Friday, May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA: Ethics and Non-Fiction

So today's discussion is about blogger ethics, and though I wasn't super aware of that topic when I first started blogging, after the plagiarism-drama earlier this year that has changed. Giving credit where it is due should be a no-brainer. I've never been plagiarized (to my knowledge) but I've seen what it did to other people and it made me incredibly angry! I'm familiar with it in a more academic setting, I just never thought to extend it to reviews - why would anyone steal another's opinion? It makes no sense to me, and it's not okay in any way! Read the book. Find your own words, your own voice. Sometimes I also avoid reviews of a book I got for review altogether until I've written my own.

Even if you're a new blogger and feel you cannot find the right words yet or that you just have to post tons of reviews to establish yourself... don't go down that road. Someone usually notices the stolen parts, and the fallout isn't pretty. I also can't imagine that you'll feel good about your blog if you know that half the content isn't really yours. If you don't want to put in the work, don't blog.

Also, if you participate in a meme or pick up on someone else's idea, at least give them credit, or even better ask them about it first if it's a more special meme than a link-up such as TTT or WoW. Otherwise it will look like you stole their idea and just went with it, or as if you're trying to pass it off as your own, even though maybe that wasn't what you intended.

Same goes for pictures/graphics. Unless they're stock images or clearly declared as free for the taking, don't just copy and use them. You can get into legal trouble. As far as I know you even have to give sources for pictures of actors or whatever that you're using as examples of how you imagine a particular character in a book. Same goes for elements of another blog's design.

I guess my bottom-line opinion is pretty simple: stay honest, be polite, don't take what isn't yours. I'm by no means an expert and there are people who have been around longer, but those are guidelines I've fared well with. If you have tips to share for those who have been plagiarized and don't know what to do about it, feel free to share them in the comments!

The second topic of today's discussion is non-fiction. 
I don't actually own a lot of non-fiction. The only NF I read is for my studies, so it's usually secondary literature or literary theory. Roland Barthes, Terry Eagleton, some Freud, textbooks on Old English, Middle English, poetry, structure. I think these works are interesting but I wouldn't read them in my free time or for something that doesn't relate to my courses. The only thing I can imagine reading just because is maybe history or social theory of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, but it would have to be from a cultural/literary perspective.

I've never read guide/advise books because I tend not to trust them or to find their tips rather obvious, nothing I couldn't have figured out on my own. If I needed the info for research, I'd just go to the library and pick the most reliable sources.
I've never read a biography, though if someone can recommend one of Oscar Wilde I'd be interested in that.
I don't know. It's not like I'm 100% opposed to non-fiction, it's just that I like fiction so much better. I want stories. I don't car if they're 'real' or not, they just have to be good, they have to touch me in some way, and non-fiction rarely does that for me.

How do you feel about non-fiction? Can you maybe recommend something? Sometimes the fiction:non-fiction ratio on my shelves embarrasses me a bit.
How about ethics? Do you disagree with something I said, or can you list something I forgot? I'd love to hear your opinion!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armchair BEA: it's giveaway time!

Yay, giveaways around the blogosphere! I love entering them, and I love hosting them when my bank account allows it ;) I always squee when I win one and from the reactions to the emails I send out to my winners the feeling is pretty universal, and I like making other people happy ^^

Since I think the book bloggers participaing in Armchair BEA come from quite diverse genres, I'm letting the winner pick their own book for once. It must be available from The Book Depository though and not over 10$ (as seen from my location). But please read the rules at the bottom!

Today's discussion is about literary fiction, but since I just wrote a sort of lenghty post on the Classics and don't really read contemporary 'literary' fiction all that much, I'm reverting to yesterday's topic that I missed: genre fiction.

As you know if you've been following me for a while, I love all things fantasy and paranormal. My breakthrough books were on the one hand the Harry Potter books, but after that it was those of a German author called Wolfgang Hohlbein. He wrote about all kinds of fantasy stuff: kids travelling to other worlds, beings from other worlds intruding into ours, high fantasy, computer games coming to live, a guy entering another world by walking across rooftops, creepy houses, elves, Arthurian legends, mirror worlds... I pretty much inhaled it all. Then came The Lord of the Rings (thanks to the movies), which I read many times, same as the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, and other Tolkien texts. After that came my Stephen King phase.

