Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren; here we share with you, the lovely readers, what books came to us this week whether it be in the mail, from the library, purchased or borrowed.

This week has been simply sensational for books with me! The purchase of the Nook has opened so many doors! Take a look at all the awesomeness I got!

For Review

Eve by Anna Carey
Sacrifice by Melinda Metz & Laura Burns
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Thank you to Simon & Schuester, Melinda Metz, and NetGalley!

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Free eBook) by Kady Cross


Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Thank you to Nicci at Paper Dreams!

See? I told you it was phenomenal! I am so excited to have such wonderful ARC titles. I recently published my first ARC review so I can see the potential and feel the excitement of these wonderful selections!

Be sure to let me know what was in your mailbox!

Friday, July 29, 2011

First Impressions Friday (11)

First Impressions is a meme hosted here at Within Pages where we take a look at all things, mostly booky, and reflect on our initial thoughts. Non-bloggers, non-book bloggers, and everyone alike can participate on any topic you'd like. Feel free to drop your links or thoughts in the comments!

The Hunger Games Casting

The Hunger Games cast is not exactly similar to the way that I imagined it. Josh Hutcherson has been cast as Peeta; Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, and more.

While I believe that Josh Hutcherson is a great addition to the movie, in my imagination he is more fit for Gale. Something about Liam doesn't give the sharpness and athleticism I always saw Gale possessing. I also thought that Alex Pettyfer would be a fantastic Peeta. 

While every character was unique in my mind, the portrayals (unlike in the Harry Potter movies) aren't as accurate for me. I mean, I never imagined Cinna remotely like Lenny Kravtiz...never.

What about you? What are your thoughts?

Follow Friday (12)

In addition to First Impressions Friday, I take part in the blog hop Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee & Alison.

Let's step away from books for a second and get personal.
What T-Shirt slogan best describes you? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Hyperion (August 2, 2011)
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Hardcover): 288
Source: Secondhand ARC
ISBN-13: 978-1-4231-3787-0
Genre: Fantasy/Suspense
Author: Twitter | Blog

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.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget. 


This book has a unique feel to it; "entirely original yet achingly familiar". The beautiful writing crafted by Victoria Schwab is artful and demands your attention, though the voice seems almost to old for our young heroine. But one as young as Lexi, she is still as strong and defiant as she needs to be. In an instance where adults cannot see past the end of their noses, it takes her rebellion against all norms and odds to bring to light that which has been dead for centuries. It takes her resilience and her alliance with Cole to "set things right".


The Near Witch is an intriguingly dark mystery that surrounds the town of Near. Victoria Schwab has written a beautifully intense story with the most artistic prose. The quote in the blurb "entirely original, yet achingly familiar" sums up this tale brilliantly.

Schwab wraps her words around the concept of the main heroine, Lexi, giving her full depth and solidarity; the voice of the writing ages Lexi in a way that at first made it hard to fully construct the character. But as I drifted further into the writing and the story, Lexi's character became defined and her strength, her resolution was so profound. Her rebellion against the norms of Near set her aside and help identify her as the protagonist, the hero of the town of Near.

In addition to her, Cole is the stranger, the one who isn't supposed to exist. But he arrives in Near and changes Lexi's life forever. I was hoping for a deeper plot, perhaps that the two were destined to be together. Sadly, that isn't the case and the emotions of love are interesting yet painfully stereotypical, as the story takes place over the course of only days.

Other characters like the Thorne sisters were brilliantly crafted. The addition of the sisters, their knowledge, and their quirks were entirely entertaining and they were the only place we seemed to gather new cryptic information or history on the witch.

Throughout the story, we are uncovering the facts of the life and death of the Near Witch, the trails to the children, clues hidden in ancient stories, etc. The combination of the mystery and the careful craftsmanship of the prose held the story together through the redundancy of the days in the life of Lexi.

Victoria Schwab has crafted a wonderful story with a thoughtful set of characters and the most intriguing villains. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a haunting fairy tale, it is a beautiful read.

Rating out of 5:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren; here we share with you, the lovely readers, what books came to us this week whether it be in the mail, from the library, purchased or borrowed.

This week has been fantastic! A bunch of new goodies! Even one I have been looking forward to a long time!

