and it probably impacts your decision on whether or not you'll read the book.
  • You get food! Of course, a reader can snag a few snacks when s/he want to, but what if you're reading a SUPER GOOD BOOK and you can't stop turning the pages because IT'S THAT GOOD?!?!?!
  • No judgements whatsoever. When you haven't read it, no can do.
Supposedly, I've only named the pros to both. Whether you prefer reading before watching or vice versa is ultimately up to you. But honestly, which do you prefer to do first? Any reasons that I haven't listed? Add away to my list(s)! I promise not to do anything mischievous as a result. Anything that does happen, blame the bots. Or my coding. Or perhaps more accurate, your intramanetty.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

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Review: Discern by Andrea Pearson

Discern by Andrea Pearson

Katon University #1
Author:
Andrea Pearson
Publication Date: 2014
Publisher: Self Published
Reviewer: Sophia

Nicole Williams is an Arete—a fourth child with magical abilities—yet no matter how hard she tries, she can’t Channel her power. In fact, she seems to be the only student at Katon University who fails at magic.

That doesn’t stop magic from finding her. It starts with possessed books and cursed spiders before moving quickly to freaky shadows and magical currents. Nicole turns to her best friend for help, along with fellow student Austin Young, who is considered by all a magical rarity. He also happens to be the hottest guy on campus and just might be interested in her.

Nicole soon finds herself competing to be included on a university-led expedition to Arches National Park. She is determined to show everyone, but mostly herself, that she does belong. Yet, to qualify for the trip, she must produce at least a speck of Wind magic, and that appears to be impossible.

As the competition progresses, Nicole wonders if she’s making the right choice—especially when she learns that the strange fossils they’ll be studying in Arches might not be as dead as everyone thinks.
Updated review copy provided by the author for review via I Am A Reader

It's been so long since I've come across a book with a 4.5 out of 5 rating, I am DANCING while writing this review. LITERALLY. Giddiness and all. Pigs are flying. Cows are singing.

Andrea Pearson's idea about the fourth child having magical powers – called Aretes – has got to be AMAZING. Nearly magic book involving kids almost always have something to do with the seventh child. Seven is like a magic number or something. 777! Since Triple Six is so bad, is the sixth child a squib or purely evil? Totally Satan's pawn. *roll of eyes*
Attitude aside, Andrea Pearson's idea goes into a different concept entirely (what a nice change). Until THIS is revealed:
People with naturally blond hair weren’t common. Neither were people with hair that was truly red, like Lizzie’s. Most Aretes, in the States especially, had light or dark brown hair, making them Water and Earth Aretes respectively.
Guys, I feel very left out. Where do those with black hair fit in? I mean... are we Satanic pawns? Surely I should feel some evilness coursing through my veins if that's the case?
Lupe: You're so negative – you find something bad about EVERY BOOK.
Me: And you're too positive. I swear pink and purple unicorns are invading your blog.
Lupe: Positivity is essential to good health.
Me: Isn't it happiness is essential to good health? Books are happiness. I'm as healthy as a horse. Your argument is invalid.
Lupe: *facepalm*
The relationships between Nicole and her mom is very weird. Nicole calls her mom by her name, which probably has a reason (rarely are parents act like, "Hey! Let's be professionals and call each other by name! I'm John and this is Jane..."). Her mom acts like she's Nicole's older sister to the point where I'm wondering if a) Tiffany is Nicole's real mom, b) Tiffany is just one of those rare parents, c) Tiffany is Nicole's governess, or d) Tiffany is Nicole's stepmom and Nicole just calls her mom because her real mother disappeared at birth. Or died.

