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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott

Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott

Release Date: February 10, 2009
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 368

After losing her parents in a fire that also destroyed her nation, Zira was raised by the Ruan people in the religious establishment, House of God. Raised and soon to become a novice in the House and a fighter, Zira does not think there is anything out of the ordinary in her life. True, she is Surya's, the head or Noirin of the House, favorite, but she trains under a namoa, Deo, until her coming of age and assignment, just like anyone else at the House.

If there's anything out of the ordinary, it is Zira's past. Surya has only told Zira that her mother pulled from a destructive fire, giving up her own life to do so. The fire was caused by the current Sedorne king, Abheron, who also killed the king of the Ruan people and took over his nation. The fire has left Zira's face horribly scarred, but it has not stopped Zira from being one of the most fearsome fighters-in-training. Growing up in the House, the only mother Zira has known is Suyra. With such a sad past, Zira is working for a brighter future, but the only home she has known, and her entire life, crumbles before her as the oppressive King Abheron, orders an attack on the House.

With the destruction of her home, a new truth about her past is revealed: Zira is actually Zahira, only surviving daughter of the murdered Rei, or King, which makes her Reia, leader of her people. She was bravely rescued from the fire by her nanny and brought to the House of God. Now, with this heavy mantle of responsibility thrust upon her, the road forward will be perilous and filled with many difficult decisions. With so many depending on her, Zira will have to step up and lead her people, but when King Abheron learns of her existance, her plans may never come to fruition...

What will Zira learn about this ruthless king, who may just be related to her? What other secrets from her past will she uncover? Her only hope is to choose the right allies and match her wits against Abheron--she is the last chance for peace between the Ruan and Sedorne people. Without her, the sacrifices made by her loved ones will have been in vain. Can anyone fufill such a tall task?

I loved Daughter of the Flames! It was well paced and captivating! I was instantly hooked and honestly could not put this book down! Zira is a strong character (it's good to see a strong female lead!) but her character, and the novel in general, was not overdone at all! Zoë Marriott weaves an intruging coming-of-age story filled with a quest to find and fufill one's quest and role, love, and redemption. The characters learn, among other things, that sometimes, a smaller action can lead to far greater consequences than anyone can dream! I loved the flow of this book! The characters progress nicely and Daughter of the Flames neither rushes nor drags on!

Zira's character is believeable, humble, strong-willed, and brave. Nothing is over the top or over done (some authors get a bit over zealous sometimes, and their characters end up being a bit much), so Daughter of the Flames is a highly enjoyable book!
The only small, minor complaint I have is that Zira and Sorin's relationship was rushed and developed abruptly. Other than that, Daughter of the Flames is a fantastic book that I would definitely recommend--especially to fantasy lovers!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Release Date: September 7, 2009
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: 256

Aurora is starting her life again at a new school after her mother died. Lucius has also moved, but he was forced to do so after intentionally causing an explosion that cost his parents their house and him, his arms. With their paths destined to cross, are either of them ready for it?

Lucius purposely blew his parents house up--and both his arms--in an explosion he concocted. Instead of getting prosthetic arms and hands, Lucius got hooks. His hooks are cheaper, harder to out grow...and scarier. He no longer wants to be the mild-manner guy that everyone picks on, but wants to be the one that everyone is scared of and stays away from. But when he meets Aurora, he feels something awakening in him. He feels a connection to the beautiful, sincerely kind girl, but has no idea how to get close to her. Has he become too much a beast inside now?

Aurora is kind-hearted, beautiful, and the new 'it' girl when she arrives at her new school. Everyone wants to be her friend, including Jessup, a cute guy. Aurora feels like she's looking for more and something 'real,' since most of her new friends seem rather superficial. But her new group has no such qualms about her, and Jessup is quick to pursue Aurora. But Aurora senses a lack of true honesty and sincerity from Jessup, and feels drawn to Lucius instead. But why is it so hard to approach the one guy who Aurora actually wants to get to know?

A modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Crazy Beautiful tells the story of Lucius and Aurora as they try to find themselves and each other. But with his seclusion, dark past, and hooks, has Lucius become too much of a beast to change? Is he truly crazy? Or can Aurora bring out the best in him again?

I only wish more of Lucius' back story was given, and more about the two main characters in general. It would have been really interesting to read their stories and better understand their motives and characters. It seemed like things wrapped up a little too nicely at the end, but was still relatively realistic. Crazy Beautiful is a tale of compassion, finding forgiveness, and love. I think YA readers will be able to connect to the two main characters as they are struggling with dilemmas similar to those that teens face today--finding acceptance, issues at home, trouble with friends, and past grievances. Nothing is entirely perfect, and Lucius and Aurora's relationship certainly is not, but sometimes it is the struggle that makes the rewarded even sweeter.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: August 1, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 400

Can any boundaries limit love? Ever since Grace was attacked by wolves in her backyard as a child, she has always looked for the wolf that saved her. She feels drawn to him, and knows there's more to him than his outside, wolf appearance.

But her wolf may be in danger--a boy from her school has died, and people believe that her wolf and his pack have killed him. As the local police force and some of the men of the town grab their guns and head to the woods to eliminate the wolves, Grace races against time to get there, hoping she is not too late to save her wolf.

Although her attempt to call off the police and men does not end in vain, her search for her wolf does. That is, until she heads home: her wolf is on her back porch--but in human form. Injured with a bullet wound to his neck, Grace races him to the hospital. Despite her speedy rescue, she has to sneak out Sam out before they notice that he heals much faster than human standards.
Quickly taking him in, Grace learns that her wolf is actually a werewolf named Sam.

Grace's unobservant parents have no idea about their guest and over the next few weeks, Grace and Sam get to know each better. But their happy time together may just be cut short, as Sam only has a few months--the warmer ones--being human each year, and for some reason, despite his youth, it looks like this is his last year to make the switch to his human form. With the weather getting colder each day, the star-crossed lovers' days together are limited...

Is there any way to prevent Sam from being wolf forever? Or will this be their last time together, with the rest of their lives doomed to watching each other in separate forms?

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Shiver from BEA (I actually met Maggie Stiefvater there and she even signed my ARC for me!) and I'm really glad I did! It is a very well written book--I love the imagery and descriptive language Ms. Stiefvater uses! The details really add to the story and paints vivid scenes. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this to all fantasy lovers! Shiver was great and I could hardly put it down! I love the alternating viewpoints between Sam and Grace--it really helps readers get a better sense of who the two characters are. Definitely keep you eyes out for Shiver, which should hit bookstores in August!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bookish Mentions (#3)

Bookish Mentions is my new weekly post where I'll be posting my thoughts on books I've read but not been able to review, upcoming books I'm looking forward to, general thoughts on genres or books I've encountered, thoughts on book-based movies, and the like. Enjoy!



There have been many debates on movie adaptations of books--while some believe that they do the books justice, other movies are put down for being unfaithful to the book. I know some people believe that the movie shouldn't be too faithful; that the movie should be the director's own interpretation, and I agree. We may all see the book differently, and in a way, watching a movie is seeing the director's take on the book. But where do you draw the line? When does it stray too far from the book?

Which movies do you find most faithful to the books (or plot or characters of the book) they were based on?

I thought Peter Jackson did a pretty good job with the Lord of the Rings trilogy in general! It was no easy feat to making all three of them into decent movies that didn't drag on for hours and hours. The effects were very good, characters were pretty good, and the plot was as faithful as it could've been in the time limit they had. I have to say the music was well composed and really helped create the moods in the movie! The Academy Awards the trilogy earned was well deserved, in my humble opinion.

Which one was most disappointing?

