Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox #15

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

So I only got one book this week, but that's okay because I'm really excited to read this one. I've always loved books that involved video games/virtual realities! :) Plus, it reminds me of a manga or anime that I've read/seen before, although I can't quite remember what it was... Anyway, I'm hoping to get to this one soon!

What'd you get in your mailbox this week? Leave a link to your own IMM in the comments, and I'll be sure to visit!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues

Busting the Newbie Blues is an event hosted by Small Review. Basically, you fill out a questionnaire and hopefully bring attention to yourself as a newbie blogger. Plus, you get to find other awesome newbie bloggers as well! Even established bloggers can participate, so go check it out! :)

When did you start your blog?
I started my blog at the very end of September last year. :) 

Why did you start your blog?
Well, none of my friends or family like to read, so I have no one to talk to about books! After finding great blogs like the Story Siren, I became inspired to create my own, because I felt like it'd be a great way to share my thoughts with others. Before that, I didn't even know that book blogs existed. 

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far
Definitely getting views and comments consistently. I do get comments occasionally on my posts, but I don't get comments and views on every post that I write. 

What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
Sometimes I feel like I'm invisible, as cliche as that sounds. There are days when I feel like no one reads my posts, but I think I'm just too down on myself because I envy all the older bloggers who get like 40 comments per post. >:) 

I also find my number of posts discouraging. I don't understand how bloggers are able to consistently post every day. As it is, I have trouble reading one book within a week because of my busy schedule.

What do you find most encouraging? 
Definitely the whole book reading community. :) I just see everyone acting so nice and friendly to each other; it's great to see everybody united by their common love for reading! I'd love to get more involved in the community, but I'm rather timid, even on the internet.

Also, every little comment or view I get encourages me to keep blogging, because then I realize that at least someone is looking at it.

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog? 
I like it when you can really tell that the blogger loves the book in their review. There are some people that just put so much emotion into their review. I've been trying to be more creative with my own reviews, so they don't sound bland or boring. I'm not too sure it's working, though. \: As I said, I'm kind of a timid person, so even writing my own opinion on this blog is challenging. I'm hoping that, through blogging, I will open up and be more friendly. :)

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this? 
Hmmm.. I dislike it when blogs post reviews that are only a paragraph long. I feel like if you're going to review a book, then you might as well put more effort into it. Then again, I'm not going to tell people how to run their blogs. I myself try to post at least a few paragraphs when reviewing.

I also dislike overly complicated blogs. I haven't seen too many of these, but when your blog is hard to navigate or my screen is crowded with a bunch of things, then I probably won't read your blog. I like to keep things simple!

Any advice for other new bloggers? 
I would just say to never give up! I know that people are always telling each other that, but it's true. :) Even if you aren't getting a lot of views/comments right now, your blog will grow in time. It will just take some dedication and hard work, though. Plus, if you love doing it, then why should it matter how many people are visiting your blog? Do it because you enjoy it! :)

Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
I don't have any questions in particular, but any tips - especially networking tips - would be appreciated. :)
Also, I'd like to know how you use Twitter to network yourself. I always see a bunch of bloggers claiming it's an amazing tool, but I haven't figured it out for myself yet.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments. 
I like hearing other peoples' thoughts, so if you comment on a review, be sure to let me know what you are thinking about the book! Also, if you leave a comment on one of my posts, I'd be more than happy to comment on one of yours!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ [4]
Release date: Dec. 6, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: hardcover
Source: bought
Pages: 498
Series: The Infernal Devices (#2)
Challenge: --
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

For all of you Jem lovers out there, I'm sure you'll be happy to know that Clockwork Prince focuses a lot more  on him than Clockwork Angel did. I really liked this book, because I felt that certain characters got more character development that they did in the first. The characters in this book aren't just black and white; you get to see a whole different side to them than what you'd expect, especially with Jem and Will. I really loved watching the characters change and grow.

This book really made me feel pretty emotional, which doesn't happen too often. It really takes a lot to get my heart strings pulled, and well, this book did it. I'd feel happy for a character when they triumphed, but then I'd feel horrible a moment later when they had trouble. This book was really a rollercoaster ride of emotion for me.

