Announcements

Novel Newcomers 2017 has begun! This week's blogger is Uma from Books.Bags.Burgers.
Check out why fantasy is her favorite genre!

Started book blogging in 2016 but missed sign ups? No worries! We have you covered.
Check out the details on the original post.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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ARC Review: The Corridor by A.N. Willis (Earthling Sophia is Happy)

The Corridor by A.N. Willis

The Corridor #1
Author:
A.N. Willis
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Reviewer: Sophia

Infinite worlds. Endless possibilities . . .

Stel Alaster has never known life without the Corridor. It appeared suddenly seventeen years ago, the only portal to a parallel version of our world—Second Earth. Everyone on First Earth fears Mods, the genetically modified Second Earthers who built the Corridor. They are too smart, too strong, and have powers that can’t be controlled. Any Mod found on First Earth is branded, then detained in the Corridor’s research labs.

Only Stel has a dangerous secret. She has a power, too: She can open a portal to Second Earth . . . and several other parallel universes she’s discovered. If anyone ever finds out, she’ll be imprisoned, no better than a Mod or common lab rat.

But when the Corridor starts to fail, emitting erratic bursts of energy that could destroy First Earth, Stel must risk everything to save the people and world she loves. With the help of an escaped Mod and an infuriatingly arrogant boy from a third universe, Stel sets out to unravel the mysteries of the Corridor and stabilize it before it’s too late. The fate of every world lies in the balance. . . .
Advanced copy provided by Alloy Entertainment via Netgalley for review – thanks!

It seems, that books relating to parallel universes are like mermaid books and contemporary books: I either get along with them, or I don't get along with them.

It's no brainer that a book involving parallel universes as A Thousand Pieces of You and The Corridor have would be extremely scientific in its explanation. An information dump is (or maybe just a dumbing down of information) bound to happen if the authors want me to make sense of their parallel universes.

But somehow, I enjoyed a story concocted by A.N. Willis far more than a story concocted by Claudia Gray (parallel universes related – I DO like Claudia Gray's other works), even if my first thoughts reading the first chapter was, "Oh, no. Parallel universes. Please don't disappoint me, A.N. Willis."

I find that I'm actually not disappointed – I really enjoyed the first book in the Corridor series, and I was pretty engrossed with Willis' writing. I wanted to know more than what the author actually wrote – Estele's power, Dr. Taber's betrayal years ago. I even found myself interested in the science of the universes that the scientists were seeing and the different "Earths" Estele visits using her power. And I am not generally a science person, regardless of the fact I think Chemistry is easy and passed it with a fabulous A-.

(Maybe I'm a chemistry kid rather than a physical science or biology kid. I guess I can't run away from math after all. What if I'm an accountant one day?!?!?! I won't complain, of course, since it's baby math...)

There were moments that I found myself confused on which Earth the characters were talking about – each world has different names for each of the other Earth. The original Earth simply went with First Earth, Second Earth, and possibly so and so forth if they found any more. Estele went with calling First Earth and Second Earth whatever the scientists called them, and came up with names that were significant to that Earth when she first visits. Another version of Earth was further advanced and found more twelve Earths in total, and went with the zodiac in naming each of them. I found that while the more advanced Earth was far more complicated, Estele's version seemed to make things a lot more clearer in matching up the Earths.

Possibly the biggest difference between A Thousand Pieces of You and The Corridor was how Marguerite actually uses a device while Estele somehow has a power to travel across worlds. I personally found that really cool and interesting, and as mentioned earlier, I wanted to know more about that power as much as Estele did.

By the time I actually got to the end of the book, I was pretty disappointed... in a good way. I suppose Willis did disappoint me after all. I honestly have no clue where the author is going with the series, but I'm hoping the sequel will be just as good as the first one is.

4.5 Owls


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Sunday, June 28, 2015

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Movie Review: The Fault In Our Stars (Sophia's Hunt Continues)



The Fault In Our Stars
Based on the novel by John Green
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff
Release Date: June 6, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13


Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.



Well, I finally got the chance to watch this. (Lupe: ABOUT TIME, SOPHIA.)

The Fault in Our Stars, based on the bestselling novel by John Green, is about a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster with cancer and spends most of her time going to support group, eating meds, and living life as normally as possible. She hates going to support group, until she meets Augustus Waters, who lost a leg due to cancer.

Let's just say I like how the movie is quite accurate to the book, and how there are quotes implemented from the book. Then again, I love it when movies are accurate with the book version, or as close to accurate as can be (yes, I understand there's a budget and some things are highly unnecessary, but is dying hair really that expensive?). It simply made things more enjoyable (as enjoyable as someone who entertained herself while partially doing chemistry).

I'm also going to put it out there that I didn't cry. At all. With both book and movie. I actually found the movie absolutely hilarious, until you get to the end, where everything is all serious (Lupe: *sputters* What? How could you say that?!). I never really found Isaac's singing, Augustus asking Hazel about her wish, the meeting with Peter Van Houten, or the egg throwing really funny until I had the visual version right in front of me.

(I'm apparently a visual person. A very fatal flaw in the reading portion of the ACT where I must read every word to comprehend the story.)

Shailene Woodley didn't do too bad in portraying Hazel. She's more emotional and "normal" here than she is in Divergent, which is an entirely different spectrum, but I'm with everyone that says she's better as Tris than Hazel. It just feels really weird having Woodley portraying Hazel. (I suppose the very fact I watched Divergent several days before I watched The Fault in Our Stars didn't help too much.)

The Fault in Our Stars, per say, is just a movie with an adorable romance and hilarious moments. Thus, the hunt for a movie that will make me cry continues (Clockwork Princess, If I Stay and Ever After are ties in the book department).