Personally, I thought the movie version of Blood and Chocolate was pretty disappointing. I'm a fan of the book, but the movie was it's own thing! It hardly followed the book's plot, it seemed kinda corny at times, and they changed so much--characters, plot, relationships, everything! I mean, they pretty much changed the biggest point in the plot, and switched around the family relations, not to mention rearranging the way of the pack. I know some of it was probably for theatrical effect, but it still seemed a far departure from the book :/
I was really disappointed, but if you were just to watch the movie, I suppose it isn't so bad. But if you compare it to the book, you'll wonder what happened.

Comics & Graphic Novels-to-Movies

Any comic book or graphic novel fans out there?
Did you like X-Men, Watchmen, Over the Hedge, V for Vendetta, Garfield, etc?
Any favorites? Any disappointments?

Personally, I love the Over the Hedge comics, and thought the movie was pretty amusing. Nice animations and pretty silly, so I got a good laugh. The comics are hilarious though, if you get a chance to check it out!
I also liked V for Vendetta, but I'll admit I didn't read the graphic novel that closely. Thought the movie was good, though.
Can't say I'm too thrilled with the Garfield movies though. I am a big Garfield fan, and have been since I've been a kid, so I guess my expectations were high.

With plenty of movies based on books coming out this year, which one are you looking forward to most?

I know my friend has become a die-hard Twilight fan and will watch New Moon--any other people waiting for New Moon?

I was pretty surprised when I found out they were making Fantastic Mr. Fox into a movie--I loved that book as a kid!
And despite some of the Harry Potter movies being rather disappointing, I think I'll still be watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince when it hits theaters in July.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Death by Denim giveaway!

The generous Linda Gerber has donated 2 copies of the latest fantastic installment of her Death By series, Death by Denim, for a contest!

Want to win a copy?

Just comment on this post with your name, email address, and your favorite cover from Ms. Gerber's Death By series.

want extra entries?
+1 if you comment on my review of Death by Denim
(please make it a little more thoughtful than just "great review!")
+1 if you follow my blog

+1 if you post about this contest elsewhere (just send me the link)

+1 if you comment on my latest interview with Linda Gerber (when it's up, so keep an eye out for it!)

**Bookworm (of Bookworm Readers: Second Edition) and Emily (of that one girl emily), if you enter, just give me a heads up--comment twice on this post--and I'll give you each a +2 for entries since you already commented on my review! Thanks!

Post once for your first entry, then leave a separate comment for each addition entry you earn. Sorry for all the posting, but it makes drawing the winners a bit easier; tallying up all the entries on excel can be rather tedious sometimes!

Best of luck! Sorry, open to US residents only!
Please enter by July 1st, midnight EST!

This contest is part of:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bookish Mentions (#2)

Bookish Mentions is my new weekly post where I'll be posting my thoughts on books I've read but not been able to review, upcoming books I'm looking forward to, general thoughts on genres or books I've encountered, thoughts on book-based movies, and the like. Enjoy!

As most of you know, I got a chance to go to BEA a few weeks ago. Although I missed the signing, I did get a copy of Wag! by Patrick McDonnell. And what can I say? It's an adorable, heart-warming book that wasn't laden with many words. Mooch, and the other characters are adorable and it is undoubtedly a wonderful story for young readers. In fact, older readers may find it sweet as well! :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

Release Date: March 19, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 320

King Henry VIII, in addition to reforming the church in England, was most well known for his six wives. Wife number 5 was Catherine Howard, pushed into the spotlight by her power-hungry relatives, the powerful Howard family. Beautiful, young, and naive, Catherine Howard was thrust into a cut-throat court fraught with heavy rivalries. But her family's plan worked: pretty Catherine caught the eye of the king, who was already disappointed by his fourth bride's looks...

Before you know it, King Henry is divorced from his fourth wife, and will soon wed Catherine. But Henry's "rose without a thorn" might not be as pure as he had thought, for Catherine holds her own secrets from her not-so-pure past. But Catherine is confident she can get rid of her past by burning the letters, keepsakes, and other tokens of the past. But can burning old letters really erase her numerous love affairs, endless flirtations, and other un-queenly actions of the past?

