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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Immortal City by Scott Speer

Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 336
Source: ARC from publisher for review

Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect--everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat … and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.

The Good

Definitely an intriguing idea! The author develops an interesting society that has embraced Angels and not only is their protection one of the most sought-after commodities, their appearances is too! (Think Angels as the new celebrities; screaming fangirls, posters, endorsements, TV shows, magazine spreads, the whole nine yards!) Author Scott Speer definitely captures the way our society is star-struck and our worship of celebrities very accurately! The scene is set quite nicely and the concept is readily developed so readers really get a feel of just how big this Angel phenomenon is--and just how unfair the system is too.

Writing & Style
It's not written in first person present! I've got nothing against first person present but it's refreshing to read a novel written in third person past! However, it's not very consistent; it fluxes (especially in the beginning of the novel) between letting us know everything (character's thoughts, reactions, the surroundings, etc) to a limited view of the situation unfolding. I think that's officially called third person omniscient and limited if I recall correctly from my days in high school english class?
The pacing is also not very consistent; it starts off at a decent pace but then it slows considerably after the first chapter before picking up again for the last quarter of the book. Nonetheless, as the novel started to pick up at the end, I found myself hooked in and unwilling to put it down!

I wouldn't describe the style as minimalist by any means, but it's not as flowery as other novels. The style is very to-the-point and readers aren't weighed down with extensive elaboration on details, which gives this novel more of an action-type feel.

There was one! It wasn't just a sappy romantic novel where the hot hunk (an angel in this case) rescues the fair damsel in distress over and over again, until it culminates into a world-shattering kiss! I found the plot enjoyable, not the most original but it had some turns and was complex enough to keep me interested! I feel that plenty of stories these days have a very flat plot that often seem boring, if not contrived because there just aren't any intricacies to them. However, Immortal City has a decent plot and several view points from which it's told, so I had a good time reading it! I really liked the parts told from Sylvester's point of view; the author ties his part in nicely and so it doesn't seem too out of the blue or out of place. It really adds to another dimension to the story.

The Not-So-Good
Name dropping. There was quite a bit of it in this novel. Although mentioning brand names once or twice doesn't bother me, after a while--especially calling Maddy's new cell phone by its full name, the Blackberry Miracle--it got excessive. Over-saturation of brand names and logos happen enough in our everyday lives, it would be nice it wasn't rubbed in our faces when we're trying to enjoy a book; I personally think it's a distraction from the story at hand.

Most of the characters were believable enough but a little more on Ethan would have strengthened the story considerably. He didn't get enough screen (book? page?) time and I would have liked to learn more about his story!

Although I think it's a really interesting idea, I personally don't think angels would sell their services. Maybe I'm just too naive with a view that angels are these pure creatures and who watch over people, especially children and those who can't defend themselves, but selling their services just seems so materialistic and well, earthly. Maybe I've been reading too many fairytales, huh? Just my opinion :)

I really enjoyed the book and I'm glad it was a self-contained novel. Lately I've been reading a lot books that are firsts in series and while some of them leave the perfect cliffhangers, others leave you feeling unsatisfied, as if the whole book was just a setup for the next two or more books to come. While there is a hint of a possibility of more to come, Immortal City wrapped the story up nicely and leaves some things to the imagination.

The story does pick up steam just after the half-way mark, so if you're thirsting for more action, keep reading! I think fans of other angel novels will enjoy Immortal City, especially anyone who's been looking for more action in the angel genre! Not the most polished book written, but a great read that I highly enjoyed!

Overall: 4.25 out of 5
Plot: 4 stars
Characters: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Cover: 4 stars (I think I like the ARC's cover better; it's shiny (!) and it shows not just the angel but the city as well, which I think captures the essence of the story better.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

In Honor by Jessi Kirby
(Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/May 8, 2012)

Honor receives her brother's last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn't. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Sounds really sad but it sounds sooo good! I've read some good reviews for it already!

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 327
Source: ARC from publisher for review

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

This is one of my longer reviews, and I have some very mixed feelings about this novel, so I've split the review up on different aspects I wanted to point out!

