Sunday, May 26, 2013

Obsessing On...*3* - Britain

 'Obsessing On...' is a Lunar Rainbows' original feature.  Every month I pay homage to a different thing that brings out my inner-geek to the max!  It can be from books, televisions, movies or whatever other kind of media - if it makes me fan-girl hardcore, it'll end up here.

In this edition, I profess my unnatural and probably unhealthy love for all the British things!!

British Flag
I've come to realize over the past few years, that Britain Rocks.  Is there anything sexier than a British accent?  No, there is not.  Plus these people love to drink tea AND it rains there...a lot!  I can't think of a place I'd rather snuggle up with a nice cup of tea and a good book!  Add that to all the magic that seems to sprout out around there, the awesome bands and amazing actors that hail from the U.K and you have yourself a party!  That's not even starting on all the touristic places I'm like, dying to see first hand!  Eeeek, ok so let's get started here will all the fan-girling:

** Epic British Writers; J.K. Rowling, J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Frances, Hodgeson Burnett, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens,  Jane Austen, Agatha Christie...

**Enchanted Book Worlds Located (or Hidden) in England: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, The Secret Garden, Narnia...

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogwarts ~ The Tenth Doctor & his TARDIS ~ Sherlock (The Series)

Narnia                       ~                   Underland

**British Musicians or Bands that ROCK: Muse, Radiohead, The Beatles - especially Lennon ♥, Coldplay (yeah! I like Coldplay! *puts hands on hip & arms self with best mean face), Mumford & Sons, Oasis, Queen, The Rolling Stones & Elton John - to name a few!

**English Actors that bring it: Christian Bale (the Dark Knight), Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Ian McKellan, Helena Bonham-Carter, Benedict Cumberbatch, Henry Cavill (Man of Steel)...Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, David Thewlis - oh hell, pretty much the entire Harry Potter film cast, there! - Martin Freeman, Judy Dench, Kate Winslet, Micheal Cane, Christopher Lee, Anthony Hopkins...*splutter* *gasp*

                  Christian Bale               Tom Hardy               Gary Oldman             Ian McKellen       Helena Bonham-Carter

**Especially dreamy & drool-worthy British Actors -  Christian Bale, Tom Hardy Henry Cavill, Robert Pattinson, Orlando Bloom...YUM.
British Love
**I am certainly not forgetting the actual real-world sites there are to see in London : The London Eye, Stonehenge, Big Ben, The Tower Bridge, Natural History Museum, Westminster Abbey, BBC Studio...and then all the Harry Potter related sites like the Harry Potter Studio, King's Cross Station and those Red Telephone Boxes!!

 Rainbow London Eye          ~          Tower Bridge at Dusk

oops *ahem* what's that TARDIS doing here?!

The only question remaining is: when can I move to the U.K. ?!
Do you guys share my love for all the British Things?!
Did I miss anyone/anything/anyplace important? Let me know below!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *33*

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly 'hump-day' feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where us book bloggers get together & spotlight an upcoming release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick for this week:

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search Part 2 

Release Date: July 23rd, 2013

Author: Gene Luen Yang

In search of their long-lost mother, Fire Lord Zuko and his deadly and insane sister, Azula, have brought Avatar Aang and his friends into a mysterious forest... but what they discover within may be more than they can face. Will they, too, be lost in these woods forever? Written and drawn by the creative team behind the best-selling Avatar: The Promise, Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru, in collaboration with Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, this is the ultimate continuation of Avatar and the perfect companion to Legend of Korra!

I wanted to switch things up this week, and what better way than with an exciting Manga release!  The Search - Part Two, follows Zuko, Aang and the gang as they continue their search for Zuko's mysteriously absent mother.   I absolutely loved the previous Avatar Manga Trilogy The Promise BUT I also found the cliffhangers at the end of each book to be absolute torture so again, I'll be waiting till all 3 books in The Search trilogy are out before jumping in!!  I can guarantee that once book 3 comes out at the end of October that I will devour all three - probably in one sitting :D

Thoughts?? Any fellow Avatar fans?
Let me know in the comments below & don't forget to link me up!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *32*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly 'hump-day' feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where us book bloggers get together & spotlight an upcoming release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick for this week:

Winter Queen 

Release Date: June 19th 2013

Author: Amber Argyle

~Becoming a winter queen will make Ilyenna as cold and cruel and deadly as winter itself, but it might be the only way to save her people from a war they have no hope of winning.~

Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family.

Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation.

With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.
I'm not even going to start on that breathtaking cover and all the EPIC-ness it displays...not even going to comment on the sweet colours or anything like that. Nope, I'm not even going there XD  ...because what really has me drooling here is:  Fairies & those mysterious Winter Queens!!!  The Fay are among my absolute favorite things to read about and I'm especially jazzed about the Winter Fairies and how their described as 'a force of nature'.  The war that seems to be brewing among fairies of all kinds here sounds really intriguing too, I can't wait to see Ilyenna handles everything!!

