Archive for August, 2011

Media Monday: What are you waiting for?

Aug
29
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday

Summer is coming to an end soon, and as fall starts up, one of the things that immediately comes to mind is the Fall TV show line up! So, I thought since I’ve been too busy to actually go to a movie recently, today might be a good day to talk about what we’re looking forward to. Kinda like Waiting on Wednesday, but about movies/TV and on Monday. So not like it at all really.

Let’s start with some new faces:

I’m not usually one to pick up new shows when they first come on, but I saw a preview for Once Upon A Time at some film I went to (possibly Harry Potter) and I am intrigued. I will definitely be watching for a few episodes at least to see what it’s like.

On to the returning favorites: Firstly, I am majorly looking forward to Castle coming back.

The only crime drama I will watch on a regular basis, we were left with a cliffhanger so bad, I’m STILL feeling it! Plus, I miss the funny dialogue, the obvious onscreen tensions between Castle and Beckett (which can only get worse now – if you’ve seen it you know what I mean!) and the excitement of having a new episode every week! Who’s with me?

Second, I cannot WAIT for more of Merlin!

It’s been even longer since the last episode of this one, since the BBC prefer to do only 13 episodes a season. While I think in some cases this is a good thing – less episodes means more work can be done on the episodes there are, making them better in general – it is very frustrating to be left with a cliff-hanger and know you won’t get the next episode for at least 9 months! This one doesn’t start until October so I will probably be rewatching Series 3 soon, just so I can remember what happened.

And finally, listed last only because it has actually started up again, and therefore I’m merely waiting a week instead of months, Doctor Who:

I have talked about the Doctor many times, and I’m sure you don’t need to hear any more about how awesome he is! Go watch it if you haven’t!

As a side note: I’ve recently picked up watching Supernatural as well, and if I make my way through all the seasons in time, I’m sure I will also be looking forward to that one starting up soon! I’m only halfway through season 3 right now, so it may be quite a while before I’m truly caught up.

I’m sure there are many good shows out there that I’ve missed, so tell me in the comments or do up your own post, telling me what they are. If you do a post, be sure to leave me a link in the comments so I can come visit!





Book Review: The Iron Knight

Aug
25
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Iron Knight The Iron Knight by
Series: Iron Fey #4
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 399
Goodreads

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her
irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can  survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

My Review:

WARNING! SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST THREE BOOKS!

This book seems to be one of the most anticipated sequels of the year. After the way Iron Queen left off I’m not surprised. That is not the way you end an epic story like that. Even if the love story isn’t the focus of the story the reader feels gipped if it doesn’t get wrapped up properly.

Iron Knight is definitely the wrap up readers are looking for. It follows Ash, the winter prince, in his quest to find a way around Meghan’s orders. It provides a lot of back story that didn’t particularly belong in the previous books but that I was definitely curious about. It also explores the Wildwood, in my opinion the most interesting part of the NeverNever. Nothing like going to the end of a world to learn what the true limits of that world are.

The only thing I’d say about this one is it still didn’t feel like an ending yet. Well, that’s the wrong way to put it. It is AN ending, but it doesn’t feel like THE ending. There are so many possible future problems that could make for really interesting novels. Even if the future novels don’t have much, if anything, to do with Meghan and Ash.

Maybe I’m just having trouble letting go. Kagawa has created a beautiful rendition of one of my favorite places to read about, and I just don’t want to put it down!





Book Review: The Near Witch

Aug
18
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Near Witch The Near Witch by
Series: The Near Witch #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 282
Source:
Goodreads

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know- about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

My Review:

Another high(ish) fantasy! I am loving this trend!

One of the things I really liked about this book was the message. It is clear from very early on that certain characters are extremely prejudiced against strangers. Throughout the book this prejudice is consistently shown as the root of the problems. This message is very timely considering certain global problems our society is facing.

Another thing I enjoyed about the book was the feel. Despite the novel format, the style and tone gave the story the air of an ancient ballad, told by some bard in the local tavern. I want to see this story as a story couched within another, like the 1001 Arabian Nights stories. The stories Scheherezade tells are just as interesting as her story itself. I’d be interested to know if the author plans to make a series out of this – not necessarily dealing with these characters ever again, but returning to this world to tell other stories about other aspects of the world.

All in all this was a very good debut novel. I’ll be looking forward to her next one eagerly!





Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Aug
17
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Anna and the French Kiss Anna and the French Kiss by
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 372
Source: ,
Goodreads

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

My Review:

If I had to think of a word to describe this book it would without a doubt be “cute!” And not in the small children and baby animals kind of way but the “They’re so adorable I might have to squee!” kind of way!

