Win Cleopatra's Daughter or The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
In My Mailbox:
The Kindling of Greenfyr by Mark Freeman (Signed) - For Review
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - I have no idea why I got this. I didn't win it and got no e-mails from the publisher or author, so I'm confused.
Meri Strikes Back by M. Apostolina - Contest Win
The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout - Contest Win
NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman - Contest Win
Bought at Library Book Sales (It looks like someone got rid of all their Tamora Pierce books.):
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Doppleganger Chronicles: The First Escape by G. P. Taylor
Monster Blood Tattoo - Book One: Foundling by D. M. Cornish
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Contact by Carl Sagan
Heartlight by T. A. Barron
The Final Warning by James Patterson
By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz
Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
2 copies (different paperback editions) of Midnighters: Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld
Midnighters: Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld
Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
The First Horseman by John Case
Sorceress by Celia Rees
Thwonk by Joan Bauer
White is for Magic by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Warcraft - The Sunwell Trilogy: Dragon Hunt by Richard A. Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim
Inuyasha Volume 20 by Rumiko Takahashi
Gilda Joyce - Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison
The Tenth City by Patrick Carman
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Jumper by Steven Gould
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Circle of Magic - Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce
Circle of Magic - Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce
Circle of Magic - Daja's Book by Tamora Pierce
Circle of Magic - Briar's Book by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small - First Test by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small - Page by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small - Squire by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small - Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
The Circle Opens - Street Magic by Tamora Pierce
The Circle Opens - Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce
Lioness Quartet - In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce (SIGNED!)
Lioness Quartet - The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
Lioness Quartet - Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Gifts from Family:
Midnighters: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
Midnighters: Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld (hardcover, and yes, I am collecting them)
If I counted right, that's 53 books!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
- Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz
- Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey
- Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
- Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith (ARC)
- Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
- Legacy by Cayla Kluver
- Immortal by Gillian Shields
- What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook
- Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper
- Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
- 8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovitch (ARC)
- Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
- The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell
- The Blue Star by Tony Earley
- The Twilight Companion: The Unauthorized Guide to the Series by Lois H. Gresh
- Twilight Soundtrack (CD)
- Twilight Score (CD)
- 3 Twilight Bookmarks
- Signed Rampant Bookmark
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Here's the prize list (copied from the contest post):
If you want to enter the contest, hurry because it ends tomorrow on the 27th! - http://bloodybookaholic.blogspot.com/2009/08/mega-palooza-contest.html
The winner of Cleopatra's Daughter is:
EDIT: throuthehaze, the previous winner of The Heretic Queen has already won a copy in another contest, so the new winner of The Heretic Queen is:
Congratulations! I am going to contact the winners right now. If they do not respond in a week, I will pick new winners.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Milestones by Samira Armin Hodges (Signed) - Contest
Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin (Signed ARC) - Contest
Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley (Signed) - Contest
Dewey by Vicki Myron - Contest
And thank you to The Story Siren for hosting the In My Mailbox meme!
Monday, September 7, 2009
The List of Books:
1. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
2. Immortal by Gillian Shields
3. Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
4. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
5. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
6. The House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
7. My Bonny Light Horseman by L.A. Meyer
8. The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French
9. The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow
The contest ends on September 9th.
Click here --> http://readnowsleeplater.wordpress.com/contests/
Step 1 - Be Prepared: Follow a lot of book blogs and/or subscribe to them on Google Reader or a similar feed reader. Also, follow bloggers on Twitter (and those people that link to a lot of contests.)
Step 2 - Find Contests: When you check the latest blog posts, open up all the contests you find. Set up a system (either a Word document, system of internet bookmarks, etc.) to organize the contests by the date they should be entered (usually the day of the deadline or before if you need more time to get extra entries.) I personally use a Word document where the contests are listed by month and day.
Step 3 - Enter Contests: Open up your Word document or other organizational system. Find the contests for the current day (and the next days if you want to get ahead.) Open the links and comment with your entries (try to get a lot of extra entries, which is easiest if you have a blog and Twitter account.)
Step 4 - Win Contests: Check back at your feed reader or Blogger dashboard every now and then to see if winners have been posted, and your e-mail you use for contest entries. If you entered a contest on a blog that you don't follow or subscribe to, check back to it using your list of contests. This step is largely based on chance, but if you enter enough contests with a lot of extra entries, you will win eventually.
