Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Buys 7/27 - 8/31/2012

Well, it's been a month...a crazy month...and a month full of buying books....  Annnnnd now I'm soooo excited to finally share with you the wondrous things that have been brought to my doorstep (or otherwise delivered).


Eve & Adam by Grant and Applegate
This ARC popped in by mail and I was overjoyed to see its gorgeous, shiny face.  Can't wait to start reading!

Two gorgeous vintage books:


The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
My adorable grandparents decided to buy me a book while they were visiting, so this is what I chose.  I loooove it! :D

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
LOVE IT!  This book rocked...
AND LOOK!!
Sarah was radical and yes, you're seeing the words "Hans Zimmer" on there.  We have very similar tastes in music, we discovered. :D

Medea by Euripides - $1
Euripides wrote one of my favorite plays ever, The Trojan Women.  And I can't wait to read this one! :D

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran - $2
This looks excellent!!  I really can't wait to dive in...from what I've read so far, it's super great!

The Host by Stephanie Meyer - $2
I never ever ever ever EVER thought I'd own one of her books, but here it is.  I'm actually intrigued.  We shall see. ;)

An awesome blogging friend of mine, Ashley from Ashley Loves Books, recently attended ALA and came home with over 50 ARCs.  And...well...she's been awesomely lending some of her ARCs out, so that everyone can get some love. ;)

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
Now, I wasn't quite sure about this one.  I had no idea if I would like it, what it was about, or if I should even give it a go.  But when Ashley surprised me with it, I decided, heck, that's what I want to read!  And boy oh boy oh BOY it was flipping INCREDIBLE!  Full review to come soon, promise!  But for now, preorder time!!

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
SUCH a hilarious book.  I'm in the middle right now and loving every moment.  It's almost like...if The Avengers was a book.  I dunno, maybe not that awesome, but it still has that epic superhero feel to it.  Like old fashioned Marvel superhero. :D

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
I can't wait to read this one!!  Seriously, it looks original and spooky and totally worth my time...  I hope it is as amazing as it sounds!

 Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel (Book 2)
This might have quite possibly made it to the Top 10 favorite books of 2012 list.  Not sure yet, but it's definitely close to holding that title.  It was so beautiful and amazing and wonderful and OH JUST GO READ MY REVIEW.

 Ascend by Amanda Hocking - $4
Loser that I am, I haven't read any of Hocking's books.  So, no, I haven't read any of the Trylle trilogy, but I so want to!  And now I own the whole trilogy - so yay!!

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
My classics addiction has flared up again - keep scrolling down to see what I mean.  I think Swann's Way looks extremely unusual and totally what I want - a personal and very detailed insight into French culture.  OH yah baby!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore - $4
I am intrigued...I don't know if I'll like it, but I'm willing to give it a go. :)

Sherlock Holmes by Doyle - $.50
My mommy bought this for me...it's a 1950's copy and it's got so much character!

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand - $1
I don't like the story, but come on.  It's in French.  How could I pass that up?! 

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett - $1
Looks. So. GOOD.

City of Glory by Beverly Swerling - $1
LOOK at how gorgeous this cover is!!!  I would have probably bought it even if it DIDN'T look so amazing.  But it does - so bonus!!

The Bostonians by Henry James
See what I mean?  These full-priced classics (even if they are pretty cheap) are going to buy me out of house and home. ;)

The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 Not only am I a classics junkie....but I'm a Dostoevsky junkie.  I'll read his stuff over and over and over again.  He's like, top 5 favorite authors ever.  Yep, he made the epic list.  I plan to keep him there for eternity.

And viola!  The piles and piles and piles I've purchased in the last month...or received...or...you know. :D
Aren't they just pretty??? *swoons*




HAAAPPPY READING!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Insta-Love VS Realistic Love

This is an interesting topic...and one I'm sure everyone has something of an opinion on.  I hear all the time about how "irritating this insta-love was" or how "here's finally an insta-love that's believable".  Judging from others' comments, and my own findings:  Insta-love is hard to peg.

As a dear blogging friend, Annabelle from Sparkles and Lightning, said once, insta-love can take place over 2 days...or a few months.  Basically, it doesn't matter how long it is - it's how the author plays it out.