The relationship between Nicole and Austin is also a little weird, though not as weird as with her mom. Nicole and Austin seem to act as though they're power buttons – off for awhile, then flip! They get along. Then the cycle continues. But if it makes the not-so-romantic ones (like me) out there really happy, Pearson doesn't push the two characters together forcibly in Discern, and Nicole is thankfully not as romantically obsessed as her friend Lizzie. And not as obsessed as Lupe (she is a terrible matchmaker):
Me: I plan to stay single and own Pringles one day. I may buy some stock.
Lupe: *shakes head* One day, I'm going to prove you wrong.
Me: Then I plan to push away every single guy. I'm not friends with any guy in our school anyways...
Lupe: Are you sure? You're friends with a few.
Me: *starts complaining about being poked all the time in Honors Literature*
It's just so nice when the main character is more determined to prove herself to others that she belongs at Katon University than more determined to get a boyfriend.

I think the best part to the first book in the Katon University series is the interesting history and background as Pearson talks about the Aretes, the Shoggoths, the Agarths, etc. Pearson does it all while keeping the story perfectly paced, intriguing and not repeating multiple plots. The way Pearson actually mentions her other series (Kilenya) quite vaguely makes me very curious about reading The Keys of Kilenya (which I have, but since Kilenya and Katon University aren't spin-offs of each other, I doubt it'll be very connected...) and excited to what Nicole and the other characters will be set up against in the sequel to Discern.

Random Thought: That cover seems to be a very accurate depiction of Nicole...

4.5 Owls


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Friday, November 14, 2014

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Blog Tour: Fissure - Guest Post + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Fissure (Chronicles of the Interred #2)
Author: Marilyn Almodóvar
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Publication Date: May 20, 2014

Baxter Jacobs just survived the worst Sweet Sixteen in history: buried in a coffin, hunted down by assassins, and losing almost everything that mattered to her. She’s ready for some normalcy, but “normal” won’t play any part of this Time Bender’s future.

Now that the immediate threat is over, Baxter learns just how much the English Council expects of the newest Interred. The pressure has her seriously considering her uncle’s offer to take her to New York, especially since she thinks it will keep her Healer, Jack, from overusing his abilities. Knowing the New York Council’s ranks are filled with beings using dark powers, however, makes her hesitate.

Before she can choose, the decision is wrenched from her. Fissures in Time result in a new battle with an old enemy. Someone she thought she’d lost reenters her life, and she’ll discover a web of lies woven into the fabric of Time…lies only she can unravel. Baxter will have to use her growing abilities to try and reveal the truth, even if it forever changes the reality she knows.

There are lies in the fabric of Time only she can unravel.

Top 10 Interesting Facts about the Interred (or a Time Bender)
By Marilyn Almodóvar
  1. The Interred are few, but they are extremely powerful.
  2. Most of the Council’s leaders have been a part of the Interred.
  3. The Interred train alongside their Warriors, as every Council lives in fear of being overthrown by another.
  4. The Interred Ball is a monthly party. Readers and Seers are the only ones that can determined on which date the Interred will acquire their powers.
  5. Though there’s no training to face the Interment, the Interred always know about their family’s Magical abilities and their history.
  6. The nectar given to the Interred is meant to relax them, but also inhibit their reactions so they can access their abilities.
  7. On the night of Baxter’s Interment, Jack was told by David Gainsborough not to let Baxter fall asleep. He feared the nectar had been spiked by someone outside the English Council.
  8. Jack Ashdown was the first Interred who is also a Warrior in three centuries.
  9. Each Council has a color for their Interred. English Council = White, New York Council = Baby Blue, Italian Council = Red, French Council = Royal Blue, etc.
  10. Although all Councils hold an Interment Ball, only the English Council actually buries their sixteen year olds. They believe that by cutting the Interred from everything around them, they’ll be able to access their abilities at midnight without problems.

Author Bio

Marilyn Almodóvar is the author of a series of YA paranormal novels. Born in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, Lyn is a lover of words whose reading tastes range from Victorian novels to the books of Stephen King. Her favorite past-times have always been reading and writing, two activities that let her escape to other worlds.

