Thursday, August 29, 2013

Harry Potter MotW #7

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

 Favorite Teacher

I think this one might be obvious on my part, considering all the love he got during last week's post but my favorite teacher has got to be:

 Remus Lupin

Not only do we share a birthday (it's true - eeep!) but he is easily the best DADA teacher Hogwarts has ever known!  I adored his approach to teaching, his knowledge and his humor - especially considering how tragic his life is :*(  Specifically, his hand in Harry's education and general well-being brings so many feels I can hardly stand it.  Oh and isn't it too cool that a Marauder ended up teaching at Hogwarts?! :D

Remus Lupin - March 10th 1960-May 2nd 1998.  Werewolf, Marauder, Teacher, Hero.

And, since it's usually my style to always give more than one answer, I couldn't resist giving a shout out to another brilliant teacher:

Albus Dumbledore

I still remember reading the first books in the series and already hoping that Dumbledore would eventually either teach the students an advanced class, or even just Harry.  Anything!  This man has SO MUCH wisdom...I couldn't wanting more.  It's one of the reasons that Half Blood Prince is one of my favorites of the whole series ♥

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore 1881-1997. Mentor, Order of the Phoenix Founder, Teacher, Legend.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *46*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Covenant #5
Release Date:  November 2nd, 2013

It's a beautiful day for a war. Alex must face a terrible choice between destruction of everything she loves and her own destruction. The final book in the COVENANT series.

They kept the blurb short and sweet here didn't they?  I like that.  Admittedly, I still need to read books # 3 & 4, so less detail = less temptations and therefore less spoiler risk!  I feel like once Sentinel comes out I'll be able to plow through and finish the series like the addict that I am >.<  If I was caught up now, the wait to November would be even more painful than it already is!

Have you read the Covenant Series? Or anything by JLA?
Don't forget to link me up to your WoW!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass #1
Published August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
 **A review copy was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.**

Wow -!  So Throne of Glass had been sitting up on the top of my wishlist since before it's release and as always, when I get ready to read a highly-anticipated book, I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype.  For, about two seconds.  I'm exaggerating (a little), but in all honesty, within the first few chapters I was more invested in this story than even I was expecting!  This was a richly-woven tale of epic proportions that had me hooked right away and never let go.

Throne of Glass tells the story of Celaena, an assassin trained by the most lethal man in existence since she was 8 years old.  Celaena is currently serving out a life-sentence in the worst kind of jail/labor camp imaginable when 2 strange men come calling with an offer: if she can survive and win a deadly competition with 23 other assassins, killers and thieves, she has a shot at winning her freedom.  Soon she's left the salt mines behind for the Glass Castle itself; home of the King of all the lands!  She has little time to adjust and begin training to win the competition before a mystery emerges; someone is killing off the other competitors one by one, and Celaena will be forced to try and figure out what is amiss in the Glass Castle...before it's too late.

Celaena is a character unlike any other I've read.  She's lethal, cunning, cocky, intelligent and angry. Her life, both prior to and during her imprisonment, have clearly left their mark on her.  I knew going in that a lot of fellow readers had some issues with her attitude and her behavior but I'll be honest: she drew me in from the first chapter and pretty soon I just had all kinds of love for her!  Her personality was just so strong, her confidence so unwavering - not traits often given to female characters but with Celaena, it just worked.  She could have come off as needlessly arrogant, but to me it was clearly a defense mechanism, she did what she had to do to survive.  Anyways she soon starts displaying her full-on kick-ass qualities as proof of her bad-assitude.  That being said,she also had well-hidden vulnerabilities which as a reader we are privy to and helped make her relatable and more human.

"The leaves dangled like jewels - tiny droplets of ruby, pearl, topaz, amethyst, emerald and garnet; and a carpet if such riches coated the forest floor around them."