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

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Review: Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh (Confession: Ella really loved this book)

Confessions of a Queen B* (The Queen B* #1)
Author:
Crista McHugh
Links: Amazon
Publication Date: July 28th 2014
Publisher: Crista McHugh
Reviewer: Ella

Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she's carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.
A Review copy provided by Publisher via Netgalley – thanks!

So I've gotta admit it: I was really worried about starting this book. It definitely looked like a hit or miss for me, but THANKFULLY, it was a definite hit!

I really loved Alexis, our MC. She reminded me a lot of Bianca from The DUFF which is a book I ADORED, so finding another Bianca related character made me happy. Alexis is snarky, slightly bitter and generally suspicious of the world and she's also the Queen Bitch of her high school. She digs up dirt on everything that's going around in her highschool and then posts it on her blog for the whole school to see. Everyone hates her, and she likes it that way. it was really refreshing to have a different type of heroine then the ones we see so often in YA.

I didn't much like Alexis' so called 'best friends'. Morgan the goth girl and Richard the gay boy felt a bit like cupboard cut outs and I didn't feel like they supported Alexis like a real friend does. Richard was better then Morgan and had better qualities, but I had absolutely no patience for Morgan, and I'm not sure why Alexis and Morgan were friends in the first place. Morgan was continually pressuring Alexis to 'lose the V-Card' and kept telling her if she 'got laid' she'd be stop being so uptight. A true friend doesn't pressure you to have sex and Morgan wasn't a true friend.

OMG CAN WE TALK ABOUT BRETT OUR LOVE INTEREST?! *flails* BRETT IS ALL KINDS OF ADORABLE AND CAN I JUST SAY I WANT MY OWN BRETT. NOW. AT ONCE. IMMEDIATELY. I loved how Brett showed Alexis she was actually a pretty cool person under her bitchy exterior and how he was just a really, really adorable person. Also, he totally rocks at being a Dad to a baby doll. JUST SAYING.

The romance was AWESOME. Alexis thinks she dislikes Brett but but then realises the she actually generally likes him and Brett is SO adorable and nice and I just shipped them so hard. The chemistry between them was not only hilarious but really, really, cute. Something I didn't like though, was that for a lot of the book Alexis thought Brett was with Summer, but still flirted with him and I thought that was wrong.

The few problems I had with Confessions of a Queen B* were few but there were a couple of things that bothered me. The slightly unsatisfactory ending which I felt was rather flat and to many loose twitchy loose ends were flapping around. I wanted Alexis and her younger sister Taylor to reconcile and start a better relationship with each other, but that didn't happen. I thought maybe Summer, Alexis' arch enemy and ex best friend might've gotten over over their hate of each other a little bit but that didn't happen either.

I didn't realise until I was looking up the book on Goodreads, that it's actually going to be a trilogy! On one hand I'm SO happy I'm going to be able to get my hands on more Alexis and Brett *grins* but on the other, I thought this book made a really good standalone so I'm a bit worried about where the series is going to go and if it'll be as good as this one. But still: MORE ALEXIS AND BRETT! AHHHHH!! And the second book is coming out this September! *happy dance*


Favourite Quote:
Ah. Children, the STD that keeps on living even after you're dead.
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Friday, June 26, 2015

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Blog Tour: Home No More - Excerpt


Title: Home No More
Author: Leddy Harper

My name is Kendall Carrington—or so I thought…

When 17-year-old Kendall gets pulled over during an impromptu joy ride, she not only discovers she is not the girl she thought she was, but neither is anyone else. Kidnapped when she was young, she is thrust back into a life she doesn’t remember. One where her name is Danielle Tucker and betrayal seems to be lurking around every corner. No longer able to decipher the truth from the lies, she enlists the help of blue-eyed hottie Lincoln Hunt on her quest for truth.

Will she come to terms with her new life? Or will she go running back to the only home she’s ever known?