The fad that is Insta-Love
I feel like I'm a bit more lenient on Insta-Love and would say it's "realistic" more than most people.  I guess that's because...I'm from Insta-Love.  Yep, you read correctly.  What I mean by that is: my parents met, hated each other, fell in love 3 days later, and were engaged within a week of meeting each other.  They've been married happily for nearly 21 years.  Sooooo...yah.  Lenient would be the way I view Insta-Love.  It can happen, it is realistic, and it really can last.

So when I read Insta-Love, what am I thinking?  I guess after a while it can get old, but I don't often think, "What the heck!  That would never happen!"  For the most part I'm thinking, "Can somebody please find a different way to plant Insta-Love in their stories?"  Because, for reals people, there are SO MANY FREAKING STORIES that have Insta-Love in them.  And sometimes it feels like it's the same thing over and over again.

But I get it.  It's easy to deal with, easy to fit into a lot of different types of stories, many different genres.  Sometimes I think it might be easier to write than some long, drawn out, real-life-ish kind of love story.  So I'm on the fence.  I wish it wasn't quite so over-used, and sometimes totally unrealistic, but I love it.  I really do.

The awesome and rare Realistic Love
Now, this.  This.  This is hard to come by these days.  But when I find them, I LOVE them.  Like, I eat them up like candy at Christmas.  Take This Dark Endeavor, for example.  I love the romance in here, but it's pretty much already happened any way you look at it.  Whether it's Konrad/Elizabeth, or Victor's love for Elizabeth, etc.  It happened beforehand, so you don't see it unfolding, but it was realistic in the way it played out.

Sure, I like this.  Sometimes, I'll take that over Insta-Love any day.  But what I really really love is a Realistic Love story like that of A Curse Dark as Gold...  Holy schnap.  It's so darn beautiful I just can't stand it.  It took a while, too, for them to really fall in love, and I loved that about it.  It made the book what it was: soft, full of promise, and completely tantalizing!

Then there's love stories like Alex and Lena's from Delirium.  They fell in love over a summer, but it felt like much, much longer than that.  As though they'd lived a lifetime together already.  I can also say that the Divergent/Insurgent love story and The Hunger Games trilogy love story are two of the most Realistic portrayals of love I've read in YA.  They include:  average looking human beings who don't have magical superpowers; lots of heartbreak; and a reason to need each other (other than just an OMG-I'll-die-if-we-aren't-together kind of thing).  This...this I like.

Ok, I love it.

So what's the verdict?
Definitely...well...erm...not so sure.  Because where would I be without Kelsey and Ren's undeniably perfect Insta-Love-ish romance?  And how could I live without the undying flame that keeps Peeta and his girl on fire burning?  Both can be epic.  Both are epic.  You just have to do it right.

And what's your verdict?  It's a tie for me, but maybe you have other ideas!  Share your thoughts in the comments below - I love to know what you're thinking!! :D

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel (#2)

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel (#2)
Pages: 310
Release Date:  Aug. 21st, 2012
Date Read:  2012, August 11th-12th
Received:  ARC (borrowed)
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  14+






There are some maaaajor spoilers in this review, so if you don't want the first book ruined for you, I suggest you skip reading this!  Howevvver...I HIGHLY recommend this series, so if you're interested, check out my review of the first book, This Dark Endeavor, RIGHT HERE.

SUMMARY -
Victor has made a promise - an oath.  After the death of the one closest to him, Victor has promised to bring him back from the dead.  But since they burned the Frankenstein library, how will he discover the way?  When he sees the unburnt binding of a  book among the ashes, he snatches it and gives rein to curiosity.  What he and his friends, Elizabeth and Henry, discover through the book, the thing they can do in the spirit world, suck them into a dangerous game.  What all can they accomplish with this new-found power?  How can they raise Konrad from the dead...and at what cost?

MY THOUGHTS -
Oh holy gracious, I'm just so happy.  Not that I was doubting Oppel's genius or anything...I was just a bit nervous, because I'd hyped myself up about this book and was worried if wouldn't live up to my expectations.  But heck, why did I ever worry my little head over it?  It was perfect, from beginning to end.  The only thing stopping me from awarding this series "forever favorite" is that I haven't read what comes next, and that will be the deciding factor.