The intrigue was just sky-high in Throne of Glass and it remained solid throughout. So many elements that I loved were in play here and it all just came together brilliantly.  It's almost hard to fit this book into one category: it's an adventure and a mystery all at once set in a historical-esque world with fantasy, paranormal and romantic elements lightly sprinkled in for good measure.  It also has it fair share or creepiness and gore which I wasn't expecting but worked perfectly with the kind of story being told.  The mythology within the story was perfectly mysterious and it added a whole other layer to this already impressive world.  Somehow all these elements instantly mesh together beautifully and certainly stands as a testament to author Sarah J. Maas'  mad storytelling skills.  The writing style was, like the characters and the world they live in:  indescribably addictive with plenty of breathtaking passages along the way where the words seemed to leap of the pages and paint a living picture in my mind's eye as I was reading.  I just couldn't get enough!

The pacing was tight from start to finish and perfectly balanced the intense action and training with Celaena's down time, which she divided up nicely by reading (win!), exploring the Glass Castle and making a select few friends, all of whom I enjoyed just as much as the MC.  Princess Nehemia was a fantastic addition and I looked forward to seeing hers and Celaena's friendship develop, especially since it seemed pretty clear that Celaena could do with a girlfriend. Other then the Princess, the crown Prince Dorian and the Captain of the Guard Chaol take up the most of our beloved Assassin's time.  I won't go into more detail here in case of possible spoilers but I will say this: the romance in Throne of Glass was a slow burn and to me, it always stayed secondary to the plot and main-character story-arc.  There is a budding love-triangle but this is one of those rare occasions where it actually works with the story instead of being a hindrance.  Both men are exceedingly appealing in their own very different ways - though my heart already belongs to Chaol ♥

"Libraries were full of ideas - perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons."

Finally, I loved that for a medieval-feeling world, Throne of Glass had a definite feminist vibe.  In this world, they worship a Goddess over all else, and the Goddess has other lesser Gods at her service.  Add in an MC who is female who more than holds her own against any man she faces, in battle or otherwise who also pulls off almost obscene amount of swagger... and yeah, this book is pretty much made of win.

Bottom line? Throne of Glass was a perfect mix of action, suspense, world-building, character-building and romance with truly lovely prose, rich with vivid imagery.  Everything worked for me in this one and I can't wait to jump right into Crown of Midnight...which I plan to do right now!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Harry Potter MotW # 6

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

 Favorite school subject

This week, we we have to choose our Favorite Hogwarts School Subject.  I don't think I have to tell you guys how impossible it's going to be for me to try and pick ONE subject as a favorite, but here goes:

I think Defense Against the Dark Arts would have been the most exciting class, especially the year  Professor Remus Lupin was teaching it!  It probably helps that all the spells which bring the most feels for me (where Harry is concerned) are tied those lessons - like Expelliarmus & Ridikulus.

...but then I think of Transfiguration class and how it's the stepping stone towards doing things like transforming yourself into something cool like a cat or an owl!  And I'm sorry but that just sounds  WAY too wicked XD

I've always though I'd be good in Charms & Potions Class, but not if Professor Snape is still teaching the latter - to be honest I'd have been scared stiff in his class o_O  Cards on the table, I'd be happy learning Astronomy, History of Magic and Arithmancy too because it would mean I was at Hogwarts!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *45*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 27 2013

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
As some of you know, I have finally taken the plunge and am currently reading Throne of Glass, so I guess it will come as no surprise that my WoW pick this week is the upcoming sequel Crown of Midnight.  Luckily, I have a copy waiting for me on my shelf - I have a feeling I'll want to jump right in as soon as I close book 1 ;)

Are you a big fan of the ToG Series?
Also, don't forget to link me up to your WoW :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A-Z Bookish Survey

A-Z Bookish Survey

After stumbling upon this survey created by Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner on a few of my favorite book blogs, I figured I would join the party too, even though I know I'm showing up quite late >.<  I've always loved filling out surveys like these and a bookish one seemed like far too much fun to pass up, so -here we go:

Author You've Read the Most Books from:
Erin Hunter, which is actually 4 authors working under one name on a few HUGE series'.  At last count I'd read 36 of her (their) books in the Warrior Series.  By a single author, it would be J.K. Rowling with 10.

Best Sequel Ever:
Either The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson or Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Currently Reading:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - for the very first time might I add *EEK*

Drink of Choice While Reading:
I always have a bottle of water besides me, while reading or otherwise but I do like to snuggle up with a nice warm cup of tea and a good book!