Excerpt:
     The winding, two-lane highway was deserted at that time of night. It was just me and the stupid cop behind me. His lights nearly blinded me in my rearview mirror. Red and blue. Panic crept in and set my heart racing as I pulled onto the right shoulder, hoping he’d pass on his way to something more important.
     He didn’t. He pulled over behind me. Terror flooded my senses and my hands convulsed as I rolled down the window, my mind going through all the things I could’ve been doing wrong. I hadn’t been speeding, my lights were on, I didn’t weave or pass improperly—there were no cars to even pass.
     The officer walked up to my window with his hand on his belt. For a second, I thought he was going to grab his gun. Instead, he pulled out his long flashlight and shone it onto my lap where my hands were twisted together.
     “License and registration, please, ma’am.”
     How in the hell would I get out of this? I had no license—never had one—and the car was registered under someone else’s name. I reached into the glove box and pulled out the registration, hoping he would forget all about my license.
     “Your license, too, please.” Of course, he wouldn’t forget that.
     “I’m sorry, officer, but I left home without it. I was just running up to the gas station for some headache medicine. I wasn’t even thinking when I left.” I wasn’t exactly lying; I was going to need something for the headache his blinding lights were giving me.
     He crouched down far enough to see into the car; it was the first time I got a good look at his face. He was an older man, probably in his late forties, with graying hair. He had a cleanly shaven face and green eyes that seemed so familiar, but it was hard to see in the dark.
     The beam from the flashlight hit my face and I moved my hand to shield my eyes. I waited for him to say something, but he didn’t. Instead, he stood there, shining his light on me and, from what I could assume, staring at me.
     I did not need this. An older man using his powers of the law to get what he wanted. I refused to do that. He could throw me in jail for all I cared. I would not suck or spread anything for this pervert.
     “Excuse me, officer, but is there some reason you’re doing that?” I longed to have the light out of my eyes, off of my face. My sudden headache intensified and my panic levels reached an all-time high. Sweat beaded on my forehead and in my armpits. I couldn’t stop shaking, and I struggled to keep my voice steady.
     He lowered the beam back to my lap. I couldn’t decide what was worse, him gawking over my face or my vagina. At least I wasn’t being blinded anymore.
     “What’s your name, young lady?” I had expected him to sound perverse, but he didn’t. He sounded concerned, almost like he would when talking to a child. I guess compared to him, an eighteen-year-old would be a child. But I had been through far too many things to be seen as one.
     “Tiffany.” I knew not to give my real name. Billy had told me time and time again. I’d had the name picked out since I was fifteen, since Billy had come and saved me. I hadn’t had to use it yet. But I said it with such certainty that my real name very well could have been Tiffany, not Kendall.
     “Your full name, please.”
     I probably should have already come up with one of those. I used to have one picked out, but as I got older, I didn’t like it anymore and just never found a new one.
     “Stark.” I berated myself for saying it. I had glanced up at the sky and saw the stars, and in that moment, Stark had become my last name. I had no doubt he knew I’d lied. My voice didn’t sound nearly as confident as it had when I’d said my first name—or as I should say, my make-believe first name.
     “Give me a minute, if you will.” He vanished behind the car. I could still hear him, though. He stood far enough away that I couldn’t make out his words, but I could hear the depth of his voice.
     He wasn’t gone long. He came back to ask more questions. My middle name, my birthday, where I was from. Each answer I gave him, he responded to the radio on his shoulder, and a crackling voice would sound back something inaudible to me.
     “Ma’am, you are not showing up in the DMV records for this entire state. This car is registered to a male, and you have no way to prove your identity. I’m going to need to take you with me. Please open the door and step out with your hands up.” He set his hand on his belt again. This time, I knew it rested on his weapon.
     “I’m sorry, officer, but you have yet to tell me why you pulled me over.”
     “Your tag light is out. Now please, remove yourself from the vehicle.”
     My tag light. My life crumbled to insignificant pieces because of a fucking tag light that costs a whopping five dollars.

Author Bio

Leddy Harper had to use her imagination often as a child. She grew up the only girl in a house full of boys. At the age of fourteen, she decided to use that imagination and wrote her first book, and never stopped.

She often calls writing her therapy, using it as a way to deal with issues through the eyes of her characters.

She is now a mother of three girls, leaving her husband as the only man in a house full of females.

The decision to publish her first book was made as a way of showing her children to go after whatever it is they want to. Love what you do and do it well. Most importantly Leddy wanted to teach them what it means to overcome their fears.
Author Link:
Website

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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Audiobook Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here
Author:
Gayle Forman
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Length: 7 hours, 42 minutes
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Listening Library
Reviewer: Sophia

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

Well, here's to my first contemporary audiobook.

Gayle Forman's latest novel didn't exactly give me the feels as much as If I Stay did. I Was Here mainly focuses on Cody, a girl who finds her best friend Meg's suicide a bit fishy and decides to look deeper into her death.

From all of the flashbacks, Cody is obviously a follower – a shadow to Meg. After Meg's death, Cody is a little lost – she's grieving, she wants to find out if Meg actually did commit suicide (or if someone coerced her into it), and all of that leads her to dig deeper into Meg's past year at college. With Cody trying to find her own footsteps after Meg's death, I Was Here felt like a coming of age story.

It's also a story where all of those online safety rules that I learned in elementary school are flipped upside down. I don't know if I should say Cody is just a really stupid character, or a really brave character. Perhaps both. In her digging, Cody is led to an online suicide support group that Meg frequented on, which eventually leads her to a user Meg communicated off the boards as well. In an attempt to weed out the user, Cody decides to pose as a suicidal person as well, which eventually leads her to finding out the person's address (with help) and Cody actually decides to go to that person's home.

I still don't know whether to call Cody an idiot or not. Obviously she has balls to try and find out what really caused Meg's death, and she's obviously not an idiot if she brings someone with her.

Jorjeana Marie seemed quite platonic throughout most of the narration – either for the possible effect of Cody being platonic as she finds her path, or another reason entirely. It was also difficult at times to tell if Marie was making an attempt to have a different voice for male and female characters. If the character was angry or snapping at another character, you can tell there's a bit of rage or snap if you listen closely, but when you're walking to work when there are cars driving by, it's actually hard to tell if Marie did snap.

Marie does, however, do a fantastic job in the very emotional parts of the book, especially when Cody or Ben or any of the other characters are crying. I almost believed the narrator was actually crying, or an actual kid came in and narrated a kid part. I doubt there are books that mainly consists of crying, but if there are, I'm half expecting to see Jorjeana Marie's name on the back. :p

The entire novel is really just about a girl who lived under a shadow of another girl, and when that girl died, the shadow has to try and find her own path without that person. I Was Here isn't exactly emotional unless you can really connect with the story and the main character.

3.5 Owls


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Monday, June 22, 2015

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Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White (Weirdest Family By Far)

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersen White

The Chaos of Stars
Author:
Kiersten White
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Reviewer: Sophia

Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora's family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you're the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she's only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there's no such thing as a clean break from family.

Blending Ally Carter's humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there's no place like home.

The Chaos of Stars may have landed as the weirdest mythology book I've ever read.

