Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (10): World After, by Susan Ee

Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)

Title: World After (Penryn & The End of Days, #2)
Author: Susan Ee
Genre: Fantasy
Pub. Date: November 19, 2013

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose? -Goodreads

I was one of the many people that were completely blown away by this book, which I wrote a review of a while ago. They've released an excerpt of the book here, which, despite its length, had me bursting with excitement.

Make sure to link below so I could check out your WOWs!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Shadows, by Paula Weston

Shadows (The Rephaim, #1)

Title: Shadows (The Rephaim #1)
Author: Paula Weston
Genre: Paranormal
Pub. Date: September 10, 2013

It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series, is a standout paranormal romance for fans of Richelle Mead and Cassandra Clare. -Goodreads

*Recieved from Netgalley*

My faith in the PNR genre, namely angels, has been restored. First Angelfall, and now this beauty?

There are two things I learned by reading Shadows:

1) Never, ever, doubt Aussie authors. Man, I’m so close to moving to Australia, just so some of those magical writing abilities these authors seem to have can somehow rub off on me.

2) Don’t judge a book by its cover—or rather, its blurb. I’m serious; did you read that? I’ll admit, it almost scared me off. It gives the impression that this would be a heavily cliched and generic angel book. But thanks to the glowing reviews, I decided to give this one a shot.

Shadows begins with the beautiful setting of Pan Beach pulling the reader in. Gaby, the main character of the novel, has lost her twin brother a year prior in a car accident, one she survived. She is trying to live an at least partially normal life with her friend Maggie, but then Rafa arrives. This is where the story takes off, and we are sucked into the world of the Rephaim.

Now, let’s start with the characters. In short: I loved all of them. Every. Single. One. Know why? Because they were each deeply fleshed out and the character development was perfect. When pretty much all the characters are lovable, I knew that this will be a good book.

While the actual plot didn't scream uniqueness, it hints at more subplots to arise in coming books, which has me waiting in anticipation to get my hands on Haze. I was quite surprised to find that there were quite a few fighting scenes, which were much unexpected.

The banter between Rafa and Gaby was a non-stop thing- they never seemed to agree on anything, and I found this strangely endearing. Undoubtedly one of the most entertaining parts of the novel

Rafa's lines are totally quote-worthy from the sheer hilarity of them. He'a probably my favorite character. He is such a complex character, and for once, his insistence on being mysterious doesn't annoy me. He has a soft side, and while very few and far between, I never thought of him as a jerk.

Something about Daniel makes me instantly intrigued by his character; I really want to know the back-story of him and Gaby, which will hopefully come in the next novel. I still hate him, though.

One of the things about this novel that stood out to me was its loyalty to angel-folklore, which seems to be lacking in other books. I appreciate the fact that the author did her research and added her own to make the story more original, without shoving at us information many of us couldn't care less about. 

Although, there is one thing that made me drop half a star from my rating. Shadows left way too many questions unanswered, and virtually nothing was resolved. In my opinion, I don’t think that all the mysteries of Gaby's past should have been kept from us; after all, us readers don’t like to be completely left in the dark. The ending was a bit abrupt and not something I appreciated.

Shadows is a book that redeems the almost-hopeless angel genre, and manages to put a smile on my face and keep it there for a majority of my reading experience. I recommend this to people who enjoy angel books, but were hopelessly disappointed with most books of the genre.

Like I said, the books Australia publishes never seem to disappoint, and this is a book that should not be overlooked.

4 1/2 stars!

I will be part of the blog tour for the release of this book in North America on September 19, to do an interview with the amazing author, Paula Weston. *squees* 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak

I Am the Messenger

Title: I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: Mystery
Pub. Date: May 9, 2006

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

Upon reading and completing The Book Thief, I somehow knew, without trace of uncertainty or doubt, that Markus Zusak is a literary genius.

Only he could have such unmistakable and beautiful prose.

Only he could create such perfectly written characters.

Only he knows how to captivate his audience and manipulate their feelings to this extent.

I bought this book almost compulsively, not knowing a thing about the story and going in completely blind. While not a tearjerker like The Book Thief, I Am the Messenger is magnificent in its own right. Even comparing the two books feels wrong, because they are much too different.

"What would you do if you were me? Tell me. Please tell me!
But you’re far from this. Your fingers turn the strangeness of these pages that somehow connect my life to yours. Your eyes are safe. The story is just another few hundred pages of your mind. For me, it’s here. It’s now. I have to go through this, considering the cost at every turn. Nothing will be the same."

Zusak gives us a generous amount of humorous dialogue to lighten up some of the more serious moments. Like a friend of mine put it, a tragicomedy.

Ed Kennedy is the main character of this book, a 19-year-old tax-driver. He’s a bit of a failure in life, both by his and others’ standards. Nonetheless, I enjoyed have him as a narrator. Something about the way he looks at life in general is so unique. His commentary on everyday happenings and people is downright hilarious. Like I said, one of the best narrators I've ever had the pleasure to read about, and somehow made the novel a million times more entertaining.

"Have you ever noticed that idiots have a lot of friends?
It’s just an observation.”

Ed’s best friend and my favorite character, Marv, is an arrogant taxi-driver who is overly fond of his beat-up car. He comes across as a jerk at the beginning of the book, but by the end, you will love him.

Most of all, it was the simple things that made me love this story in all of its greatness. Things like…

A coffee drinking dog.
A swearing priest.
Barefoot soccer.
Morning runs.
Christmas lights.
A pathetic criminal.

