Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: The Iron Traitor, by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2)

Title: The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA fantasy
Pub. Date: October 29, 2013

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice.

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all. -Goodreads

4 Stars
*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Prior to reading this, there was this teeny tiny part of me that was hoping, hoping that Kagawa would give more attention to her old characters, the characters many of us hold dearly. Alas, I was disappointed. They were barely given any attention.

The logical part of my brain is agreeing with her, and I definitely see why she would not pay such close attention to the old characters, but still. I am proud of her that she has enough maturity as an author to let go of the original characters, but at the same time, allowing roughly only three chapters to Puck and Grim is saddening if not a bit of a letdown.

Anyhow, on to the book. There was all the action, betrayal, magic, suspense, and all that good stuff we expect from the Fey world. Really, could we expect anything less? It’s Julie Freaking Kagawa.

I've read somewhere that to be a successful author/writer, you have to pay attention to details. This is exactly what Kagawa does; her writing is descriptive, giving us a clear depiction of how the world of the Fey looks. As in the other books, her writing and world-building are simply impeccable.

The characters have grown tremendously between this novel and the previous installment. Ethan doesn't spend 99% of his day brooding, he shows a bit more maturity, and I don’t abhor dislike him as much as I did in The Iron Prince. The other characters matured and were more deeply developed as well. While a lot of people do hate Keirran, I am intrigued by his character. He’s probably the most interesting individual out of this whole series.

Admittedly, at first the novel was a bit difficult to get into. But once the action started, I could not take my eyes off the page. However, for those of you that have been following Kagawa’s books, as I have, I can’t help but feel that the series is becoming somewhat predictable. It’s not very obvious, but I could kind of guess what would happen during some occurrences, and during others, I felt that they found a solution to their problems unrealistically quickly. Nevertheless, The Iron Traitor is a very solid second installment.

The cliffhanger was, and still is, tortuous. 

For those that haven’t read anything by Julie Kagawa, you probably should pick up one of her books pronto. Although it is susceptible to hackneyed characteristics in some of her books, the grandeur of Julie Kagawa’s storytelling is unbeatable, and it will be hard not to be immersed in the world of the Nevernever.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Elixir, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Elixir (Covenant, #3.5)

Title: Elixir (Covenant #3.5)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: YA paranormal
Pub. Date: November 27, 2012

Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for.
Even if it means making war against the gods.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

3 Stars 
I'm not usually one to read novellas, because in my opinion they don't really satisfy me, but Elixir is an exception to that. It was intriguing to see things from Aiden's POV, and although I never really liked him, I actually began to respect him while reading this. An interesting read, and I highly recommend reading it before Apollyon, as it makes things much

About the Author

# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Spencer Hill Press is giving away a $200 gift card to Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository or any indie bookstore of the winner's choice to not only stock up on amazing books, but to perhaps buy a Nook HD or Kindle Fire.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Stacking the Shelves

The best feature of the arrival of the weekend: I get all the time to read. No school, no distractions. Yay.

Lately, I've been in the mood for historical fiction, which is why five of these books are all in that genre. One thing I noticed, though, was that I shouldn't read a historical fiction book on a topic I'm familiar with. Usually, the author gets all the facts wrong, and I just end up going on an angry rampage that I'm not too proud of. 

Anyways, here is my loot:

From Library:
Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1)A Northern LightA Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)Angel Burn (Angel, #1)Out of the Easy
1- Perfect Ruin, by Lauren Destefano
2- A Northern Light, by Jennifer Donnelly
3- A Darkness Strange and Lovely, by Susan Dennard
4- Angel Burn, by L.A. Weatherly 
5- Out of the Easy, by Ruta Sepetys (review to come!) 

From Netgalley:
Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2)
Lady Thief, by A.C. Gaughen

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)The Bronte Sisters: Three NovelsElixir (Covenant, #3.5)
1- Pivot Point, by Kasie West
2- The Bronte Sisters: Three Novels (It basically has one novel from each sister- all in one collection. How cool is that?)
3- Elixir, by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

So there you have it. I'm pretty sure my librarian hates me, because I'm always hoarding all the new books. Sigh. Book blogger problems.

What did you get this week?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review: Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey

Jasper Jones

Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan.

Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery.

With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.

And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse.