It's different from other mythology books, as Isadora, being the daughter of Egyptian gods, is actually a human and not a goddess or demigoddess. But the whole Egyptian family history Isadora had was just really, really weird. There's incest here, incest there, incest, well, everywhere – all smushed in together with Isis' "fabulousness" throughout history. Huzzah.

It's also a smidge different from White's Paranormalcy series (not that I read the entire series), which I really couldn't help but compare The Chaos of Stars to.

Early on in the book, it's obvious Isadora has an extreme passion for art like Evie did, particularly in interior designing. There were just moments in the book that she jabbers on and on about how she would improve a room in her brother Sirus's house or the museum that I had a tendency to just skip the parts where she talked about interior designing. Like I mentioned earlier, it's obvious from reading those parts that Isadora is extremely passionate about art and interior designing, but my eyes just glazed over it. Reading about how Isadora would change a room or two just felt completely unnecessary in the overall plot, but completely necessary in getting to know Isadora as a character.

Among the incest business (I feel really weird for saying that) smushed with tales of le fabulous Isis, there's probably one thing that makes Isadora different from Evie: Isadora is absolutely stubborn in the love department. "OMG, I'm scared to fall in love, so I'm just going to vow off all men. If any cutie decides to hit on me, I'll probably kick them in the shenanigans that'll render them useless in reproduction," is quite literally laced throughout the entire book.

Disclaimer: It's not Isadora's exact words, but it might as well be implied.

Ironically enough, Isadora does fall in love. She doesn't kick said guy in the shenanigans as she happily implied, which apparently contradicts the entire mantra she chanted so strongly for most of the book. Basically, it's "I hate men. I hate men. I hate men." – BAM. Falls in love. "Oops."

The Chaos of Stars might as well be a parallel world to Paranormalcy – both books just ooze in cuteness.

3.5 Owls


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Saturday, June 20, 2015

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Review: Gathering Frost by Kaitlyn Davis (The Sleeping Beauty Retelling of Sophia's Dreams... For Now)

Gathering Frost by Kaitlyn Davis

Once Upon a Curse #1
Author:
Kaitlyn Davis
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Sophia

Will his kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart?

Once Upon a Time meets La Femme Nikita in GATHERING FROST, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.


Jade was only a little girl when the earthquake struck. Before her eyes, half of New York City disappeared, replaced by a village that seemed torn out of a storybook. Horses and carriages. Cobblestone streets. A towering castle. And, above all, a queen with the magical ability to strip emotions away.

Ten years later and Jade has forgotten what it is to feel, to care... even to love. Working as a member of the queen's guard, she spends most of her time on the city wall staring at the crumbling skyscrapers of old New York. But everything changes when the queen's runaway son, Prince Asher, returns. Jade is tasked with an unusual mission – to let the Prince capture her, to make him trust her, and then to betray his secrets to the crown. In return, she'll earn her freedom. But life outside the queen's realm is more than Jade bargained for. Under Asher's relentless taunts, her blood begins to boil. Under his piercing gaze, her heart begins to flutter. And the more her icy soul begins to thaw, the more Jade comes to question everything she's ever known – and, more importantly, whose side she's really on.
Review copy provided by Xpresso Book Tours via Netgalley – thanks!

Congratulations, Kaitlyn Davis. I've found my favorite Sleeping Beauty retelling (for now) – FINALLY! (Because a lot of the other retellings I've come across have been Sleeping Beauty, and I've managed to not get along with them.)

The first book in the Once Upon a Curse series is set up in a futuristic New York where two worlds merged as one in an earthquake when Jade was younger. Years later, Jade lives in a world where a queen strips all of the inhabitants' emotions away, leaving them with no emotion. When she comes across the queen's lost son, Prince Asher, the queen sets her on a mission to be captured and trusted by the prince, eventually betraying and returning him back to the queen.

There's something I really liked about Gathering Frost – something that Davis did here that wasn't done in other Sleeping Beauty retellings. I enjoyed the futuristic world Davis creates – two worlds, one of them believed to be parallel to Earth, being merged together and a queen who takes away all emotions from her people, along with the ability to control them. Somehow, throughout all of that, Davis weaves in a bit of Sleeping Beauty and make her own fairytale world as well – I really liked the addition of Jade coming across the original story while staying in the rebel camp.

There's also something about Davis' writing style that I really enjoyed, despite the fact there were a few moments where I started questioning the grammar, or there were commas where there really shouldn't have been any commas, or there were commas thrown in when the sentence would have worked so much better as two sentences. There were some parts that were just written beautifully and flowed together extremely well (read: the beauty of parallel structure).

I honestly can't say too much about the characters, particularly in Jade's case. Since her emotions have been taken away by the queen, it was only natural for Jade to be depicted as a cold, detached, statuesque character and focus mainly on her surroundings. As Jade spends more time in the rebel camp, though, she slowly starts to develop emotions and feelings, and Jade's focus seems to balance out a little with her surroundings, her past, and her newly developed emotions.

With a hint on what the sequel will probably be about, Davis doesn't actually leave us on a major cliffhanger. Instead, she seems to be conveying that Jade's and Asher's story definitely won't be ending with Gathering Frost – they're more than likely to appear in the second book, and I can't wait to see what Davis comes up with for her retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

4.5 Owls


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

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Review: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (Book of Thorns)

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns
Author:
Stacey Jay
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Reviewer: Sophia

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

Princess of Thorns isn't even a retelling – it's just a fairy tale (pun may be intended) where the original characters are quite dead (poisoned, murdered, suicidal, etc.) and the spawn of Aurora 1.0 and Stephen is cursed in exchange for her fairy blessings.

