Archive for May, 2012

Book Review: Candlewax

May
31
1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Book Review

Candlewax coverTitle: Candlewax

Author: C. Bailey Sims

Summary: [from GoodReads]

An Ancient Prophecy. A Powerful Relic. An Insatiable Evil. When all three converge, the fate of every living thing will be in peril.

All her life Catherine had hoped to see a fairrier cat. No book, no scroll provided to her by her tutors had ever mentioned this legend, much to her frustration, and now-at the worse possible time-she was getting her wish. Only, in her wish the cat wasn’t about to kill her.

A 732-year-old fairrier cat the size of a horse has killed his fair share of hunters. Driven to the brink of extinction for the supernatural powers of his coat, is he indeed the last of his kind?

Sheltered, 16-year-old Catherine is about to find out. Unwitting heir to the Ancient Onyxes, she flees an arranged marriage only to stumble upon the cat’s secrets, the force of the ancient relic she wears, and the dangerous mission they must undertake.

Hidden under a desert that was once a fertile land, millions of predators are waiting to feast again. Catherine must discover the secret of the Ancient Onyxes and stop the creatures known as trodliks before they consume everything in their path. A whispered prophecy becomes her only guide and a rejected suitor just might be the one warrior she desperately needs.

My Review: One of the things I loved about this book is the Fairrier cats – large magical cats that protect Catherine’s realm. It has been a while since I’ve seen a new and different supernatural creature. So many writers are obsessed with reimaginings of animals and paranormals we already have from mythology and it’s nice to have something different presented in a very prominent position. Pokos, the main cat we deal with, is an especially fun character because he has such a strong personality. I loved the prologue from his point of view and I almost wish he had narrated the whole book.

 

Unfortunately, other than that, the book was a little blah for me. I will be the first to admit that MG isn’t my favorite and it’s partially my fault for not researching more and finding out Candlewax was MG before I requested it from NetGalley. There were several places I felt like the solutions to the problems were too simple and easy, and they were introduced too quickly. I also had a hard time believing in the romance – It felt a little too convenient that Cyril was “mysteriously” attracted to Catherine while she still was disguised as a boy. I’ve said before that I’m getting a little tired of the fated love stories that have no problems. I find there’s too little development of the relationship in these stories for it to be believable for me.

 

Another big element of the book is the quest. This is a textbook example of the quest genre and a great introduction for the young reader. It has all the elements, but for me it overdid on the obstacles portion of the quest. Don’t get me wrong, obstacles are necessary, but I would have liked fewer obstacles with more elaboration, or more difficulty to them. Once I start stepping out of the story to say to the author “now you’re just being mean!” it’s a little too much.

 

All that said, I think I would have absolutely loved this book if I had read it 10 years ago, when I was the age this book was intended for. I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy MG and Fantasy novels, and to those who fit the age group the book was intended for.





New design! And other news

May
30
6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Blog Nuts and Bolts

Hey guys! Just a quick post to let you know that my new design is up and running! There are still a few redirects to get sorted out etc. but this means I am BACK! I’ll be posting sporadically through the rest of the week, and then starting next week, I’ll be on a full schedule. Also, those of you following through RSS, come and see! Isn’t it pretty?!

 

And, just so I don’t clutter up your feed with tons of short news posts, I’m also announcing my participation in the Outlander read-along here. I’ve meant to read these books for a very long time, because they sound like just my kind of thing. I’ve also meant to participate in some kind of read-along for quite some time so this is the perfect opportunity. The read-along is hosted by a bunch of my favorite bloggers (who are all listed on the button). If you’d like to join, you can sign up on any of their blogs.

Outlander Read-along button

That’s it for news at the moment. Can’t wait to get back into the swing of things! And, all together now, one last SQUEEEEEEEE over the new blog design! (No? That’s just me? Oh.)





Bout of Books Wrap Up

May
21
5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events

 

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

 

WHEW! It was a loooong week! I spent a lot more time reading this past week than I normally do, and I even took time to schedule an hour or two solely devoted to reading! YAY!

Original goals:

  • I’m going for a minimum total of 6 finished books. In a really good week I can do 7+, but I still have to work and go to band rehearsal etc. DONE!
  • I’d like for at least 1 of those 6 books to be a book I received for review. DONE
  • Meet [at least] 1 new friend per day. DONE (ish)

Final stats:
Total number of books/pages I’ve read: 6.5 / 2041+! I met my goals, though I didn’t read hardly any of the books on my list.
Books: Night Watch, Deadly Cool, Candlewax, Finnikin of the Rock, A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Masque of the Red Death. I also started Advent and Queen of the Dead so I’m counting the small amounts I read on those as .5 of a book.
New Friends: I may not have featured a new friend daily like I wanted, but I met SO MANY new people! I had lots of fun this week, and I will definitely be back for the next time around!

