Raindropreflections: July 2011

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Review- City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Summary (book jacket):

*contains spoilers for previous books*

Clary is back in New    York and life is good: she’s in training to be a  shadowhunter and is finally able to call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without  a price. When Jace inexplicably begins to pull away from her, Clary is forced  to acknowledge that she herself has set in motion a chain if events that could  lead to the loss of everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than  ever…

What I Expected: extreme awesomeness.

My Thoughts

This is the second-best book in the series so far. The suspense, the romance, EVERYTIHING- this is  also like the peak of Cassandra Clare’s writing so far.

So. Where do I even start? Oh, by the way, if you haven’t read this book yet you probably should skip to Parting Thoughts because I’m going to slip up and release some spoilers at some point in this review.

Okay, then. POOR JACE! I have this love-hate thing about him- hate his arrogance and all, but love him because you just feel like protecting him no matter what. In this book, it was looking right into Jace’s soul. He was so tortured, so sad, so- oh, I don’t know. But I no longer dislike him. His life is too tortured for anybody to really hate him.

And Simon, oh, Simon. I couldn’t believe he was dating both Isabelle and Maia at once. It seems like something a sweet, sensitive guy like Simon would never do- sort of like a cat suddenly starting to bark or something. But I loved how a lot of the book was from his perspective (although in third person). Simon is one of those characters I rooted for no matter how much of a jerk he was sometimes. Oh, and even if he’s a vampire, too.

The ending. OHMYGOSH what kind of a cliffhanger is that?! What happens next? The Harry Potter books didn’t really end on cliffhangers like these- just a sad or happy note that made you look forward to the next book, but this one made me wish I decided to read the series when it finished so I would be pining for the next book so much.

Parting Thoughts: I’m officially a complete Mortal Instruments fan, and I know, I spent two weekends reading this series, each day dedicated to one book, and oh, it was SO worth it.

Rating: 4/5. That cliffhanger made me kind of mad, because it just came out of nowhere. But overall, I liked reading the book.

Buy at: Amazon

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This Wednesday, I’m waiting on The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker, releasing on January 1, 2012. It sounds like a sweet contemporary, and hurray for small town girls, because I’m kind of one of them. Without further ado, here’s more about the book:

Summary (goodreads):

Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would preferred to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer’s daughter roots and become part of the popular crowd at her small town high school. She trades her Bible for Seventeenmagazine, buys new “sophisticated” clothes and somehow manages to secure a tenuous spot at the cool kids table. She’s on top of the world, even though her best friend and the boy next door Luke says he misses “plain old Ricki Jo.”

Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn’t care what people think and who wouldn’t let a good-looking guy walk all over her. It takes a serious incident out on Luke’s farm for Ricki Jo to realize that being a true friend is more important than being popular.

What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday? Leave a link and I’ll be sure to pass by!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Review- City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments, Book 3

Summary (book jacket): city of glass

*contains spoilers for previous books*

To save her mother’s life, Clary travels to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters- never mind that by doing so she is breaking the law, which could mean death. Even worse, Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by Shadowhunters who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight. Luckily, Clary finds an ally in the mysterious Sebastian, who holds a strange attraction for her. As Valentine musters a demon army, can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their ancient hatred and work together? And can Clary harness her newfound powers to help save them all- whatever the cost?

What I expected: more answers to all those questions left hanging in book two, of course.

My Thoughts

OHMYGOSH this book is amazing. All that heartache between Jace and Clary, the twists and turns and heart-stopping parts that made me want to keep reading and reading and lose myself in Clary’s world- WOW.

*spoilers ahead so please skip over to Parting Thoughts if you’re like me and haven’t read this series until the fourth book came out and you wanted to see what all the fuss was about*

I actually liked Sebastian at the beginning, shocking as that might sound. I knew that eventually the Jace-Clary sibling thing would eventually be sorted out, because let’s face it- there is no better person for either of them. And man, was I happy when that did get sorted out. No more having to read about all that heart-wrenching pain and feeling that pain yourself, too.