This week I got...

Why yes that is a new generation nook! I have been doing massive amounts of research; the first poll resulted in Kindle...then I found out that the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab doesn't support Kindle, so I sent out another poll and this one came back overwhelmingly Nook. I spoke to an amazing specialist at the B&N store and he really sold me on it. The Kindle will not support library eBooks either. So in the end, I went with this and so far I love it. I even bought a book for it!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenCorsets and Clockwork: 13 Steampunk RomancesEntwined

I bought...

I won...

She hosted an extended event My Favorite Things, and I was SO happy to win this selection. I have had my eye on it since it released! Thank you very much Candace! The event was sensational!

I also won a series of posters from Quirk Books in a contest hosted at I Like These Books. One of the posters was the cover of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I am excited to add it to my office decor! Thank you, Britta!

From the Library...
Entwined by Heather Dixon

A new spin on the story of the 12 Dancing Princesses, this is supposed to be a good, clean fairy tale!

This week has made me so giddy! I have updated all my netgalley information and have made my first requests including The Iron Knight. I cannot express how happy I am with this week! I'd love to hear how your week was!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

GIVEAWAY: The Midwife's Confession

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

The Midwife's ConfessionDear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

Contest Details

  • Contest Ends August 1st at 12:01AM EST
  • Open to US only (sorry)
  • Must be 13 or older
  • At this time, following is required
  • Extra Entries are available
  • Fill out the form below to enter!
  • Comments are love but not entries
  • Winner will have 48 Hours to respond or another will be chosen

Harry Potter: A Prequel

How did I not know about this? I was alerted to a post over at HPProgs that a small prequel that JK Rowling wrote for a Waterstone charity benefit is now online. You can find the entire excerpt that she wrote on the HPProgs website. Waterstone also published a small anthology of the pieces from all the authors that contributed such as Neil Gaimon, Margaret Atwood, Nick Hornby, and more!

Here's a small teaser from the excerpt transcript:

But neither James nor Sirius was paying attention. They were suddenly as alert as gundogs, staying past Fisher and Anderson, over the roof of the police car, at the dark mouth of the alley. Then, with identical, fluid movements, they reached into their back pockets.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Follow Friday (11)

In addition to First Impressions Friday, I take part in the blog hop Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.

Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour 
or a meal with just talking about their books 
or get advice on writing from?

The quick version of the answer is that I would love to meet the authors of three of the most pivotal YA series!

The specific answers would be JK Rowling for her astounding job at creating the phenonmenon that is Harry Potter. For turning her life around and never giving up though in the beginning, no one wanted the story of the boy who lived.

There is also Cassandra Clare, author of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. A talented author, she has created a world in existence of shadows and threaded together a meticulous story lines that gave me a thrill ride of a read. She is also VERY approachable. Always chatting her fans up on the twitter.

And Julie Kagawa, author of my new love, The Iron Fey. A teller of great fairy tales and a dreamer of wondrous stories in the mid-summer! Also very approachable on the twitter!

All of these authors are fantastic and I love the stories they all have to tell. I am sad that Harry Potter has come to a climatic and epic ending but so lives on TMI...TID...TIF....

Harry Potter: The End to an Era Movie Review

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Since 2001, Harry Potter movies have been a part of our lives. We have watched the most fantastical magic trio grow up on the big screen, we've been a part of their lives as they have ours. Now, ten years later, this wonderful cinematic era is coming to a close. These eight movies have taken us on a thrill ride of greatness; there were times we cried, we laughed, we cheered, and even times the fanatics booed when something was left out. From all walks of life, from all facets of geekery and reading passion, Harry Potter has brought together a community.

Book to movie adaptations can be spot on or terribly defect in their conversions. This series has had its share of cinematic successes and failures. Director David Yates, directing four of the eight movies, has had a brilliant run of glory, ending a cinematic phenomenon with such a magnificent display of cinematography. His artistic genius is accompanied by screenwriter, Steve Kloves, who scripted seven of the movies.

Picking up from the moment Part I ended, this movie is thrilling from the depth of action. Book readers can attest to the authenticity this story emanates from start to finish. It rips the story from the pages of the book and throws them onto the big screen in the most brilliant array of illustrations.