It was this love that propelled her to choose Theater and French as majors in University, with a minor in English Victorian Literature. Lyn lived for almost a decade in England followed by three years in France before returning home to the States. A self-confessed citizen of the world, she is fluent in English, French and Spanish, with basic knowledge of the Italian language.

Lyn could happily exist breathing the clean air of Narnia, trapped in a cupboard under the stairs with Harry, fighting alongside Captain Jack Sparrow, doing an internship in Torchwood, or traveling around time and space with the Doctor…as long as she can have Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk and Captain Mal as companions.

Lyn currently lives in Central Florida with her French husband, English-born eldest son, and French-born youngest son. Her debut YA Novel, Interred, was be published by Iambe books on 01/22/2013.
Author Links:
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

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The Book Blogger Tag

Happy Thursday! On the same day next year, it'll be Friday the 13th, and there's LOTS of them next year (actually 3 of them, 2 of them straight in a row).

Superstitions aside (hehe)... Ella and I would like to thank Haley from My Addiction: Books for tagging us to do the book blogger's tag! Plus, it's our first duo post together, so bear with us and try not to bite one or the other's (or both for that matter. We'd like to keep our heads intact.) head off, eh?
Sophia found this. Not Ella.
(But really, you guys might go after me. Only because I'm so lengthy and detailed compared to Ella. o_o)

1. How many times do you check your email everyday?

Ella: I have my blog email address but I don't have a personal one. I've always used my Mum's and have never been bothered enough to get my own. I am ever so slightly lazy, haha. :p

Sophia: Lazy possibly meaning checking email every few days. ;) I have a few personal ones for a variety of uses, though hotmail is what I prefer (gmail is for blogging and yahoo is for well... crap). I was pretty lazy with making an entirely different email account, so when I actually started blogging... I kept it the same. But I check my email every few days usually. Sometimes I won't check until a week later. IF I'm busy.

2. How many times a day do you go on Goodreads?

Ella: I DO NOT WANT TO ANSWER THE QUESTION. I am seriously embarrassed at how much I'm on Goodreads, BUT I CAN'T HELP IT. It's a website alllll about books!!!!!!!!! What's not to like???!!!! But, ahem, back to the question, at least 5 times a day, alot more if I'm in a time wasting mood. I know. I have a problem. *bows head*

Sophia: Compared to Facebook, I think I probably worship Goodreads (but don't all of us bookish peeps do that in some way?). After Twitter of course!

3. How long does it take to you to edit your posts?

Ella: Oh dear, A WHILE. I have the attention span of an ant and I'm VERY easily distracted. Like: *typing merrily away on a blogpost* I must google that very important THING! *googles it* *forgets that a much needed blog post is waiting for her to finish* *comes back 2 hours later to hurriedly finish blogpost* Yes, that bad. >.<
This sums up Ella's pathetic attention span PERFECTLY.
Sophia: Off the intramanetty, Ella! (JUST Kidding...)

I usually just do a skim to make sure there isn't anything embarrassing while formatting it into HTML code (just to copy and paste in the end because I'm almost always on limited time). MOST of the time I don't bother to look.

But if I ever want to be a successful court reporter, I need to wing it. Well... in the ears and out the hands. Sadly, my tendency to correct things might get me... as well as overthinking everything (but what if this happened?!?!?!).

4. What kind of laptop do you use?

Ella: I share a very old PC with 3 other family members. The squabbles over who's turn it is on it gets ridiculous sometimes. :/

Sophia: There is an absolute advantage to being the techy of the family AND the only child. *huggles Toshiba Satellite* MINE. But that Toshiba Satellite will die one day - it's nearly 10 years old. But WHEN that dies... I plan to get a Surface Pro. Touch screen and all. Or an Android Tablet. Do any Android users know of Android tablets that have a USB port AND the keyboard can be taken apart? I think it may be handy to have. Use the wifi at work before I actually clock and finish school research and what not. Schedule blog posts. Stalk blogs. Et cetera. I may get lots accomplished in 20 minutes.