Later I branched out to English&American authors like Anne Rice, Kim Harrison or Melissa Marr and discovered the whole vampire/paranormal/urban fantasy genres (both adult and YA)... and I was hooked! I read nothing else for years. I love the idea of the fantastical being part of our everyday world! Vampires, fairies, and demons are my favorites. I'm not a big werewolf fan but other kinds of shifters are interesting! I used to give zombies a wide berth but I'm slowly coming around to them, as long as it's not a zombie apocalypse thing. I've also branched out a bit more since becoming a blogger and now read contemporaries as long as they're not too heavy on the romance, and dystopians if their concepts stand out to me (I avoided them for a long time and am now catching up).

That being said, here are some suggestions for books you might want to check out if you win the giveaway. As I said though, you can choose whatever you like :)

  • open internationally, provided The Book Depository ships to you for free
  • one entry per person / household. I check EVERY entry before picking the winner! You cheat, you're disqualified.
  • you must be at least 13 years old
  • the winner has 48 hours to respond to my email, otherwise I pick someone new
  • I am not responsible for what happens with the book after I've ordered it
  • the book must be 10$ or less, as seen from my location (Switzerland). Prices differ and sometimes I have access to editions that don't show up for US residents.

Have fun, and good luck!! 
If you have any questions or something doesn't work, tweet me! @Butterfly_Ghost
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA: my take on Classic Literature

I'm a bit late with this post, but since I love the Classics I wanted to get one up anyway.
I study English Literature, so obviously I've read a bunch of them. To be honest though my department leans toward English lit rather than American one, so I've never read anything by William Faulkner, no Scarlet Letter, no To Kill A Mockingbird. I've read Gatsby but to be honest I was kinda underwhelmed. It was after my first year though so if I re-read it now I might like it better. American authors I've read and liked are E.A. Poe, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Paul Auster, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Crane, and William Carlos Williams.

I'm also a big poetry fan (my American author list might have tipped you off). Some of my favorites are John Keats, Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Alexander Pope, and Robert Browning, or T.S. Eliot. I think poetry is really underrated and I've been mulling over ideas for a poetry feature here for a while!

As for novels, I adore Jane Eyre. I'd take Mr Rochester over Darcy any time. Don't hit me, Jane Austen fans! I also like Wilkie Collins' books a lot, for instance The Woman in White. Other favorites are The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde is a genius!) or Lawrence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (most random book ever!), or Orlando by Virginia Woolf. My favorite play that I think I even prefer to Shakespeare is Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.

Why do I like the Classics? I really like history, so I enjoy getting to know about what life was like in the past and learning more about that society and culture, also when I research secondary sources for papers and seminars etc. Furthermore, some of these texts are still being referenced and quoted in more modern books (even YA ones) and I love picking up on these intertextual bits! It's about tropes and images that are repeated over and over, a whole tradition of imagery I wouldn't be aware of without reading the Classics. Also, texts that have become Classics are often more aware of their language - you can dig deeper, find more layers and meanings than there are in some more contemporary books. I love both though and wouldn't want to live without either one!

What can I recommend to people who usually don't like Classics?
Jane Eyre. The Catcher in the Rye. Stay away from Thomas Hardy - way too depressing. Oscar Wilde is wonderfully sarcastic, Shakespeare's comedies are a lot of fun (Twelfth Night, As You Like It), and if you like detective fiction you should check out Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone (first ever detective novel) or some of the Sherlock Holmes stories. As for poetry, Byron is fun and Robert Browning's dramatic monologues are quite readable because they're written the way people would talk.
I don't know what to say though - give the books a try and also try to understand them out of the time when they were written. But if you don't like them you don't like them - to everyone their own :)

Do you guys read the Classics? What are some of your favorites / most detested ones?

Waiting on Wednesday: Unhinged, by A.G. Howard

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine to spotlight upcoming book releases that we're excited about.