In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.
My Rating: 3.5 stars 
"I don't understand a thing about this world: about people, and why they do the things they do. The more I find out, the more I uncover, the more I know, the less I understand.

Many are boldly making the claim that this is the Australian To Kill A Mockingbird. I don't think I agree with this, in the sense that it didn't affect me as much as the latter did. The similarities are there, nonetheless. It shows the cruel world from an innocent 13-year-old's point of view, much like what To Kill A Mockingbird does.

I have to give it to Silvey, he has a lot of talent. The writing is quite absorbing and unique, and while it did take some getting used to, it started to grow on me. A bit clumpy at times, but still compelling. I might even go so far to say that this is one of the best reflection of a teen boy's voice; a quality you'd be hard-pressed to come across in YA.

Charlie is the main character of the novel. For a majority of the novel, I would describe the guy as a wimp. He's the kid that gets bullied just for being smarter than everyone else, the kid that would rather be reading than hanging out with other teens. His awkwardness and low self-confidence are shown in the tone of the writing. I don't know if I love him, or even feel a sort of bond with him, but I will say that he is very well-developed, as are the other characters.

At times, though, his thoughts seemed way too mature for a person his age. C'mon, no teen talks like a freaking philosopher all the time. We might mistake him for an old man. It simply wasn't realistic.

Jasper Jones is the town outlaw, the scapegoat of all the town's problems. If a flower dies, it's Jasper Jones' fault. If you lose your ring, Jasper stole it. Same with if a girl is murdered. You get the picture.

Which brings me to the town in which the story takes place. It's the ignorant town that is exactly how I picture one of those overly-conservative towns down in the South. They blame everything on one person, treat the Vietnamese immigrants like trash, (this is set during the Vietnam War), and just portray pure ignorance.

Where the novel fell flat, I think, is the mystery aspect. It didn't interest me at all. It could be that I didn't care much for the person that the mystery was related to, or that mystery really isn't the genre for Silvey and he should stick to coming-of-age novels.

There were way too many sub-plots the author was trying to fit into one book. What puzzled me is how many different issues there were, but the plot still managed to move SO SLOW.

I like how the Vietnam War and Cold War were brought up, adding more maturity to the novel. While only subtly alluded to, I did appreciate their mentioning and their significance during that time.

I can't help but feel that this book and the praise along with it is pretentious, which I think took away from my enjoyment of the book. I was hoping to love this, but it didn't cut it for me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Indelible, by Dawn Metcalf

Indelible (The Twixt, #1)

Some things are permanent.


And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future...and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies… -Goodreads

My Rating: 2/5 stars

I received this book in exchange for an honest review

If you want a lesson on how not to write a decent fantasy book, refer to Indelible. This book has everything I don’t want in a book; it barely has the minimum basics. It will be near impossible to improve this series; if the foundation is not sturdy, the rest of the series will most likely suck.

Where is the plot? Where is the structure? I have no idea why most of the things occurred, because the author paid minimal heed to the essentials of her world. It’s only been a week since I've finished Indelible, and the only thing I can recall is that Ink doesn't have fingernails. That’s pretty sad.

You know, there’s this little thing called world building, and it would've helped so much if the author expanded on the world and had paid more attention to this aspect instead of describing minute things I could care less about as a reader, like a stain on Joy’s textbook (yes, that was brought up once). In order to have a compelling fantasy, it is very important to build up the world and make us visualize it in our heads. If the author can’t do that, then he/she shouldn't be writing a fantasy novel in the first place.

There is very little than annoys me more in a book than cheesy writing. Coming in a close second is the unnecessary overuse of exclamation marks that is not in dialogue. Combine these two, and I’m very annoyed. All it shows is that the writing is very juvenile and childish.


“She didn’t want to think. She felt better already!”

“It wasn’t bad!”

“Girls’ Self Defense 103: Never give up!”

“She wasn’t a prisoner! This was her house!”


Overall, the writing was a mess. It had no flow whatsoever, and describing every single atom that exists in a room is not going to improve the writing.

Like I said, the plot lacked structure. I felt like the author was just making up this stuff as I progressed through the story. I’m still confused about everything that happened. There was no leading up to the conflict; it came out of nowhere, and frankly, made little sense at all.