Idris, the city of glass, was obviously imagined, and yet I felt like I could see the place perfectly, simply because of Cassandra Clare’s talent at describing setting so wonderfully.

And the ending was SO beautiful and horrible and scary and wonderful. I swear, City of Glass has the best finale so far in the series. The whole bit about Velentine, Raziel, and everything, including what happened to Jace, was so masterfully done that- wow. That’s all I can say, over and over. I thought the story should’ve ended right there, but hey, all I want is for this series to keep going.

Parting Thoughts: I’m falling in love with this series! I’m so invested in the story now that as soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to pick up book four, which my friend Preet so awesomely lent to me, and tear through it as fast as possible.

Rating: do I even need to? 4.5/5. Totally. I LOVED this book more than the other two combined, honestly. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.

Buy at: Amazon

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday Blog Hops (6)

Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read =)

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

Answer: the first one is really obvious: JK Rowling, like the rest of the world =) Secondly, I’d love to meet Kirsten Hubbard, who wrote Like Mandarin and has some of the most breathtaking prose I’ve seen in YA lit so far. Thirdly, and although I actually haven’t read his books, I’ve seen tons of beautiful quotes from his books everywhere: Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. And even though this isn’t part of the question, I’d ask them all: HOW?! How do you manage to be such geniuses (or genii, I think)?

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blog Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books.

This week’s question: What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

Answer: I just can’t get into paranormal. This is kind of weird, actually, because almost everyone I know is into paranormal/urban fantasy. But I find these things a lot less interesting to read about than, say, contemporary or dystopian or fantasy. I wish I could enjoy all those paranormal books out there, but everytime I think of reading on, it just makes me go meh.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Review- City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Book 2, The Mortal Instruments

Summary *contains spoilers for book one*: city of ashes

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? Clare would love to spend more time with her best friend, Simon. But the Shadowhunters won’t let her go- especially her handsome, infuriating newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil- and also her father. When the second of the Mortal Instruments is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor suspects Hace. Could Jace really be willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

What I expected: for a whole lot of questions from the first book to be answered, obviously.

My Thoughts

All I can say is, WOW. City of Ashes is better than the first book. Seriously. Maybe it was because I was now emotionally invested in the story, rooting on the characters and all- plus Jace was starting to seem a little better than I originally took him for.

I don’t think any of the major questions in the book were answered, even though I’m sure the outcome is clear- the Clary-Jace thing HAS to be solved and everything will be all right, because it would be really weird if it wasn’t. Just saying…

Characters

I’m actually SHOCKED at how well-formed the characters are. It’s like someone breathed life into them and now they’re actual, real people walking around (in my head, though). I’m still rooting for Clary, even though I like Tessa from Clockwork Angel better. I actually like Jace better now, and oh, Simon, YOU ARE A SWEETHEART. How can someone love someone else that much, and so selflessly?

I’m still pining over Alec a little, since I had a book-crush on him and then it turned out that he ______ so yeah. That sucks. The other characters in the book- Luke (who’s a lot like Lupin, really) and Maia, and even the Seelie Court faeries are so real you almost believe that they’re, well, real.

Parting Thoughts: there’s no point denying that this series is reminiscent of the Harry Potter books. But I don’t blame anyone, because when you delve into all aspects of fantasy or even boarding schools, you risk sounding like an HP spoof to every person who has read HP, even when you’re being very original.

 Rating: 4.5/5. This book is better than book one, whatever anyone else might say, and I tore through it in a day and therefore ended up avoiding sunlight like a vampire. *grins* I guess urban fantasy is really growing on me.

Buy at: Amazon

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This week- well, for months, really- I’ve been looking forward to the release of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, which is releasing on November 15th, which is still so far =(

Summary (goodreads):shatter me

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

I’ve been following Tahereh Mafi’s blog for a long while, and she’s HILARIOUS. I’m hoping her book is as amazing as everyone says, because she is truly a gifted writer, plus I LOVE dystopian, so this is one book I can’t wait to get my hands on.