This week's pick:

Release date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Goodreads description:
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

I really really cannot wait for this one!!! Ever since finishing Splintered, I somehow had the impression that there was  unfinished business in the story. I liked the ending, but I felt there was too much potential left over... so I kept my eyes open. And BAM then there was the announcement, and later this cover!!! o.O Gorgeous. It comes really close to how I imagined Morpheus! I admit I'm still kind of rooting for him and Alyssa ;)
What do you think of my pick? Are you as impatient as I am? And what did you choose this week?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA introduction

Hey guys :) Since BEA is in New York and I'm stuck back here in Switzerland, I've decided to take part in Armchair BEA because it sounds like a fun event!

For those of you who don't know me yet, here's an introduction:

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
    I'm 24 year old Swiss student (working on my English Lit MA) and part-time office worker who has always loved to read. I prefer English books to German ones. I've been blogging for close to a year and previously to that I was following various blogs for another year or so, before deciding that I wanted to be a real part of the community instead of just watching from the sidelines :) I've found that I really enjoy discussing with others and obsessing over books on the net! I also enjoy the contact with authors and the privilege to get to read books early.

  2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?
    There were sooo many that I enjoyed!! I finally read Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement, which blew me away. I ached so much while reading it... in the best way. Other highlights were The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, Divergent by Veronica Roth (yes, I'm late to the party but damn what an awesome book!), Just One Day by Gayle Forman, and In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winter.

  3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
    I like a lot of pretty hard music like metalcore, but I also enjoy acoustic bands. Some of my favorites: AFI, Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying, Funeral For A Friend, Story of the Year, Young Guns, Nightwish, Motionless in White, Asking Alexandria, Paramore, City and Colour, Alkaline Trio, Danko Jones, HIM, Social Distortion, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo... I could go on for a while ^^''

  4. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
    *overload of possibilities* errrm... Oscar Wilde? He'd be a witty conversationalist, and he'd make sure the afterparty is unforgettable. But I'd also love to meet Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, or Melissa Marr and lots of others! As for characters, I have  a soft spot for Will Herondale. Magnus Bane would also be fun XD There are sooo many others! But with some of them I'm not sure I'd like to meet them, no matter how intriguing they may be (hint: Jerico Barrons).

  5. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
    Not sure what's meant by literary location. A place famous for its poets/writers? A place/world from inside a book? I think of the former I've been to quite a few - I was lucky enough to visit Oscar Wilde's grave before it was walled in behind glass, I've been to Westminster Abbey, and to Dublin. I'd love to visit New York and San Francisco though! Those are also 'literary' cities to me.
    As for book worlds, that's always a double-edged sword because horrible things tend to happen in them ^^' That being said, I'd like to see Wonderland, Hogwarts, or the world from Kim Harrison's The Hollows series. The world in Lia Habel's Dearly, Departed also fascinated me. Or Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus! I remember mourning the fact that I could never experience its wonders for real.

Alright, that's it from me! I hope you have a somewhat better picture of who I am now :) I'd love to get to know you! If you leave a comment and link me back to your post, I'll be sure to check it out! Even more so if we have favorite books (or maybe bands?) in common ;)

    Sunday, May 26, 2013

    Discussion: Do you cast your characters while you're reading? How do you imagine them?

    Hey guys :)

    I want to apologize again for being less active lately, both on the blog and on twitter. There's a lot of change going on in my life right now and I'm trying to deal and find a balance. Mostly I'm just losing myself in one book after the other, which leads to reviews piling up, which leads to me sticking my head in the proverbial sand... yeah.

    Anyhow, this is a discussion post! I'd like to talk about how we imagine characters in the books we're reading. I've noticed that a lot of bloggers (and also authors) 'cast' the people in the books they read or write, i.e. choose pictures of actors or models they think represent or resemble the character.

    I can never resist an opportunity to show off this cover
    Apart from the fact that I'd be way too lazy to search through all those pictures of hot dudes and ladies (because let's face it, they usually are good-looking) I admit I personally don't really see the point. When I imagine a character, they never resemble any other person I've ever seen before, be it from my own life or from a movie/advert/whatever. They just pop into my head as I read them. Even if there is no clear description from the get-go, I always have an image in my head that  I can then adapt/concreticize. Before seeing all those casting posts, the idea of looking for that type of pictures never crossed my mind. But I've seen in a lot in guest posts or on authors' Pinterest boards.