On to Joy, the main character. Joy, oh Joy, you were not a joy to read about. This girl is the epitome of idiocy. She has no sense of self-preservation - not because she’s overly heroic or anything, but because she’s stupid. At one point, a random stranger came up to her and asked her if she knew about some bizarre thing (that she clearly knew nothing about). Naturally, she said that she did know what he was talking about (??). I don’t even know why.

"Excuse me," he continued. "Did you see the Kodama?"
"Yes," she said.”


Another admirable quality of Joy is her clinginess. I never understood Ink and Joy’s relationship; it was so awkward that cringing came as second nature to me during my reading experience. At one point she also wanted Ink to visit her “right now” when he was clearly using all his energy to save his sister and could barely handle the exhaustion. But NO! His sister's suffering is SO much less important than seeing his girlfriend! (Not that I’m defending Ink, or sympathizing with him, I’m just pointing out a fact.)

Completely ignored in Indelible is characterization. I don’t give a crap about any of the characters in the book. I’m at a loss for what else to say because there is absolutely no character development to begin with. This is probably one of the worst books in the characterization department, folks. I’m scratching my head trying to remember Joy’s best friend’s name…

Indelible’s got the whole package; bad writing, an unstructured plot, no character development, and no world-building. To top it all off, the book failed to connect with me on an emotional level, and I couldn't wait to finish this book.

*sigh* Nothing to see here, guys.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Release + Giveaway: Mythology, The Wicked by Helen Boswell

Title: The Wicked (Book 2)
Pub. Date: October 11, 2013

A demon with a pure heart, Micah Condie lives his life by a code of ethics, but breaking that code may be the only way for him to survive. A supernatural entity in her own right, Hope Gentry would do anything in her power to protect her loved ones, but she may be the one who puts them in peril.

When the Demon Impiorum challenges the laws that keep guardians and demons in balance, ancient enforcers of justice intervene. Micah, Hope, and their mentor Jonathan become entangled in a conspiracy that will test even the deepest love and trust.

Someone will commit an act of betrayal. Someone will forever abandon a loved one.

Someone will enter THE WICKED.

Title: Mythology (Book 1)
Pub. Date: July 27, 2012

Hope Gentry doesn’t believe in Fate. Born with an unusual power to see the dark memories of those around her, Hope just wants to be a normal teenager. But on the first day of her senior year of high school, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a transfer student named Micah Condie. At first glance, Micah seems like a boy that most girls would dream about. But when Hope's powers allow her to discover Micah's darkest secret, she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of mythical entities she never dreamed existed. Was this her destiny all along? And will her powers help her survive the evil of the Demon Impiorum?

Mythology isn’t just for English class anymore.

About the Author:

Originally from upstate New York, Helen Boswell spent several years of her early adult life tromping around in the city of Buffalo with frequent trips to Toronto, Canada. These two cities in particular serve as inspirational settings for her urban fantasies, and while Helen has since moved to live in the southwestern United States, she will have fond memories of urban life and high-heeled sneakers for all eternity.

Helen earned her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University at Buffalo and dedicates her time to teaching biology and other fun things to college students, spending time with her wonderful family, and eating chocolate while writing.

The YA urban fantasy MYTHOLOGY is her first novel and the first one in the Mythology Series.

Find out more about Helen at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 6, 2013

7 Reasons to Read Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe Road

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pub. Date: August 28, 2008

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham 17, finally confronts her past. Hannah, the closest adult she has to family, disappears. Jonah Griggs, moody stares and all, is back in town. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future. -Goodreads

5 stars!

Merely thinking about Jellicoe Road makes my thoughts scatter and unorganized, so in order to convey me thoughts effectively, I must make a list. Hopefully I’ll give Jellicoe Road at least a fraction of the praise it deserves.

7 Reasons to Read Jellicoe Road:

1- The Writing.
Enticing, captivating, profound, and dripping with emotion. Easily my favorite part of the book. That’s all I can say.

2- The Mystery.
I’m pretty sure everyone was confused for the first third of the book. I am no exception to that. I did get frustrated; I was feeling a bit impatient. I didn’t appreciate the genius behind the slowly unraveling storyline until I had finished the book. In the end, it all came together, and for the element of mystery Marchetta used, I am grateful.
“Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered and every secret will be made known.”