To be honest, there's not much of a plot. I read one blurb that described The Selection as a cross between "The Bachelor" and The Hunger Games and I'd say that description pretty accurately sums up the book as a whole. I'm not an avid view of "The Bachelor" or any reality TV for that matter but I found The Selection entertaining. Like a TV show, the novel felt like an episode in a series; it's just a segment of what happens in the overall story. By the end I felt that the whole novel was a set up for what would happen next.

On Maxon and America; I wasn't really feeling that much chemistry between them. There were some sparks here and there but it seemed like they went through the mechanics of falling in love but the natural attraction and chemistry just wasn't really there--maybe this will change in the sequel(s).

The beginning of the novel had a very Twilight feel to it; America absolutely and unconditionally adored her boyfriend Aspen and was constantly praising him. His looks were described quite a few times and America fawned over him. The same features were described over and over again and nothing but Aspen's looks and supposed virtues were spoken of by America. It got rather tiresome but thankfully that bit mellowed out a bit by the time America arrived at the palace. It just wasn't a very dynamic relationship between the two and to me, it felt like they should be together more because they had already been together for two years rather than they should be together because they complement each other and are good for each other.

I'm a dystopian junkie so I was disappointed with how little the caste system in The Selection was developed and described--I would have loved to learn more about the system and the different castes! If there was more world building I think I would have liked the novel a whole lot more!

Not all the characters were well developed though the author does try for a few of them, including America, Maxon, and Marlee. I definitely would’ve liked to know more about the other characters, especially the royal family and the other girls in the Selection and I would’ve loved to learn more about their stories! But since there wasn’t that much development for the other girls, it felt like they were fillers and most of them fell into a typical stock character; the mean one, the ambitious one, the one who will marry for position and wealth (and not necessarily for love), the shy one, the power-hungry one, etc.

I feel like I should make a note about the names; the names aren't conventional, I mean, the main character's name is America! There are also characters named Tiny, Tuesday, Kamber, Gavril, among others. It took some getting used to but I suppose it grew on me a bit, after all, the world they live in has changed significantly from ours (there's been a Third World War since our time to theirs!). I will say that America's last name, Singer, did not grow on me--it wasn't exactly creative (I'm sure you can guess what one of American's main talents was).

I didn't find the writing all that great. It was rather inconsistent; some descriptions were more flowing but then there were some that spawned a few unintended snickers and others that were so basic I'm sure a grade-school student could had thought of them. The vocabulary wasn't that expansive and seemed quite rudimentary. The Selection just did not have the flow nor the polish that many other YA books exhibit, though I understand that this the author's debut novel, so hopefully it can only get better from here!

I know overall this review isn't the most flattering I've written for a book but I will say one thing: it was an entertaining novel to me. There are definitely parts I did not like but there were also parts I did like. It's not as creative as I thought it would be, plot and device-wise; for instance, the interview scenes reminded me very strongly of the interview scenes in The Hunger Games. Yes, I'm very mixed over The Selection. No, it is not the most creative YA novel I've ever read and it's definitely not the best dystopian novel I've ever read, but it is also not, by far, the worse YA novel I've ever read. It was a very promising premise and the author went with it, but unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations and was disappointing in spite of all it's potential.

Yet, despite the reservations I have, I, for one, am looking forward to finding out what happens next in the sequel! (Does this mean I would like reality TV? The characters in this novel didn't seem as blatantly catty as a lot of those girls on the reality TV do, though.) I do hope the writing improves though!

Overall: 2.75 out of 5
Plot: 2.5 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Writing: 2.75 stars
Cover: 4.5 stars (definitely an eye-catching cover!)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Follow Friday! (6)

Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Parajunkee's View & Alison Can Read! It's a great opportunity to meet new bloggers and connect with fellow book lovers!!

Q: What is the longest book you've read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

Does Harry Potter count? Some of those books were pretty long and of course they're favorites of mine! Other long favorites include The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and the Lord of the Rings series! I also read this one book in high school that was an "autobiography" by King Henry wasn't very good but man was it long! It was thicker than my textbooks!

What's the longest book you've ever read??