One thing that I was disappointed in was Will's predicament. If you've read this, then I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I was kind of letdown with how it was solved way too easily. After waiting nearly a book and a half to even find out what his problem was, I felt that it was gone way too quickly. I would have perhaps liked more of an exciting "end", but I guess not every book is perfect.

Still, I will definitely read Clockwork Princess when it comes out. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Author Interview: Katja Rusanen

Today we have an author interview with Katja Rusanen, who is the author of And You Must Love Me.

When Renate falls for local bad-boy Ronny she has no idea what she's getting herself into. After all, she's only 15. She's never had to deal with someone like his Gypsy girlfriend Sabina, who is ready to go to extremes to keep him. And she certainly wasn't expecting to find herself caught up such a dangerous cat and mouse game which gets even more complicated when Ronny's cousin Emil gets involved in it.

The news about the love tragedy that ensues travels fast in the small village of Loddefjord, Norway, and Renate feels invisible fingers pointing at her. She starts to fall apart under the pressure. But was it really Renate's fault? Will she ever find out what really happened? Each malicious whisper at school increases her freefall. Can she stop her own destructive behaviour before it's too late?

Why did you decide to set your novel in Norway?
The novel could actually happen anywhere, but as I grew up in Finland, it was easier for me to write about Nordic teenagers. I visited Loddefjord, Norway, and felt it was the perfect setting for Renate’s story.

What kind of research did you have to do in order to accurately describe Loddefjord and the gypsies?
There search that went into all aspects of the book, including the setting and characters, was a combination of my own experience and that of other people. This included first-hand accounts of Loddefjord, and interesting insights into the Nordic Romani culture, which I used as a base to build up the Sabina’s story. Also during my recent trip to Bergen, Norway, I visited some of the places that are mentioned in the book. It was a funny experience as they felt so familiar even though I was there for the first time!

Do you relate to any of the characters in particular, and why?
I would say I relate mostly to the main character Renate. Well, they say that all fiction has at its center a kernel of truth. That kernel in this story is the traumatic event that Renate has to face. This actually happened to me and I felt the urge to write about it and break the silence as I want that people who are going through the same hardship know that they are not alone!

How do you feel about releasing your first novel?
Absolutely amazing! I’m so thrilled that the book which I worked on three long years is finally out there! Now I’m looking forward to hear feedback from the readers while I’m working with full speed on the sequel.

Describe your book in 3 words.
Strong- Insightful - Gripping

Katja Rusanen is a Finnish writer who has been living in Barcelona since 2004. 'And You Must Love Me' is her first novel. She also writes short stories, six of which have been published by the Barcelona Connect Magazine over the past few years. She is a Spiritual Life Coach and is involved in charity work. In February 2012 she will participate in a Kilimanjaro charity climb for the Amani Children's Home in Tanzania.

If you would like to find out more about Katja, check out Facebook:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox #14

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.

Torment by Lauren Kate {ebook}
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima {ebook}
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green {ebook}

I'm really excited to read both An Abundance of Katherines and The Exiled Queen. I really loved the first Seven  Realms novel, so I'm hoping The Exiled Queen will be just as good! Plus, everyone has been raving about the Fault in Our Stars lately, so I figured that I would check out some of Green's other work. As for Torment, even though I didn't like Fallen too much, I still figured that I'd give it a chance.

What'd you get in your mailbox this week? Leave a link to your own IMM in the comments, and I'll be sure to visit!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Follow Friday #2

This weekly meme is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Basically, it's a great way to meet other bloggers.

This week's question is:
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?
Wow, okay, so I must be a pretty boring person, because I don't really know how to answer this question. I honestly haven't done anything ridiculous just to get a book. I haven't waited in a long line or camped outside a store. The "craziest" thing I've done was wait for hours to get Rick Riordan to sign my Percy Jackson books... We don't have too many author signings where I live, so I guess you could say that this was sort of a big event for me.

Anyway, be sure to leave a link to your own Follow Friday post in the comments! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Rating: ☆☆☆ [really like a 3.5?]
Release date: Jan. 10, 2012
Publisher: Sand Dollar Press Inc
Format: ebook
Source: netgalley
Pages: 320
Series: Save the Pearls (#1)
Challenge: ebook
In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to an overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden Newman's white skin brands her as a member of the lowest social class, the weak and ugly Pearls. Doomed unless she mates soon, Eden hopes a Coal from the dark-skinned ruling class will save her. But when she unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, perhaps mankind's only hope, Eden is cast out-into the last patch of rainforest and into the arms of a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change-but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty-and of love. Along the way, she receives some beautiful insight from her virtually adopted aunt Emily Dickinson.
To be honest, this book was pretty odd, but it worked. In Eden's world, people with the darkest skin color are considered beautiful while the paler people are the outcasts. Even though it's so different compared to our culture today, I feel like this could really happen. The way the book presented the setting made it seem very plausible, as if this could one day happen to us if we don't stop messing with the environment. I really liked how it was different yet not extremely outlandish to be completely unbelievable. The setting was really one of my favorite elements of the book.

The pacing was awesome. It didn't take a long time to get exciting, even with all the explanations of Eden's world. There wasn't much downtime, and it really kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

The romance going on between Eden and her love interest was kind of strange. It was kind of like she hated him, but then she didn't. I felt maybe there was a little bit of "instant love", but it didn't bother me too much, since it took a bit for the guy to come around. Other than that, there were still lots of moments where I could see growth in Eden's character as she realizes that maybe the world she grew up in isn't right.

I wish that there had been more of a description of Bramford. While I was able to picture everything else clearly, I found it hard to see him in my mind. Hopefully, with the next book, it'll solve all of that.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox #13

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.


The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (only $3 too! :D)

Die For Me by Amy Plum {ebook}
The Everafter by Amy Huntley {ebook}

I'm so excited that I finally got The Forest of Hands and Teeth! I feel like I've been waiting to read that book for forever! :) Plus, I love anything that has to do with zombies. Finding it at Half-Price for only 3 dollars was amazing. :D

Leave a comment letting me know what you got in your mailbox this week! Or link me to your IMM!

..Oh, and by the way, Blogger finally implemented replies to individual comments. o: I'm so excited!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

So I just want to say, sorry for the lack of posts! I had midterms this whole week, so I was busy studying. :)

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ [4]
Release date: Oct. 13, 2011
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Format: ebook
Source: library
Pages: 458
Series: --
Challenge: --
When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more?
I was pretty surprised when I opened this book on my Kindle to find that it was written in verse. Now I've seen books written in verse before, but I never really thought about actually reading one. Having read this, I'm pretty amazed at how Kehoe can say so much using so little words. I mean, this book practically gives you the bare minimum in words, yet Sara's feelings and thoughts are still projected clearly to the reader.

Sara was a relatable character. The whole time she was doubting herself reminded me of my own times of self-doubt. I really understood how she felt all those times where she compared herself to the much more accomplished dancers. Honestly, I really felt like I was going through the struggle with her.

Audition isn't a light book about dancing; in fact, it actually has a lot of heavy themes in it. As mentioned, there's Sara's struggle with figuring out what she really wants to do. Plus, there's her relationship with Remington, which I thought was rather creepy. The book also delves into the tough and busy life of professional dancers. It shows the beauty of dancing yet it also reveals just how hard a career like this can be. Sara's not the only dancer who suffers because of the sport.

All in all, for my first verse novel, I really enjoyed this. Although I don't have any experience in ballet, I still thought that the ballet terms weren't too confusing and that the book was easy enough to read.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In My Mailbox #12

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.

Unlovable by Sherry Gammon - thanks to Let's Evaluate.

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

I only got two books this week, but they both seem pretty awesome. I can't wait to get started on the both of them! I'm curious, has anyone read either of these books and if so, what did you think?

I'd love to know what books you guys received, so either leave your answer in the comments or link me to your IMM! :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ [5]
Release date: Oct. 1, 2011
Publisher: Pear Jam Books Ltd
Format: paperback
Source: won - Goodreads First Reads
Pages: 223
Series: Rapture Trilogy (#1)
Challenge: --
The Rapture has occurred, just as the Bible predicted. The faithful have risen up to Heaven. Those left behind are in a living hell.

Earth burns, hell-like in its oppressive heat. Every volcano in the world has erupted, and tsunamis and earthquakes continue to devastate the planet. Clouds continually rain ash onto the scorched landscape, sparking fires all around. Plants and animals are dying. Food is scarce. The night sky is devoid of stars, and the moon - when it can be seen - is the colour of blood.

The remnants of humanity fight for survival. Most have fled the cities and now hide in caves deep in the mountains. By night, demons stalk the Earth, capturing the remaining humans and killing them - if they're lucky. The less fortunate are converted to worship of the Devil, and ushered into endless hell.

Eighteen year old, Sam (short for Samael) was raised in the town of Jacob's Ladder, Utah. It is appropriately enough near to a place of natural scenic beauty called Devil's garden. He finds himself alone, unable to rise up with his family because he is half demon. His mother, a devout Christian, was seduced by Satan and conceived his child. She smuggled the boy to an old friend Hikari, a Japanese sword master and demon expert. Since then, Hikari and his daughter, Aimi, have been all the family Sam has known.

Now they're gone, and Sam must set out on the mission Hikari charged him with long ago: to help all the humans left behind. Armed only with his beloved Japanese swords and his wits, Sam wanders the post-apocalyptic world alone, separated forever from everyone he loves. Cursed by his demonic heritage, he must now embark on a quest that will take him across the US to the City of Angels.

There he will confront his destiny. There he must fight to save a friend ... and the souls of the living.
Now normally I don't think I would have picked up a book like this if I had seen it at the bookstore, but I got the chance to read it through the Goodreads First Reads program. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed it. One thing that made the book so enjoyable was the pacing, which I thought was perfect. There would be some moments of downtime, but an action scene would quickly follow so the story never got dull. And what's even better is that Simpson really knows how to write action. I could clearly imagine the whole scene in my head, which just made the reading experience so much better.

I also normally don't enjoy books that alternate between the present and flashbacks. I often find the flashback scenes to be annoying, because I'd much rather be in the present time with the character instead of stuck in the boring past. However, I actually really liked the fact that Rapture involves the use of flashbacks. I feel like it was a great way to give us crucial information instead of just dumping it all on us straight away. Plus, it gave us more insight into the characters, especially the main character, Sam.

Speaking of Sam, I ended up really loving him. He was an extremely likable guy, and I felt for him through all the tough situations. Another awesome thing about him was that he wasn't perfect; there were moments when he wasn't sure whether it would be better to do the right thing or just give in. Despite his half-demon heritage, he seemed human, just like anyone really.

The only negative thing I really noticed about this book were the few grammar and spelling errors. I don't think they detract from the book, though; in fact, I hardly even noticed them.  They were just some minor things that could be fixed. And I know those aren't going to stop me from reading the next book. :)

And for all of you guys interested in reading this book, I have some great news. The Kindle edition is on sale from Amazon for only $2.99 instead of the usual $9.99. So if you're interested in reading it, you should definitely get it now. It's listed on Amazon here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cover Reveal: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

I'm sure by now most of you guys have seen the brand new CoLS cover, but I just had to post about it. It's so beautiful! I like it a whole lot better than the CoFA book cover, mostly because I thought that Clary had looked kind of strange in it, but enough about that. :) I love how Jace looks here; he's exactly how I pictured him! What do you guys think about the cover?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cover Spotlight: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

So this is going to be a new kind of post that I'll be doing every so often. Covers are what usually draws a person in first, so in these posts, I'll be talking about the covers that I think are gorgeous, whether they are old or new books.

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
I have yet to read this, which upsets me. Why? Because I love anything having to do with werewolves/shapeshifters and well, just wolves in general. Plus, this cover is so amazing. I love how you can see the girl and the wolf at the same time, and especially how the eyes line up. I also love how simple it is; there aren't that many distracting colors, and so the color in her eye makes it really stand out! I know there are multiple covers for this book, but I really like this one the best. Now I just need to actually read the book! :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In My Mailbox #11

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers are able to show off what books they received. If you want to learn more, you can read about it here.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks 
Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate (arc)

I really really can't believe that 2012 is here. 2011 went by so fast, it's crazy. I'm also really hoping that the world isn't destroyed in December, haha.

Leave a comment below with what you received or a link to your own IMM post, I'd love to check it out!