5. How often do you check your Twitter?

Ella: I DO NOT HAVE TWITTER. Sophia and Siiri are very determined that I SHOULD get it though, and I feel like I might give in sometime in the future.

Sophia: Who, me? *bats eyes innocently* Ella will be a FANTABULOUS addition to the Twitter world - it's the best thing in the entire world (according to my humble opinion. Twitter the social media, that is.)!!! Okay, I'm usually on a lot, but until the next Kindle update to which Amazon actually changes - hopefully (GET GOING, AMAZON) - the certificate of the web browser because Twitter and Facebook use SSL and the two social networks decided to turn it off due to some vulnerability found. >_<

6. Why do you use Blogger, Wordpress, etc?

Ella: BLOGGER FOR THE WORLD! Blogger is so basic and easy to use that even a person like me can understand (most of) it! I actually had a wordpress blog awhile before I started Once Upon a Bookish Time, but I much prefer Blogger over Wordpress. Wordpress is very argumentative which frustrates me.

Sophia: I beg to differ. Wordpress is confusing. Nuff said. But it's nice to know Ella and I on the same side with this topic - yay! It means there will be no debates. ;) There's lots of reasons as to why I'm not jumping on the wordpress bandwagon, and one of them is blogger being very customizable for a free platform. It makes the designer/perfectionist in me HAPPY.
Then again, it's a matter of preference. Wordpress may be more "professional," but the free version is limited. And I mean VERY limited. Plus, in my eyes, any site could look professional. A professional site doesn't have to be overly elaborate - even the simplistic ones could be just as professional. A blog may be really pretty, but if I feel like I'm becoming blind the longer I read, I'm going to a site that's more soft on the eyes.

More discusssion on that another day.

7. Are you good at keeping up with your reviews, tags, etc?

Ella and Sophia:

Ella: SHERLOCK!! *fangirls*

HA! Oh yes, I'm AMAZING at keeping up with reviews, tags and comments! NOT. I am so behind on all those 3 that it's HUMILIATING. I am quite possibly the worst book blogger in the history of blogkind. No joke.

Sophia: O_O I think that's Watson. O_O

Define "keeping up." :D Like I mentioned in question 3, I format and schedule my posts ahead of time. Especially during the summer, when I have lots of free time and read a LOT of books.

Though in the past 2 years, I've pretty much done pretty well on my own in keeping up with reviews and all kinds of posts. Over time I started dropping out of memes and now most bookish events except for some blog tours. And of course, I'm also dipping my toes into coblogging with Ella from Once Upon a Bookish Time. She is simply fantabulous and lots of fun to work with. Coblogging might not be as bad as I fear. ;)

8. How many times a week do you post?

Ella: On Bookwyrming Thoughts I'm hoping to post a few times a week, and on Once Upon a Bookish Time...whenever. I'm trying to post at least twice a week on there and failing miserably. Go me.

Sophia: At LEAST once a week, though I do it whenever I can. Of course, with the amount of books I read in the summer, I could be months ahead - as you guys may be aware of, my summer reads pushed me through October/early this month.

I might not be really active in the blogging world this year, and the 8th graders of the blogging world are complaining. Really, guys. It'll be easy for the next two years after this. 11th grade is typically the hardest year - I have it easy compared to most of my friends!

OUR VICTIM HAS BEEN CHOSEN
(Okay, Sophia's Victim, because she thinks this is more like an interrogation of sorts)
Lupe @ Catching Bookz 

   

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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Blog Tour: The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher - ARC Review + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher

Faerie Revolution #1
Author:
Chelsea Pitcher
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Publication Date: November 8, 2014
Publisher: Flux
Reviewer: Sophia

A Kingdom at War . . .