Thoughts? What are you waiting on??
Link me up :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

ARC Review: School Spirits

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
(School Spirits #1)
Published May 14 2013 by Disney Hyperion

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?
**An ARC was provided by Disney Hyperion via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review**

School Spirits is a spin-off Series of the popular Hex Hall Series, but this is something I only learned after I requested a copy of School Spirits.  The Hex Hall Series is on my reading list & wishlist but since I have yet to read them and I was worried I may be a bit lost jumping into an pre-existing fantasy world.  Soon enough though, I felt completely immersed in this new-to-me world, and if there were any references or allusions to Hex Hall, missing them didn't seem to affect my overall enjoyment of this book.  If anyways, reading School Spirits has me even more eager to check out all the Hex Hall goodness that I've apparently been missing!

Izzy Brannick is descendant from a long line of Brannick women trained to fight or take of anything paranormal.  She and her sister had been a pretty kick-butt team until her sister vanished on the job one night.  Feeling it might be time for a change of pace, and scenery - Izzy's mother moves them to a small community in the middle of nowhere and enrolls her daughter in a normal high-school.  It soon becomes pretty obvious that this high school is far from normal - in fact, it's haunted!  Izzy is hell-bent on solving this mystery on her own but soon it becomes clear, this is no regular haunting...

I love a book that can make me laugh!  A few giggles here and there is memorable enough but when I burst out laughing - more than once, it's such a treat.  Anytime a book can make me laugh, I feel like awarding an extra star to it's rating!  School Spirits made me both giggle and laugh out loud while being sick with a cold!  How great is that?!  I was very quickly captivated by the story, the world and the characters that live in it.  The fact that I more or less read this book in one sitting means it not only was quick and easy to read, but that I was enjoying myself immensely while reading it!

Izzy felt different from any other teen female MC I've encountered. Because she'd never attended any kind of 'regular' school, her experiences with other kids were limited, especially normal kids!  Seeing her try to adapt to something so foreign to her was both humorous and endearing.  And I loved how she rented bad YA television drama series' to help her adjust and ended up relating real life to the silly situations those shows always play up.  As a life-long monster-hunter, she's obviously very brave and adaptable too but she was also very independent and always kept her head on her shoulders.

One of my favorite things about School Spirits were the 'normal' friends she makes at her new school: Dex, Romy and Anderson.  Clearly outcasts as school because of their choice in extra-curricular activities, I appreciated that Izzy had  no problem befriending them, and though they weren't supposed to be cool, I found them to be just that.  They were all different in their own respect but they were all just so sweet and funny!  I've rarely felt so strongly about the hero's friends but this was a solid bunch of characters all around for me.

School Spirits is a bit tame and 'young', as all Disney reads tend be so don't go in expecting anything super scary and suspenseful.  Some of the haunting bits were pretty creepy though I'm not exactly famous for my nerves of steel O.O  The big finale was a bit on underwhelming side, though not because it was all that predictable or anything - more because it just sort of fizzled instead of going out with a bang.  All things considered School Spits was an engaging and enjoyable read and I'm anxious to see where the series will go from here.  I've also decided that I need to read the Hex Hall series - like yesterday!
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Cinder

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
by Marissa Meyer

Published January 3rd, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
I'll admit to being fairly skeptical, though admittedly intrigued about Cinder when it first came out.  Cinderella had always been my absolute favorite fairytale growing up - my mom used to read me the book when I was little and after that I'd just adored the Disney animated this story was very much engrained in me as I'm sure it was for so many other readers.  I know I'm not the only one who was a little bit hesitant of the thought of a beloved classic fairytale character being... a cyborg!  But, considering my recent love affair with all things sci-fi (thank you Doctor Who), I decided it was high time I bow down to peer pressure and see how me and Cinder would hit it off.  I am happy to say that you were ALL right about this book!  So if anyone out there is still on the fence about Cinder, I recommend picking it up right now - you won't regret it!

The story takes place in an Eastern setting on a futuristic planet Earth - which reminded me of Sailor Moon (Eeek)!!  In this story though, cyborgs are well integrated into society, even though they are seen and treated as 'less-than human'.  Cinder is clearly the outcast in her adoptive family but not because she's adopted.  No, it's because Cinder is a cyborg.  It's not all bad though because being a cyborg has it's benefits, chiefly her uncanny ability to fix things, earning her a reputation as the best mechanic in New Beijing!  It is that reputation that attracts the charming Prince Kai into her shop one day needing an android fixed in a hurry.  While he tries to downplay it's importance, Cinder sees the urgency in his eyes and vows to get it done in a hurry - which would be simple enough for Cinder, but soon she'll have a lot more to worry about:  the Plague that has been devastating Earth for over a decade strikes Cinder's younger (and beloved) sister. Fear of losing her youngest daughter makes Cinder's stepmother make a horrible choice, threatening to end Cinder's life as she knows it...