Here is a sample of my list for this month (I update it all the time, so it will soon be outdated, but you may find these links helpful):
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I can't get pictures from my camera right now, and it would take forever to find all the covers online, so I'm just going to list the books I got:
In My Mailbox:
Monster's Proof by Richard Lewis (Signed) - Contest
Meridian by Amber Kizer (Signed) - Contest
One Butt Cheek at a Time by Amber Kizer (Signed) - Contest
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran - For Review
Behold the Eye: Braumaru by Veronica Tabares - For Review
Behold the Eye: Cerulea by Veronica Tabares - For Review
Behold the Eye: Viridia by Veronica Tabares - For Review
Geektastic by Various Authors (ARC) - Contest
My Name is Will by Jess Winfield - Contest
Tricks by Ellen Hopkins (ARC) - Contest
The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara M. Zeises (Signed) - Contest
Anyone But You by Lara M. Zeises (Signed) - Contest
The Sentinels: Fortunes of War by Gordon Zuckerman (ARC) - Contest
Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff, Benjamin Percy, and James Ponsoldt - For Review
From a Library Book Sale:
Peace, Love & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle (SIGNED!)
Prom Nights From Hell by Various Authors
The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Extras by Scott Westerfeld
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Zipped by Laura and Tom McNeal
Old Magic by Marianne Curley
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Tithe by Holly Black
Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Flawless by Sara Shepard
Perfect by Sara Shepard
Kare Kano Vols 1-3 Collection by Masami Tsuda
The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw (ARC)
Dangerous Girls by R. L. Stine
Sovay by Celia Rees (ARC)
Children of Orion: Book One by Robert Ipcar (Signed)
Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan
Cirque Du Freak: Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan
Cirque Du Freak: Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan
Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors by Jenny Nimmo
Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
Bone: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith
Bone: Rock Jaw - Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith
Bone: Old Man's Cave by Jeff Smith
Used Books from Elsewhere:
Spellfall by Katherine Roberts
The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
Sunwing by Kenneth Oppel
If I counted right, that's 48 books!
And thank you to The Story Siren for hosting the In My Mailbox meme!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Author – L. Diane Wolfe
Genre(s) – Realistic Fiction
Pages - 296
Publisher – Dancing Lemur Press
Publication Date - August 18, 2009
Plot - 26/30
Writing – 16/20
Characters - 19/20
Creativity - 17/20
The *Wow* Factor - 7/10
Grand Total - 85/100
Grade – B
Summary (From Amazon) -
Haunted by a troubled past... The future appears bright for James Sheppard. Emerging from a troubled childhood, he is blessed with talent and a good work ethic. Excelling in his classes and at the campus newspaper, James's goal of editor appears within his grasp. However, years of abuse and loneliness have dampened his spirit. By the time Maria enters his world, James is nearing the breaking point. Her innocent love slowly fills the void in his life, boosting his confidence and giving him hope. When a crisis abruptly forces him into adulthood, James is saddled with more responsibility than expected. Struggling to cope with the situation, the past returns to haunt him. Will James find peace before the mistakes of his father destroy him completely?
Firstly, let me say that this is not they type of book I usually read. Even when I read realistic fiction, it tends to be more of the fast-paced, strange, multicultural, or highly-unlikely-yet-still-possible varieties. Reading this book was like looking in on the lives of real people as they go from being confused teenagers to adults. This had its downsides, yet still made for an interesting reading experience. I didn't give this book the best of ratings, but that's probably because I gravitate towards the epic and unusual. Even so, I enjoyed The Circle of Friends Book III...James.
My main problem with this book was the slow pace. Some readers enjoy this, but I found it to drag in places. This isn't to say it wasn't interesting, because I still appreciated the plot. James lived for a long time searching for meaning and happiness in his life, which he finds in Maria and their family and friends. He and Maria overcome obstacles in their lives and become independent. As others have, I found L. Diane Wolfe's writing to be very encouraging.
The characters were where this novel truly shone. There were a lot of characters, which I usually find hard to keep track of when I read a book, but this was barely a problem with this book. They seemed like real people, and as I read I felt a connection to their lives and emotions, which were vibrantly expressed. I felt warm and fuzzy inside at the parts where where the characters feel happy or in love, and even found myself crying at the end, when a heartbreaking revelation is made. None of the characters seemed like stereotypes, and none were perfect, not even the main character. There were times where I liked and disliked each of them, which contributed to the realism of the book.