3- The love, the pain, the hope, and everything in between.
What I find most incredible about Jellicoe Road? Even through all the hardships, all the pain they were forced to endure, a small wisp of emotion was sneaking out of the pages, resonating: hope.

4- You will fall in love with each and every character.
Days after finishing the book, I still tear up thinking about the masterfully well-written characters. The characterization is so superb, near flawless, to the point where you feel like have known the characters for your whole life. That is the impact her characters have on me.

5- Jellicoe Road will affect your life, whether you’re a teen or not.
This book has some powerful messages about friendships and relationships. It will not only affect the lives of adolescents, but also the lives of adults. It will open your eyes.
“It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love.”

6- Taylor and Jonah.
I don’t recall ever being as enamored as I am with Taylor and Jonah with any other fictional couple. And you know what? They don’t have the healthiest relationship. It is realistically flawed. No matter what they did to each other, no matter what they said, their love was ubiquitous. I don’t care how cheesy that sounds.
“I shrug. "I'll probably mention that I'm in love with you."
He chuckles. "Only you would say that in such a I-think-I'll-wash-my-hair-tonight tone.”

7- Jellicoe Road expertly chronicles the journey that is known as adolescence.
I’ll get this out of the way: being a teen sucks. I would know, as I am at that stage of my life currently. As a result, this book had a massive impact on me. I could relate to everything Taylor thought and said. Her internal monologues were at times hilarious, and at others, made me choke up in tears from her truthfulness. How Marchetta captures the voice of a teen authentically and effortlessly will never cease to amaze me.
Seriously, this book should be required reading for ALL teens.

Melina Marchetta, you have officially converted me. Prior to reading Jellicoe Road, I could care less about realistic fiction. I was more of a fantasy type of gal. Now, after being exposed to this masterpiece, my eyes have been opened.

Reading through my favorite quotes is making me nostalgic. I’m already in need of a re-read.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (6)

Happy Saturday everyone! 

Here are the books I got this past week: (mostly contemporary, surprisingly)

From the library:


1. Winger, by Andrew Smith
2. Gilt, by Katherine Longshore

Bought from OCC Book Festival:

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of going to the Orange County Children's Book Festival, and met some really great authors and attended a panel on YA contemp. I met Jessi Kirby, author of Golden, Morgan Matson, author Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, and Leila Howland, author of Nantucket Blue. Needless to say, I was kind of star-struck by their mere presence (duh they're like celebrities). We chatted about our favorite books and about writing novels. I am so glad I met these lovely ladies!  

1. Golden, by Jessi Kirby
2. Mooglass, by Jessi Kirby
3. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson
4. Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson
5. Nantucket Blue, by Leila Howland

All of the books I bought were autographed!

After the event, we took some pictures: 

Leila Howland and me
Jessi, Morgan, me, and Leila
What books did you get in the past week? Link to your STS post in the comments!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cover Wars #1: The Book Thief

I feel like I've seen this feature on dozens of blogs, so I decided to give it a try! Today I will be comparing the US cover, the Australian cover, and the foreign (UK) cover.

The Book Thief is a book I, and many others, hold very dearly, so I take the covers (and anything associated with it, really) very seriously. I'll be judging the cover based on how well it reflects the content of the book, and also the visual appeal of the cover overall.

On a random note, for those of you that aren't in the know, the movie is coming out in 2 MONTHS. *squee*

The Book Thief
Australian cover
The depiction of the setting on the cover is pretty accurate, giving the book a bit of an eery feel to it. I'm not the biggest fan of that person on the cover though. (I would say it is Death, the narrator, but that's not exactly how I imagined him.)

The Book Thief
US cover
The scene that the US cover is trying to portray is one of the scenes with my favorite character in it *cough* The one with the lemon-colored hair *cough*, but in my opinion it isn't the most significant scene in the novel.
The Book Thief
UK/foreign cover
The UK cover illustrates Liesel, the protagonist, dancing (?) with death. I guess that can hold some sort of symbolism to it. I love the more oldish, worn-out look the background gives off, which really adds to its visual attractiveness.


The UK cover! 

In my opinion, I feel that the UK cover does a relatively good job of displaying The Book Thief. I am not the biggest fan of the others. It's not that they aren't good-looking; they are simply missing the captivating look the UK/foreign cover gives off.

Which is your favorite cover?