First off, I love the fact that this is not only a boarding school novel but also a foreign exchange novel. I know when I was growing up “foreign exchange” was something people from other countries did to come here. That most certainly is not the case, and I fully support anyone and anything that encourages young Americans to experience other cultures. In a global economy like ours, it is important to understand other cultures, and even make friends with them, and the best way to do that is to experience them for yourself!


But what I really love, love, loved was Anna and Étienne. They have what I would consider the perfect love story. So many novels that involve romance these days are more concerned with the problems that happen after a relationship has started so they have the leading pair fall in love fast and then stay in love through all obstacles. This book focuses on the journey to falling in love instead. It feels so much more realistic to me to have Anna and Étienne be best friends before everything else, and I just loved it!


I honestly cannot find a single negative thing to say about this book no matter how I try. It really is a very fun, cute novel and I’d recommend it to everyone!





Book Review: Enclave

Aug
12
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Enclave Enclave by
Series: Razorland #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 259
Source:
Goodreads

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Review:

This book was an interesting experience for me. I read it while driving to Chicago to catch my plane. One of the best places for me to read is scrunched into the car on a long journey, and because of that I sped through it. At the same time I kind of felt disappointed. There had been such hype over the book when it first came out and between the blurb and the reviews, I lusted after the book something fierce! 


That said, I think the book was very good. Maybe my slight disappointment was merely due to the recent let down off the high of finishing Divergent in less than 12 hours. While none of the characters particularly stood out, the setting and the way Aguirre deals with the emotional and psychological problems after such a disaster is phenomenal. The zombie men also reminded me a little of the reavers from Firefly – one of my favorite shows, and therefore a major plus in my book!


In the end, I’d say this book is an entertaining and thought provoking read that is definitely worth your time, but with all the competition out there, don’t expect it to be the next Hunger Games.





Mini Book Review: Divergent

Aug
11
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Divergent Divergent by
Series: Divergent #1
Published by in 2012
Genres: , ,
Pages: 487
Source:
Goodreads

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

My Review:

There certainly are a lot of dystopian novels coming out recently! I have wanted to get my hands on this one for quite a while, especially after all the hype around its release! There was a time whe it seemed like everyone in the blogosphere had either read and loved this one or was desperate to get their hands on a copy.

Even though the hype has pretty much died down by now I am glad to say I found Divergent deserving of everything said about it. The plot was engaging and the world was detailed. The book seemed like the perfect mixture of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Harry Potter. My only concern is how very long the book is. I think the length is necessary and the plot is fast-paced enough to keep the reader interested, but some readers might be put off. I’m telling you now, don’t be! It is well worth it!





Book Review: Ruby Red

Aug
09
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Ruby Red Ruby Red by
Series: Edelstein Trilogy #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 322
Source:
Goodreads

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My Review:

First, let me apologize if my gushing and dribbling comes out of the screen and hits you in the face. Not sorry for the gushing, but sorry if you got wet.

This book has been added to my Favorites of 2011 list – the list is only 3 books long so far, so it’s pretty exclusive. That is how amazing this book is. It grabbed me soon as I started it and I could not put it down. I had it finished withint 12 hours and at least half that time was devoted to sleep! Then, soon as I set it down I went searching for the sequel, and, finding it was only in German, desperately turned to Twitter to find someone to teach me German, so I could read it now! It’s THAT good people!

Firstly, there’s Gwen, the Ruby of the title. She is so painfully normal at first you can’t help but like her. You feel her pain as everything she knows falls apart around her. It is easy to imagine yourself in her shoes, floundering through this new skill and hurting when she gets blamed for something she couldn’t possibly have known about.

Then we have Gideon, the antagonist/love interest. He starts out as such a jerk! At the beginning I couldn’t imagine Gwen ever liking him, despite the hints in the blurb on the back cover. Slowly though we begin to see another side to him. Sure he’s still mostly a jerk at the end of this book but I can see how he might be redeemed and I’m desperate for the rest of the books to find out how they’re going to do it!

And of course I can’t go without mentioning the plot, for what would be an amazing cast of characters without interesting things for them to do? I love time travel stories but I have never seen one like this. The laws of the world are extremely well planned, accounting for the typical problems of time travel with seeming ease. The plot is complicated enough to keep you on your toes, but not so complicated that you have to work to keep up.

And, of course, I must congratulate the translator. The story and language flowed smoothly and I didn’t ever have to step back from the narrative to realize that the story wasn’t originally in my language.

In short, this is a fabulous book that you must find and read, sooner rather than later!