What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Review- City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Summary (book cover):

When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons- and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

What I expected: okay, I know, I’m probably one of the last people on earth to read The Mortal Instruments- heck, I even read Clockwork Angel before getting around to this series. But I finally did, by swapping books with my friend Preet (who also blogs!) and here we are. I expected an enormous amount of things from this book and this series, obviously. Let’s just leave it at that.

Story
Cassandra Clare is an amazing writer. Her prose is reminiscent of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis and all those wonderful fantasy writers. As if that isn’t enough, the story was awesome, too.

I have to admit, though, that Clockwork Angel was a tiny bit better than City of Bones, and that’s perfectly understandable- Cassandra Clare must’ve learned a lot since she first got published That said, City of Bones was the kind of book that I had to keep reading because a) I borrowed this book from a friend and therefore I had an obligation to finish it ASAP, and b) I just kept getting pulled deeper and deeper into the story.

At first, the plot seemed simple enough- normal girl finds out she isn’t normal when she sees a hot guy and two other people killing a demon, she’s injured and ends up in an alien place and learns all about the Shadowhunters. Then the plot kicks in. Awesomeness ensues. And I grow more and more mesmerized by Cassandra Clare’s beautiful writing and her extremely well-constructed world.

Characters

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the protagonist Clary, so I won’t elaborate much. But she was a kick-ass heroine for sure, even though I think I like Tessa from Clockwork Angels better. Just saying…

The love triangle was really well-done. I preferred Simon, because I tend not to like rude, self-absorbed guys with a tortured past that’s somehow supposed to explain why they act so damn nasty. Nope, I’ve had way too much of that. And weirdly enough, Jace was just like Will from Clockwork Angel… I’m going to keep talking about the prequel series because the resemblance to these characters is striking.

Back to Simon. Oh, man, I fell for him. He’s just so sweet and nice and not-perfect. And his love for Clary? Epic. Beautiful. Amazing.

The other characters were done wonderfully. I felt so BAD for Alec, what with his predicament and all. And would you believe- like a total idiot, I found his blue eyes endearing even after I knew his side story. *shakes head* typical me, falling for the guy I couldn’t possibly have a book-crush on. And Isabelle- she was also really well-rounded, even though I hated her for being so perfect.

Parting Thoughts: if you’ve stuck with me till now, you’ll know that I liked this book, but only ALMOST as much as Clockwork Angel. I was particularly impressed by Cassandra Clare’s superb writing, and that twist at the end (which I already knew) kind of broke my heart and made me shell-shocked at the same time.

Rating: 4.5/5. Just because City of Bones has got so much hype and made people fall in love with reading and all, I overestimated how much I was going to love this book. But I did end up liking it very much. And I’m glad I finally got to read a series that everyone (but me) has read already.

Buy at: Amazon

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Review- Tempest by Holly Hook

Summary (goodreads):

Life blows for sixteen-year-old Janelle. Ever since moving to Florida, she’s been accidentally breaking people’s arms just by touching them and yanking steel doors off their hinges. Then her new crush, Gary, sees her gray spiral birthmark and tells her she’s a Tempest, able to turn into a hurricane by touching the ocean. Like him. So that’s why she feels ready to explode when she’s at the beach.

As if that’s not lousy enough, all Tempests have to become storms once in their lives. It’s their law…and it’s Janelle’s turn.

No way in hell is Janelle going to kill people, even by accident.  So she does what any sane person would do—she runs away from home.

But it’s not long before the Tempest leader discovers and abducts her. Janelle’s told that she’s destined to become the worst hurricane ever. And now she’s the main weapon in the Tempest leader’s plot to hold the world ransom. No way can Janelle live with herself if she kills thousands. But using the power she fears most might be the only way out.