Unfortunately, when people from the past Catherine thought she had buried starts resurfacing, it seems that she may not be as free from her past misdeeds as she thought. It's hard to be married to a king nearly twice her age, especially when there are other young, handsome men in court. If her less-than-innocent past becomes public, Catherine could be ruined forever, and suffer severe consequences. And knowing that Henry has already had four wives before her, Catherine and her family realizes just how precarious her position as queen is. The only way to secure her position is to become pregnant and give birth to the king's son. But the king is aging, and Catherine other men are catching Catherine's eye, and such treachery is not helping her already precarious position...
But when you've caught King Henry VIII's attention, there's no going back...

The King's Rose was a different take on Catherine than I had previously read. Alisa Libby portrays Catherine not as a complete ditz, or at the very least, a completely foolish, solely materialistic girl (now and then a portray makes her seem a little too over the top), but as a girl who was undoubtedly foolish, but was a young girl forced into a court full of back-stabbing, power-hungry courtiers. Libby's version of Catherine was not entirely sensible, but not a complete airhead either. It was interesting and nice to see Catherine in a slightly better light. Sometimes I feel authors are rather harsh on Catherine: although her actions were hardly commendable, most people forget she was just a foolish girl thrown at the king by her greedy family that cared more about increasing their own power than her safety. At least Alisa Libby gave Catherine a little more credit and more depth. In this novel readers get an idea on Catherine's possible motives.

I'm a big fan of novels on the Tudor era, so I'm glad I got a chance to review The King's Rose. Recommended to historical fiction fans and/or people interested in the Tudor era!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bookish Mentions (#1)

I'm going to try a new post that hopefully I'll be able to do weekly, "Bookish Mentions." I'll be posting my thoughts on books I've read but not been able to review, upcoming books I'm looking forward to, general thoughts on genres or books I've encountered, thoughts on book-based movies, and the like. I'll try post once a week on Fridays.
Hope you like it!

Bookish Mentions:

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

I was able to go to the Teen Author Carnival last Thursday, which was filled with many wonderful authors (who are such nice, friendly people!) and was lucky enough to get a copy of Ms. Scott's Perfect You. Despite not having time to review this book, I have to post a little something about it! I loved Perfect You! Kate's life is falling apart around her, and Kate has become a bit of a cynical non-believer. She wants happiness, but finds it hard to open herself up so that she can trust and experience true happiness. With her father leaving his job to go sell Perfect You vitamins and Kate forced to help him, things only go downhill from there when her family runs into financial troubles and Kate can't seem to shake Will; the guy she hates feeling attraction to, since he's already hooked up with half the girls in the school. The only way Kate will find true happiness is if she lets it happen...


School for Dangerous Girls
by Eliot Schrefer

"Angela's parents think she's on the road to ruin because she's dating a "bad boy." After her behavior gets too much for them, they ship her off to Hidden Oak. Isolated and isolating, Hidden Oak promises to rehabilitate "dangerous girls." But as Angela gets drawn in further and further, she discovers that recovery is only on the agenda for the "better" girls. The other girls -- designated as "the purple thread" -- will instead be manipulated to become more and more dangerous . . . and more and more reliant on Hidden Oak's care."
summary courtesy of

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Death by Denim by Linda Gerber

The next leg of Aphra Connolly's adventure is here! Despite the mutual attraction and Aphra's strong interest in Seth, Aphra's mom constantly warns her to remain anonymous and to stay away from Seth, since their survival depends on it. But how can Aphra help it? Absence has only made her heart grow fonder, and the fact that she's currently in Paris with her mom doesn't really help...

However, Aphra comes crashing back to reality when she realizes that even if there's romance in the air, there's constant danger as well. A contact of her mother washes up dead, his dead body fished out of the Seine, and in his mouth, a gag, but also a message. Now Aphra is on the run again, but who is she to trust? The Mole is still after her, Sethe, and her mom, and with other people who may have their own motives, Aphra will have to be extra careful.