Elora, the young princess of the Dark Faeries, plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother, the Dark Queen, and bring equality to faeriekind. All she has to do is convince her mother’s loathed enemy, the Bright Queen, to join her cause. But the Bright Queen demands an offering first: a human boy who is a “young leader of men.”

A Dark Princess In Disguise . . .

To steal a mortal, Elora must become a mortal—at least, by all appearances. And infiltrating a high school is surprisingly easy. When Elora meets Taylor, the seventeen-year-old who’s plotting to overthrow a ruthless bully, she thinks she’s found her offering . . . until she starts to fall in love.
Advanced copy provided by Flux for review via Netgalley – thanks!

The worst I thought would happen to The Last Changeling is an exact replica of The Iron Fey, only a much darker version.

Thankfully, that isn't the case.

In actuality, The Last Changeling is a talking book. Chelsea Pitcher's latest work certainly didn't sprout a mouth and start speaking to me. Although it would be really cool to have a talking book. "Morning, Last Changeling! Please summarize what I read three weeks ago. Thank you!"

(Should that actually happen, I would probably use it a lot. For the books whose sequels I read years later. *cough* Matched *cough*)

See, one of our main characters, Elora, is a Dark Faery Princess on a quest for the Bright/Seelie Queen. Our other main character is a dude by the name of Taylor who is a soccer player and has great morality, but the guy honestly puts himself down far too much. They meet... at a swing set, and because "Lora" doesn't seem to have a place to go, Taylor offers to let her stay at his house.

Thus begins the talking. And more talking. About faery history, which essentially leads to well... Elora's history (always a great idea for us to know the characters of course, especially the main ones). By the end of the book, you'll know Elora pretty well, and meanwhile... it's pretty much expected Taylor and Elora will fall heads over heels in love from their first meeting. The characters just don't admit it (not that any pair of fictional characters ever do).

Plus, Taylor and I are distant buddies. Quite distant, because it seems as though Pitcher focuses a little too much on Elora and the reader knowing Elora yet neglecting Taylor.

So basically my biggest question is this: Is Elora's quest just talking, trying to acclimate to the mortal world, while trying to figure out the answer to the Bright Queen's riddle which was off the charts wrong? I was sort of expecting adventure. Fireballs! Or... shadowballs in this case...

But I most certainly did not expect talking. Lots and lots of talking.

I guess I'm the reader who prefers the blood and gore. Occasionally, the fluffy, bunny book (NOT like eating bunny tails, as Ella likes to say. Though I suppose that's accurate as well.) is enjoyable.

On the bright side, I do think Elora and Taylor go well together. By the end of the story, Taylor seems much more confident and seems to stand up for himself rather than letting others push him around. And Elora, despite the fact her lack of knowledge of the mortal world is hilarious, makes a great impact to those who would rather be a doormat and not stand up for themselves. I personally think Chelsea Pitcher's latest novel sends a strong message across to readers, even though there's far too much talking than "questing."

3.5 Owls

Author Bio


Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light.

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Monday, November 10, 2014

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Review: Lark by Erica Cope

Lark by Erica Cope

Lark #1
Author:
Erica Cope
Publication Date: 2013
Publisher: Self Published
Reviewer: Sophia

The last time she checked, Mia Carrington was pretty sure that she was a normal girl with a completely ordinary life.

She goes to high school, has a crush on the gorgeous and mysterious new boy in town, and has strange dreams that she can’t help but feel are real somehow.

Okay, so maybe she’s not all that normal after all.

A freak accident changes Mia’s life forever when she is thrown into another world and left to deal with the revelation that she is the daughter of the King of the Light Elves. Throw in an ominous prophecy predicting that Mia will break a curse unleashing the Dark Elves on the world and well, things don’t look too good.

There is danger lurking at every corner in this strange world and Mia isn’t sure who she can trust…
The only thing she is certain of is that the Dark Elves know about her, and they will stop at nothing until they have her.