My Thoughts

The premise of this book is so unique, I doubt anybody has ever even thought about something like this. You know how all those hurricanes have the names of normal people? For example, there’s actually a Hurricane Rita, and although the spelling is different, my name is pronounced like Rita, and even though I had nothing to do with something natural like this, it still feels weird to think that people would be like, “Ugh, Rita took away so many lives!”

But suppose you WERE responsible for that hurricane. Suppose that all those names attached to hurricanes were actually people that had to transform into natural disasters because that was their nature. It’d be horrible, right? That’s who this book is about. There’s a whole history to their existence, but you’re probably better off reading the book rather than me actually relaying the entire tale.

Well, moving on: I quite liked Tempest. The unique storyline was refreshing, to say the least, and the writing was unique and well-polished. The only thing I didn’t really like about Tempest was that it took WAY too long for the protagonist Janelle to figure out what she was. After that, though, it was all action and suspense.

And I suppose there wouldn’t have been time for romance while you’re trying to save the world from the biggest hurricane ever, so there wasn’t much romance, even though there was an eligible boy hurricane, Gary.

There were still these underlying feelings the two characters had for each other, though, and I think that putting any more romance in the story would’ve only made readers wonder how Janelle would find time to dwell on her feelings when there was so much going on around her, so no major complaints from me there.

The characters were quite well-developed. Every single one had their history and the villainess, Andrina, was very realistic, even though sometimes when you make a villain that evil, you risk going totally overboard. That didn’t happen in this book, and I’m glad, because this is one twisted character. I even felt sorry for her at times.

Parting Thoughts: honestly, the only thing wrong (if you could call it that) with Tempest is that I found Janelle’s discovery of who she is taking too long. But other than that, this is one action-packed, unique, and addicting book you do not want to miss.

Rating: 4/5. I enjoyed reading this book a lot, and if you’ve ever wondered (or like, me, cringed) at the fact that hurricanes have these common names anybody else could have, you need to read this book.

Note: I received this book in ebook format for review from Holly Hook. Thanks, Holly! It’s available in print on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Buy at: Amazon

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Cover for Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I just saw the cover for Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, which is a book I’ve SO been looking forward to. Well, here it is:

Okay. So it’s not anything like I expected. I like the title and the way the author’s name is written, but the cover? I like the background, but the cover doesn’t immediately make it obvious that Shatter Me is dystopian. It looks too much like a Gossip Girl-ish cover, and if you don’t know the backstory, you’re probably not going to know that it’s dystopian.

The tagline is pretty awesome, though, but the girl- okay, I haven’t read the book, but someone in captivity probably wouldn’t look like that. And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to imagine Juliet like that.

So overall, while the cover is plenty striking, it’s just not as awesome as it should be. I think that maybe if there wasn’t a girl in the cover, or if you couldn’t see the girl’s face (think Across the Universe) it might’ve been more powerful…? And dude, what is UP with that dress? Why is it all bunched up like that? :/

I’m still looking forward to the book, though. It might be the most anticipated release this year for me. The cover isn’t stopping ME from reading this one =)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This Wednesday, I can’t wait until the release of Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter. It’s releasing August 1, too, so *fist pump* not too long to wait!

Summary (goodreads):

“The Luxe” meets the ancient world in the extraordinary story of Cleopatra’s daughter.

Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony—the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she’s ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus’s household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies—until she reaches out to claim her own.

This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.

So why am I looking forward to this book so much? Well, a) IT’S ABOUT EGYPT! and b) it’s about a lesser-explored figure in history, Cleopatra’s daughter. Oh, and c) the cover is amazing. It totally suits the feel of the novel.

What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Another New Look!

So I’ve finally changed my blog design, after like almost an entire day of trying to find the perfect look. I quite like the simplistic header, but I’m not so sure about the background. Still, for now, I’m going to be able to resist constantly changing things, so FINALLY, some peace of mind.