Cinder the first book in the Lunar Chronicles and it's is a bit tough to characterize - On the one hand, it's clearly sci-fi with the cyborgs, androids and even Lunar people.  On the other hand, the plague Earth is dealing with gives the book a dystopian quality as well, even though it's only been going on for ten years.  On top of all that it is obviously a fairytale retelling!  You wouldn't think it would mesh so convincingly together but author Marissa Meyer does it flawlessly.   I found myself quickly engrossed in the story and wanting to know more, because even though it is a retelling...and you can sort of guess the overall direction of some events, the story still manages to ooze originality and the futuristic modern take on the MC makes even the parts you're expecting seem fresh.  Big props to Miss Meyer for that remarkable feat! 

Cinder herself is very relatable despite her foreign surroundings and I found myself taking to her quickly.  She is far from a damsel in distress even her home situation does indeed cause her some distress.  She's independent, level-headed and she doesn't spend the book running after her Prince Charming.  She has a quiet honor and fire that really tugged at my heartstrings and made her feel very real to me.  Dr Erland, Iko & Peony were all memorable and endearing secondary characters but none was more memorable than Prince Kai himself.  Charming in all kinds of ways, this guy was a really welcomed take on your typical prince.  Cinder also has it's fair share of villains, in all varieties: from the selfish adoptive mother, a bully of an older sister...even an evil Queen!  All of this combined more than enough to hold my interest throughout, AND leave me eager to start Scarlet! 

Cinder did very much feel like a first book in a series to me though, not because of excessive world building but more due to the fact that we're only being introduced to everything - and everyone.  I wanted to go deeper into the world, Cinder's past and well, everything else!  The ending made it clear though that the story is just beginning and I have a feeling the best is yet to come.  I'd recommend Cinder to anyone and everyone, even readers not usually into sci-fi, or even dystopians - if you loved Cinderella and other fairytales as a child and are willing to try out a story with a unique premise and modern characters, then Cinder is a must-read!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars ★★★★✩

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *31*

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly 'hump-day' feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where us book bloggers get together & spotlight an upcoming release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick for this week:

Far Far Away 

Release Date: June 11th 2013

Author: Tom McNeal

It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. . .
As soon as I saw the connection with the Brothers Grimm, I added this one to my TBR list!  And I   love a good ghost/paranormal read, especially one set in a small isolated village...which may be why this gives off an almost nostalgic feel, even though I'm sure it's set in the current time-period.  The synopsis gives off a super mysterious &dark feel to it so all things considered, this one sounds like a lot of fun :)

Thoughts??  What are you waiting on??
Link me up in the comments!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Stacking the Shelves *24* - I'm back!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews showcasing new books we've gotten a hold of (bought/given/gifted/trade/for review).

Alright, so I've been not so mysteriously absent from StS since mid-March, the reason being that I am on a deadly book-buying ban! Yep o.O  Since I'm going to BEA at the end of the month (Eeep!) AND since I already have so many new unread books... it needed to be done.  And, I'm much too lazy to do up a post for a few Netgalley approvals a week LOL!  Anyways, this is a pretty sweet haul since I got some epic physical copies thanks to the lovely Giselle @ Xpresso Reads - who's bookshelves were quite overpopulated.  Lucky for me, she wanted to make more room and offered me some of the spoils:

*Physical Copies*

The Preciousssss...*cough* I love you Giselle!!
And I've also managed to get a few ARC's via Netgalley in the past bit:

**A BIG thanks to Disney Book Group, Flux Books, Harlequin UK, Entangled Publishing & Diamond Book Distributors for the copies via Netgalley!!**

SO what do you think?  And what did YOU get this week?
Link me up!! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Magical Me *2* - Elementals

 Magical Me is a new Lunar Rainbows feature I've launched!  Each month, I will feature a cool magical element from books- be it magical systems, spells, magical items, enchanted worlds...
 I thought it would be fun to discuss & share the magic :)  If anyone would like to join, you're welcome to whip up a post - all I ask is that you link back to me in some way - I've added a linky-link to the bottom if anyone's interested.

For this edition, I chose to spotlight - Elementals or Elemental Magic: Magic that works specifically with the 4 basic elements: Earth, Water, Fire & Air.
The Four Elements Together
I've always been fascinated with the ability to control, animate or work with the elements.  Not only does it seem dead useful AND awesome but I've always really gotten into learning about the properties and attributes of each element and how each one has it's pros and cons. (nerd alert!) Generally speaking, the 4 elements are Water, Earth, Fire & Air; some different sources list  'Spirit' or 'Aether' as a mysterious 5th element but we'll get into that in a bit...