This movie alone served to return us to the magic that is the Boy Who Lived and the world that J.K. Rowling invented and developed. They spared no expense to give the movie-goers the experience of a lifetime; the most spectacular, moving, and powerful good-byes this generation has ever seen.

The casting for this series has always been the most phenomenal job;seeming to pluck the images of the characters straight from our imaginations and into real-life. From the leading characters to the supporting characters, they were all magnificently well placed and incredibly perfected.

Each character grew as the actor grew; the depth of the actor connection was deeper with every installment. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were stunning in all eight movies as the three leading characters. Regardless of plot, screenplay, or intimacy, these young actors performed with the most magical and profound acting, tried and true to their characters.


Other actors including Matthew Lewis, Maggie Smith, Jason Issacs, Tom Felton, Richard Harris (R.I.P.), Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, and so many more were all amazing in each roll they were chosen for. Even some of the latest additions to the cast including Bill Nighy, Ciaran Hinds, and Guy Henry succeeded under the mass expectations set forth by the preceding films.

But no other actor performs as profoundly accurate and superb as Alan Rickman. His portrayal of Severus Snape in all eight movies has been a phenomenon in and of itself. He has shown his artistic soundness through the avid facial expressions and moments that Severus Snape has experienced. He is an integral part of the plot that unfolds within this conclusion; Alan Rickman has the fortunate opportunity to perform in one of the most moving scenes this film has to offer. His unwavering performance over the past ten years has been monumentally perfect.

Video shared from boushh2187.

Overall, this ending to era of our lives was moving and epic. It included all aspects that we love in movies and all of them that we loved in this book. It has been a phenomenal thrill ride and this film has left my heart empowered. While most fans are full of longing, this movie provided us with a new type of magic, one that will give our imaginations the power to grow and foster a wealth of creativity; the power of good-bye.

Movie stills courtesy of TheFirstHorcrux.
This review is cross-posted at Kentucky Geek Girl, where I am also a contributor.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's (March 22, 2011)
Age Group:Young Adult
Pages (Hardcover): 358
Series: The Chemical Gardens (Book 1)
Source: Library
ISBN-13: 9781442409057
Genre: Dystopian
Author: Website | Twitter

What if you knew exactly when you would die? 

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. 

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.


To have such a rigid setting, Lauren DeStefano did a spectacular job at creating the world that exists years into the future. The best Dystopian settings are the ones that are plausible and the perfect test tube baby is a possibility in the future. Her characters are so well defined and the emotional struggles that Rhine undergoes are strong and complex. It is well paced and exciting; however, towards the end though, the story just ended, there was not really a hard climax but a gentle setup for the second book.


With intelligent and beautiful prose, the reality that DeStefano creates in her debut novel, Wither, is remarkably intense. On the brink of perfection, disaster strikes and now plagues the children of the children of the world and perpetuates the forced action of young girls to become mothers.

The characters, starting with Rhine, are all completely well rounded and very solid. Rhine's strength is something that is immediately demonstrated in the book and her will to survive and be free is a constant theme. DeStefano has created a strong history for Rhine, we are always learning about her parents and her twin brother Rowan. Through her connection to her family, Rhine is caring and open to people that she begins to interact with; Linden, Gabriel, Cecily, and Jenna.

Her sister wives are indivually crafted to be unique. I loved Cecily, it was such a nice turn of events to see a girl, a child in fact, be so willing to partake in the customs or lifestyle that is set before her. Cecily was such a complex support character, her changes through the book were astounding and a central part to Rhine's emotions. Rhine's love of her new family ebbs and flows as she struggles with adapting and craving freedom. She worries and cares for the well being of all of her family, including Linden.

Against most odds, I was "Team Linden", his sincerity towards all of his wives was not fake or covered in chauvinism, he was genuine in his care for all three of the girls and his son. He is not at fault to fall so unknowingly to the cruelty of the world; Rhine can see and understand his naivete, making her only more lost in her emotions. Linden's depth is so profound, he would have given Rhine the world on a silver platter and there are times I thought she would let him.