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Release Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Point
Pages: 280
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review

From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

While the topics addressed in this novel aren't exactly lighthearted, the writing itself isn't heavy, which makes Take a Bow a fun read. Overall, it's a well-written coming-of-age story. Although I would say that I enjoyed reading it, I don't think any of the characters stood out in a particularly significant way. I liked Emme's kindness, Ethan's journey to come to terms with what matters to him, Carter's journey of self-discovery, and I especially liked the dynamic of the members of the band (especially Jack and Ben, who added quite a bit of comic relief!) but no one stuck out as a very memorable character. Yes, the vicious resident user-and-abuser, Sophie, was a believable character, but she just wasn't that unique from any other antagonists. She was just mean and manipulative--there wasn't a personality quirk, uniquely snarky dialogue, or something huge about her past that will make her very memorable.

Don't get me wrong, it's well written and most of the main characters are alive and not 2D, but they just aren't very strong characters I'd definitely be able to point out if someone were to ask me for examples of favorite or eye-catching characters. They just seem like the ordinary--well-developed, but ordinary nonetheless--characters you'd find in a coming-of-age story.

I would like to expand briefly on the 'well-developed characters point' however; Sophie was quite a nasty piece of work! She maybe your typical antagonist, but man, was she a self-absorbed, unrepentant, manipulative girl! Ms. Eulberg certainly created a vicious villain (okay, that might be a bit strong, but she was horrid!) who had no conscience and was ready to use and abuse her few friends to get to the top! Sophie was definitely a believable character--she came alive on those pages so much that I wanted to slap her for her ruthless treatment of Emme!

There were points in the novel where I wanted to reach in and shake Emme! I was definitely rooting for her but wanted her to grow a backbone and stand up for herself! It was so frustrating to watch her let people (especially her "best friend") walk all over her and take advantage of her! Warning--mild spoiler alert! After a while it got tiresome to watch how predictable Emme could be, but the climax of her confronting the issue mostly made up for all of that frustration! She did a nice job at the end and I was definitely cheering the way the characters were! End spoiler alert.

I have never attended a performing arts school so I'm not sure how realistic Take a Bow is, but Ms. Eulberg did a great job creating a high-tension, high-pressure environment (which I'm sure performing arts high schools are!). There was a lot of intense competition between students to be on top, to nab spots, but I am very grateful the author did not take the excessively catty and melodramatic drama-infested route! The lack of those two characteristics (which I think I've had more than enough of for a while) really made this book that much more enjoyable. It made it easier to focus on each of the characters' journeys (which I believe is more important) instead of trying to keep track of who stole which person's lip gloss and who trashed their locker before an extremely important (and tear-filled, no doubt) audition. My favorite part about the arts-related setting was reading about Emme and the band performing! They're such a hilarious and dynamic group--it was a blast to both read about their performances and cheer them on during their struggles!

While I liked the switching view points and the differences in the writing styles for each character, I didn't find the plot all that imaginative. Carter's story ("who everyone wants me to be, but who I want to be") is one I'm afraid I've read about in some form or another countless times. But still, the chemistry between the characters, their interactions and how all of their parts tie in nicely with each other helped contribute nicely to the story!

Yes, it's not the most original story (plot or character-wise) but it is well-written and I enjoyed it very much! It doesn't drag at all, but the story is still well-developed and the author doesn't try to sell any of the characters short! It was a great and pretty easy read that I would recommend to those who are looking for something a little more fun!

Overall: 4.25 out of 5
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 3.75 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Cover: 4.5 stars

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
(Viking Juvenile/June 14, 2012)

Between Noelle’s difficult home life and the bullying she endures at school, all she wants is to get out of her small town. Noelle would give anything to be with Julian Porter. But staying with her emotionally distant boyfriend is safer. When things heat up between Noelle and Julian, she has to decide whether she can be her true self with him.


Don't look up.

Lunch is the worst, but there's no safe place at school for Noelle. Keeping her mortifying home life a secret and trying to ignore the kids who make her life miserable are Noelle's survival strategies. Her emotionally distant boyfriend, Matt, isn't the one she really wants to be with. But there's no way she could ever be with Julian Porter.

When Julian starts talking to her, Noelle is terrified. It seems safer to stay with Matt than risk a broken heart. But when the bullying of a friend goes too far, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself - and for everything that makes her keep holding on.

I've been reading so much fantasy & paranormal lately, it's nice to find something a little different for a change! Definitely need some more contemporary & realistic fiction in my literary diet so I'll be keep an eye out for Keep Holding On!
Also sounds like a good one for Sarah Dessen fans like me!!

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly
meme hosted by The Story Siren!

Here's what I got this week!

For review:
Immortal City by Scott Speer
(^I finished this one about a day or two after it arrived! Review to come!^)
The List by Siobhan Vivian

What fabulous books did you get in your mailboxes this week?
Comment & let me know so I can visit your IMM too!


Don't forget to enter my giveaway for 2 copies of The Sisters Queen by Sophie Perinot if you're interested!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday! (5)

Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Parajunkee's View & Alison Can Read! It's a great opportunity to meet new bloggers and connect with fellow book lovers!!

Q: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?

Best book I've read in the last month or so is Divergent by Veronica Roth! Yes, yes I know, I'm late to the party but hey, better late than never, right? I'm glad I finally got the chance to read it because it was amazing & I can't wait for Insurgent!

Worse book? Well, I read it in January, but one book that was very disappointing to me was Halflings by Heather Burch (review to come). It was slow, not very well written, and well, rather boring at points. The main character ended up playing damsel-in-distress more times that I would've liked, especially since I had high hopes for her, being a karate student and all!

What about you guys? What's the best/worse book you've read in the last month or so? Leave me your thoughts; I'd love suggestions for my TBR list (or to know which books to avoid!)


On the Site this Week:

Guest Post + Giveaway:
Check out the Guest Post by Sophie Perniot on time traveling! I'm also giving away 2 copies of her new book, The Sisters Queen! Enter HERE if interested!

Check out my reviews for Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffins and Perception by Kim Harrington!

400+ Followers Giveaway winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my 400+ Followers Giveaway!

The lucky winner of the ARC of The Selection is...Arianne! Arianne, I've emailed you already, please get back to me within 48hrs or unfortunately, I'll have to pick a new winner.


If you didn't win, don't worry, I've got another giveaway going on right now for 2 copies of The Sister's Queen by Sophie Perinot! Enter here if you're interested!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Perception by Kim Harrington

Perception by Kim Harrington

Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Point
Pages: 288

When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Clare's back! I definitely enjoyed reading the second installment of the Clarity series! The writing was as good as the first book. Clare's voice was still pretty strong in this novel, and she's also matured from her experiences in Clarity. It did seem to me, however, that Clare's voice wasn't quite as strong, nor as spirited, as it was in the first novel. Maybe it's because she's matured a bit? But I don't know, it just seemed to lack some of the spunk and brightness she had in the first novel. It was almost as if she was a bit more subdued (her voice at least) in Perception, despite having a more personal mystery to solve.

Another similarity to the first novel was the mystery part of the novel. I don't mean the actual mystery itself--Clare's on a completely new adventure this time!--but like the first novel, the mystery at hand in Perception was a bit predicable. While it was slightly less predictable than the mystery in the first book, I guessed the perpetrator about half way through the novel. The writing is good, however, and doesn't drag, so despite being predicable still, it was an enjoyable read!

Thankfully, there's more character development for Gabriel so he's not just the cookie-cutter handsome, mysterious, good-looking hunk again! I enjoyed learning more about Gabriel, Justin and the other characters in Perception. The writing is well-balanced; it doesn't focus so much on back story that the plot drags but it doesn't constantly throw you into the fray without letting you glimpse at the characters' pasts. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to learn anything more about Clare's father but hopefully there will be more light shed on that subject if there's to be a third novel!

I don't want to give it away, but I for one think Clare made the right choice between the two love interests! The strong character she exhibited in the first book was obvious in Perception as well and I'm happy that this was on YA novel where the female lead truly knows and understands her leading men and chooses between them for their personalities and the way they treat her--not just because his eyes are sooo dreamy, and the kisses are simply world-shattering. Don't get me wrong, those are desirable qualities as well, but they shouldn't be the only factors when agreeing to be someone's girlfriend! I could really feel the chemistry between the two and the development of the romance between them was realistic and believable, which is a breath of fresh air amongst all the 'star-crossed lovers' that have been dominating YA fiction lately!

All in all, it was enjoyable and I certainly appreciated the more realistic romance! I hope to learn more about Clare's family, especially her father, and her past if there's to be another novel!

Overall: 4 out of 5
Plot: 3.75 stars
Characters: 5 stars
Writing: 4.5 stars
Cover: 4 stars

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR/May 8 2012)

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

'With great power, comes great responsibility?' Sounds like it!

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

What would you do if you were surrounded by misery and decay on all sides? Try to make changes and improvements to the world around you? Take advantage of the misfortune of others? Or would you be like Araby and seek solace in the arms of oblivion?

Just a few pages into the novel and I could see why Araby threw herself into oblivion every chance she could! The author certainly did a good job creating a dreary, painful world! The world building is quite good for this novel and I think the author was trying to go for a steampunk setting but I don't think that was fully or two bits of technology in a world dominated by bodices and carriages isn't quite enough to sell it for me. Maybe an update on the demeanor of the citizens and possibly the infrastructure and running of the country and I would have accepted it as steampunk! Nonetheless, the world building is well done here and the depressing mood dominates the plague-ravaged country!

Masque of the Red Death is a re-imagining of sorts of Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name. While the dismal state the world is in is similar to Poe's story, an aspect that is markedly different is Prince Prospero. In Bethany Griffin's re-imagining, he is a manipulative, power-hungry psychopath whereas Poe's Prince Prospero seemed much more ignorant and preoccupied with frivolous things. Prospero's lack of conscience and remorse in Bethany's novel was frightening! Bethany does do a good job of capturing the same depressed feeling though!

There was definitely some great world building, but I have a bone to pick with some of the characters! April was rather inconsistent, or maybe she's just a fantastic actress. Her secrets were a bit hard to believe at first since she was an airhead with a taste for booze and drugs. Elliot...well, he's a bit of a jerk, and as Araby found his personality abrasive at the beginning, I really don't understand why she jumped to help him every time he asked--no, that's too nice, ordered--her to do something for him. He asked her to risk her life for him multiple times and she complied from the get-go and I couldn't see any clear motivation for her to help a virtual stranger--and a rude stranger at that!

There was a twist in the novel and I don't think I entirely buy it. Although you could argue that it wasn't entirely out of character, it certainly seemed highly unlikely, give the development of events in the novel leading up to that point! I'm sure this sounds rather vague so I apologize, but I don't want to give anything away and spoil the fun!

A minor point I felt like mentioning was the Debauchery Club; when I read the blurb I was expecting something wild and possibly even borderline obscene since it was the once place people could escape all the gloom around them. But instead, it seemed like a rather tame place that certainly didn't live up to its name!

The ending felt weak compared to the rest of the novel. While I get that continuing the adventure could require quite a number of pages more, the ending felt rushed, as if the author had to hurry and find a spot to cut off the story until the sequel(s).

While I can say that I enjoyed this novel and will most likely read the sequel, I have this odd feeling that there's something off about it. I'm not saying it's a bad novel, but to me it doesn't seem entirely put-together. It seemed like the author put too much effort into developing the characters at points and the plot ended up dragging a bit and being put second. At other points the plot was being rushed along and became the only focus. I guess that's the 'off feeling' I'm getting; the plot and character development in the novel wasn't balanced.

Despite any misgivings I may have, I am sure many readers will enjoy Masque of the Red Death! The world-building is excellent, the love-triangle will appeal to many, and the slightly steampunk setting was pretty cool!

Overall: 4 out of 5
Plot: 3.75 stars
Characters: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Cover: 4.5 stars

Book Trailer: Infamous by Sherrilyn Kennyon

Nick Gathier is back but his zombie-fighting days might not be behind him just yet! Check out the trailer for the 3rd installment of the Chronicles of Nick!

Monday, March 12, 2012

If you could time travel...Guest post by Sophie Perinot! + Giveaway

If you could time travel, where would you go? What would you do?

Sophie Perinot, author of The Sister Queens (look for my review soon!), has stopped by today on The Book Vault to answer this question!

The Reluctant Time Traveler

In preparation for my visit at The Book Vault (yay!), Dominique asked me to consider which era I’d like to visit if I could travel back in time, and what I would do once I got there.

My first thought—Oooo easy! I’d head to the 13th century to visit my sister queens, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, and see if I got them right in my novel. We could talk sister-stuff and maybe I could squeeze my own oh-so-close sister into the time machine with me (she’s skinny). But, wait! I’ve always wanted to meet Elizabeth I. When I was young I loved to imagine that I was Elizabeth reincarnated. I thrilled to read quotes like, “I have the heart of a man, not a woman, and I am not afraid of anything.” Beauty, strength, real power and the will to wield it – Elizabeth had it all. Not to mention ginger hair, the loveliest of all colors. Spending a few days observing her rule and her court would be a real treat. But, if I am going to travel to the 16th century, I have this secret crush on Philippe de Mornay, Lord of du Plessis Marly, and this would be my chance to meet him (preferably before he married Charlotte d’Arbaleste). Oh the choices!

After a few more rounds of similar kid-in-a-candy-store thinking, a different side of me took over. I could be mature about this, set aside my selfish desire to share a magic moment with the man who would come to be known as “the Protestant Pope,” and use my trip to the past for the greater good. Why not go back and prevent something terrible from happening? Kill Hitler. Be waiting with a ship to off-load the passengers of the Titanic. Sophie Perinot, activist time-traveler.

And, that’s when I realized, as thrilling as it might be to witness some of the seminal moments in history, I would ultimately say “no thanks” to time travel if it were possible. Shocked fellow fans and writers of historical fiction? Well, here’s the thing, I like my present just the way it is—highs and lows alike. And I am pretty sure if I travelled back to the past my actions and reactions there could mean I don’t end up precisely where I am now.

Theoretically I could set aside my plans for interfering with history, travel back in time and be a fly on the wall. Touch nothing, say nothing. Be Sophie the observer. The problem is, I am not good at doing nothing and I am even WORSE at saying nothing. Anybody who knows me can confirm this. My husband jokes that I think I could run EVERYTHING better. Even the papacy (and I am hardly a candidate for pope being a female non-catholic). I am not conceding I would wreck havoc in history because, well (*blushes*) I could probably improve a few outcomes (drat, my husband is right), but I would make an impact and that seems wrong. It seems like playing god.

So, I’ll limit my time traveling to its traditional form—through books (both non-fiction and historical fiction). Books allow me to visit any century I like without giving up central heating and indoor plumbing. And they allow me to come home again, at moment’s notice, to the people and life that I love and wouldn’t change for anything in the world.

Thanks for stopping by, Sophie!


Don't forget to check out Sophie's new novel, The Sister Queens!

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?

Doesn't it sound fantastic??! Look for my review soon!

Penguin has also generously donated 2 copies of The Sister Queens for me to giveaway! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly
meme hosted by The Story Siren!

I wasn't able to post an In My Mailbox for a few weeks so I complied them all into this one!
Here's what I got:

For review:
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
Vampire Kiss by Veronica Wolf
Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Bewitching by Alex Finn (Thanks HarperTeen!)

What did you all get in your mailboxes this week? :) Comment & let me know so I can visit your IMM posts too!


On the site this week:

There's still time to enter to win an of ARC The Selection by Kiera Cass here at The Book Vault! Enter HERE if you're interested! (open to US only, sorry!)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Gilt by Katherine Longshore
(Viking Juvenile/May 15, 2012)

In the Tudor age, ambition, power and charismatic allure are essential and Catherine Howard has plenty of all three. Not to mention her loyal best friend, Kitty Tylney, to help cover her tracks. Kitty, the abandoned youngest daughter of minor aristocracy, owes everything to Cat – where she is, what she is, even who she is. Friend, flirt, and self-proclaimed Queen of Misrule, Cat reigns supreme in a loyal court of girls under the none-too-watchful eye of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

When Cat worms her way into the heart of Henry VIII and becomes Queen of England, Kitty is thrown into the intoxicating Tudor Court. It’s a world of glittering jewels and elegant costumes, of gossip and deception. As the Queen’s right-hand-woman, Kitty goes from the girl nobody noticed to being caught between two men – the object of her affection and the object of her desire.

But the atmosphere of the court turns from dazzling to deadly, and Kitty is forced to learn the difference between trust and loyalty, love and lust, secrets and treason. And to accept the consequences when some lessons are learned too late.
I'm a huge fan of works on and set during the Tudor era! Such an interesting era filled with a lot of drama, power plays, romance, and of course, treachery. Of course some fictional works based in that time period are more historically accurate than others but I've read plenty of stories told from the points of views from the many wives of Henry VIII, courtiers, dukes, duchesses to companions to nobility, maids and servants! It'll be interesting to read a novel set around the time of Catherine Howard--Henry's youngest wife of the six he had, and the second he beheaded--who had her own fair share of scandal during her time at court!

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

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.