    The only thing I admit to is that I sometimes 'lift' a character off the cover if I like it a lot. For Nevermore trilogy is someone I imagine pretty much exactly like the guy on the book cover. Same with Daemon from Obsidian, because that guy is so in-your-face everywhere before you even start reading the book that it's impossible to picture him any other way :P
    instance, Varen in Kelly Creagh's

    So I'm interested... am I the only one who isn't into casting characters? Those of you who do it... why? Or why not? Or how? I'm curious :)
    Also more generally, how does the 'imagining characters process' work in your brains? Do you base them on other people? Do you even 'see' the book in your head like a movie at all when you're reading? The reading process is something I find absolutely fascinating and I'd love to hear how you experience it!

    Saturday, May 25, 2013

    Stacking the Shelves: jobs, ecstatic dances, and the sweet peril of unbecoming

    Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase all the books we got in the past week. Those can be bought, won, gifted, for review, borrowed, print or ebooks... no matter, just share what you got :)

    Blogging update
    Hey guys! I'm sorry the blog was rather quiet this past week :/ I had a family thing over last weekend, had a doc's appointment on Tuesday that informed me I can no longer eat anything with wheat or aspartame (meaning no more 2liters of coke zero a day) and have been trying to adjust, and I started a new job on Wednesday. I was real tired and on edge, and I have a test next week that I'll have little time to study for because of work. So it might or might not be quiet again. After that I'm on semester break till September though :)

    Anyhow, this past week was awesome for me in the book department! I'm especially happy about the first book I can show you!

    For review / tour:

    Dance of the Red Death, by Beathany Griffin
    Debt Collector Vol. 1-3, by Susan Kaye Quinn

    I am soooo thrilled to be on the Dance of the Red Death tour!!! I loved the first book sooo much :D
    I'm also happy I got approved for the Debt Collector volume collection. I reviewed vol. 1 here and I can't wait to see how the story continues!

    Bought in Print:

    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkins
    Flesh and Blood, by Kristen Painter
    Afterlight, by Elle Jasper
    Sweet Peril, by Wendy Higgins

    Mara Dyer isn't on the picture because I read it on Monday (yes, in day) and I loved it soooo much! Both Noah and Mara are amazing characters and the sequel should arrive on my doorstep on Monday hopefully :) I'm also excited to finally have Sweet Peril in my hands!! More Kai&Anna <3 Also, I fell in love with the world of Kristen Painter's first book and I'm so glad there's more of the series already out! I'm curious about Afterlight, too. Haven't read any good adult UF in a while!


    A Job from Hell, by Jayde Scott
    UnEnchanted, by Chanda Hahn

    I think I read an excerpt of this one a while back but then it got buried in the depths of the kindle... I remembered it though so when it was free (I think. Either that or 99c) I had to have it :)
    UnEnchanted is free too at the moment!

    That's it! What do you guys think? Are you excited about any of the books or can you advise me what to keep near the top of my pile? Also, I'd love to see what you got this week so leave me a link to your post :)

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Blog Tour review and excerpt: Girls Love Travis Walker, by Anne Pfeffer

    Hey guys and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Girls Love Travis Walker, an NA contemporary novel. Below you can find more info about the book as well as my review and an excerpt :)

    Release date: March 15, 2013
    Format: Kindle ebook, 323 pages

    Goodreads description:
    To nineteen-year-old high school dropout Travis Walker, women are like snowflakes--each one different, but beautiful in her own way.

    He can charm any girl he meets, and yet down deep he fears he'll always be a loser like his jailbird father. As the landlady threatens to evict him and his sick mother, Travis takes a job he hates and spends his evenings picking up girls at a nearby night spot.

    When he enlists in a teen program at the local fire station, he finds out he’s amazing at it. Then he meets the smoking hot Kat Summers, enlists Kat’s friend Zoey to help him woo her, and falls in love for the first time ever.

    But he keeps the details of his life secret. His girl will never love him back if she knows the truth about him….

    The following review is based on a copy I got from the tour organizer in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Travis Walker can charm his way into any girl’s pants. Alongside his best friend DJ, he hangs out at bars to pick up women so he can forget about his problems for a couple hours. But those problems continue to grow until they can no longer be ignored, not even temporarily. Threat of eviction and homelessness for you and your sick mother will do that to you. Travis is forced to drop out of high school and work full-time in order for him and his mum to survive on a day to day basis. When he meets a girl who is different and realizes that there is a career path that he might be great at and feels passionate about, will he be able to keep his life together or will the pressure become too much?