That particular spawn, who I'm calling Aurora 2.0 (simply because THE Sleeping Beauty was born as Aurora but Stacey Jay calls her Rose), apparently has a brother who gets captured by the ogre queen and she decides to pose as said brother to raise an army to overthrow the ogre queen. Early on in her journey – the beginning of the book, in actuality – Aurora meets Prince Niklaas, son of the immortal king of Kanvasola and wait for it...

Also cursed.

I won't complain too much about Princess of Thorns – it's a neat idea and there's really not much you can do with a retelling of a princess who sleeps a hundred years and gets woken up by a kiss from a prince who goes through thorns and fights a green-fire breathing dragon witch known as Maleficent. I pretty much applaud authors who toy around with Sleeping Beauty – it's interesting to see what comes out of it.

But the book is sooo confusing. From the beginning, Jay quite literally throws us in a world where Aurora is aware of what's going on around her, but I have no clue what's going on. Aurora thinks she's seeing a hottie who she thinks is a "Golden God" – great! But what in the world is going on? All I know is she's been with the fey for ten years and she may or may not be with them right at that time, and whatever was going on for fifteen pages certainly doesn't sound very fey-like. I also know that her mother, the original Sleeping Beauty, is dead.

There were also a few things that just seemed really ridiculous.

The names are just not as creative as Stacey Jay might be aiming them to be. Niklaas, Haanah, Ekeeta, and the name that almost made me bawl in laughter? Nippa. It's almost as though in an effort to "foreignize" the names, Jay either "drawls" out a letter or it justs sounds like another word in the English language (sometimes, it's not even pleasant). In that case, I'll be Sofeeyah.

The entire concept of Aurora dressing up as her brother without anyone being aware was also a bit suspicious. Aurora slips up A LOT in front of Niklaas throughout the journey, and I'm a bit peeved he doesn't even question it THE ENTIRE TIME. If her brother were younger than fourteen and disguised Aurora slipped up a few times, then maybe it would have worked better. But Aurora's captured brother is fourteen – I doubt fourteen-year-old boys sound like high-pitched girls. As much as I applaud Aurora for having the guts to venture out in the world on her own to take down an ogre queen, I just don't buy her manliness.

In all honesty, though, Aurora as a Jor was a lot better than Aurora as a girl – she's desperate as Niklaas gets closer to his eighteenth birthday. It's quite literally, "Dude, come on! Marry me already!" And Niklaas is all mopey. "All is lost. No princess loves me, so dear God and all that is Holy, END THIS AND TURN ME INTO A SWAN ALREADY SO I CAN SWAN THE REST OF MY LIFE AWAY WITH MY SWANING BROS."

Aurora's approaching meeting with the ogre queen seemed really weird, abrupt, and cheesy – I felt like I just wrote a story in sixth grade where the bad guy goes all, "Oh, I'm so sorry! Let me just accept my punishment and go to flaming Hell." while being completely solemn. And obviously, the story becomes all happily ever after.

The entire explanation makes sense, but the execution just seemed weird and quick and somewhere in the process, the author realized, "Oh, wait. This is going on 400 hundred pages. I better wrap this up, and wrap it up quickly, or I'll end up boring the crap out of my readers if I throw in a deception and go on 600 or more pages!"

Disclaimer: I'm not making fun of the author. I'm quite literally saying I felt as though I was in sixth grade, writing a story with an actual limited number of pages and I had to wrap it up, so I did it abruptly. That was actually a true story. I did get a decent grade, so I must have done something right, right?

Also, at the time of writing this review, I was feeling more sarcastic than usual (though Lupe and Rundus would probably say I'm sarcastic 24/7). Princess of Thorns had a decent idea, but there were quite a bit of bumps and mucho ridiculousness throughout that made the story fall rather than burst out feathers and fly (see what I did there?).

2.5 Owls


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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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ARC Review: Spelled by Betsy Schow (Sophia is not exactly... SPELLED)

Spelled by Betsy Schow

Spelled
Author:
Betsy Schow
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Reviewer: Sophia

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.
Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.
Advanced reading copy provided by Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley – thanks!

Pun intended in that post title.

As the crown princess of Emerald who may be cursed to set the world on fire, Dorthea has been locked in the Emerald Palace since she was born and kept away from anything that could potentially catch fire. When she gets a wishing star, she decides to use it, only to have it completely backfire on her.

Spelled is filled with bits of humor throughout, particularly from the side characters who have quickly become my favorite characters. The main character, on the other hand...
But I really, really don't want to.
Dorthea pretty much annoyed me for a good part of the book. She's snotty, stuck-up, spoiled – gosh, I'm turning that into a tongue twister with so many s-words. She's also whiny – Dorthea spends her time whining and complaining for quite literally a quarter of the book before someone snarks at her and tells her to shut up, grow up, and act like a proper princess (she even had the nerve to say no one else had manners – manners? *flips hair* Ha! Nope!) She's funny at some points, but the majority of her sarcasm seemed more like an attempt at sounding funny rather than actually being as funny as Rexi's use of sarcasm and snark.
Bob: No, Priestess. When all his nails are broken, he will die.
Rexi: You can't get a haircut, and he can't get a manicure. Death by salon visit.
I even started wondering if Spelled, as pretty as the cover the book and premise is, would even last. The book isn't strictly a retelling of The Wizard of Oz – there are other fairy tale characters as well. Throwing in other fairy tale characters aren't exactly bothersome in my case, but Schow throws in King Midas and chimeras – both of whom are from Greek mythology, NOT from a fairy tale. Someone please tell me I'm wrong and those two actually appear in a fairy tale, because if they do appear in one, I obviously haven't read enough of the non-gruesome original fairy tales. Or do they actually appear in the gruesome ones? I would love to know.