I guess I’m getting a little bit better everytime, riiiight? Here is the old design (in which, ha, you can see the very first blog design I had):

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Author Interview With Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney

I have here with me today the author of Asha in Time, a truly awesome book. You can find my (glowing) review here.

Summary (goodreads):

She was special.  Her parents knew that; though it was not her sable hair, her wide amber eyes, but the fact that she had memories of things she could not possibly know.  She remembered the palace of ancient Thebes, the palace pharaohs and queens had walked in.  Finally, on her thirteenth birthday, she would find out where her memories were born.  She would return to ancient Egypt to get her answers, but she had no idea that he was waiting for her.

She’ll have to use all her wits and wiles to find her way in Egypt and into his heart without destroying herself.

Without further ado, here’s the interview!

1. Describe your novel in 140 words or less, Twitter style.

Young adult time travel story that explores what it was like to grow up in ancient Egypt, in doomed Troy, and even in the modern world and the similarities between.

2. What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Thirsty for knowledge.

3. Have you always had an interest in ancient Egypt? Have you visited Egypt before?

I have always had an interest in ancient Egypt and especially her women.  The first time I heard about Solomon’s Egyptian wife, I was hooked.  There are so many strong female characters in the history of Egypt, women who rewrote the script on feminine behavior and expectations.  Aside from wanting to write about them, I wanted to learn everything I could about them since they were examples of the political, social, and global power women can have. I really wanted to investigate that power and those expectations in Asha in Time.

I’ve never been to Egypt, but I’m absolutely itching to go.  It has been on my “places to see” list (and yes, that is an actual paper list my husband and I reference often) since I was nine years old.  Yet, most of my life up until this point has been dedicated to school.  Now that I’ve graduated with the degree I wanted, I hope to be able to go soon.

4. I hope you can go, too! Your writing is quite impressive, and has a polished touch to it. What has your journey towards becoming an author been like?

In one word- lifelong.  I’ve always written, including short stories and poetry as a child.  Mostly, it was unexciting pieces of writing.  My mother has held onto all of the notebooks and journals I had as a kid, and when I flip through them I’m amused by how truly terrible they are.  Yet, all those stories that will never see the light of day were a stepping point to get to where I am, and I’m still learning and growing everyday as a writer.  When it comes to character development and plot flow I’m still learning and trying out new things to see what fits my voice best.

Thank you so much for saying that my writing is impressive!  I still feel like a literary newb some days.

5. Asha in Time is clearly a huge effort research-wise, and I don’t think it was easy to find such accurate and detailed information on ancient Egyptian life. How did you manage?

It took months to find enough information to even begin writing the main chapters of the book.  I took a break between the first few chapters that take place in the modern world and the ones that came after to research.  I searched online databases, read collegiate essays and theorems on everything from the identity of the Hyksos to the timing of the Trojan war.  Plus, I logged on to ancient Egyptian fans sites and discussion boards to see what people were talking about and interested in.  There are really great nonfiction books out there such as Barbara Metz’s Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs that were invaluable to me.

Mostly, though, I learned by reading other fiction publications.  So many great authors had written about similar time periods in history, and I tried to read all of their books that I could.  I think I read four different novels with Isetnofret and Nefertari as main characters and even more where they play a minor role.  I wanted to see how other people had envisioned them before I put my spin on it.

6. Wow, that really IS a lot of work. What made you decide to self-publish?

Self-publishing is a really great thing.  What I love about it is how hands on the experience is.  I worked directly with the cover artist and the editor of my book and had a say in every detail that went into the finished product.  Plus, I feel like the line of communication between readers and me is more direct.

7. What books do you have waiting to be read over the summer?

In the young adult genre I’m looking forward to reading Princess of the Midnight Ball.  An eBook that’s still on my to-read list is The Lost Queen: Ankhsenamun Widow of King Tutankhamun.  Plus, in the adult field I’d really like to read My Enemy’s Cradle.