Things I learned: There are lots of really cool people out there, and most are just waiting for you to talk to them. Be nice and talk to people, and suddenly you’ll have a butt-load of new friends! Also, I learned that while I may not be great at pressure reading (forcing myself to read when I don’t want to), if I just allow myself to read, I do fine. In fact, I’m not nearly as burnt out as I thought. I had decided to spend today away from books altogether to recover and… I’ve already broken that promise to myself. I’ve been reading Queen of the Dead off and on all morning, and I’m loving it!

Thank you all so much for making this week great, and a very SPECIAL thank you to Amanda and Kelly for their hard work on hosting! Happy reading!





Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge 4

May
20
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Clock Rewinders

Clock Rewinders banner

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge is where Tara @ 25 Hour Books and Amanda @ On a Book Bender shamelessly plug each other, share the fantastic posts, giveaways, or whatever else we’ve found and loved by other awesome bloggers (or authors!) during the week, and talk about the books we plan on reading in the coming week. [Description borrowed from On a Book Bender]

 The Corner Newsstand
(This week on Creativity’s Corner)
It was a review heavy week for me!
I reviewed the finale of Once Upon a Time.
I posted mini-reviews of Austenland, Perfect Chemistry, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
I didn’t finish Odessa and felt pretty bad about that =(
And I reviewed Girl in the Clockwork Collar for NetGalley.
I also had several posts related to Bout of Books, but I’m not going to list them all here.

Behind the Desk
(My life behind the scenes)
Bout of Books was this week! I had so much fun interacting with all the participants, PLUS I made myself sit down and read for a few hours in a row, instead of my usual tendency to just read whenever I have a few minutes. Oh, and Amanda publicly challenged me to read the Elder Races series.

I moved to WordPress and self hosting! The design is as yet unfinished, but the migration has been made! This happened much quicker than I expected, so sorry to those of you who had to put up with the dust this week. Once/now that Bout of Books is over, I’ll be taking some down time until the finishing touches have been put on the new site. I’ll still be around commenting and such, but no new posts for a while.

Around the Corner
(Blog posts I found awesome this week)

I don’t actually have too many of these, because so much time was devoted to Bout of Books this week.

Amanda @ On a Book Bender asked those of us in the MidWest to link up. They’re also asking for some help in various positions – go check it out!

Fiktshun had a great post on how long is too long for a series. I still haven’t figured out what I want to say in a comment, but the post is a really great discussion of what happens when we (and the authors) just can’t let go of our favorite characters.

Reading Digest
(Books I’ve read in the past week and books I plan to read next)
Check my Bout of Books updates page, if you’re interested!
New Book Gazette
(Books I bought or received in the past week)
Bought (on my Nook): A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft

From the Library: Forgotten, Struck, Starters, Dragon Bound

Girl's Guide to Witchcraft coverForgotten CoverStruck CoverDragon Bound Cover
 

 

 

 

That’s it for this week. I know I missed some great posts while busy with Bout of Books, but if you’ll leave me a link in the comments, I’ll be sure to check them out!





Bout of Books Mini Challenge Day 6

May
19
9 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events

Book Spine PoetrySunshine (,) Dawn(s) over the Valley of Fear. The Merchant of Death, Cold Fire, devours The Things They Carried.

Fire Rose to The Gates of Sleep as The Purple Emperor killed The Things with Wings.

Kinda depressing, but it works!

I had so much fun with that! If you’ve tried it, leave me a link, I’d love to see it :)





Book Review: Girl in the Clockwork Collar

May
17
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Girl in the Clockwork Collar CoverTitle: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles #2)

Author: Kady Cross

Summary: [from GoodReads]

In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling – or dangerous.

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her “straynge band of mysfits” have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him…for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei’s neck tightens. And tightens.

My Review: Girl in the Steel Corset was one of my favorite reads of 2011. So when I found the sequel on NetGalley, I rushed to request it. It took me a while, but I’ve finally finished it and organized my thoughts for a review.