CHARACTER NOTES -
I know I'll need to do a lot of explaining for this statement, whether you've read the book or not: I am madly in love with Victor.  Goodness, he's just so...amazing.  Obsessive, unrelenting, disobedient, and proud, yes...  But every time he does something, foolish or no, I fall a little more in love.  I believe he's one of the only "bad boy" types I've ever loved like this.  The passionate way he sees things, especially his love for Elizabeth, makes me blush and read faster for more.  And you know what?  I think that's just it - his passion.  I love him for it, so so much.

Now, Elizabeth.  She's amazing, too, in a very level-headed, sweet-tempered way.  She is very maternal, but also very wild, like an animal, and only Victor really sees that side of her.  I think she and Konrad had a comfortable love, but she and Victor could have something very passionate, a love like fire, and I'm rooting for that without a doubt.

Henry seemed to grow so much this time around.  He became so manly and attractive.  The story really compared Henry's/Victor's strengths and showed how selfish Victor can be sometimes.  Henry was almost like an angel, pure and strong.  I loved him all the more this time!

And the pit-god...  Oh, I shudder at that name!  What a formidable, unbeatable enemy!

STORY NOTES -
I think Oppel's trademark is that he makes everything that could possibly go wrong happen, one thing after another, slamming the heroes in the face until it seems like they won't be able to win after all...  And that's also his brilliancy.  It's rare that a story sucks me in so much that by the end I can no longer sense things going on around me, that my heart is beating wildly, my stomach is churning with worry, and htat my hands shake with anticipation as I turn the pages.  And this book - it did exactly that.

From beginning to end I couldn't stop.  I read it all in 2 sittings, only putting it down 'cause I had to, only picking it up once I knew I could just sit and finish it all.

This is a dark, sad, humorous, startling, gripping, and completely lovely.  It holds twists I couldn't foresee, and writing that sweeps you up in TWO different tenses.  Victor's voice and Oppel's style, while both unmistakable, mesh perfectly.

It's also a story that sticks with you.  I know that in my review of This Dark Endeavor I said the story wasn't very memorable, but I take that back.  I remembered everything about Book 1, and now Such Wicked Intent sticks out to me even more.

Also, as Christian, I found the religious discussions and aspects of the story VERY fascinating.  They weren't over the top or taking over the whole story, but OMG (excuse my lack of proper grammar) but that was a brilliant touch.  You have the dynamics of an athiest, a Catholic, and a Protestant.  So, soooo fascinating!!

So, honestly, I have nothing bad to say.  At all!

SUMMING IT UP -
Just....wow.  I personally cannot recommend this series enough.  I want everyone to read it - hurry hurry go go go go go go go go!!!!!

For the Parents -
A kiss or two (Victor thinks about one of them afterward and about the intimacy between he and Elizabeth, but not in explicit terms).  Maybe a curse word or two.  Some intense action but not really any violence.  Some spooky scenes (looooved those!).  Overall, recommended 14+.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #6 - Crewel



This is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper!


Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.


______________________________________________

You know, there really are some INCREDIBLE covers out there.  This, Crewel, is one of them.  It's so flipping brilliant that every time I see it I go into a trance of love. ;)
And besides that - Spinsters?  Magic?  Fairy tales?  Heck yes, I'm down!

Released:  October 16th, 2012
Goodreads
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
The Book Depository

What are YOU wishing for this Wednesday?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle
Pages: 352
Release Date:  August 14th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, July 5th-6th
Received:  ARC from Publisher
Rating:  3/5 stars
Recommended to:  15+







SUMMARY -
Miranda has never felt accepted by her mom, a theater actress and a good one at that.  Miranda is stuck in her school play, acting a role she doesn't want, while her mom and dad are performing professionally in Rome.  When Stephan, the quite new kid, tells her he needs her help, she thinks he's pulling her leg.  But it's hard to doubt when she's whisked off to Italy and given a very important task - make sure young Will Shakespeare doesn't join the Jesuits, or else all his work in the future might be lost.  How must Miranda prevent this catastrophe?  By seducing him, of course.