Sometimes, I did find myself tearing up in the midst of laughing, due to the sheer beauty of some of the moments. These moments were very touching, and like every good book does, inspired me to try to be a better person.

The ending. Oh, the ending. I’m not lying nor exaggerating when I say that Zusak is a genius. It took a while for my mind to comprehend it, but when I understood, I was MIND. BLOWN.

I am supremely and eternally grateful for picking up this book. I know for a fact that this book will not leave me anytime soon.

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Plagiarism in the Blogging World?!

Recently, an incident occurred that still has me fuming to this very moment. Never, in the past 8 months that I have been blogging, would have predicted that an occurrence like this would ever occur. Naturally, being the na├»ve girl I am.  

Some, upon reading this blog post, may assume that I am overreacting. Causing drama. Being a meanie. Well, you obviously don’t take plagiarism as seriously as I do.

Writers, and us bloggers more specifically, take our work very seriously. For this reason, we tend to get enraged by an event like this. An event in which a fellow book blogger/reviewer copied my review practically verbatim --with a little paraphrasing here and there-- and called it her own work.

I won’t name any names; but I will include the review of this particular person.

It began as I was browsing the reviews for a book I had recently read. I came across said review, and noticed that it sounded oddly familiar. After a few reads of the review, it hit me that it was just like my review. Stupidly, I assumed that I had somehow mistakenly copied that review, but when I looked at the date, it had been published four days after my review was written.

So, I decided to handle the issue in a polite, mature manner. I informed the reviewer that she had copied my review. She then replied that she didn’t copy it, and that people “share opinions” on books. Because I have no life, I broke down our reviews bit by bit, compared the two, and explained why it was plagiarism. She even said that all reviewers do this, and that if “this is copying, then all reviews are plagiarized.” As expected, she repeatedly denied what would be obvious to anyone comparing the two reviews. I kept attempting to explain to her that this is plagiarism, plagiarism is wrong. Clearly, it fell upon deaf ears.

However, the author did delete her review. That’s not to say that she admitted to her fault or anything.

The reason why I am making such a big spectacle out of this is because I want to make it known that plagiarism will not be tolerated by anyone under any circumstance. And the fact that a fellow book blogger did something like this? That is just sickening and brings shame upon us book bloggers’ names.

I want to make it clear; there is a difference between “sharing opinions with others” and plagiarizing off another person. This is called plagiarizing:

My review:
“More like 2.5 stars.

It seems that I've been cursed for the past few weeks or so, as I have read some pretty horrible books. This book wasn't exactly horrible, but I didn't enjoy myself while reading this.

I understand that this is an ARC, but there are way too many spelling and grammatical mistakes, to the point where it distracted me from the plot. I can't count how many times 'your' and 'you're' were mixed up.

At the beginning of every chapter, there was a few pages of back-story on the Fae. In my opinion, they were a bit useless. The only thing they achieved in doing was that it prevented the plot from moving forward, and nothing really happens until the very end.

It was frustrating how much Caroline kept denying Devilyn's feelings. She noticed and acknowledged them one second, then the next, she would be questioning whether or not he liked her. It got pretty annoying.

One thing I don't understand was why Devilyn took so long to actually tell her of her heritage. Ultimately, it would have kept her safe, and would have prevented a lot of the bad stuff from occurring. Really, why put it off?

Heck, I'm starting to think the author did this just to cause other events to happen and to complicate the plot. In reality, it could have all been prevented very easily, and I found it hard to take the story seriously.

Devilyn was annoying as well. All he spoke of was Caroline, Caroline, Caroline. Dude, obsessive much? That’s pretty much all that ensued during his point of view.

My main pet peeve: There was a lot of high school stereotyping here. A lot. Not everyone who is a cheerleader/jock is a total jerk, FYI.

With a slow-moving plot and characters that I feel indifferent to, I find it hard to give this book higher than 3 stars. It wasn't very entertaining, and didn't make good use of the topic of the Fae as much as I had hoped it would.”

Her review:
“To be clear, this book wasn't bad. The prologue really pulled me in and the story was very interesting and pretty cool too, but I just can't get around all the typos. I know, this is an ARC but still. If you ask me, most of the typos have to be gone in the ARC copies.

Next to that, I liked the background stories you got on the fae before each chapter, but it was a bit useless. They were really interesting and fascinating, but they prevent the other plot from moving forward.

I didn't like the characters that much either. Caroline just frustrates me most of the time. The way she kept denying Devilyn's feelings over and over again. One moment she acknowledged them and the next she's questioning him again. Really really annoying and frustrating. And why it took Devilyn so long to tell her about her heritage, I'll never understand. And he was a bit obsessive. The main thing he talked about in his POV was Caroline.
Then you got the High School stereotypes. Those are one big no for me.

I feel like this book could have been much better. It was a good idea, good story, just poorly executed.”

What do you guys think about this entire problem? Do you think something like this should be made public, or ignored?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Which Book Species Are You?

Browsing through my Bloglovin' feed, I came across this post from Snowflakes and Spider Silk that included a chart that classifies readers into species. Needless to say, I became a bit obsessed. So, I decided to post that infograph here, which was cleverly created by Laura E. Kelly.

Let's see. I am:

- a Book Worshipper
- a Compulsive Book Buyer
- an Immersive Reader
- a Library Lover
- a Multitasker
- an Omnireader
- App Happy
- a Kindle Convert
- Sleepy Bedtime Reader
- Comfort Reader

Wow, I'm definitely a reader mutt.
What about you? What specie(s) are you a part of?

View full size image

Book Species Infographic