 

The short version: I liked it. Not so much in the passionate, gotta-have-more-right-now way I liked GitSC, but more in a quiet, that-was-really-enjoyable way. The cast has moved to NYC (which for some reason, in my imagination, closely resembles the 1800’s version of NYC in that movie Kate and Leopold with Hugh Jackman in it, you know the one?) to chase down the man who captured their friend Jasper. Griffin and Finley have their typical stubborn spats, Emily tries to smooth it all over, as usual, etc. etc. Perhaps that’s why it was such a comfortable read for me – the relationships between the characters were established already, and didn’t change too much.

 

Instead, this novel focused on the outside impetus – Jasper’s kidnapper and his demands, and the unknown thing that sometimes attacks Griffin while he’s employing his, for lack of a better word, skills. That turns the book into more of a fun mystery story than anything else. In fact, it mostly reminds me of those recent Sherlock films with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in them. Lots of action, not too much character development (mostly because we already know the characters involved) and just a lot of fun.

 

If you haven’t read Girl in the Steel Corset yet I highly recommend that you do so before starting this book. Otherwise, dive in! You’re in for a fun time.





Wanted: A Bout of Books SOS

May
16
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events, Discussion Day

So, I was having a conversation with myself while I was at work today. It went something like this:

Me: “Self, we will be finishing book 3 in the read-a-thon soon. What do you want to read next?”

Self: “OOOH YAY! NEW BOOK! What are my choices?”

Me: *lists Bout of Books goal books*

Self: “Those are all an awful lot like the last 10 books we read.”

Me: “I know, but we liked those books remember?”

Self: “Yeah…but I want something different! How about a nice trashy romance?!”

Me: “We said we’d stick to the list. Besides, I don’t even think we have any trashy romances right now. Pick something else”

Self: “I don’t WANNA!”

Me: *mental facepalm*

As you can tell from the convo, not only am I certifiably insane, my “self” has the stubbornness of a toddler. And I’ve learned from experience that unless I give in, I can end up in month long reading slumps – NOT a good thing in the middle of the read-a-thon. So here’s where you come in. I haven’t read adult romances in a good year or two, and I have no clue where to start.

What I’m looking for: Adult romance with a flavor of paranormal, historical or comedic (or some combination thereof). I’d prefer to find them fairly cheaply on my Nook, but I don’t expect you to know that – I’ll do that part of the research.

Some examples of books I’ve liked in these genres are Austenland by Shannon Hale, Fen by Freya North, Soulless by Gail Carriger, The Smoke Thief by Shana Abé, ANYTHING Mercedes Lackey (though hers are often more fantasy than romance).

What I’m NOT looking for:

  • Erotica! Some dirty-ness is expected (I did say Adult after all) but if 75% or more of the focus is on the sex, I’m out.
  • Sookie Stackhouse – I know ya’ll love it, but I have tried it and it’s not my thing.
  • REALLY INTENSE DRAMA! lol, sometimes that’s okay, but right now, I’d prefer lighthearted fun.

Now I know some of you have just the book I need waiting right on the tip of your tongue. Help me out! Leave the title (and author if you know it) in the comments!





DNF Review: Odessa

May
16
1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Book Review

Title: Odessa (Seraphym Wars #1)

Author: Rebecca Ryals Russell

Summary: [from GoodReads]

Myrna Ashlin Watts is a high school Senior in Jacksonville, Fl when she is transported to a bizarre and primal planet corrupted by demon-dragons. And they want her dead. Her problem is, she has been recruited to kill them, too.
Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead an army of six teens called The Vigorios (demon-hunters) all the while battling dragons and monsters as they cross swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She wrangles with mental scars of a demon attack when she was fifteen and a vision of those same demons killing her brother two years later.
Three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil? Whom can she trust, if anyone, even herself? How can anyone expect her, a kid in high school to be a leader? Much less one who leads an army of kids in a Holy battle?
Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

My Review: I hate to do DNF reviews. HATE it. If I say I’m going to review something, then I dang well should finish it and review it! But I think in this case I’m going to have to, and it doesn’t have much to do with the book itself. I’m just… not in the mood or something. Normally, I would find a quick read like this easy to speed through in a matter of days. I’ve now been working on this one for over 3 weeks, and I have yet to hit the 50 page mark.

 

[In the interest of full disclosure some of my problem is that my Nook doesn’t seem to like the file. Every 10 pages or so it will freeze and I have to cross my fingers and reboot – which loses my place to the previous time I was actually able to turn OFF the Nook after reading it. It has been frustrating, but it seems to be only this file. That has nothing to do with whether I liked the book or not.]