E-reader or Physical Book?
Nothing beats a good old fashioned paper book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Hmm, does it have to be just high school?  I'm going to answer for both high school and right now too.  In high school I would have loved to date Edward Cullen and right now I would love to date The Doctor from Doctor Who as portrayed by David Tennant.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Ashfall by Mike Mullin: I was worried I'd be too much of a scardy cat to enjoy this one so I hesitated a bit but I am SO glad I went ahead and read it!

Hidden Gem Book:
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and  Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Reading the Harry Potter series because I read it right after being done University and I had stopped reading for pleasure back then without even really realizing it. Harry Potter is responsible for me rediscovering my love affair with books and to this day it is still my all time favorite books series.

Just Finished:
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
Realistic fiction with historicals being an exception.  If it's modern day with no fantasy or paranormal elements, then no.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
 My Lord of the Rings anthology is over 1100 pages.

Major Book Hangover Because of:
 Harry Potter was the worst.  That's why I kept re-reading the series, rather than dealing with the hangover LOL  Twilight caused a similar reaction back in the day.  Other more recent hangovers include the Daughter of Smoke & Bone books and the Mistborn books.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
 3 and since before BEA they were I actually have stacks of book on the floor! *sobs*

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
 Harry Potter Series, I've read books 1-7 a total of 7 times...coincidence?  ;)

Preferred Place to Read:
 In my usual corner on the couch with my feet streched out so I take up the ENTIRE couch.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels from a Book You’ve Read:
 ''I am not worried, Harry,'' said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water.  ''I am with you.'' ♥

Reading Regret:
 That University put me in a long term reading rut.  I was reading so much for class that I gave up reading for fun!  By the time I started up again, books 1-6 of the Harry Potter series were out, so I never got to take part in all the Midnight release parties and things like that.

Series You Started and Need To Finish (All Books Are Out in Series):
 The Original Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, I still need to read book #3

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:
 I'll do one from each of my favorite series so: Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7),  Mistborn #1 and Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2)

Unapologetic Fangirl for:
 J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson and Laini Taylor
When I met Sanderson at BEA, both times I was a geeky fangirl. I have no shame.

Very Excited for This Release More Than All the Others:
 Dreams of Gods & Monsters!!  I need this book in my life, NOW.

Worst Bookish Habit:
 Asides from wanting ALL THE BOOKS, ALL THE TIME regardless of how many books I own that I haven't read yet...I'd say, wallowing in book hangovers for too long so I don't get started on other new books sometimes.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book:
 Pure (Covenant #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Your Latest Book Purchase:
 Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3) by Darynda Jones

ZZZ-snatcher Book (Last Book That Kept You Up WAY Late):
 Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good & Evil by Soman Chainani
The School for Good and Evil #1
Published May 14th 2013 by Harper Collins

“The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
*An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

The School for Good and Evil - if you're anything like me, that title was all it took to get my attention.  So promising.  And then we have a breathtaking cover that I'm sure was designed and crafted by fairies themselves~!  If that's not enough, there's the fantastically descriptive blurb about magical schools where children are brought so that they can learn to be fairytale heros and villains...Gah O.O  ...impossible to


So yeah, I was veeeery excited about The School for Good and Evil, from the moment I found out about it.  The story follows both Sophie and Agatha.  Sophie is the pretty blonde who dreams of being a princess and Agatha is the loner goth-type who has a cat and lives by a graveyard.  (three guesses which girl I liked best? hehe)  When they arrive at the school, it seems so obvious to both of them where each will end up but then, the opposite happens: Sophie ends up in the School for Evil and Agatha in the School for Good! Gotta be a mistake...right??

This kind of story is absolutely perfect for dual narratives not just because we got to know both girls but because there were two separate schools and we got to learn the traditions and history of both sides.  The story did seemed a bit more devoted to Sophie though which I can understand because she's very compelling, and her story arc is quite impressive.  Nevertheless, I would have liked to see Agatha equally developed since she was without a doubt my favorite of the two.

The School for Good and Evil makes great efforts to shake up the standards of your 'usual' fairytale. Beyond that truly beautiful and applause worthy-ending scene,  I was especially happy to see the role reversal of the two protagonist considering their described appearances.  As a young girl, I remember all the cartoons I loved featuring dark haired girls as villains and blondes as good and pure.  One even went so far as to have a girl villain show up with black hair but then she is 'cured' and made good and her hair actually changes from black to blonde to symbolize her goodness...or whatever.  Anyway, I just really wish that this book had been around back then because I think it would have made me very happy!