Media Monday: Captain America

Aug
09
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday

Title: Captain America (The Avengers Collection #5)
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Joe Johnston
Studio: Marvel Studios
Genre: Superhero

My Review: It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over already! I’ve been waiting for Captain America ever since I saw Thor and realized that they were making a series of these things. I was intrigued by the idea of a period superhero film. It has never been done as far as I know – Superhero films have almost always been made as “current time” even though some were set in that time period originally, they were filmed in that time period.

One thing I really enjoyed is that they did such a good job of keeping to the canon and keeping to the time period. I was expecting the occasional reference to the other Avengers films, but the links were quite frankly ALL OVER this one. I went to the movie with one friend who has seen all the rest of the films and one friend who hasn’t, and the one who hasn’t laughed at us the whole time because we spent practically the whole movie freaking out about this or that way they connected them up. Captain America is really obviously the prequel, with many previous characters mentioned or actually showing up, and the groundwork laid for so many things that are unexplained in the other films.

I’m not much of an expert on period pieces, so I can’t really comment on whether this one was perfectly accurate or not. The thing I enjoyed is that it felt like the atmosphere was accurate. I enjoy period films a lot for their atmosphere and this one felt right, as if it belonged in the time it was set. The film was modern enough to allow for the technology that superheroes are usually called on to fight, but still allowed itself the limitations of the time, which is part of the fun of any period piece.

The plot itself is interesting enough. Someone who had never seen any of the other films would be able to understand this film, and find it enjoyable I think. But the film is that much more enjoyable for all the references to other Marvel films.  While Thor is still my favorite of the Marvel series, Captain America comes in a close second, and I would definitely recommend it.





Book Review: Sapphique

Aug
06
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Title: Sapphique (Incarceron #2)
Author: Catherine Fisher
Origins: My Local Library
Summary: [from GoodReads] Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don’t even know who you are? Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique.

My Review: It seems like forever ago that I read Incarceron. With how fast and how much I read it can become difficult to keep books straight, and so going into this book I only just barely remembered the premise of the first book, much less the plot.

Perhaps because of this, I had trouble with Sapphique. Often times when reading a sequel I rely on the first chapter or so to remind me of the important things
– oddities about the world, major plot points and cliffhangers from the previous book etc. While Sapphique did that, it also threw you very quickly into the action. It was just complicated enough that I had to struggle to catch up. I often stopped reading and found I had a headache from trying to work out all the plot twists and whose side everyone was on.



On the other hand, when I could keep up, I found the story interesting and inventive, rife with intriguing concepts and original ideas. For all the plot was complicated, the writing itself flowed smoothly, helping the reader keep going when things got difficult to understand. I really admire that in a writer and I will definitely be lookign for her further books, despite the complication of her plots.





Book Review: Cold Magic

Aug
04
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Title: Cold Magic (Spiritwalker #1)
Author: Kate Elliott
Origins: My Local Library
Summary: [from GoodReads] It is the dawn of a new age… The Industrial Revolution has begun, factories are springing up across the country, and new technologies are transforming in the cities. But the old ways do not die easy.

“I was not a bard or a djeli or an historian or a scribe and I was certainly not a sage, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t curious…”

Young Cat Barahal thinks she understands the world she lives in and her place in it, but in fact she is merely poised, unaware, on the brink of shattering events. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood, betrayal and old feuds, she will be forced to make an unexpected and perilous journey in order to discover the truth, not just about her own family but about an ancient secret lying at the heart of her world.

Cat and her cousin Bee are part of this revolution. Young women at college, learning of the science that will shape their future and ignorant of the magics that rule their families. But all of that will change when the Cold Mages come for Cat. New dangers lurk around every corner and hidden threats menace her every move. If blood can’t be trusted, who can you trust?


My Review: I wanted to love this book, I really did. For one thing, it’s Steampunk, one of my absolute favorite genres. For another, the symbolism of the story sounded very interesting! But for some reason my reading dragged through this one.


That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. There were many very interesting parts that caught my attention. The plot was twisted and complicated satisfying my liking for the mysterious. The setting had all the elements of the steampunk that I love, and furthermore came at it from the fantasy side of things (Fantasy + Victorian trappings instead of Victorian era + Magic) which I have only seen once before and have found very intriguing. 


I also really liked the main character. Cat is feisty, smart and slightly rebellious. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. All the same, I soon found myself rooting for her captor Andevai! It was easy to tell he was being forced into this same as her and I felt sorry for him. I wanted him to be redeemed, wanted her to really fall for him.


In the end, I guess I’d say this is a decent book, but those looking to pick it up should be aware that it’s not an easy read. It takes a lot of concentration and time, and the reader should be ready for that.





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