 

From what I did read, I can say that this is an action-packed, fast paced thriller of a book. Right from page one we’re thrown into the action. That left me confused a little, because I had no context for what was happening, but it had already started to be explained when I put the book down, and I imagine it would all be further explained later. I also found the portrayal of the demons of the world amusing, if a little cliched. I was curious about the direction she was going to take her protagonists – whether they would be an exact foil as angels, or whether they would be some higher form of human.

 

In all honesty, if my TBR pile/list weren’t so huge right now, I probably would have kept reading. If this sounds like something you’d like, then  you should definitely go for it. It just wasn’t for me.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author. My apologies for the extreme delay in posting.





Bout of Books Challenge: Day 2

May
15
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events
Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Today’s challenge seems like something those of you not involved in BOB would be interested in too, so I’m choosing to answer it here. Unfortunately, I think it’s too late to officially sign up for Bout of Books this time around, but you’re welcome to unofficially read with us, and in the meantime, go follow the Bout of Books blogspot for info on the next one!
Physical book or eBook? – Physical book, though eBooks are getting better for me. I have this thing where I like to riffle the pages while I’m reading. It’s a comfort thing, like sucking your thumb or snuggling a blanket was when we were little. Can’t do that with an eBook!
Paperback or Hardcover? Paperback all the way! There’s something about the smell of a paperback, plus the feel of the pages – usually the paper weight is a lot lighter and the composition is different (this goes back to my page-riffling fetish – Paperbacks just satisfy me better!)
Reality or Make-believe? Make-believe, when it comes to books. Sometimes I need a dose of reality, but as you can probably tell from my reviews, that dose is only necessary once every couple of months.
Adult or Young-Adult? This is a hard one, because for me, it’s more the genre than the audience. I like fantasy and sci-fi, and while there are a few authors writing really good stuff for adults in those genres, the majority of the good stuff being written for them is YA, ergo YA. (That said, if I go into an adult fantasy and it turns into complete erotica or something, then I’m done – I’m okay with a little sexytimes, but I want the focus to be on the other Fantasy elements. That’s why I picked it up in the first place!)
Dog ears or Bookmarks? Dog ears?????!!!! ARE YOU INSANE????? *itches teeth and cringes* Use a dang bookmark, or remember the page number, but dog ear my books and I will punch you in the face! (Okay, okay with a few notable exceptions. There is ONE series in my collection that I allow myself to dogear because I read it so dang much. But that’s IT!)
Breaking the spine or Barely open the book? Don’t care? Having a broken spine doesn’t really bother me unless the book is falling apart in the first place.
Tea or Coffee? Tea. Yes, the Brits indoctrinated me well.
Reading in bed or On the couch? Bed happens most but I’m okay with either.
 Series or Standalone? Both, as long as it’s well written.
Original or TV Adaptation? Um, I don’t watch that many (read: any) TV shows based on books, though I can think of some I wish they’d make. So, I guess I’ll go with original?
 Defy motion sickness or Audiobooks? I get so engrossed in the book that I hardly even notice I’m moving – comes from driving EVERYWHERE when I was a kid, and having to entertain myself. Motion sickness was never an issue for me though, so I wouldn’t exactly call it defying.
Author crushes or Who-was-that-guy-again? Some of both. Depends on who it is.
Interview or Guest post? I don’t really have a preference, they’re both cool.
There you have it – my darkest secrets about books! Leave me a link to your answers, or your answers themselves in the comments!




Mini-Reviews: Romances

May
15
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Light and fluffy, that’s the way I like them! =) I’m don’t read romances too often, but every once in a while, I feel like I need it.

Austenland by Shannon Hale – A bit of a departure from her usual, but a wonderful book for any Austen fan! This feels like a beautiful chick flick movie, but in a book, so better! Hope someday they will make it into a movie though, cause it’d be perfect =)

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles – A little heavier than I usually like my romances, but that’s okay, because the subject material is really important. Modern day Romeo and Juliet, but without the whiny-ness of the originals. This book really delves into the problems we still have with prejudice and makes excellent points about them, while still maintaining the steamy romance side. Love it!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith – SO FREAKIN’ CUTE! I loved loved LOVED Oliver! I also enjoyed pointing out the landmarks and saying “I’ve been there!” (including the inside of a plane ride to London – boy was that realistic!) Why couldn’t I have met an Oliver on my way over? *pouts*





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