Despite efforts to shake up certain character archetypes, I found myself wishing that The School for Good and Evil had stirred things up even more.  Given the fact that it very much follows classic fairytales, I guess it was never going to be that kind of a story, but it didn't stop me from wishing that it might have been.  The way the girls in the School for Good acted towards the boys and alternately the way the boys appraised the girls did give everything a classic Disney princess feel, but it also felt a bit dated for fresh, new fairytale.

The actual Schools for Good and for Evil were filled to the brim with fairytale magic and inventive ideas, and some more familiar tropes.  I always love to geek out over magical class time-tables and schedules and I tend to get embarrassingly excited while discovering everything about magical schools, from the sleeping areas, to the classrooms, not to mention the hidden secrets these kinds of schools always have, buried away amongst hidden passages, mysterious classrooms and/or libraries...♥  Even though this is more of a fairytale world that a straight up magical world, it was truly inventive and enchanting which made it a blast to discover bit by bit. 

All things considered, The School for Good and Evil was an delightful and even adorable addition to the fairytale genre.  It might have benefited from being a bit more brief around the middle in exchange for some additional details around the ending there but nevertheless, when I was finished I went straight to Goodreads to add book # 2 to my TBR shelf and wishlist - I'm very curious to see where the story will go from here!  I'd recommend this book for fans of MG fairytales along the lines of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making or stories about magical boarding schools.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Harry Potter MotW #5

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

Favorite Triwizard Task

This week, we're talking tasks in the Triwizard Tournament. All three tasks were so thrilling and fresh, but if I have to pick a favorite I'd go with the third and final task:

The Maze

Despite it's disastrous,albeit inevitable, conclusion, this task drew me in the most of all  Mazes and labyrinths are among my favorite tropes in fiction - there's the element of mystery/intrigue to them that always get my heart pumping with every twist and turn.   The Quidditch Pitch really became terribly dark and ominous once it was fashioned into a living, magical labyrinth, with all those traps, spells and challenges...not to mention where it all ends up! *gulp*

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *44*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

The Twistrose Key   by Tome Almhjell
Release Date: November 19th, 2013

When a mysterious parcel arrives at her family’s new home, eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist has a curious feeling she’s meant to discover what’s inside.

Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world.

Full of charm, suspense, and heartfelt emotion, this memorable classic in the making will leave readers breathless.
I hadn't heard about The Twistrose Key at all until BEA, where it seemed that everyone was excited about getting their hands on it.  I'll be honest though, it didn't take long for me to jump on the bandwagon - it has a whimsical cover, the plot boasts a secret hidden world where all the animals we've loved live on and watch over us and...excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes. *sniffles*

The comparison to both The Golden Compass and the Chronicles of Narnia might have put me off, but then I remembered that The Bell Between Worlds was similarly compared to both of those classics in the blurb and that one worked wonderfully for me so here's hoping that this one delivers as well.

Don't forget to link me up to your WoW post :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: Nomad

Nomad by JL Bryan
Published July 26th 2013 by

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight.
**An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**

Before I even start my review, I just wanted to put this out there: I love time-travel.  There just no way around it, the concept is so freaking fascinating to me and I can't get enough of it.  That being said, I was instantly attracted to Nomad because it not only dealt with time-travel, but the idea of traveling back in time in an effort to save humanity from a darker, dystopian future.  How awesome is that idea?!  Add a kick-butt female assassin as your main character, and you couldn't have kept me away from this book if you tried!

Nomad hooked me right from that intense opening sequence and after that, I was hooked. It reminded me of something like The Bourne Identity, but with a futuristic female in the lead role.  The protagonist, Raven was seriously epic and fierce, I found myself liking her instantly.  She arrives in our time with chunks of her memory missing and I really liked being along for the ride as she pieced everything together.  It was easy to feel for her and her situation too as she struggled to adjust to the year 2013 and how vastly different the world is compared to the future horrors she knows will come to pass.  Raven knows how to think on her feet, while keeping a level head but I also appreciated that she wasn't terribly impulsive or rash.  She was willing to adapt and change her plans as needed and to me that made her braver and all the more noble.