8. I didn’t even know King Tut had a widow :O What’s next for you, writing-wise?

Right now I’m toying with a few different ideas.  There are characters from my first book and from Asha in Time that I would like to revisit eventually.  Until I get a clear idea of where I want to go with my next book, I’m enjoying being out of school for the first time and working as a wedding officiant (I write ceremonies too!) in my local area.

Thank you so much, Mandy! I hope you all enjoy her book as much as I did.

Goodreads- Asha in Time - add it to your to-be-read list!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Review- Asha in Time by Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney

Summary (goodreads):

She was special.  Her parents knew that; though it was not her sable hair, her wide amber eyes, but the fact that she had memories of things she could not possibly know.  She remembered the palace of ancient Thebes, the palace pharaohs and queens had walked in.  Finally, on her thirteenth birthday, she would find out where her memories were born.  She would return to ancient Egypt to get her answers, but she had no idea that he was waiting for her.

She’ll have to use all her wits and wiles to find her way in Egypt and into his heart without destroying herself.

What I expected: Egypt? Time travel? I’m in for SURE. There isn’t much that intrigues me more than ancient Egyptian history, and I was glad to have a chance to read about one of my favourite time periods.

My Thoughts

Asha in Time was exquisitely written and beautifully delivered. While the dialogue is kept at a minimum, the breathtaking narrative flows so smoothly you almost don’t notice it. The characters narrating from time to time was well-distributed; whoever told the story at certain points was perfectly suited to do so.

And the history? Oh my gosh, I don’t think I’ve read such a vivid description of Egypt. It’s hard for someone to bring this sort of history to life in a way that imprints the image of ancient Egypt so deeply in your mind, but Asha in Time did just that.

The characters were beautiful as well. The MC Isetnofret was strong-willed, passionate, and almost perfect, but it was Nefertari I rooted for near the end, because she was stronger and much more selfless.

Rameses was depicted awesomely as well. We rarely think of famous leaders as human, but in Asha in Time, all his faults and strengths were shown, and through it you slowly realize that no matter how powerful someone is, they’re real people, too.

As for the character the book is named after, Asha- he was amazing. His pain and selflessness made me tear up a little, honestly.

PS: I also need to Google up who ended up being Queen of Egypt, Nefertari or Isetnofret, because the little part at the end made me wonder what really did happen.

Parting Thoughts: I loved Asha in Time a hundred times more than I thought I would. The vibrant history of Egypt brought to life, told from the eyes of powerful characters, stole my heart. I absolutely loved this EPIC story.

Rating: 5/5. No explanation needed =)

Note: I
received this ebook for review from the author. Thanks, Mandy!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Short Story Review- The Next Shakespeare by Wanda Ernstberger

Summary (goodreads):

Who thought a poem would trigger World War Three?

Tristan Gunner—skateboard fanatic, junk food junkie, award-winning poet. But you’d think he just got detention instead of the school’s grand prize for poetry. And even though Chris won five Math and Science awards, the next Einstein is crying because he’s not the next Shakespeare. Astra wants them both to cut the drama, and caught between a mortified winner and a crybaby loser, she hopes Chris can get over his attitude before World War Three erupts in her kitchen.

What I expected: I liked the title of the short story: The Next Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare’s works- I mean, I’ve only read Romeo and Juliet for school, but so much of what we read and watch on TV and in movies today is inspired from him that I thought that this would be a cool story to read.

My Thoughts

It’s a whole lot harder to review short stories than novels, because in short stories, everything is compacted into one tight storyline and every single word counts; you have a limited amount of space to make an impact.

The Next Shakespeare is about an overachiever resenting a normal guy for winning an award, told from the point of view of a moderator, Astra. I thought the characters were very well put together, although I didn’t know as much about the MC Astra as I did about the two guys: Chris, the overachiever, and Tristan, the guy who does win the poetry contest.

This story gives a rare insight into the young elite of Toronto. I mean, I’ve only ever won like, one award so far in my life (for Business) but here we don’t have anything nearly as competitive. I was rolling my eyes at Chris the whole time. I mean, calm down, you’ve already got your bright future.