Spelled could be considered a fun read, if you put aside all of the problems – there's humor, a good premise, and an amazing cast of side characters. But if you don't have the patience to handle a spoiled and stuck-up princess who whines a lot for approximately a quarter of the book, Spelled might not be a book on your radar.

3.5 Owls


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Sunday, June 14, 2015

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Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (What Review?)

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Trilogy #2
Author:
Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Reviewer: Sophia

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Dear The Winner's Crime,

You remind me of Revenge. Just... more fun.

Lady Kestrel is like Emily and the emperor is like Victoria or Veronica or whats-her-face, and her words are so carefully plotted, her moves so masterfully calculated - I've pretty much decided to not make an attempt to predict you. I find that not predicting sometimes is more fun and more enjoyable.

You are like any other movie or TV show consisting of royalty - espionage, drama, tension, gossip, the like. But I like you, and I enjoyed reading you. Kestrel is clever, but so is the prince and Arin and almost all the other characters in this novel. Yet, I still enjoy it. I enjoy the lies and deception, the drama and tension in the palace as Kestrel's wedding day gets closer and closer.

Thus, I find you more a guilty pleasure read. I find you such a guilty pleasure, I don't want to rate you, because if I do, it'll be a high one for sure. I can't high-five you - you're on a hold shelf already and that's just a fatal flaw of libraries, but it's a great feeling because someone else can enjoy the fabulousness of what you are. Then you'll be placed on a shelf somewhere else, or on a hold shelf again, traveling to another reader and then another, and your older sibling will repeat the same process.

And when your younger sibling comes around, s/he will be doing the same thing. In fact, it'll be your fault - you left everyone at a cliffhanger and all of us are demanding to know how this story will unfold.

Sincerely,
5 Owls


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Friday, June 12, 2015

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Blog Tour: The Age of Alandria - Guest Post + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Silent Orchids (The Age of Alandria #1)
Author: Morgan Wylie
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble |  iTunes | Kobo
Publication Date: May 5, 2013

A dying realm.

The ancient evil of the Droch-Shúil has been unleashed.

The Orchids have been silenced… but for how long?

Daegan, elite of the Ferrishyn warrior tribe of Faeries, is charged with a mission to find the Sol-lumieth, a mysterious new power that could change the fate of all in the realm of Alandria. But he is conflicted by his purpose, and he cannot trust the motives of those he serves. He has too many questions and they must be answered.

Kaeleigh, a girl abandoned as a small child just outside Missoula, Montana, is now 18. She is trying to discover who she is and where she belongs. In her heart, she feels she has family out there… somewhere. Desperate to unravel the mysteries of her past, she embarks on a journey that will forever change her along with her two best friends, Finn and Chel—who have secrets of their own.

Title: Veiled Shadows (The Age of Alandria #2)
Author: Morgan Wylie
Links: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords
Publication Date: October 1, 2013

Shadows linger where light is obstructed, and truth is veiled.

Evil is an untreated disease in the once beautiful realm of Alandria.

Kaeleigh is faced with a revelation that she must reconcile. She will decide if discovering the truth is worth the unknown consequences to both herself and her friends.

Daegan, the Ferrishyn warrior, is conflicted by more than his loyalties, and is confronted with emotions he doesn’t know how to deal with. A choice must be made. A choice… that may cost him more than he ever wanted to give.

The Droch-Shúil—enforcers and servants of the ancient darkness—continue to cast their shadow over Alandria seeking those who can be turned to their side.

The magic of The Orchids is growing, but not everyone will survive what is to come.

Veiled Shadows is the second installment in The Age of Alandria series: the story of the Sol-lumieth’s quest for freedom of self and the power to battle the evil of the Droch-Shúil.

Title: Fractured Darkness (The Age of Alandria #3)
Author: Morgan Wylie
Links: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Amazon
Publication Date: January 29, 2015

The darkness in Elnye is growing.

There is screaming in Exhile.

The mysterious woman, known only as “She”, is in a rage. Her pawn, Maleina has made a dangerous move and severed her communications with the dark mistress. Now as dueling dark forces, master and willing initiate, they begin to jockey for power as the stage is set for the coming war.

Kaeleigh and her small band of loyal companions have escaped the dungeons of Elnye and found their way to the secret home of the Ehsmia. After breaking the vicious bond that enslaved Daegan to Maleina’s will, the walls between Kaeleigh and her Ferrishyn warrior begin to fall, as their feelings for each other begin to give way to passion.

The darkness is fractured, but its relentless quest for power goes unabated. A war is coming. However, the power of the Sol-lumieth has finally come together and found its light. A blinding light of freedom, that may be the salvation for all of Alandria.

Kaeleigh Tells All
by Morgan Wylie

My main character in The Age of Alandria series, Kaeleigh, would like to share—read “Tell All”—about her best friends Finn and Chel…

Kaeleigh: “Hmm, let’s see what can I tell you about Finn and Chel? Ooo they are not going to be very happy with me. Ok, well Chel probably won’t care actually, but Finn will be pissed! I hate it when he’s mad at me, but you won’t tell right?