As far as supporting characters, the cast featured in Nomad as kept relatively small, which I like. It's easier to remember character details that way and the focus stays on the plot and MC.  I found all of the characters to be fully developed and very real.  I won't say anymore about them because - spoilers - but it's clear that the main focus of the book is on Raven and her mission...with a few exceptions.

Time travel is a tricky concept to deal with - it can easily become disastrous but author JL Bryan managed to make things very realistic.  He kept the technical time-travel bits simple, but as a reader, you could tell that there was a lot of thought and planning that went into the explanations and details that were readily offered.  Still, I wouldn't have minded it if it had been a bit more complicated and technical, but then again I'm weird like that and I like to groove in all the technicalities and details of sci-fi fun like this!

There is a sort of romantic element that develops in Nomad which was a bit surprising for me, simply because I wasn't expecting the story to evolve in that way at all.  It wasn't a bad thing though and it still kept me turning the pages, dying to know how everyone was going to go down.  Again I don't want to hint at anything spoiler-y so I'll leave it at that.

To sum it up, Nomad was an exciting and addictive read.  The future that Raven comes from is chilling and horrific and the details we get about it set the tone nicely all throughout the book.  The middle parts did slow down a bit, as the MC becomes comfortable in our present day but I found that it didn't bother me much since at this point I was really invested in the story and in Raven's mission. Nomad also seems like a stand-alone book so far, which is exciting since there seem to be so few stand alone books nowadays.  To be fair though, if a second book should be in the works I'd be all over that .  Adult fans of sci-fi, dystopians and time-travel should definitely check this one out!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Harry Potter MotW #4

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

Quidditch position I'd want to play

This week's topic asks what position we'd like to play in the magical game of Quidditch.  Personally, I feel like I'd be a pretty decent:


...And, of course, because that's Harry's position, I'm even more keen on playing the part XD  My reflexes are fast and I'm quick on my feet - so maybe I would be on a broom too?   I also have a fairly small build, plus I have a pretty keen eyesight. The boyfriend's always teasing me about spotting things from afar way before he does, so I might do ok...if I didn't get killed first.

Seekers get a lot of the glory because catching the Golden Snitch usually (but not always) means winning the match but that makes it a dangerous position too because the players from the other team will likely be gunning for the Seeker first o_O  Who knows, maybe I have a death wish?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *43*

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

Here's my pick for this week:

Scorched  by Mari Mancusi
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013

Don't leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she's going crazy. It wouldn't be a big surprise--her grandpa firmly believes there's a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it's begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

He's come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

He's everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head--a dragon that won't be tamed.
There not really much for me to say here, Scorched features a fierce looking dragon - that's more or less all I needed to know to get on board!  Going by the blurb, it sounds like the main MC would be Trinity since she can hear the dragon speaking to her but I wouldn't be surprised is this is told in alternating POV's with both Connor and Caleb too.  Either way, I think it sounds pretty cool I've been excited about this one since I first heard about it... I'm surprised I've been able to resit the copy I snagged at BEA for so long >.<

Don't forget to link me up to your WoW post!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: Weather Witch

Weather Witch by Shannon Delany
Weather Witch #1
Published June 25th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin

In a vastly different and darker Philadelphia of 1844, steam power has been repressed, war threatens from deep, dark waters, and one young lady of high social standing is expecting a surprise at her seventeenth birthday party–but certainly not the one she gets!

Jordan Astraea, who has lived out all of her life in Philadelphia’s most exclusive neighborhood, is preparing to celebrate her birthday with friends, family and all the extravagance they might muster. The young man who is most often her dashing companion, Rowen Burchette, has told her a surprise awaits her and her best friend, Catrina Hollindale, wouldn’t miss this night for all the world!

But storm clouds are gathering and threatening to do far more than dampen her party plans because someone in the Astraea household has committed the greatest of social sins by Harboring a Weather Witch.
*An ARC was provided by St Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review.*

Beyond the initial draw of Weather Witch's stunning cover, I was naturally attracted to the fact that this story revolves around Witches (big surprise, yeah? >.<)...but not just any kind of witches, ones that can control the weather!  I though that this sounded beyond cool, especially set in the mid-1800's.  The concept was brimming with possibilities and the added mention of steam power right at the beginning of the blurb there meant that there would also be Steampunk elements mixed in here so needless to say, I wasn't going to miss any of that!  Sadly, my excitement was short-lived only to be replaced by confusion, frustration and even a bit of apathy.