    Travis isn’t the type of guy I usually tend to like, but I really clicked with his voice and the realness of his problems when I read an excerpt of the book a couple months back. Travis, despite his rugged look and shitty life situation, is a good guy. He works his hands to the bone to take care of his mother, who does nothing but lie in bed sleeping almost 24/7 (I flip-flopped between hating and pitying her character). They cannot afford a doctor. She can’t work. His dad’s in jail, there’s no money, and Travis is the only one who can at least try to keep up appearances, somehow hold on to their flat, and put food on the table. And yes, he has a way with women, but he never lies to them or makes them believe there will be anything more than one night. Also, he changes a lot over the course of the novel. He wants something more, wants to evolve, wants to find a way out of the dirt back to a life worth living instead of just surviving one day at a time.

    The novel does a good job discussing themes of poverty and homelessness. I haven’t seen that to this extent in a New Adult book before. Anne Pfeffer really lets her main character take a plunge down to the very bottom, and shows the paradoxical interrelation of needing an apartment to get a job and needing a job to pay for an apartment in a striking way. Lose one, lose the other.

    The unfairness of it all was striking – you can try all you want and work very very hard, but you might still not get anything for it, while others have it all and don’t need to lift a finger. I think this aspect of the novel also rang with me because it’s something I’m not familiar with from my own country because it wouldn’t be possible here in this way (our health insurance/social security system is very different). Travis’ alternating feelings of anger, despair, hope, ambition, and pride were credible and tangible as the only thing that gives his life purpose is slipping away from him. I really rooted for Travis despite or maybe because of his character flaws.

    I also liked his love interest a lot, though for spoiler reasons I cannot talk about her by name or reveal too much. She was kind and understanding and I thought they were evenly matched. They’re relationship was slow-building and gave them time to get to know one another as friends first. Some of that plot line was a bit predictable, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. There were steamy scenes, but nothing too graphic that would overstep NA boundaries.

    The pace was good, the plot- and romance arch well balanced. Pfeffer knows how to write great dialogue that can also lift the mood and keep the story from becoming too depressing. One point of critique for me is that the ending felt a bit rushed and some things resolved a little too easily. Don’t get me wrong, I like the note on which the story ended, but it somehow happened a bit fast.

    All in all, Girls Love Travis Walker is a great NA contemporary, especially if you enjoy authentic guy POV. The writing is fluid and very compelling; I read the book in a day. It tackles basic life problems and issues in a very realistic way without becoming too bleak and not offering a way out. Travis’ persistence was inspiring and also made me gain a new appreciation for things I tend to take for granted. The romance is important and has great chemistry but it’s by no means the only focus of the novel, as the title might make you suspect. I’d recommend it to anyone who is ready for a different set of characters than you’re usually confronted with and who is in the mood to dive into the world of struggling guy wanting to rise above his lot.

    Only fifteen minutes since I’d entered the halls of Perdido High School and already the beady eye of authority was upon me. I hadn’t even done anything wrong.

    “Travis!” Ms. Valenzuela called out to me from the door of the guidance office. Although she was getting old, maybe into her early forties, she hadn’t let herself go. She had great legs, which were hidden today by her lime green pants. 

    “Yo.” I loped over and unleashed a grin that combined sincere remorse for my failings with my irresistible charm. 

    She pursed her lips. “Don’t start with me, Travis.”  
    I led the way to her office and took my usual chair while she sat at the desk across from me. “New picture,” I said, nodding to the updated photo of her two daughters. “Kelsi and … Julianne, right?”

    She struggled to keep back a smile. “Yes, Travis. Those are their names.”
    “Fifth and seventh grade, right?”
    “Yes, Travis.” Now she was smiling for sure.
    Maybe it was my blue-green eyes, or maybe my granite abs, but I could always get women to smile at me. 

    Ms. Valenzuela opened my folder. “Six more absences since your last visit to my office. Plus numerous missed homework assignments. You’re this close to suspension.” She held up her thumb and index finger a millimeter apart. 

    “I have to work, Ms. Val,” I said. “Gotta get ahead, you know.” I had a promising position as a bus boy at Jake’s Burgers.
    “How many hours are you working these days?”
    “As many as I can get, whenever I can get ‘em.”
    “You can’t cut back?” She knew she couldn’t push me that hard. My family’s sudden move to Los Angeles in November of my junior year, coupled with my erratic attendance at Perdido High, had screwed up my graduation credits. With all my former classmates in college, I was starting my senior year, again, at age nineteen. 

    “I can’t get weekend shifts at Jake’s,” I told Ms.Val.
    She didn’t like me working there, but she should just be glad I wasn’t following in the path of my father, who knocked over a convenience mart a year ago and ended up in prison for armed robbery. Mom had gone to visit him, but I refused. He could rot there for all I cared.

    “You’ve got one school year left to graduate. I want to see you get that high school diploma, Travis. Or a GED at least.” Between her fingers, she rolled a pen. It was the cheap kind the school district bought that wrote for about five minutes before it crapped out on you.
    “Yeah, well, we’re about to get evicted,” I said, “so that’s kind of rearranged my priorities.”

    Follow the tour and check out interviews and guest posts:

    May 2 - My Bookmark Blog - Review
    May 3 - Bean Counting Mommy - Review
    May 4 - Flirting With Romance - Review/Interview
    May 5 - Andi's YA Books - Review/Interview
    May 6 - The Avid Reader - Review/Interview
    May 8 - Gimme the Scoop Reviews - Review
    May 11 - Please Another Book - Review/Interview
    May 13 - Alway's YA at Heart - Review
    May 15 - A Bibliophile's Thoughts - Review
    May 16 - My Cozie Corner - Review
    May 17 - Total Book Geek - Review
    May 18 - Books and Needlepoint - Review
    May 20 - Faerie Tale Books - Review
    May 20 - Owlnestly Reviews - Review
    May 21 - Up All Night Reviews - Review
    May 22 - Read-A-Holicz - Review
    May 23 - Shelf Space Needed - Review
    May 24 - Bookishly Devoted - Review
    May 25 - Doodles Book Blog - Review
    May 28 - Reviewing Shelf - Review
    May 28- Pixie Dust Reviews - Review/Interview
    May 29 - YA Book Addict - Review
    May 30 - LovLivLife Reviews  - Review
    May 30 - Addicted to Books- Review

    What do you guys think of my review, the excpert, or the general premise of the book? Is this something that would interest you? Let me know in the comments :)

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Waiting on Wednesday: Untold, by Sarah Rees Brennan

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine to spotlight upcoming book releases that we're excited about.

    This week's pick:

    Release date: September 24, 2013
    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
    Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

    Goodreads description:
    Free from bonds, but not each other

    It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

    But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

    My sister just finished my copy of Unspoken, so the series is more present in my mind again. She also reminded me of the TERRIBLE cliff hanger and is now all sulky about having to wait until September, nevermind that I've been waiting for half a year longer :P But yeah, I'm extremely curious about what's going to happen because pretty much anything could at this point.
    On a side-note: I'm not happy about the cover change. I really hope they will make a new cover for the US edition that will match the old Unsopken cover with the silhouettes!
    Are you also excited for Untold? And what did you pick this Wednesday?

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Covers Of Books I've Read

    Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week the participants post their top ten to a specific topic.

    So this week is about favorite covers of books we've read... and it's soooo hard to choose!!! So much pretty! I'm sure I will forget something totally obvious and want to bash my head into the wall because of it. Ahem. Anyway, here goes in no particular order...

    I imagine Varen to look just like that. I love that the models wear clothes the characters wear in the book. And I love all the writing on the image - it hints at Varen's mysterious notebooks.
    As for Fragile Eternity, the butterfly looks just that - fragile. Frozen. I also adore the font! And it was one of my favorite books in the seris :)

    Black City was a book I wanted to read for a whole year before it came out. The wait was agonizing. I love that shatteredrose, the font, the colors, the city in the backdrop. It's perfect.
    Throne of Glass - so badass! The clothes. The hair. The daggers!! The colors and font. The UK cover is just so much better than the US one.

    Masque's cover is even more beautiful in person because the paper has a shimmer to it that isn't visible on the screen. The colors, dress, and parasol fit perfectly. I love it!
    Dearly, Departed is another parasol cover I love. The colors are perfect and again, it fits the actual content. I also adore the font!

    Splintered's cover is just so vibrant!!! The colors are even deeper when you see them for real, and I love how there are so many details you only start to notice as you read the actual story.
    With Chantress, the combination of the colors, her hood, the font, the tag line, and the thing she's holding in her hand intrigued me.

    I have very mixed feelings about hte Fallen series, but I love the covers. Torment is my favorite. It looks eternally cold and mournful and you can just see the inner turmoil of the girl. It's stunning in its simplicity.
    Something Strange and Deadly is another one you have to see in person because it shimmers so prettily! The model looks really close to how I imagined Eleanor and I think the detail of the cogs and wheels in the background is awesome.

    Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh
    Fragile Eternity, by Melissa Marr
    Black City, by Elizabeth Richards
    Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
    Masque of the Red Death, by Beathany Griffin
    Dearly, Departed, by Lia Habel
    Splintered, by A.G. Howard
    Chantress, by Amy Butler Greenfield
    Torment, by Lauren Kate
    Something Strange and Deadly, by Susan Dennard

    This was really hard! I thought there would be less pretty dress covers and more graphically interesting ones but those are mostly covers from the TBR pile. Also, it's hard to separate my feelings of the story from those of the cover. There were many books I love whose books are pretty but just not quite awesome enough to make the list.
    Anyhow, here are some runner-ups from other books I've already read:

    Wither, by Lauren Destefano
    In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters
    The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting

    With Wither, it's that the cover fits so perfectly! Also, mostly I chose it because the inner design of the book is so special and gorgeous! In the Shadow of Blackbirds was fantastic and I love that the cover photograph appears in the book, along with other copies of actual photographs from the time period the book is set in. The Pledge is so gorgeous, and what I think is special about it is that the word is juxtaposed on the image again and the texture is different from the rest of the cover. You feel the words when you trace them.

    Oof. Alrighty, what do you guys think of my choices? Anything that is glaringly absent? And please leave your links, I can't wait to see what covers you chose and find new things to drool over ;)

    Saturday, May 18, 2013

    Stacking the Shelves: Embers of Dreams hanging on Strings

    Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase all the books we got in the past week. Those can be bought, won, gifted, for review, borrowed, print or ebooks... no matter, just share what you got :)

    This week was pretty good for me! A bunch of these books have been on my TBR list for a long time, and with my current reading speed I hope to get to them soon :)

    Bought in print:

    Dreamfever, by Karen Marie Moning
    Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

    Dreamfever was fantastic but the ending was such a horrible cliffhanger!!! And the next book isn't available in the right format. Thank god my friend has it, but she's in Belgium till Monday >.< I even asked her for a small spoiler because I couldn't take the suspense. And I usually loathe spoilers with a passion.
    Graceling I've wanted to read for sooo long! I even bought it in German but then never read it because I don't like translations (I didn't know it was *that* book when I bought it). I love the cover!


    Anathema, by K.A. Tucker
    Strings, by Kendall Grey
    Ember X, by Jessica Sorensen

    I really like the cover change for Anathema! I don't really know what to expect from the book but it sounds really interesting.
    Strings should be fun. Just read the description XD
    I already own Ember, but this is an 'updated' version that is more New Adult-ish than the previous one. I hope my old version wasn't changed because I'd love to read and compare both. Oh, and it was free on amazon when I got it, but no promises that it still is...

    What do you guys think of my haul? Have you read any of the books? And what did you get in the past week?

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Just-Finished-Review: The Sea of Tranquility, by Katja Millay

    Release date: June 4, 2013
    Publisher: Atria Books
    Format: Paperback, 448 pages

    Goodreads description:
    I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

    Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

    All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

    Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

    The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

    Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.

    The following review is based on a copy I got from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

    The Sea of Tranquility is one of those books everyone tells you to read because of how amazing it is. You go in expecting it to be great… but you have no way of knowing just how painfully real, how delicate, how brutal, how deeply affecting a story you are about to be swept into. I think there is no way to read this book and not be in some way changed by it. I know that the characters and what they faced will stay with me for a very long time, and that my mind and heart are the richer for it.