Ok well, first, you should know I don’t normally “dish” on my friends but this is a special circumstance—I mean, you are all “book people” right? Of course you are ;)

So here we go:
  1. Finn once tried gel in his hair because he overheard some girls at school mention this other guy’s hair and how ‘cute it was’. LOL, I guess he thought he’d give it a try, but he used too much and it looked horribly greasy even after he washed it. He hasn’t tried it or let us talk about it since.
  2. As you may know, my best friend Chel is an artist. She also has quite a few tattoos. Well, she was seeing this guy (not Samuel FYI) that she thought she was in love with (she wasn’t, I tried to tell her that before the “incident”) so… yeah you know where this is going… she had his name tattooed (I’m not telling where). It was nice she designed it herself. Well, not long after, she caught him cheating on her. Yikes! So not only did she have it altered so you couldn’t read his name, she had a different tat of his name done… on the bottom of her foot! She said it was so she could walk, dance, run, stomp (you get the idea) all over Bryce (that was his name).
  3. Finn snores.
  4. Actually, Chel snores too… LOUD! (sorry Chel, it’s true).

    I am so getting in trouble for this!
  5. Finn doesn’t eat any kind of junk food, except pizza… because who can resist pizza? And I’m not sure pizza is even considered a “junk food”. I sure don’t think it is.
  6. Finn always sends me “anonymous” flowers, not on my birthday (my birthday is a rough guess anyway), but on the day I went to live with Chel and her parents. He doesn’t ever acknowledge that it happens, but I know it’s him. He’s the only one who remembers something small like a date that is important to me. He won’t deny it, he just doesn’t make a big deal about it because he knows I don’t like big deals to be made for me.
  7. One of Chel’s favorite movies is Anne of Green Gables and anything Jane Austen related. I think they appeal to the hopeless romantic in her that not too many people get to see. But at least she likes to watch Star Trek with me.
  8. Finn’s favorite movie is Royal Tenenbaums and most Wes Anderson films. I don’t know, something about how he relates to Richie Tenenbaum—they both just seem moody to me (he knows I feel this way).
  9. Chel’s a vegetarian… or maybe she’s a vegan now, she switches. And from what I understand, would mean that if she can switch then she’s not a true vegan but she tries. Definitely vegetarian, but somedays when she is feeling extra sensitive she bursts in saying things like “if it had a face or a mother, not gonna happen”. I guess what it comes down to is that Chel is extremely sensitive especially when animals are involved and I love that about her.
  10. Finn jumps rope. I know, I know there is nothing that odd about this. Athletes, especially boxers, use this for training etc. That’s not the issue. He found one at a local thrift shop awhile back because the one before it broke… it’s PINK!! LOL, he says I’m just being immature about it.
*In walks Chel and Finn*

Finn: “You ARE being immature about that.” *scowls* “Seriously Kae?! What else did you tell them?”

Kaeleigh: “What? I didn’t say much…”

Chel: “Kaeleigh!! I do NOT snore!”

Finn: *Sigh* Really Chel? That’s what you’re upset about?”

Chel: *shrugs* “Well, the rest is true.”

Kaeleigh: “Oddly, sharing stuff was kind of fun, thanks everyone for hanging! I thought I would have had more to share on Chel, but it seems she got outnumbered… wonder what that’s all about. Huh.”

Finn: “Time to go, Kae.”

*Chel looped her arm through Kaeleigh’s as they walked off with Finn trailing behind them muttering something under his breath*

Author Bio

Morgan Wylie, originally from the Pacific Northwest, now resides near Nashville, TN with her husband and daughter. She and her husband work everyday at their individual and combined creative pursuits while she learns to balance being “Mama”, wife, and mediator to the many voices and muses constantly chattering in her head.

Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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Audiobook Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (Sophia is Confused)

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Firebird #1
Author:
Claudia Gray
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 9 hours, 18 minutes
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Harper Audio
Reviewer: Sophia

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

A Thousand Pieces of You was an absolute pain in the butt to listen to – that's probably an exaggeration.

The book is one of those novels that needs quite a bit of scientific background for you to fully grasp the entire meaning behind it. There is just so much physics and scientific varbage just purely explaining the concept parallel universes, dimension traveling, and the like throughout the first fifth of the book that I, a high school girl who only finished Chemistry, can only get a teeny grasp on because I was bored enough to do some research on the existence of parallel universes years ago. Still, I was as absolutely confused as a newborn baby.

But back then, I was in middle school. My curiosity might have been insatiable (it still is... in a way) and it annoyed the noodles out of my parents. Well, my mother was annoyed and wondered if I got switched at birth. Congrats, mom. You got a grammar Nazi and not a walking calculator. How does it feel to have someone younger than you correcting your grammar?

Still, getting bombarded with physics varbage isn't exactly my thing – my mind went from, "Whoa, this is cool!" to "Wait... why do I think this is cool again?" to "What is this? Physics class? I'M NOT DONE WITH CHEMISTRY YET." to "I don't understand. I'm reading this, absorbing this, digesting this, but I can't understand or comprehend or grasp this fully."
The whole varbage thing might have been helpful with the world building and better understanding of how the whole dimension traveling worked – if you know enough science. No offense, but I swear, tPhone is the most ridiculous creation ever – a complete carbon copy of the iPhone with a different letter replacing the "i." The Triad here is quite literally the Apple of this book – I'm not too impressed.

There is also A LOT of flashbacks to Marguerite's life – helpful in learning about Marguerite, her family, Theo, Paul, and all the other characters, but only a few were actually helpful later on in the story. The whole physics varbage and the flashbacks felt like a conversation I would be having with a long time friend visiting after many years, or a potential class reunion ten years after I graduate and Lupe talks about this hair salon she opened in Mexico and Rundus talks about a gruesomely bloody game he programmed recently while finally keeping his fingers to himself unless he wants his girlfriend/fiancée/wife to go after my head in envy.