Tristan, on the other hand- I could practically see him, he was so real. I also think that the two poems from both characters were like a window into their souls. No competition about who deserved to win there.

Overall, I think that although some teenagers might scoff at how seriously some people take school, this was a much-needed look at how many expectations smart people are expected to fulfill, often without their own consent. The little part at the end where a certain character wins their freedom was quite well done as well, and I felt proud of that character for standing up for their rights.

The short story experience: man, was it fast. The only time I ever read short stories is for English class assignments, and most of those stories aren’t YA fiction. This story is, however, for teenagers, and although it was was different experience reading a short story for fun, it definitely wasn’t an unpleasant one.

Note: I received this short story for review from the author. Thank you, Ms Ernstenberger!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Review- Reborn by Ley Mesina

Summary (goodreads):

Lily Westbrook discovers that being half witch and half vampire is more of a challenge than she thought.  When her powers mature on her eighteenth birthday, she unlocks a mystery that many witches thought was a legend.

After moving back to her birthplace in Cedar Creek, MA to attend Kensington University, Lily is instantly pulled deeper into the world she was kept from- the world of witches and vampires-uncovering the truth about her past and discovering who she is meant to be.

Story

When I first started reading Reborn, I was kind of confused, because the book kept switching characters, and plus the prose tended to go from past tense to present tense back to past tense, but once the main characters were established, I got into the story.

The story about the goddess of night, aka Nyx, is very interesting, and a legend I haven’t heard before. The whole concept of these supernatural half-vampire, half-witch beings was very clever; I mean, you usually hear about the rivalries between vampires and werewolves, but witches and vampires being enemies? That’s something new for sure.

The one thing that I felt really detracted from the book was that it was too short. And then I realized that Reborn is a novella, so it was supposed to end before the story really developed. But hey- there are more books after this one, so hopefully we find out more about the original goddess of night.

Characters

Making the narrative in third person was imperative if the reader was going to be able to know what was going on at all times, but it didn’t help me connect with the MC Lily, especially because the story was being narrated from other characters’ points of view as well. So while I admired Lily’s abilities, I couldn’t connect to her enough by the end of the novella. That said, I definitely did like Lily, though, and she was a good protagonist.

I also liked Arthur Von Draco (cool name, right?) as well as Drew and Roxy and Xander, the MC Lily’s friends, but again, I didn’t know enough about them to really be able to connect.

Parting Thoughts: Reborn is exactly the kind of novel for you if you like supernatural books with a refreshing plot. I was intrigued throughout, and I only wish it’d been longer so that I got to know the characters better.

Rating: 3.8/5. I liked the premise of this book, especially the new witch-vampire angle, and if you’re a supernatural novel fan, be sure to give Reborn a try.

Note: I received this ebook for review from the author. Reborn is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Friday, 1 July 2011

Book Blog Hop (6)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee 🙂

This week’s question: ACK! Your favorite book/movie character (example Hermione Granger played by the Emma chick) just walked into the room! Who is it and what would be your first reaction? You get extra points if you include visual stimulation.

Answer: I have so many people I’d love to step out of my books, but I’d love if it was Nate from Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. That’s the book I’ve read most recently, and he’s still fresh in my mind so =) I’d probably have an internal freakout attack, then blusha and try to act normal if he appeared out of nowhere. And then I suppose I’d get his autograph.

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books.

This week’s question: What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to stop reading a book  and put it back on the shelf?

Answer: I swear I might have a slight case of OCD, because once I start a book, I feel like I HAVE to finish it even if it turns out to be horrible, so I rarely ever put a book away because I don’t like the beginning. And, well, if I’m really interested in a book, it’s because the beginning starts off with a bang. Lots of action/angst/mixed-up feelings that make you want to keep reading to figure the cause of the unrest out.

Happy Canada Day everyone! I love this place more than chocolate! Have a great weekend =)

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