But Aphra and her mom is constantly on the run--will she ever be able to live a normal life? Or is she forever doomed to fleeing from scheming enemies, never staying in a single place for long? It is finally clear that the only way to end this eternal chase is for Aphra to face her enemies head-on, instead of being constantly on the run. Aphra will have to rely on all her courage, wit, and instincts if she wants to get out alive, and if she and Seth want a shot at normal happiness together. Things rarely go as planned, but Aphra must take a stand, or she might just lose her mom again and never see Seth again...

Another fantastic mystery by Linda Gerber! Death by Denim was filled with suspense and action, just like Aphra's previous adventures! I would say that the action has only escalated, and the stakes have risen even higher, but Ms. Gerber has created another enjoyable novel that will thrill fans of her previous books! I love how Aphra has grown as a character; she's not perfect and her mistakes and attemps to work things out help give the novel a more realistic feel. Fans of Ms. Gerber's Death By series will enjoy Death by Denim!

Catching Fire trailer!

I know a lot of readers are excited for The Hunger Games' sequel, Catching Fire. It hits bookstores 09.01.09, but a book trailer has just been release for it.

What do you guys think? Excited??

Silver Phoenix

Hey! I came across this cool book, the Silver Phoenix!
Check out the book trailer here:

The author is having a contest over on her site, with some great prizes; a signed copy of Silver Phoenix and a original painting by Cindy! Check it out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Yes, I did go to BEA. I know a few people I saw at the Teen Author Carnival knew that despite the slight fact was already Thursday, I still wasn't sure if I'd be able to go to BEA. But luckily, I did end up going. I only went on Saturday, but I somehow managed to get a million books! To put it all simply, it was amazing, overwhelming, and just fantastic! I got to meet so many fellow book lovers, reviewers/bloggers, publicists, authors, and plenty of great people!

I saw Lenore, Korianne, Sharon, Mitali and a whole bunch of other people from TAC again! I also meet Steph (a.k.a Reviewer X!!) and some other great bloggers, not to mention even more authors!!! :D

(Maureen Johnson signing Suite Scarlett)

The Javits Center is HUGE and it was packed with so many exhibits and people! Some of the lines for signings just got crazy; the line for Sarah Dessen's signing of Along for the Ride was so long it snaked around a column! Kate DiCamillo also had incredibly long lines; I had to wait 20 minutes to get a signed copy of The Tale of Despereaux and that line just shot across the exhibition floor! Ms. DiCamillo's hand must have been really sore after BEA--she actually had several signings, and 2 of them were back-to-back on Saturday morning!

(Sarah Dessen--she signed her new book Along for the Ride)

I did manage to snag a copy of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (though I didn't make it to her signing, but still, I can't complain!) so look for a review of that soon! :D I'm also really excited about Shiver, Along for the Ride, Another Faust, and well...a whole bunch of these books!! All these wonderful books will keep my busy for a while, and now that the majority of my crazy exams are over, hopefully I'll be able to get more reviews & posts up!

Here are the books I got from BEA + a swim cap for Swim the Fly by Don Calame, which is pretty cool (+ fits in nicely with the book!) and something I can make use of since I was a varsity swimmer :)

I'll admit my shoulders are still rather sore...but all these terrific books were worth it! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

reviews, pub stories, and more!

I came across a really interesting sounding book, The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams. Reviewer X has posted a review here, and if you hurry, you still have a chance to win a copy! She's hosting a huge contest for it over on her site!

+ Review X is also hosting another fantastic contest to win all of Elizabeth's Scott's books (!!!!!) check out Reviewer X & Elizabeth Scott's cool pub story here, and of course check out Reviewer X's review of Bloom (I really reallyyyyyy want to read Bloom!) here!

I'll be posting pictures from TAC and BEA (as well as a post about BEA) soon! :)

P.S. I found another cool contest here!

Series I Like

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis Divergent by Veronica Roth Firelight by Sophie Jordon Halo by Alexandra Adornetto Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Thanks to i'm loving books!


I receive review copies of books from publicists, authors and publishers for an honest review. I do not receive monetary or other compensations for posting reviews.