A Thousand Pieces of You was just that – a story told many years after it happened and the characters look back and reflect on themselves, possibly laughing at how stupid they might have acted. At the romantic notions they each had of each other – Marguerite thinking about never having a chance with Paul or Theo, Theo thinking about maybe he does have a chance with Marguerite, and Paul thinking that he has no chance with Marguerite whatsoever. At how reckless Marguerite was with her thinking – jumping the gun and going after Paul right from the start, because one of the first things I hear is, "Kill Paul Markov." Whoa, gruesome much?

Then I get thrust into a flurry of confusion where Marguerite's emotions are on high tide and a dumpster of information is quite literally dumped upon my ears from the very next chapter about how this whole dimension travel works here, among other things.

While I enjoyed the whole "story around a fire" vibe, I feel like I would have enjoyed this so much better and grasped this so much more fully if I took a physics class before reading this.

2.5 Owls


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Monday, June 8, 2015

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Blog Tour: Drawn - Interview + Giveaway

Title: Drawn
Author: Chris Ledbetter
Publication Date: June 5, 2015
Publisher: Evernight Teen

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.

Interview with Author Chris Ledbetter

  1. What made you write a book about art?
    At the time I generated the idea for Drawn, I hadn’t seen or read any stories of or relating to art. And since I’m an amateur artists myself, I just sat around thinking what would happen if sketched pictures were to move and come alive? And what would happen to the sketches if I closed the book and they descended into their own world?
  2. In the book, your main character, Cameron, has lost his mother due to cancer. Did you write this from personal experience?
    Yes and no. My parents are both still alive, thank goodness. But I have lost a mother-in-law and a close family friend to cancer. It sucks. And it’s awful. Because of my proximity to these events, it was difficult to write the scenes where Cameron talks about his experiences.
  3. How long have you been writing?
    I have been writing for about eight years now. I began writing in December 2006.
  4. What genre do you write and why?
    I have written historical fiction. Now, I primarily write contemporary stories, but I always have a twinge of fantasy involved. Fantasy gets my writerly juices flowing. It’s where I live.
  5. In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?
    When I first began writing, I wrote mostly on paper, and then transcribed it to computer later. I love the feel of longhand. My ideas actually seem to flow better. But it just takes so much longer. Now, I do write straight to computer to save time.
  6. What’s your favorite food?
    It’s a tie between pizza and a Greek salad… with anchovies.

Author Bio

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly "walked-on" to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He's worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.

He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.
Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Friday, June 5, 2015

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Review: Fire of the Sea by Lyndsay Johnson

Fire of the Sea by Lyndsay Johnson

Fire of the Sea
Author: Lyndsay Johnson
Publication Date: March 24, 2014
Publisher: 48fourteen Publishing
Reviewer: Sophia

Sharp, sleek, and golden. Like the dagger she has worn since childhood, eighteen-year-old Aeva is all three of these things. But there is something else that this mermaid and her prized weapon share – they are both hunted.

Hidden within the caves off Iceland’s dark shore, Aeva waits to take her place as the next ruler of the Mermaids. But when Aeva uses her potent and alluring song to save a drowning human, she disrupts a delicate balance. Realizing she has unexpectedly bound herself to Gunnar, Aeva is torn between duty and love.

Aeva severs one life to begin another, and soon finds herself not only rejected by the sea, but also stalked by an old enemy. As the worlds of myth and man intertwine, Aeva will challenge fate to protect her own sacred relic and the man she loves.

But legend and lies cast an intricate net. With time and safety quickly unraveling for Aeva and Gunnar, there is only one clear course: Find and defeat Delphine before she can shift again.
Review copy provided by the author review via Xpresso Book Tours

Want to know what I find really odd? Mermaid books are like contemporary books. I either love them or hate them, and it may or may not just be me turning into a picky reader.

I personally enjoyed the concept behind Fire of the Sea. There's Nordic mythology and mermaids, and I loved reading about the underwater world of unified sea creatures.

But there were just a few things that I really hated about the novel, and that was pretty much why I gave it such a low rating compared to everyone else I've seen on Goodreads. In fact, compared to the ratings I've seen on Goodreads and Amazon, I'm probably the lowest since I'm that weirdo who doesn't round up. (Not that I'm actually going to let that bother me greatly.)

Fire of the Sea felt more like a love story than anything else. Aeva, though loyal and courageous and torn between two worlds, was reckless and careless with some of her actions. Within several days after she saves Gunnar from being taken by the sea, she wants to leave behind her sea world and become human. Her reason? "I call it love because I don't have another name for it." It is, by far, the lamest reason I've ever heard. Her entire reasoning behind why she wants to become human is for love. A love for a guy she saved from the sea and should be a part of Davy Jones's locker, but because Aeva is a courageous mermaid who wanted to do a kind deed, he's not. Instead, he's tied to her.

It also felt like I was watching The Little Mermaid all over again. There's no prince, of course, but there's a mermaid (a princess, no less) who desires to be a part of the human world (though the reasons for each are quite different), there's a price to be paid to be human, and there's an Ursula. The Ursulas in the two are a little different, but Delphine might as well be Ursula simply due to the fact she can shift herself into an octopus.

Fire of the Sea was predictable, though that's beginning to not bother me as much simply due to the fact I'm ahead of the characters by a few steps. But in figuring out who Delphine was? That was a given, and I just waited to see if Aeva would actually figure it out herself before Delphine revealed herself.

So here's my final verdict: if you love a love story playing a major role with mythology and mermaids, you'll likely enjoy this. If you prefer mythology of the uncommon kind but don't care about the love story playing a major role, you might be peachy. But if you really hate love stories, then you might want to pass this up.

2.5 Owls

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