Friday, January 25, 2013

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.


For some reason, I wanted to hate this book so much. There are so many good reviews of Seraphina that I wanted to get the book just to see why everyone else loved it. OKAY, BOOK. YOU WON THAT ROUND.

But even from the summary I was turned off from Seraphina. I don't like music, and it is apparent that music plays a large part in the story. Strike one, book. Two more and yer out.

Strike two: Seraphina has a unique special talent. She has the talent to meditate and see imaginary people in her head. They sometimes try to make her life miserable. What? Her "talent" seemed entirely useless to advancing the plot of the book. The parts when she went to her imaginary people's garden were the parts I grew to dread. The scenes did nothing for the book.

Despite all that, Seraphina coming to terms with her half-dragon heritage and the mystery of the beheaded man kept me interested. That and Orma. Orma, Phina's dragon uncle, won me over. Dragons are required to be unemotional. The dragons fear emotions. Orma cares for Seraphina, but he isn't allowed to show her any love. Dilemmas. How I love them. OKAY, BOOK. YOU WON YER COMPLIMENTARY FOUR STARS.

Seraphina kept up a prickly exterior, and she had to keep it to avoid anyone knowing her secret. I love Rachel Hartman's writing of all the secondary characters. They knew Seraphina was prickly, but they all kinda took in into stride. No one thought she was being mean, and they liked her. That rubbed off on me. I didn't realize it until the middle of the book when the action started picking up, but I actually started to to care about what happened to Seraphina, and I took special interest in her torrid luurve affair with Lucian. OKAY, BOOK. I give up. You win... ALL THE STARS! Five stars.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce VLOG review


As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past-- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone-- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen it's next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.

Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.

Vlog review: 

Fhew... I think it took me about seven tries to even get the video sounding THAT coherent. I should stick to writing. Nevermind... I've just realized my blog posts sound EXACTLY like that. I'll better stick to thinking. Everything makes sense inside my head as opposed to outside my head. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.


Ravka is fun. 'Tis "the place to be." Even in the prologue, the fairy tail vibe of Shadow and Bone is what sucked me in. Leigh Bardugo's third person narrative in the prologue set up the base Alina and Mel's relationship well. They are the only two people who's got each other's backs in a world that isn't so friendly. 

The magic of the Shadow and Bone  is fresh; it's the best out of a fantasy novel I've read in a while. I love all the different tiers of Grisha, and the lore they have about "small magic" and especially the Shadow Fold's creepiness. 

Mel, Alina's luuurve interest, started out okay. In the first half of the book, he never seemed to give a bother about Alina, and that bothered me. When they met up later in the book, he became one of my favorite characters. In the time they were apart, he had grown into a stronger person. He was sadder because he had lost so many friends, but he knew Alina was who he wanted which was a change from the first chapters. 

Alina's character development was great, too. I love when at the beginning of the book, a character's really weak, but then they grow up and turn badass. Alina was pretty whiny at the beginning. I started wanting to slap her in her little pale, sallow face. I get it, Alina. You're ugly as a walrus. An ugly walrus. There is nothing wrong with that. She, thankfully, stopped complaining eventually... but that was because she transformed into a pretty person. 

A lot of emphasis in the book was placed on beauty. Alina's main argument for why she couldn't be an actual Grisha was because she was ugly. I can understand not liking your looks, but by the fifth time she complained about it I was getting exasperated. 
Shadow and Bone gets four stars. Despite me hating on Alina's sulky attitude, the book kept me interested enough to read it in two days. I may pick up the sequel, but I'll get it only in paperback form. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

ya 2 you because I love you... TEAM DURHAM

I am happy. Y'know why? THIS.

Why has no one else done this before? It's BRILLIANCE! For those whom haven't heard of the most amazing contest yet, where ever gets the most entrees gets authors. The authors whose books are pictured above will get to have the authors come TO THEIR TOWN. (If you can't tell, I'm fangirling just a tad.)

I'm going to try and get my school library to carry a few flyers, and my NC peeps should totes try that out, too! Sadly, I live in a smaller city where not many teens I know like to read. My town could win, I guess, if only one person from each other city voted. Ha. My fate rests completely with the big city Durham/Raleigh kids. DON'T LET ME DOWN.

BUT. BUT. There is a second contest, too. Almost as exciting as the first. Almost.

Spread the word, and there is a chance to... WIN EVERY BOOK ABOVE SIGNED.

So, especially any *EHEM* lovely NC bloggers *EHHEMM*, ENTER!

Wow. That was the most caps lock I've used in a while. Who am I to break a streak?


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 books I need, like, now

First off, Happy 2013!

I compiled up a list of drool-worthy YA books I need to read coming out this year. So. Here. I shall share it with you all:

  • There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away. 

    That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

    The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

    Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.
It's coming out January The only other book I've read by Jennifer Barns is Every Other Day, but I loved how she managed to make the paranormal unique while still having vampires in the story. Nobody looks really good, too! (Anyone else thought of Dawn Undercover when reading the summary??) 

The Indigo Spell
  • In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

    Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.
It's out in February Do I have to even explain myself with this one? 

Pivot Point
  • Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

    Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

    In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
Out in February   Nevermind. I don't like vampires anymore. I like Searchers

Mind Games
  • Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. 

    Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

    In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.
Out in February...again Oy. This reminds me.  I still need to get Endlessly.  Sigh. I love Kiersten White's writing SO MUCH. 

Why must everything good come out in February? WHYYYYY? 

There are much more awesome 2013 books, but I don't wanna post my whole freaking wish list. (It's a big list.)

HAPPY 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!