I don't read many books with elves in them. The closest I've gotten? Fairies. Or faeries. However you want to spell them. And so far the one thing in common from all the books – which honestly isn't a lot – I've come across that actually have elves?

A solar eclipse. Literally, a solar eclipse. The entire analogy behind this is the romance being the moon, the sun being the book's plot and the Earth is us humble readers and potential fans to the author. And if you still don't fully understand the entire analogy, here's a nice little graphic made by yours truly. It's also not in paint.
I hate to say this, but it felt as though Erica Cope focused so much on the romance, it literally overshadowed the entire plot. The plot honestly wasn't bad – there's definitely a very interesting take to elves, especially in distinguishing Light and Dark ones.
When the curse fell on the Dark Elves that imprisoned them in the Underworld, it made it impossible for a Dark Elf to be exposed to daylight. This curse supposedly causes the Dark Elves to suffer an extreme aversion to sunlight, which keeps them restricted to being creatures of the dark.
But nothing ever goes well with me when:
  1. Mia talks more about having a crush on Grayson than really, anything else. It's not terrible yet, guys.
  2. When Jacoby pops in, she talks about having a crush on not only one, but both. Oh, and she talks about how she feels when they touch her, or how she wants to feel their lips on hers... am I creeping anyone out?
  3. Endearments are used when there's no romance. Yet. "You're killing me babe." THEY'RE FRIENDS. My guy friends obviously don't call me babe – if they did, I would probably freak out and run away... never to speak to said boy again.
  4. You can tell early on there is a love triangle because it's THAT obvious. Oh, and the love triangle ends on the last page of the book. Typically in love triangles, it's not obvious in the first book. It's obvious in the second book, and the girl chooses sometime in the third book, if not earlier. What is this? I admit it's different, but me no like. O_O
I had no choice but to leave Kate. I was brought up to always to fulfill my duty to my kingdom above all else.
The language and writing is also quite casual. Sorta, kinda, etc. It doesn't help that Alberico doesn't sound kingly with the way his words not sounding very eloquent – aren't kingly words supposed to sound lyrical and graceful? It doesn't help that Dugan sounds like a cheesy villain who sounds and acts evil, but is really a psychopath who finds pleasure in others' misery. It doesn't help that Mia's voice sounds like something I want to tune out. It most certainly doesn't help when Gray sounds like Daemon Black's over-protectiveness – within reason – and his name is "Grey." See what I did there?

Unfortunately, Lark is just a young adult book in which the romance obviously overshadows the plot heavily. It's also another elf book that failed to slide into my good graces.

2 Owls


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Friday, November 7, 2014

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Blog Tour: Shades of Chaos - Excerpt + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Shades of Chaos (Boxed Set)
Authors: Alexia Purdy, Cameron Jace, Chrystalla Thoma, Katie Salidas, Megan Duncan
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Publication Date: June 11, 2014

Dare yourself to enter into post-apocalyptic future with this gritty collection of first-in-a-series books by six bestselling authors! Discover unique worlds packed with non-stop action, adventure, and suspense set against a gritty, futuristic backdrop.

NOTE: Together, these books have over 320 5-star reviews on Amazon!

Over 1400 pages of stories, with *exclusive* content from Alexia Purdy, Katie Salidas, and Chrystalla Thoma!
Best for ages 16 and up~

View the Rest of the Synopsis »