So usually, wizards, benders or other magical beings would have the ability to manipulate/or have a particular affinity towards either one of the four elements -or- sometimes with all four simultaneously.  In some cases, the mere fact that one has magical abilities would mean wielding power over the elements (e.i. spells). Other times, it is a power exclusive to elementals and must be practiced extensively before one is able to work or 'bend' the element(s).


The Elements & their usual properties:

Water : Extremely versatile offering both offensive & defensive options this element often includes healing abilities (♥). Water is the element of change and this ability includes not just water, like the tides, oceans & rivers but ice, snow and fog- wicked right?!  Water experts: Katara, Kora, Poseidon, Percy Jackson, Aquaman, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Neptune
Spells: Aguamenti spell in the Harry Potter books & films

Earth : Being equally offensive & defensive (major plus!) gives Earth magic strong neutral tendencies. Users are usually good at standing their ground. This ability includes controlling earth, rocks, plants, trees...sometimes even metal!  It is the element of strength.
A Few Earth pros: Thor, Hades, Pluto, Nico De Angelo, Toph, King Bumi, Bolin, Lin Beifong

Fire : The element of power, energy & passion, it is mostly offensive, even aggressive and is often seen as the evil element.
To me, being able to create and control fire seems brilliant and really alluring- you can't ignore fire that's for sure!
Famous Fire-Starters:  Zuko, Iroh, Azula, Ozai, Mako from Avatar & Kora, Mario & Luigi (hihih), Sailor Mars, Hephaestus...
Spells: Incendio spell in the Harry Potter books & movies.

Air : Being able to control & affect air/wind currents - most times, this includes the ability to fly which I must admit is a major selling point for me!  Whoever controls the skies is usually in a pretty sweet position battle-wise.  Air is the element of freedom, speed, agility & evasion- mostly defensive it`s considered lacking in offensive battle or finishing moves.    
Air gurus: Aang, Tenzin, Korra, Storm (X-Men), Thor, Jupiter...

Element Symbols w. Spirit inclusion
Spirit or Aether - Spirit is ability to communicate with the spirits or enter the spirit world/realm.  Past and Present Avatars have this ability. Aether is said to consist of all the materials that exist above the like outer-space stuff or heavenly stuff.  Usually though, it was thought to be 'where the Gods 'lived' so in the context of our magical discussion both Spirit & Aether will be considered the same thing. **Some sources list the 5th element as metal, separating it from the earth element entirely.

SO with all that being said, which element would you pick to manipulate or bend if you could only pick one?  Personally I've always felt especially drawn to Water magic.  Being a Pisces, I tend to be attracted to all kinds of water, be it for drinking, swimming in, looking at and even listening to... I'm also very much in love with fog, rainy days and being snowed or iced in :D  I LOVE that elemental Water magic allows to manipulate water in all it's forms!  But then...the other side of me gets all captivated with Fire's so dramatic & fierce (Zuko ♥).  Getting to know Avatar Aang in the original Avatar Series made me appreciate and admire Air Bending, cause well...they can FLY guys - flying is COOL!   I tend to be less instantly attracted to Earth Magic even though it's probably the most useful one... I don't know, dirt and rocks seem less awesome...until I get thinking on like plants & metals and all that fun stuff!  So bottom line, I guess I'd want to be an Avatar >.<  or someone who could magic ALL the elements.  What about you guys?
Elemental Magic
 Finally,  does anyone have any suggestions for awesome elemental magical reads??  Personally I am a HUGE fan of Avatar the Last AirbenderThe Legend of Korra animated series.  I think my current re-watching of the series probably inspired this Magical Me post.  I'm also in the midst of the Covenant Series by JLA (which I am loving!!) AND the Apollyon is like this chosen epic person who possesses the ability to manipulate all four elements so between those stories, I am elementally obsessed right now!!  Oh and I own book 1 in the Elemental Series (Storm) and the series title itself promises Elemental goodness!  I've also heard there is some elemental magic in the Vampire Academy series...I do own a few books in that series and plan to get into it soon but I may be wrong on the elemental VA fans, let me know :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *30*

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly  hump-day  feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where us book bloggers get together & spotlight an upcoming release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick for this week:


Release Date: June 11th 2013

Author: Eve Silver

So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?
When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

I'm really hoping this cool cover will deliver the goods on the inside too!  I'm really getting into a lot of Sci-Fi lately (thank you Doctor Who) so I'm really pumped for Rush!  'The Game' aspect they refer to sounds trippy, even though it may not be a game after all...I'm also curious about those deadly & beautiful aliens!  So yeah, I'm hoping to get the 'Rush' promised here :)

What do you think of Rush?  And what was your pick this week?
Link me up below!