The story in this book has a rigid setting, taking place almost entirely in the manor, though it doesn't hinder the progression, pace, or entertainment. It is so carefully constructed that there are times the plot doesn't seem linear, that there will the surprise ending. There are clues to the mystery, the confusion of emotion, the devotion amongst wives, etc. All these things are circling one another, turning on top of each other, until the end. There was no way to predict the choices that would be made until the moment of decision.

This book leaves plenty of mysteries to be unravelled in the remaining two books and ends with a gentle setup rather than a cliffhanger. I am very interested in seeing where DeStefano takes the story of Rhine in Fever.

Rating out of 5:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren; here we share with you, the lovely readers, what books came to us this week whether it be in the mail, from the library, purchased or borrowed.

The Near Witch   Blood Red Road

The Near Witch (ARC) by Victoria Schwab
Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Won (not pictured)
Swag: Signed Bookmarks, magnets & Lipstick Laws Ink Pen
Thank you to GC @ The Mod Podge Bookshelf!

My boyfriend picked both of these up for me while we were on vacation. The Near Witch is a seconhand ARC. It is coming out August 2nd, so it will be my first early review! And after all the great things I have heard about Blood Red Road, excited to have it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Impressions Friday (10)

First Impressions is a meme hosted here at Within Pages where we take a look at all things, mostly booky, and reflect on our initial thoughts. Non-bloggers, non-book bloggers, and everyone alike can participate on any topic you'd like. Feel free to drop your links or thoughts in the comments!

This morning as of 12:01am, I was thoroughly engrossed watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. This is not only the end to a cinematic era but happens to be my first IMAX experience. I made a lolcat to help express my first impression of IMAX movies....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Forever Release & Trailer

Releasing today is the third book, the "thrilling conclusion", to bestselling YA series Wolves of Mercy Falls. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater is hitting the shelves today, July 12 from Scholastic Press. This book has already had flooded the blog world with amazing reviews and I cannot wait to check it out! Check out the synopsis and official book trailer (recorded by Maggie!)!

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Then... When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

Now... That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

Forever... Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Publisher: HarperTeen (April 28, 2009)
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Hardcover): 338
Series: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia (Book 1)
Source: Library
ISBN-13: 9780061730214
Genre: Historical/Fantasy

No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.

But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.

Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.

It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.



This book provided a great setting with accurate historical lore for China. The setting was flawless and the realism allowed you to be pulled into the story with all the rich details Pon provides. The characters are well rounded and Ai Ling shows a level of bravery that is deep within herself throughout the whole book with or without Chen Yong. While all of this provided a strong base for the story, and the supernatural element was tastefully added, something was missing from this book. I enjoyed the story and the plot but it wasn't gripping but the battles were close in timeline and always plain when considering the epic fantasy tendency this book is given.


This book is beautiful. From the cover to the concept to the writing, it is absolutely lovely. Pon does an amazing job at setting the historical stage for the setting we find ourselves in. The facts of this book and its historical context is so accurate and breath taking; it is easily my favorite part of the book. I would love to delve more into what life is like for Ai Ling in the time period. The intricacies of something as simple as her bound hair give a dynamic and life to the book that the characters and plot alone could not accomplish.

In turn, the setting is nothing without the story. Ai Ling is such a fierce female. She is strong and determined and it is easy to feel and revel in her determination to find her father. In her journey, she struggles and faces great adversity but understands the importance of the mission she set upon and never wavers in her strength to continue. Chen Yong, the male lead, is an easily likeable character as well. Strong, chilvarous, and handsome, he is hardy and worth all the interest Ai Ling can manage to give him.

Though the setting, plot and characters were strong, something kept throwing me off while I was reading this. I was not hooked into the story by the throat and was easily able to set it down for a reading break. This may be in part to the way that battles were written in this book. Pon threw Ai Ling up against some of the most unimaginable evil and yet in the span of moments the battle was over. After the first two or three occurrences, I felt the idea of battle was monotonous and lacked appropriate plot manifestations.

This book is preceded by the sequel, Fury of the Phoenix. I hope for more information on Silver Phoenix to be revealed and more interaction and development of what could be between Ai Leng and Chen Yong. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction or epic fantasy. It has characteristics that most fantasy lovers will thoroughly enjoy.

Rating out of 5: