Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 2


Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 2
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 2 by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Promise - Part 2 was a very enjoyable, highly entertaining and surprisingly hilarious addition to The Promise Trilogy. Now that the introductions are out of the way, the writers really got into what made the television series so great! If often found that the middle book in a trilogy can lag a bit, while the author prepares for the big finale guaranteed in the third volume, but I'm happy to say it most definitely was not the case with The Promise. The story continued to progress steadily and naturally, going further into the groundwork laid by part 1, while building on what is sure to be a thrilling finale.

I felt we went even more in depth with a host of characters I've grown to love so much on the television series. From Aang & Katara to Toph, Sokka & Zuko; everyone showed some evolution and you can literally see them lining themselves up to the characters they will become in The Legend of Korra. The Aang and Katara bits were heartwarming & naive in a sweet and innocent way. Toph & Sokka, true to form were the root of all hilarity and comic relief. The Zuko bits...sigh, well they were intense, frustrating, compelling and sad all at the same time. I'm really amazed at how the true essence of the TV series translated so effortlessly onto the pages. It felt no different to me than watching the show!

The plot revisited past themes without ever feeling redundant or over done. I found this this book especially, was just really entertaining and funny! I may be on the giggly and silly side by nature, but often times what most people consider funny in books, TV or film just doesn't cut it for me. Both the Avatar: The Last Airbender Series & The Legend of Korra consistently crack me up though, so I was kinda gleeful to find myself giggling out loud throughout this read. I enjoyed this one even better than The Promise - Part 1. Overall, this was great fun - another exciting adventure with some of my most beloved characters of all time. Fair warning though : it ends in a super mega cliffhanger so be sure to have the final installment handy.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers get together and spotlight what upcoming release we're most excited about!

Here's what I'm waiting on this week: 

Indigo Awakening

Release Date: December 18th 2012
Author: Jordan Dane

Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.

A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.




I feel like I'm overdue for a good YA Paranormal/Science-Fiction read and Indigo Awakening might be just what the doctor ordered.  In our world, ''Indigo Children'' are considered gifted for being intuitive, sensitive & non-conformist.  I'm anxious to see the author's take on Indigo's in a dystopian/ fantasy setting.  The premise suggests psychic powers and when you add the fact that these kids are hunted by a fanatical church group sounds like a perfect mix of excitement & intrigue to me!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
Link me up :) 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday (8)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!


This week's Top 10 theme is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013!  I'll give you guys a little heads up here: I'll probably be cheating profusely in this one ­(>.<) and featuring books from series' I haven't finished yet or in some cases - haven't even started yet!  Everybody got it?  Ok - here we go:



1. Poison by Bridget Zinn Featuring a 16 year-old female protagonist who is a skilled Potions Master who's botched attempt to assassinate the kingdom's future ruler in the name of peace forces her to go on the run.  If that premise wasn't enough, the gorgeous cover nearly took my breath away!

2. Divergent # 3  by Veronica Roth This as-of-yet untitled final installment in the Divergent Trilogy is only coming out late in 2013- and with the way Insurgent ended, I have a feeling it's going to be a loooong wait.

3. MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza MILA 2.0 is another upcoming release that boasts a stunning cover along with a promising premise: a YA Bourne Identity style read with a female lead.  If this is anything as good as it looks - we're in for a treat!

4. The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus # 4) by Rick Riordan I'm totally cheating on this one since I haven't even started The Heroes of Olympus Series....but as soon as I saw the title to this one I was excited.  I wonder if that says anything about me - that I'm excited about Hades?  o.O  Anyways, I am excited, I always found the stuff Riordan wrote about Hades & Niko really interesting in the Percy Jackson series so I can't wait to start the HoO series so I can get into this installment & learn more about Hades :D

5.  The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell  As a HUGE fan of high fantasy, I'm always on the lookout for promising new books in the genre.  I was beyond excited to discover The Cadet of Tildor which seems like a YA cross between Lord of The Rings & A Song of Fire & Ice.  The initial reviews are looking promising, can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

6. Apollyon (Covenant # 4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout Let's all take a moment to gush at the glory that is the cover for Apollyon.  Seriously, look at the pretty! Ok, so I haven't even read books 2 or 3 but I'm already anxiously awaiting the release of this one!  Half-Blood & it's mini-prequel Daimon already have me hooked and it's taking all my self control not to plow through Pure & Deity which are sitting on top of my bookcase...taunting me...*gah*

7.  Prophecy by Ellen Oh  Dystopian meets high fantasy in this first book in an expected trilogy.  The premise seems to have a healthy mix of mystery & action which sounds perfect to me. It also features dragons & a kick-ass female warrior.  What more could you possibly want?

 8. Burned (Dani O'Malley #2) by Karen Marie Moning I'm cheating for this one as well, since I don't even own a copy of Iced yet *hangs head in shame*, but I can't help but get excited at the prospect of more creamy goodness from author Miss Moning :D

9. Pulse by Patrick Carman With elements of Paranormal/Science-Fiction mixed in with a Dystopian world it's hard for me not to get excited about Pulse - especially considering there is a bit of romance thrown into the mix!  I've always been intrigued by the concept of telekinesis but I've never read a book regarding it, so I'm curious to see how all of this will work.

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3 by Laini Taylor   I've only just started Days of Blood & Starlight and I can't get over how much I actually missedMiss Taylor's beautifully lyrical writing style & absorbing characters & world building.  I wish I already had book 3 at hand...

What upcoming releases made your Top 10 this week?
Link me & don't forget to let me know if you're a new follower ♥

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Daimon

Daimon (Covenant 0.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Daimon is a prequel to The Covenant Series, sort of a mini-novella of the events that take place directly before Half-Blood. When I found out about Daimon (Covenant 0.5), I was already half way through Half-Blood and I immediately knew I needed to read it a.s.a.p. Though I already knew what the basic premise of it was going to be going in, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Sometimes when authors release a mini-prequel or a novella within a series, it can be a bit of letdown...it can come off a bit gimmicky and sometimes these kinds of books fail to deliver much of anything worthwhile as far as plot development and character depth. I am thrilled to say that author Jennifer L. Armentrout once again delivered an amazing story, even in this smaller format. Honestly, it felt like Daimon was the absolute perfect length to deliver exactly what it sets out to: filling the reader in to the events that preceded Half-Blood & offering an even more intimate & evocative view into the main protagonist Alex's personality.

While I instinctively dragged this reading out - to hold me off until the rest of the series arrived in my mailbox, but Daimon could easily be read in one sitting. Be prepared for a roller-coaster ride though because this read packs a punch! I'm still reeling as to how much JLA was able to get me even further invested and in love with these characters and the world they inhabit...even though I shouldn't be surprised after how devoted I already was after finishing Half-Blood. I think Daimon is suitable to be read both before Half-Blood and after, both options have benefits. If you read Daimon first, you'll get a nice, chronological introduction to Alex and what makes her tick. If, like me, you read Half-Blood first, Daimon will offer a deeper understanding into Alex's past trials and sufferings right before the events of Half-Blood. Either way, I feel Daimon was worth the read for any fans of The Covenant series and author Jennifer L. Armentrout as well. Everything about this novella worked for me: it was powerful, emotional & consuming. I'm extremely anxious to get started on Pure!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stacking the Shleves (9)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews showcasing new books we've either received or bought this past week.

I hope you guys all had a fabulous week & I hope my American friends had a very happy Thanksgiving!  So last week, I mentioned I was waiting on some books to be delivered and they finally came!  I was pretty freaking excited to open a box containing these:




Reached was a book I pre-ordered pretty much as soon as I was able to.  I am dying to read the conclusion of the Matched Series and be reunited with Condie's lyrical prose...especially after the glowing reviews this final installment has been getting! Asides from that, as you can see I pretty much went nuts with the rest of JLA's Covenant Series...what's available anyways ;)  I am currently reading Daimon on my kindle but I couldn't pass up adding the physical book to my collection for two reasons: 1- I'm a little OCD like that and I wanted the set. 2- Since it's a prequel/novella, it was only like $3.99!  Anyways the covers of this series are simply too pretty to pass up having the whole collection in my bookcase, right?!

Last week was a pretty major ebook week for me and this week I didn't find any sweet deals or freebies I was excited for.  I did however get approved for a book via Netgalley which I'm really pumped about:



Featuring a mix of Steampunk, Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance this is just the kind of book I can see loving - I've always had a thing for alchemy too!  A big thanks to Random House Publishing Group for the copy!

That's it for me this week, what goodies did you get your hands on this week?
Link me up below :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death


Masque of the Red Death
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I know...I know. I'm hating writing this review just as much as some fans of Masque of the Red Death may hate seeing my rating of it...and believe me, I'm WAY outnumbered on this one! I went into this with high hopes, not only because so many Goodreads friends and fellow blogger had given it glowing reviews, but because the synopsis really piqued my interest. I really like reading dystopians but they do tend to feature similar worlds and settings. The idea of a future world destroyed by a mysterious plague felt fresh & full of promise. The steampunk/revolutionary vibe convinced me even more that I was going to love this book. Unfortunately it just wasn't the case - I kept waiting to become invested and then blow away, until I realized I was nearing the end of the book and it still hadn't clicked for me...but more on that in a bit.

Let's start out with the positive, and despite my low-ish rating there are a lot of pretty incredible elements in play here. The world building is every bit as impressive as everyone says it is. I was instantly taken aback by how effectively Bethany Griffin awoke in me a sense of discomfort and dread. The world in Masque of the Red Death is one ravaged by death and disease. A plague has decimated most of the world's population and people are still dropping like flies all around. Since the disease is air-born, the rich have been endowed with masques while the poor must hope for the best..and expect death to come for them sooner rather then later. The masque themselves serve as a constant reminder to the reader of the fear in which these characters have to deal with every second of their lives. Every character has lost someone and has felt the stiffing effect of being at the mercy of a horrible disease. The author is especially skilled at setting the appropriate tone for the scene at hand and skillfully vacillates from making the reader feel some dread...to outright terror in a matter of seconds.

So almost every single element brought to the table in MotRD worked for me: the steampunk feel, the dark oppressive tone, the mysterious, almost gothic city the story takes place in, the believable dystopian world....everything except the characters. I just didn't feel much of anything for them except the obvious empathy at the heartbreaking effect the plague has had on them. And I mean, I understand that they would how such traumatic events might bring out the worst in people but I really just couldn't relate to any of these characters. Most of this is likely due to my feelings for Araby. I honestly couldn't understand her actions or thought process most of the time. She had poor judgement, at best and outright stupidity at her worst. Her guilt and grief have obviously damaged her and if anything I'm one to sympathize and love those kinds of characters but every time she displayed poor judgement I felt myself further alienated from her and the life she lead. The same can be said for her friend April and the proposed 'love triangle' candidates Will & Elliott. Each and every character displayed some behavior or decision that I just could not wrap my head around. I mean I felt sad when bad things happened to them or when the author highlighted their grief and torment...but it never went any further than that. And since I thrive in character driven stories, I found my desire to connect overshadowing my enjoyment of every other positive element of this tale.

My review may seem a bit low, considering that I did bring out quite a few positive attributes in this story but I feel that those attributes ought to be, for the most part are thanks to Edward Allen Poe and his short story by the same name. I read somewhere that Bethany Griffin wanted to know more about Poe's famous short story & the characters that inhabited this horrifying world. Since my greatest complaint was indeed the characters, I can't really bring myself to award a higher rating than this...even though it really is bumming me out.


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Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers get together and spotlight what upcoming release we're most excited about!

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Falling Kingdoms

Release Date: December 11th 2012
Authors:  Morgan Rhodes  & Michelle Rowen

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
-Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

-Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

-Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...
The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?


This to me sounds kind of like a YA hybrid of a Lord of the Rings and A Song of Fire & Ice with a healthy mix of paranormal elements.  What more could a girl want?  The synopsis seems to point at multiple POVs though and I'm not a huge fan of anything over 2 POVs - I find it can get confusing but from the reviews I've read it doesn't seem to be the case!  The cover itself is just breathtaking & kick-ass all at once :D  so yeah, can't wait to check this one out!


What are you waiting on this week?  Link me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday (7)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!


This week's Top 10 theme is: Top Ten Books/Authors I'm Thankful For.  I've decided to go with authors to mix it up a bit this week & keep things fresh :)

1. J.K. Rowling - Obviously ;)  Words could never express how utterly grateful I am that Miss Rowling imagined my hero Harry Potter & the magical world that he and his friends exist in!  ♥  No other story has touched my life the way the Harry Potter series has done & I doubt another series will have this kind of impact for me.

2. J.R.R. Tolkien - Another clear choice for me - I mean he started it all didn't he?  Tolkien created a story & a world that enchanted generations...inspired so many other great tales!  His story is as relevant today as it was when it first came out in the 1930's.

3. L.M. Montgomery - Her beloved Anne of Green Gables series was THE definitive series of my childhood.  Anne was dreamy, innocent & oh-so whimsical.  Added bonus?  The series is set in P.E.I, Canada a mere hour and a half drive from where I grew up :)

4. C.S. Lewis - It's hard to argue the influence that The Chronicles of Narnia have had on readers & authors alike.  Even though I had some issues with some of the more...blatant themes of the series, especially in the last 2 books, Narnia will forever be an enchanting world that I am grateful to have experienced.

5. Frances Hodgson Burnett - This woman writes of the most endearing & heartwarming characters who have inherent magic in altogether magical  surroundings.  It's historical fiction that highlights how enchanting real life can be - if you choose to see it.  While I grew up with The Secret Garden, I only discovered A Little Princess in my adulthood but both have a special place in my heart.

6.  Brandon Sanderson - I'm sort of cheating with this one, since I've only read one book of his - Mistborn: The Final Empire but before I had finished it, I'd already ordered the other 2 books of the trilogy & added pretty much everything the man has ever written to my reading list.  If you haven't read any of his books yet, I ask you: what are you waiting for?!  You won't regret it!

7.  Suzanne Collins  - The sheer kick-assness (yes I'm making up a word lol) that is Katniss Everdeen in and of itself warrants Miss Collins' place on this list...but the fact that The Hunger Games Trilogy was such an addictive adrenaline rush makes her doubly worthy.

8.  Stephenie Meyer - How could I not be for ever grateful for the mind that imagined Mr. Edward Cullen?!  How about a world where vampires & werewolves both exist?  I never inhaled a series so fast in my life - like it or not, it's clear The Twilight Saga has influenced many other well loved series in YA since then. PS: who else is excited to check out The Host movie next year?  If you haven't seen the trailer yet, check it out:


9. Erin Hunter - Erin Hunter is a pseudonym for 4 women who together have written over 30 books that make up the Warriors series. I honestly loved and favorited pretty much ever single book I've read by them...which is mainly the Warriors books. I haven't read their other series, though I've heard their not as good.  Often mistaken for a children's only books, this ya series captured my imagination and my heart.

10. Karen Marie Moning - I admit, I was something of a holdout for the first 2 books.  Oh I knew I was addicted...I just wasn't fully in love with every single aspect of it.  Books 4 & 5 completely blew my mind though and The Fever Series has become one of my favorites of all time!  I can't believe I  haven't read Iced yet!

*Honorable mentions to both  Laini Taylor & Jennifer L. Armentrout.  Once I've read all the volumes in their respective series, I'll have to officially add them to the list as well.*

So what made your list this week?
Link me :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1


Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm not a huge manga reader...but I do enjoy some from time to time, and I couldn't pass up a chance to learn more about the story of Aang and the gang. Avatar: The Last Airbender is such an amazing story, I've lost count of how many times me and the hubby have watched and re-watched the series. I only recently acquired the entire 'The Promise' series because I wanted to be able to read them all back to back for 2 reasons: 1-they are on the small side, so I knew I'd get through them quickly...& 2- I heard books 1 & 2 end in cliffhangers. Book 1 certainly did, so I'm glad I have the others handy :)

The Promise 1 starts off RIGHT where the ATLA series left off, literally. Even people who haven't watched the show in a while wouldn't be lost. I especially like that the creators continued the story right after the war ended. Most of my favorite series (books, movies or tv) tend to end right after an epic battle or war. I'm the type of reader who would also like the story to go on...even a little bit longer, so I can see for myself that the characters I've grown to love are really ok and going on with their lives. I've always been like that, so for me this continuation is exactly what I always crave. The best part about this continuation, is that it paints a realistic picture of how it would be to rebuild a world after such war & destruction (the events at the end of ATLA) while never feeling forced or lacking in authenticity to the original series.

There isn't TOO much in the way of plot advancement but you can definitely see the groundwork being laid for not only the crux of this little series (The Promise Trilogy) but there is also some pretty awesome foreshadowing of the storyline featured in The Legend of Korra! The characters are true to form but they've also been changed by everything they've been through, in many different ways and The Promise really is a nice balance of both. Their voices read the same way as if you were still watching the orginal series. They are even drawn the same, except for Zuko who's face seems more elongated here. I think that may be my only complaint because I liked the look of original Zuko best.

The Promise book 1 reads super quick but it's fun throughout. I was also instantly invested and brought back to a beloved world & awesome characters; I even cracked up a few times which is impressive for such a short book. All things considered, Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise Book 1 is recommended for any fans of the original series, both young & young at heart...like me :)


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Stacking the Shelves (8)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews showcasing new books we've either received or bought this past week.

This week I was waiting on a couple of separate book deliveries that unfortunately haven't arrived yet...  womp womp!  I did still manage to get a hold of some pretty sweet e-books (including some freebies) and a few galleys as well so here we go:

Here are the e-books I got  hold of:




Die for Me has been sitting on top of my reading list for far too long.  A few days ago I was checking my book recommendations on kobo and there it was for...get this: $1.99!!!  Yeah, like I was ever going to be able to pass that up ;)  And after featuring The Faerie Guardian for last week's WoW feature, I found it available (again on kobo) for $1.99....talk about perfect timing!

These are the freebies I got (e-books):




So I'd never heard about either of these but after the success I had with kobo suggestions I went ahead and checked my kindle suggestions via Amazon and I was pleasantly surprised once again:  Ethereal is a paranormal type read featuring earth-bound angels.  It had some pretty decent reviews from some of my Goodreads friends so I decided to give it a try. Plus I was really drawn to the lunar imagery used on the cover ;)  Madly I'm a bit more into...because it features Mermaids and as much as I love Mermaids, I have yet to read a single Mermaid book.  I've heard great things about it as well so I'm pumped to check it out!  I also happen to think the cover is pretty spectacular ♥

And finally, here are my Netgalley books:


Heart of the Dragon's Realm I discovered after the lovely Anya featured it via her blog On Starships and Dragonwings.  It's a short story featuring a princess and dragons... for someone like me it was impossible to pass up!  Dark Dealings I'd been considering for awhile and I figured I might as well give it a try.  It's a sexy adult paranormal romance featuring elemental magic.  I think the cover is pretty hot and from what I've read about it, it seems like it could be a fun read!

That's all for me this week, what books did you guys get? 
Link me so I can go check it out :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Giveaway+Interview

Giveaway & Author Interview ~ The Sound & the Echoes by Dew Pellucid

This is a very exciting post because it will be Lunar Rainbows' FIRST official GIVEAWAY!  And I'm thrilled to feature The Sound & the Echoes by Dew Pellucid.

So for those of you who aren't familiar with The Sound & the Echoes, here's the synopsis:
 
Imagine that everyone around you has a mirror image living somewhere else. Your world is like a sound, which produced that other world of echoes. And in this land men are governed by a terrible law--every Echo has to die, if his Sound dies.

One Sound especially must die. The Prince's Sound. The Fate Sealers and Fortune Tellers will make sure of that! Because after this Sound dies, the Echo Prince will have to die too. Now, twelve-year-old Will Cleary is about to discover that he is the Sound the Echoes are hunting.


And so begins his perilous adventure into a see-through, sparkling world, filled with spying crystal balls, an eerie fortress of castaway children, a hunt for clues in an ancient book of riddles, and a last-chance escape through a frozen gem-studded lake into a secret land that holds the key to placing the Prince on the throne and returning freedom to the Echoes.

 

**If you missed my review of The Sound & the Echoes click here to check it out!**

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Interview with Dew Pellucid 

 Lunar Rainbows: Firstly I have to say I thought the world building for the Echo Realm was so unique and whimsical! How on earth did you come up with such a magical idea of a translucent shimmering echo realm set in a winter-like environment where every 'sounds' ghostly double exists ?
 
Dew: It all began with a philosophical idea, actually. I was thinking of Plato’s Realm of the Forms, the place where the perfect essence of all things exists. Well, I thought, if I created an Echo realm, an imperfect copy of our world (the way Plato thought our existence was an imperfect reflection of the Realm of the Forms), then what would that place look like? See-through, maybe… Cold, icy, far removed from the sun above-ground. And so it all began.
Then, there were also the memories of my teenage years spent in Montreal, Canada. I’ll never forget the sparkling beauty of my first ice storm, which crystallized the city.
 
    (*LR-As a Canadian myself -(New-Brunswick east of Montréal) I've always thought snow storms, and indeed ice storms have always felt whimsical and enchanting...that's probably why the Echo Realm was particularly attractive to me!)

 
LR: What about all the innovative magical items and settings (i.e. the Crystillery, the cold fire mushrooms, the lake of eternal ice...even the abundance of crystal balls felt fresh and original) What inspired you to create them and establish how they worked?

Dew: The Crystillery was an early idea. I wanted an object that could bring memories to life. As the story progressed, the Crystillery became the symbol of individuality and the right of every Echo (and Sound) to his own life.

 
The crystal balls became the symbols of a culture in which men turn to superstition above reason. Why do they do that? Well, in a world where Fortune Tellers can come knocking on your door, ready to execute you at any moment just because a stranger (your Sound) dies… well, in that world, people start to wish fervently for good luck. “Oh, please, let Fortune be kind and spare the ones I love.” So the Echoes worship the moon, which looks like a giant crystal ball, and they have crystal balls everywhere. What a fun building block the crystal balls became in the creation of “The Sound and the Echoes”!

As for the Lake of Eternal Ice… Ah! This one is unique. I don’t know when it all started, but somehow I had an idea in my head of this glistening, eerie frozen lake with gems trapped under the ice. “Where did the stones come from?” I finally had to ask (half-way through building the story). I was walking in the park when it came to me. Crystillery stones! From there the story of the Echoes became more complex. Fluid Conway was born, and so was the revolt against the “Law of Death”.


LR: What struck me while reading the Sound & the Echoes was how believable and realistic the characters were amidst such a magical setting that was the Echo realm. Especially the friendship between Will & Peter...how fun were those scenes to write? Was that friendship based on a real friendship you shared with someone?

Dew: Will and Peter became my children and best friends. I gave birth to them, but when I spent time with them, I was a kid again too. I think they are realistic because they are real to me. And yes, writing the scenes was a ball. I frequently cracked myself up (well, Will or Peter did). It’s always been hardest for me to write comic relief, but it’s always the part that surprises and entertains me most.

LR: According to the acknowledgements at the end of The Sound and The Echoes, it says that In a period of four years, The Sound and the Echoes was rejected by over 180 literary agents. ...which is completely mind boggling to me, especially after having read and enjoyed it. Did you ever get discouraged? Do you have any words for other hopeful authors who might experience the same sort of road-blocks as you did?

Dew: Still a painful subject, I’m afraid. Yes, it was hard (still is), but I never learned so much about world-building and writing as I did with this novel. My creative intellect leaped forward. And it all happened because I knew how excruciatingly hard it would be to get accepted by a literary agent, and I wasn’t giving up!


Then, an odd thing happened on my way to success. Agents still rejected the book, but I knew that I achieved something special. A book worthy of being shared with others. I still knew there were some hiccups here and there (though I couldn’t really see them any more after 6 years of writing). But overall, I didn’t want to bury the Echo realm in a dark drawer.
So I self-published, and my greatest joy now is hearing from readers like you, Micheline.


To other authors facing the same challenge, I always say: read Berton Braley’s poem: Success (http://bertonbraley.com). And remember that the last line of the poem may come in unexpected ways.

LR: How does your creative process work? Can you write anywhere or do you need a special place/time or setting to really settle down and be productive? Or can you just write anywhere you happen to be?

Dew: When I wrote full-time, I worked from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (eating lunch at my desk). For inspiration I read children’s literature with breakfast. Then I went to my room and thought, structured the story, then wrote. I would listen to different music depending on the task at hand. Yes, I can write anywhere, so long as no one talks to me. But I prefer my office, with my white boards or story wall charts. And always, the atmosphere around me needs to be such that I can disconnect from this world to find my way to the Echo realm.

It reminds me of a scene in a movie about J.M. Barrie (the author of Peter Pan). The writer would open a door in his drab home, but instead of a room… there before him materialized a sunny beach rimmed by a sapphire sea, and distant laughing voices would dare him to cross the threshold into imagination.

LR:  'Dew Pellucid' is a male character in ''The Sound & the Echoes'', but he is also your assumed pen-name while you are in fact a woman, is that correct? How did that come about? Do you give interviews as Dew or as yourself? Or is it more of a mix of both and does it ever get confusing?

 
Dew: I love the confusion I’ve created. Yes, I’m a woman, a boring author that sits in an office all day and writes. But Dew Pellucid, well… he is an ancient Echo, with secrets from another realm and a fanatical love of books. I’d love to be him, and in a way I am him every time I write an interview in his name.

With this fun interview, I’m me, however, because your questions seemed to speak to the creator of “The Sound and the Echoes”, not merely the man who tells the story.

And how did my pen name persona come about? Well, that’s a long story I’ll reserve for another day (a little of Dew just crept into the conversation, I’m afraid).
 
    (*LR-I was hoping Dew would make an appearance :)  He's such an intriguing character and I look forward to knowing more about his story as well!)
 
LR: Are there any lesser known facts about you that you'd like to share with your readers? :)

Dew: here’s a surreal one. My fifteen minutes of fame came when I was 20 years-old. I was a contestant in Israel’s national beauty contest, and I even won a title. And since I spent way too much time worrying about how I look in those days, I touched on the insignificance of outward appearances in “The Sound and the Echoes”.

Here’s a snippet from the novel:

“But I’m the smallest kid in class,” said Will reluctantly. “I look like a scarecrow. Which means my Echo looks like a scarecrow, right? So how can he be a Prince?”

“Nevertheless,” said Drinkwater, turning the ice-blue coin to show Will the engraving of the crowned boy’s head. “This may be the Prince’s distant ancestor, but the Cleary family resemblance is striking… the untamed hair, the thin features… But what you look like and how great you are rarely go hand in hand. Otherwise, we’d have no trouble judging good men from bad, now would we?”

 Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll visit the Echo realm (http://TheSoundAndTheEchoes.com) soon!

Thank YOU so much Dew for agreeing to do this interview & giveaway! I look forward to more people visiting the Echo Realm!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Giveaway!

 The author has generously offered 3 e-copies of The Sound & the Echoes for giveaway 
(for Kindle, e-pub or Mobi)
Open Internationally
Giveaway ends November 23rd 2012
Use Rafflecopter below to enter 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers get together and spotlight what upcoming release we're most excited about!

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Elemental 

Release Date: November 21st, 2012
Author: Anthony John

A lost colony is reborn in this heart-pounding fantasy adventure set in the near future . . .

Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’ world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.



I am a HUGE fan of elemental magic so I was instantly attracted to this as soon as I started reading the synopsis.  Then I got to the bit about Pirates...Pirates!!! I love Pirates...so there's just no way I'm passing up a chance to check out this book. So far the reviews I've read have been between the 3 and 4 stars so I'm hopeful I'll enjoy this.


What are YOU waiting on this week?  Link me up below!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday (6)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!


This week's Top 10 theme is: Top Ten Books  I'd Want On A Deserted Island.  I really like this question because I've often talked about this myself!  This list is going to have some pretty obvious standard favorites of mine ;) ...so fair warning!

1. Harry Potter- No explanation needed but there is the issue that it is a series of 7 books.  I'd like to believe that I would have the boxed set with me and for the purposes of this list it will count as one book...otherwise my top 7 books are each book in the series.  Please don't make me choose just one!!!

2.The Lord of the Rings - Again no explanation needed & I'm also kind of cheating again by counting one single huge volume of LotR (+ The Hobbit).  This series has always felt like one single story to me; much like the Harry Potter series.  I'm thinking some Tolkien inspiration would be much needed on a deserted island.

3. Warriors - Total wilderness story line throughout this series, taking you on adventures with a clan of wild cats!  How perfect is that to start getting better acquainted with nature on a deserted island?!  And if I didn't have my 3 cats with me on this deserted island I'd be in desperate need of some feline connection.

4. Mistborn-  I would never ever want to forget Vin's A-MAZING transformation from poor abused slave to full-fledged Mistborn ♥ The magical system that this world operates on is SO unique and just plain cool!  I can see myself reading this one again and again, which is perfect because I'd have plenty of time :) One of my favorite reads of 2012, this is a must have for me!

5. The Hunger Games -  I'm thinking the boxed-set again...  I kinda see the Hunger Games as a must-have survival tool. What Would Katniss Do?  Hmmm let's read a bit and see...

6.  The Twilight Saga -  Like I'd ever survive a day knowing I didn't have Edward with me ;) Too bad I can't have the real thing with me ...or the actor portraying him.

7. The Little PrinceThis would be something different to have that is both enchanting and makes you think.  Whatever would stimulate the imagination would surely be welcome!

8.  Daughter of Smoke & Bone - ..Speaking of stimulating the imagination.  The world Laini Taylor has created is overflowing with creative!  If you're ever bored with island life, DoS&B would be a sweet release.  Another favorite of mine from 2012, I'd be really sad if this one didn't make it with me.  Akiva sweetens the deal too ♥

9. Liesl & Po - This sweet and whimsical modern fairytale I picture being SO comforting on those lonely nights or on a rainy day.  It would warm my heart and soul right to the very core.

10.   The Covenant Series-  Ok ok, so I've only read the first book Half-Blood (click for my review) but I can honestly say I'm hooked.  I'm dying to spend more time in this world and these books are pretty thin so all together they'd pass as one...right?  Anyways I'm kind of already addicted to Aiden...yum.

What about you, what did you pick?  Did you cheat as badly as I did?  Let me know in the comments below & don't forget to leave a link to your Top 10 :)

New followers: let me know so I can follow you back!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review: Half-Blood

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Covenant #1
Published October 18th 2011 by Spencer Hill Press

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals--well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.
Sometimes, there are those books you just know you'll love even before you start reading it. I like to think of it as a reader's sixth-sense, you can almost feel the connection even before you crack open the pages. I felt like this when I first got my copy of Half-Blood and I am thrilled to say that I was not wrong. In fact, I was surprised that I enjoyed this even more than I thought I would. Half-Blood easily kept my interest throughout, it was exciting, touching, fun & intense. Even the slower bits held me completely absorbed and honestly, for a first book in a series and not an overall big book; I'm delighted with how much I'm already invested in this story, in these characters & in this world.

The Hematoi are essentially descendants of the Greek gods and regular humans. If someone has two Hematoi parents, they are considered 'Pures' and are at the very top of the social caste. Not only that, they have kick-ass powers like controlling an element or super strength. Someone with only one Hematoi parent and a 'regular' parent are know as 'Half-Bloods' and they are also pretty awesome BUT they are considered as inferior to Pures. A Half-Blood can either choose a life of fighting Daemons; ( who, by the way are freaky beings things that are kind of a mix between zombies & vampires who feed off the aether in the Hematoi's blood.) or be forced into the servitude of a Pure family. Alexandria or Alex, our main protagonist is a Half-Blood and her absolute worst nightmare is being forced into a life of servitude. But she's walking a very thin line at the Covenant; a school for Hematoi (usually Halfs) where they teach them kill daemons..and other cool stuff. You see, Alex has a bit of an issue with rules...one of them being that Halfs are strictly forbidden from being in a relationship with a Pure. Aiden is freaking awesome a Pure. He also happens to have an undeniable effect on Alex, one that's hard to ignore. What's far worst though are those daemons...who seem to be getting bolder with each passing day.

The plot of Half-Blood is obviously not short on excitement and the action scenes themselves were INTENSE. JLA knows how to keep you at the edge of your seat biting your fingernails! Where I really felt the author shined was the romantic bits & the relationships (friendships and romantic). I found myself really caring for all the characters that were involved with Alex. And Alex on her own is seriously awesome. I just loved her, she's brave, edgy, strong but she's not afraid to show her vulnerabilities. It wasn't one of those cases where I identified with her personally (except maybe how she's kind of a smart-ass haha) but I could really empathize with her while admiring her strength.

And Aiden...oh man. Aiden is SO swoon-worthy to me...my mind can hardly grasp it. Where have you been Aiden? He's the tall, dark and delicious type that's strong and a little intimidating at first; especially the coach/trainer element that's mixed in there. And metallic eyes? Look, I don't know what it is with me a fawning over guys with any kind of metallic eyes. All I know is that I love them and they make me weak in the knees a little and Aiden is no exception. I felt like the romantic bits developed naturally so you really get to savour the good stuff; It was like literary foreplay. Every moment was beautiful & full of meaning, simply delicious. I can see a love triangle developing in future books, and while that element has been overused recently in ya in general, I can still get into a GOOD love-triangle if there is a good reason for it AND it feels fresh. I have a feeling that this one is going to be a really good one guys!

Pretty much everything worked for me in this book: the world building was believable and felt effortless, the pacing never got sluggish over boring, and it finishes off with the perfect amount of unanswered questions: there is a clear conclusion of this story but also plenty of intrigue left over to have you pining for the next book. The romance does play a major role in the plot though, and I can see that being a turnoff for some readers. And while I didn't find Half-Blood was a particularly big book, it engaging through and through. This was my first experience with author Jennifer L. Armentrout but it most definitely will not be my last.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews showcasing new books we've either received or bought this past week.

This week was more of a normal sized haul for me.  Not that I'm not jumping up and down excited at what books I did manage to get :)

Here's what was waiting in my mailbox for me:




It's here!!  It's finally HERE!!!  Laini Taylor's eagerly awaited sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone (one of my top 3 books of 2012) is finally in my house, I touched it with my hands guys!! Days of Blood & Starlight ♥   It's kind of making me want to haul up and read the whole freaking thing in one sitting...but I have to exercise some control...I am. I'm in complete control.  I'm cool. ...for now...
*ahem*
I also got a hold on Daimon, the prequel to Half-Blood, which I am currently reading.  I got the feeling that when I finished Half-Blood I'd want to have another read from The Covenant series handy in case I get withdrawals :)

And this is my Netgalley treat of the week:

I'm not going to lie: the fact that this story takes place in Prague AND deals with magic pretty much made it a no-brainer for me to request.  If that wasn't enough, the synopsis speaks of alchemist, astronomers, portals to hell and...tantric sex in a public fountain?!So yeah, to say I'm curious to see how this will all mesh together would be an understatement.

That's all for me, what pretties did YOU get your hands on this week? Link me!  
Let me know if you're a new follower :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers get together and spotlight what upcoming release we're most excited about!

This is the third week I've cheated *gasp* and featured a book released on the day or the day before my post goes out.  I promise it's the last time I'll be so bad haha...and my next post will be an upcoming release :)

The Faerie Guardian (Creepy Hollow #1) 

Release Date: November 5th 2012
Author: Rachel Morgan 

 Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamour follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home & make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, & inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—& it’ll take all her training to get out alive.


This is an example of a book that I would be drawn to for the cover alone!  I mean, just  look at it! SO pretty!  The synopsis only made me want to check it out even more:  I really love faeries...the sweet kind as well as the edgy kind.  It seems that The Faerie Guardian features the more edgy variety and I like the sound of that.  There are not a whole lot of reviews on it, so it's making me a little bit hesitant but I'd still like to check it out...I mean look at the pretty!!

 So...what are you waiting on this week?  Link me up below!  (don`t forget to mention if you`re a new follower.)

Top 10 Tuesdays (5)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!


This week's Top 10 theme is: Top Ten Tuesday Freebie! So this week we get to pick our theme.  Since last week was about the ladies, I decided to balance things out and go with Top 10 Crush-Worthy Boys of All Time.

1. Edward Cullen - The Twilight Saga.  Edward was my very first fictional obsession as an adult and I have never, ever gotten over him.  Vampires are sexy.  Tortured souls are sexy.  Protective 'mate-for-life' men are sexy.  Edward Cullen is SEXY.  Robert Pattinson definitely helped along my crush...especially reading the books while picturing HIM as Edward...with those golden eyes... *sigh*. Uhm...yeah... he can stalk me any day!

2. Jericho Barrons -The Fever Series. I'll admit that while I was attracted to him physically right away (talk dark and bad is SO my type) I didn't fall for him entirely...at first.  He could be such a dick douche.  But his raw animal magnetism got to me eventually.  I dreamed of him as I was reading the series and I even re-read some of the hotter parts of Dreamfever & Shadowfever a few times over...

3. Akiva - Daughter of Smoke & Bone.  A guy as devoted as Akiva is sexy, period.  The trials he endured and the effect it all had on him only heightens his appeal.  Add dark hair and intense eyes that are also amber O.O ... and we have a winner in my book any day! Yum.

4. Ky Markham -The Matched Trilogy.  Ky is so the type of guy I'd fall for by his psychical appearance alone. (dark hair...I'm so predictable.)   But what really got me was hs way with words, his attentiveness and his quiet pride.  Plus he has a nice touch of destiny about him that he's not sure he can fulfill....*blinks* where was I?

5.  Peeta Mellark - The Hunger Games Trilogy.  I'll admit at first Ihad a hard time choosing what team I was on; both Peeta & Gale are awesome boys.  By halfway in though I realized I'd chosen Peeta and never went back.  Peeta is just so devoted and funny and so freakin' sweet!  He's adorable and I won't deny it- Team Peeta!

6. Harry Potter - The Harry Potter Series.  What kind of a book lover would I be if I didn't mention Harry Potter.  I prefer the book version because you get to go inside his thoughts & feelings but I do love Daniel Radcliffe's portrayal as well.  Harry brave, selfless and strong; he's is my ultimate hero, and how can you not have a character like that?  ♥

7. Jace Wayland - The Mortal Instruments Series.  While I had my ups and downs with the series as a whole, and even though I didn't crush on him right away; Jace Wayland belongs on this list.  The moment he and Clary kissed, that was it.  Oh my does dreaming about kissing Jace get me hot and bothered!  Especially when you picture Jace as Alex Pettyfer. Yeah.

8. Aragorn - The Lord of the Rings. So. freaking. sexy.  In the books as well as in the movies, I fell for Aragorn, hard.  He's another classic hero figure who's devoted and brave to the very core.

9. Jared Howe - The Host.  It has recently come to my attention that I am in the minority here, most fans of The Host appear to be team Ian O'Shea.  I guess I kind of like jerks sometimes (who doesn't like a bad boy?) because for me, it was always Jared.  He's a rebellious and intense I'm a sucker for intensity.   Ian was pretty awesome too though, that's what made The Host so good!

10. Four/Tobias- The Divergent Series.  I'd never leave out Four, he's just too appealing to forget!  What I wouldn't give for a nice one on one training session...ahem!  Anyways...you guys know ;)

Special Mentions: I almost added Jacob Jankowski (Water for Elephants) but since it included Robert Pattinson again, I figured it was kind of cheating ;)  Zuko was another finalist but since he's from a cartoon series (Avatar: The Last Airbender) he got left out.   And since I just started reading the Covenant Series, I didn't think it was fair to add Aiden just yet...gotta save some for another TTT!

 What Top Ten did you do this week?  Link me up below so I can go check yours out and don't forget to let me know if you're a new follower!