    The most amazing thing about this book are the characters. I have never met two fictional people like Nastya and Josh. I know that many contemporary YA and NA books focus on characters that are in some way ‘broken’, but any that I’ve read of so far pale in comparison. Josh and Nastya are not just a series of traits or letters on a page, they become people. There is nothing shallow, nothing fabricated or melodramatic about them. They are complex, and strong, and shattered, and no longer believe that anything will ever be okay. And once you start to learn about what they’ve been through, you can’t blame them. My heart broke for their pain, their grief, their anger.

    The story is told alternately from Nastya and Josh’s point of view, and I loved the chance to see into both of their heads! Their voices are so strong and basically leapt off the page from the very beginning. Nastya enters a new school in a new town where she now lives with her aunt after leaving her family behind. She has not spoken a word in over a year. She wants to be left alone. Josh already is alone, because everyone gives him a berth and no one knows how to deal with him. He doesn’t talk much either and never asks Nastya any questions, which is part of why they start spending time together after a chance-encounter.

    I loved seeing them grow closer. There was nothing rushed, nothing forced about it. No talk of love after only weeks of knowing one another. I even would have been content if there’d been no romance at all, because the connection between them and their interactions were enough – which is not to say I didn’t root for the two of them to become a couple!

    The minor characters are also amazing. There is so much more to them than I initially expected, especially Drew, Josh’s only friend who also grows close to Nastya. I never imagined him to have as much depth but it made me like him a lot more.

    Another character I really liked is Clay, a talented artist. I generally love how important creative expression (or lack thereof) is in the story! It’s not just something cool to add to the people, it’s part of who they are and how they view and deal with the world around them.

    Despite how bleak and painful the story may sound at this point, it also made me laugh quite a lot! The dialogue is awesome, both the spoken conversations and the things Nastya and Josh think but don’t say out loud. Both have a no-nonsense attitude and call things how they are. I also really like how openly the book treats questions of sexuality, drinking, and being confronted with things you aren’t ready for.

    The pace is slow-building in the beginning, but I never wanted it to move faster because it never bored or bothered me. This isn’t an action-focused story, it’s about the inner journey of the characters and their changes. It needs time to grow, or it would not be believable. There are peaks of high emotion and drama, but never anything annoying or over the top. Katja Millay is also wonderful at spreading out information without ever revealing too much. Despite seeing into both Josh and Nastya’s heads, it’s a long time before there is any clarity to what precisely happened to her, and the reveal, once it comes, was very different from how I expected it to go down!

    I don’t really know what else to say because I don’t want to give anything away, and the beauty and power of The Sea of Tranquility is in the details. In the things that go unsaid. In events for which there are no adequate words. This is a story about hope and despair, about choices, about hoping for second chances but not daring to, about anger and hatred and the wish for revenge. About fear, and how it might be overcome. About healing. About wondering whether one even deserves to heal, or be happy. It’s about how our expectations shape the world, and about how nothing is ever simple or black-and-white. It’s angsty. It’s powerful. It’s so compelling you will not want to put it down. It will make you feel the full range of emotions without being tear-jerky, without you feeling manipulated into feeling anything. It’s a story I will re-read because I know there are so many hints I will pick up on that I could not know about the first time around. I would not change a single word in it. I don’t have the right words to talk about it. So do yourself a favor and just go read it – it will be time well spent!

    I only just finished reading this book and maybe I should have waited a bit longer with writing the review to better digest the story. There are a lot of things I haven't touched on in the review. But I just needed to voice my thoughts somehow! Have any of your read it yet? What did you think? Or if you haven't, what intrigues you about it? I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments :)

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Waiting on Wednesday: The Golden City, by J. Kathleen Cheney

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine to spotlight upcoming book releases that we're excited about.

    This week's pick:

    Release date: November 5, 2013
    Publisher: Roc Trade
    Format: Paperback, 352 pages

    Goodreads description:
    For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

    When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

    Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

    Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone...

    This books sounds so unique and amazing! Spies, sea folk, uneasy allies, Paris... Ocotber can't come soon enough :)
    What do you guys think of my pick? Have you heard of it or read any early reviews? And what book are you highlighting this week?