Excerpt from Rex Rising:
     Elei inhaled the humid air and tried to get his bearings, to remember something, anything. In the end, he had to admit defeat. “Which island is this? Is it Kukno?”
     “Are you saying I tricked you?” The boatman’s voice was dry. “We’re right where you told me to take you. Dakru.”
     Dakru! The heart of the Seven Islands, risen in their perfect center, pushed out of the depths of the sea by the gods — at the beginning, before their divine hands molded the flesh of fish and birds, and then man. Elei stared at the shore, not quite believing he was there.
     Until the boatman planted a heavy hand on his shoulder and shook him. “Hey, snap out of it. Pay me my second half and jump out now, or the sea will have you.”
     Looking into his hard eyes, Elei had no doubt he meant it. He reached into his pocket and took out his thin wad of bills. Blood ran in a hot line down his hip as he counted and gave over the money. The boatman counted it again, eyes darting to the remaining bills and Elei’s gun peeking out of the holster.
       Not good. Grimacing, Elei climbed out of the boat, scrambling on hands and knees to keep his balance on the blocks of the pier, fumbling in the half-darkness as the sea sang and sighed all around him and cold water sprayed his face. His left wrist throbbed, felt slightly sprained. His body felt numb, uncoordinated; the pain in his side echoed in his limbs, in his head.
     Like an insect, he crawled on the giant squares, skinning hands and knees, until he finally reached the pier road. He could have wept for relief. Maneuvering his heavy legs, he climbed to his feet and glanced back at the boat which was already speeding away — a speck blacker than blackness, a white line of surf. Then he turned with a knot in his stomach to face the unknown shore.
     The island was Dakru, but which city was this one? A memory returned and Elei frowned. Krisia. The boatman was supposed to drop him at Krisia, a small enough seaport to avoid Gultur police control. What had possessed him to go there?
     Elei staggered along the pier toward the storehouses lining the seafront and the wound hurt like a son of a bitch with every step. He should have hidden in the mountains of Ost until he figured out what happened.
     Nobody in their right mind would come to Dakru. The Gultur presence was stronger there. Their capital, Dakru City, the Gultur stronghold, rose in the center of the island, dominating the plains at the feet of the rugged mountains, and the dakron mines spread around it in a spiderweb of power. The source of the Gultur wealth lay in the control of the dakron mines, where the mineral fuel, pure and invaluable, was extracted. The police presence would be stronger here as well. And he was an illegal migrant.
     This is mad. Why would I…
     Someone had chased him. A face he knew, a man’s hard features, surfaced in his memory. Falx? He wondered why Pelia’s head of security would go after him, though it made no difference now. Nevertheless, it explained why he’d chosen — wisely in retrospect — not to travel with legal transportation over the immense bridges between the islands. He’d still been able to think when he’d boarded the boat, body pumped full of adrenaline.
     Now the images, the words, the thoughts turned hazy. He stumbled and had to stop to catch his breath, his hand clenching on his side. Just move. He licked his lips, his throat raw from thirst, knowing he couldn’t rest there — too conspicuous, too dangerous. Keep moving. He had to get to Artemisia. He knew that. And from there…
     Elei grappled with the memory. Where did he have to go? An address, he had an address. Where was it? His hand dove into his pocket and drew out a crumpled scrap of paper. The letters jerked and swam in his vision.
     There. He must get there. A name. And a place, an address. He wondered how far he had to go, how easy it’d be to find transportation and whether streetcars ran that stretch. He pushed the paper deep into his pocket, patted it. The knot in his gut unwound a little. He had a goal. Get there. Just do it.
     Go to Aerica.
     Find Kalaes Ster.

AUTHOR LINKS

Cameron Jace - Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Katie Salidas - Facebook | Blog

Chrystalla Thoma - Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Alexia Purdy - Facebook | Blog | Twitter

Megan Duncan - Facebook | Amazon

Giveaway

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

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2014 Ho-ho-ho Readathon Challenge: Holiday Wish List

Happy Thursday, and welcome to the first day of the Ho-ho-ho Readathon hosted by Kimba from Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Jennifer from The Book Shelfery! Thank you to Kimba and Jennifer for bestowing me the honor of being a Christmas elf (and to yet shower all of you fabulous peeps with a prize)! ^_^

All you need to do is read holiday themed or winter setting books from November 6th through the 11th. Check out more rules and sign up at the linky over at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Here's the story: The evil side of me wanted to make all of you guys to make poetry. If it makes anyone feel better, it would have been fun to see haiku... book spine style. But I'm leaving that for another year. ;)
The relaxing side of me has so much schoolwork (Keep this in mind, Underclassmen: 8th grade will suck. 9th and 10th grade will likely not suck. 11th and 12th and anything after that will most likely suck.), I probably should have a) backed out, b) everyone gets a free entry! Except there's one requirement, or c) make the challenge easier.