MY THOUGHTS -
Kissing Shakespeare started out as an extraordinary debut.  It had every element I could ask for: time travel, great lit-men, fascinating time period, history, romance, mystery, intrigue, etc....  The first half was definitely 5-star quality, even though I didn't love Miranda...  Ok, I thought she was a dunce.  But whatever.

I'm sad to say that this mad love for this book did not last.  It still gets 3 stars for all the great stuff, and the massive potential, but the other stuff was enough to make me lose respect for many of the characters...and the story on a whole.

One thing I did really enjoy was Pamela's writing.  She really knows how to work her words and create vivid images.  So for that I say "Keep it up!"

CHARACTER NOTES -
MIranda was just... UGH.  She made the most retarded decisions.  She thinks she knows everything and was either confused or...confused.  People were NOT sending her mixed signals - if she just listened to sense she would understand there's a REASON for Stephan restraining himself from falling in love with her.  The reasons were OBVIOUS.  And then she tries to seduce HIM instead.  When that doesn't work she runs off like a crying baby and almost sleeps with Shakespeare!

Like Relient K always says, "Someone get that girl a mood ring!"

Besides Miranda, I really loved Stephen and wanted something good to come of his character...make up for what Miranda lacked.  But he didn't.  At the beginning he just assumes, based on billboards and magazines and movies that all girls in our time are sluts; but when Miranda reassures him they aren't, I thought the topic of Miranda sleeping with Shakespeare was over.  (Miranda totally eats her words and gets naked with Shakespeare anyways!)  But I was wrong.  Even when Stephen falls for her, he still pressures her to sleep with Will.  And then is happy when she doesn't.  Ok...?

Will himself was okay, but not in the story nearly as much as I'd expected.  I liked him, and of course, wanted him to not become a Jesuit but a playwright instead.  But, like I said, his presence was lacking.

The other characters aren't worth mention.  Well, Thomas was interesting, but his story was obvious and predictable.

STORY NOTES -
I absolutely LOVED the intrigue.  All the mystery, the secrets, the eavesdropping, the push and pull of religious groups.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I also loved the first half of Miranda/Stephan's romance, but then they both ruined things in very stupid ways.

Everything was laid in place.  A capture wold ensue...lives could be lost...  And.....what was that?  Oh, right.  The Quick Fix Ending.  Mmmmhmmmm.  Everything happened too fast, too easy.  I was satisfied with how things wrapped up, but not the execution.  And I suppose it was good for Stephen and Miranda what happened, but I felt that, too, was a quick fix, and something to stretch out the story.  Now I'm unsatisfied and will probably read the second book, because the story's not over yet.  It's not a bad thing, but it's not good either.

SUMMING IT UP -
Not the best.  It wasn't terrible, 'cause I've definitely read worse, but I didn't love it.  I'm not even sure if I'd call it a "good read".  The 3 stars are for personal enjoyment alone.

For the Parents -
A few minor cuss words.  Some passionate kissing with a little detail.  When Miranda seduces Will Shakespeare, they go almost all the way - fully naked -but they break it off.  A few details, like Will talking about the "swell of her breasts".  It's just an overall AWKWARD scene.  Some violence but nothing gory.  Recommended 15+

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A short break!

Hello friends, I hope I find everyone well...  I'm writing this little post as a small "See you later!"  I'm going camping this week and have a crazy work the week after...soooo I shall be taking a two week break.  BUT.  The bookish happenings never end!  I promise!  I am currently running Part 2 of my Blogoversary giveaway, so that should keep you all busy for a while, and when I get back from my break I'm hoping to have another one!

Annnnnd on the 11th of August, I will be sitting in a Mysterious Galaxy, listening to a wonderful debut author tell me all her secrets.  Ok, well, maybe not secrets.  But, you know... :D  Here's me all geeked out about my wonderful hardcover copy of her book!! :D


Anywho...  I will be back, like I said, in two weeks, with reviews, pictures, and memes!  I'm going to miss this, I can promise you that!!

If you want to enter my AWESOME GIVEAWAY:

No, seriously, you want to enter.  It's radical on every level. :D

Love you alllll!
Sierra