I'll be honest, I almost gave up on this one more than once.  Weather Witch is told in alternating points-of-view but in this case it was more confusing than helpful because it wasn't always obvious where the switches in perspective were taking place.  New characters seemed to be added to the story and given their own POV at the same time so you'd be in the head of a character you knew nothing about, trying to understand why their perspective was important.  I just couldn't figure out how all the other narrators tied into the journey of the MC Jordan.  The full extent of the connections between all of these characters is, in fact only revealed waaayyyy at the end.  The result made every scene or plot twist seem random to me, even jumbled so that by then end I just wasn't invested in any of it to really care.

As a main character, Jordan was very difficult for me to relate to.  She came off as detached from much of the world around her, like she couldn't really be bothered to care about anything.  Her sort of indifference only persisted after her world is completely turned upside down and she seemed to flat-out refuse to process or deal with the reality of her situation.  This led me to feel slightly amused *grins evilly* at times when Jordan got a few intense reality checks, instead of sympathizing with her character like I obviously should have done.

Other narrators in Weather Witch include Rowen, as the potential love-interest which I didn't really like because I was never quite sure what to make of him to be honest.  He seemed uncaring at times but then he'd go all reckless and intense the next.  'The Maker' was another frequent POV but I won't spoil anything by revealing his role in all of this.  He was easily the darkest and the most complex character out of the bunch; his scenes were often twisted and macabre but also shockingly human.  He was a more compelling voice to read but I definitely wouldn't say it was enjoyable. Finally there is another sort of mystery POV thrown in for good measure which at first just baffled me.  By the time his identity became more clear, I understood the need to add his perspective to the story but I felt like it could have been accomplished in a different and less disorienting way.

The plot of Weather Witch moved at a snail's pace.  At about the 60% mark, it was as if nothing that important had happened yet, other than the big twist at the beginning.  There were a lot of oddly placed info-dumps or flashbacks that felt random and sometimes disjointed from the story altogether.  This ended up making the ending feel frantic and overwhelming as the characters all seemed to collide together finally, revealing how all these characters were connected.  Beyond all of that, the ending didn't really offer up any resolution to speak of!  There was no closure and almost every single important plot-point was left up in the air for the sequel.  So yeah, after all that, I'll admit I felt a little cheated - only a little though because at this point, the apathy I mentioned earlier had pretty much settled in.

I'm going to stop here and avoid getting any more ranty than I have done so far. Weather Witch did bring the feels a couple of times given how the witches were persecuted in this world and imprisoned - it was eerily reminiscent of the Salem Witch trials and the persucation of witches in our own history.  I also feel the need to mention that Steampunk lovers wanting to read this for the Steampunk elements might end up being let down.  Steam powered is only mentioned a few times in passing throughout the book. It does seem like that whole aspect would play a bigger role in the upcoming book(s) but for me that isn't enough to make me want to keep reading.   I had very high hopes for this one given the combination of elements that were in play but unfortunately they just didn't mesh like I'd be anticipating. The premise and ideas brought to the table were full of potential but unfortunately their execution fell flat.

My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars :(

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Harry Potter MotW #3

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

Favorite Quidditch Team/Country

Ooooh, this is an interesting questions.  I remember reading the books for the first time when the gang attended the Quidditch World Cup...I was rooting for Ireland alongside with Harry and the others but I was also (obviously) beyond impressed with the Bulgarian seeker, Krum. Looking back on the series as a whole though, I'd have to say that my favorite Quidditch team would be:

 The Holyhead Harpies

The Holyhead Harpies are an all-girl Quidditch team that hosts players from both Britain & Ireland. I like the fact that this is an all-female team in a league where both male and female players can play together, or against each other, as it were.  It's pretty cool that the team houses players from two countries too to be honest.  Considering Ginny's role with the team post-Hogwarts, I think it's safe to assume that Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest of the Weasley's would have rooted for them too :D