Obviously I wouldn't choose a. I feel way to nice if I choose b, so I'm making this easy... all you need to do is two things:
  1. Participate in the Readathon. You can sign up HERE.
  2. Answer this question: What book - holiday themed or winter setting - is on your wish list?
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is enter the rafflecopter - winner gets the book they used as an answer to the question, so be sure you don't have a copy lurking around already (unless you want two)! ;)
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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Introducing Our New Co-blogger, Ella!

It's taken me awhile to jump into the pool of working with someone – I mean, I'm sharing space! This is like my virtual home. It's like having a dorm to yourself in college and suddenly you have a roommate! – but after much thought over the summer before Junior year, I've decided that, well, I might not be able handle everything and do blogging at the same time on my own. Lately I've been a zombie. De-zombifying every weekend is so not helping me wake up at 5:30am every morning.
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Monday, November 3, 2014

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Book Trailer: Hellhole by Gina Damico

Happy November everyone! On this fantabulous Tuesday afternoon, I'm helping out Gina Damico reveal the book trailer to her next YA novel, HELLHOLE.

(Though if you're currently not on a Tuesday afternoon, obviously you don't live in Central Time. But good morning or evening or even better, HAPPY MIDWEEK.)
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

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Bookwyrming Thoughts is TWO!

Time passes by much too fast for my liking. I feel like I just started Bookwyrming Thoughts yesterday, but it's been two years. TWO YEARS.
Two years means a lot, because I never actually thought I would last that long. But I did, and I enjoy book blogging and discovering indie books that totally deserve to be on the shelves of Barnes & Noble in the near future.

Thank You to the Following Awesome Peoples:

Ella @ Once Upon a Bookish Time – Aka frabjous person and coblogger. You totally deserve my first thanks. I'm so glad you're on board, even though I keep pushing that intro post a little further away... and finally settled on November 4. It's going to be awesome having you as a partner in mischief. CUPCAKES! Just don't tell anyone I'm spoiling you with virtual treats... ^_^
Lupe @ Catching Bookz – See, I would put you as first, but you're a conspirator. I do love our Twitter chats... even though most of them time I'm sitting back and watching you and Kahlan debate. One day, I'll have one too many popcorn. Hopefully we'll still stay in contact after we graduate next year. Otherwise you might live a miserable and lonely life on a Mexican island... but I'm still worried about your future after your reaction to the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer in August. :D
The people who frequently stop by and comment – My memory is currently fishy, but whether or not I know you, your comments and feedback (particularly with me dipping my toes in movie reviewing) make my day.
Authors and Publishers – To the authors and publishers I've worked with in the past two years, thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to review your books, even if I may not like it. To all the authors out there, you guys are the creative ones that allow us readers and book bloggers travel from place to place, time to time, and world to world without actually having to hop on a plane.

A very grim note, but here's to hoping I survive another year (with Ella. Can't leave you out!)! ^_^

Giveaway

Hey, you're not going to let me get away without showering some goodies on you guys, are you? ;) Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win the following awesmeness:
  • eBook: The Keepers by Anoosha Lalani – Thanks REUTS Publications!
  • Any book (ebook or physical) from Amazon $10 or under
  • $5 Amazon Gift Card from BingRewards (not sponsored by Bing)
  • Giveaway ends November 21, 2014 and is INTERNATIONAL
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FTC Disclaimer

All reviewed books posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts are purchased/gifted, loaned or provided by the author/publisher for free in exchange for a honest review. There is no compensation in any way or form aside from a complimentary copy of the book, and it does not influence the review.