Overall, this book was very well written and believable, but there were a few things that annoyed me about its writing style. There were a few words that seemed to be overused, particularly "bubble" and "youngster." This went along with a slight overuse of synonyms. Some of the dialog seemed a bit awkward, but for the most part it seemed natural and flowed well. Also, some of the transitions from one event to another at a totally different time weren't always clear, so I had to go back a few times and look for the point where the time and location changed.
In conclusion, while this was not my ideal book, it may be someone else's. I would recommend The Circle of Friends Book III...James to readers who enjoy realistic fiction, especially about real-life coming-of-age. Reading this book would probably help those who feel scared about growing up, or need to remember that there is love and friendship in the world.
Book From (Review Group, Bought, Library, Publisher, Author, Contest, Etc.) - Author
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here are the summaries for the books (from the Barnes & Noble site):
Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel -
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.
The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian’s watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.
Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pullof friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.
Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.
The Heretic Queen: A Novel -
The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.
Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.
To learn more, here is the author's website: http://www.michellemoran.com/
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with your e-mail address (see rules):
To get extra entries:
- Name your favorite historical fiction book. (+1)
- Become a follower. (+1)
- If you are already a follower... (+2)
- Follow me on Twitter (@ParadoxRevealed) and leave your Twitter name. (+1)
- If you already follow me on Twitter. (+2)
- Mention my contest (with a link) on your blog or Twitter. (+3)
EDIT: You can specify if you want to enter to win just one of the books. If you don't say which you want to win, you will be entered for both. All entrants who commented before this addition will be entered for both.
1. Please mention everything you did in one comment. If you do more later, delete the old comment and leave a new one.
2. If you decide to enter by commenting here, you must leave your e-mail or blog address.
3. If you don't want to comment to enter, you can e-mail me your entries at paradoxicalblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
This contest is international!
I'm leaving the contest open until 11:59 PM on September 25th. The winner will be chosen in the next few days after that and contacted. I'll forward the winners' addresses to the author.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Weekly Theme: My Favorites
Gunnerkrigg Court –
Gunnerkrigg Court is my absolute favorite webcomic. It is set in a mysterious boarding school (which is really part of a huge complex) and the forest across from it. It is a bizarre mixture of fantasy and science fiction that includes everything from robots and futuristic technology to gods, supernatural abilities, ghosts, and everything in between. The main characters are Antimony (Annie), a girl who is sensitive to spirits, and her inventor friend Kat. They discover some of the weirder things about their school and its history in a battle between magic and science. It’s a bit hard to explain Gunnerkrigg Court, but that’s part of the mystery. If you read any sf/fantasy webcomic, read this one.
20 Galaxies -
This one might sound a bit cheesy at first, but the art is gorgeous and there’s more to it than meets the eye. Basically, it’s one of those stories where a bunch of kids end up having to save the world. But it’s more of a science fiction story than fantasy. There’s definitely a pretty black and white sense of good versus evil, but it’s not actually the evil people that are threatening to destroy the Earth, but a galactic council who wants to destroy it for the greater good, unless the evil can be eradicated from it. If you like epics or stories where ordinary people end up with great responsibilities and supernatural powers, you’ll probably like 20 Galaxies. I’ll also venture to say that it’s a bit like Star Wars.
Angel Moxie -
This webcomic is so hilarious that I’ve read it through two times (It’s completed.) It’s a magical girl (a Japanese anime/manga genre – think Sailor Moon) parody with an actual plot! If you are an anime or manga fan, you will love this.
Earthsong is a bit hard to describe. It revolves around the idea that stars and planets are sentient beings, but they become lazy and the creatures on the planets’ surfaces start to die, and planets with them. Earthsong is a planet that takes in other planets’ “children” so they can be saved. The plot involves a battle between good and evil, and a question over the identity of Willow, the main character. Even if this confuses you, check this one out if only for the gorgeous art!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Coming 12/22/09 from Bloomsbury...
Nimira is a music-hall girl used to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. In Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement in a group of corrupt sorcerers for whom the rules of the living and dead are meant to be broken for greater power. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world.
Want to win an ARC with original sketches from the author inside? See http://fabulousfrock.livejournal.com for details!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Here's the new fan cover (click to see it full size):
Here is the other fan cover:
Here is the real cover:
Pre-order the book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316027421/
So, do you like the new one? Which of the fan covers do you think is better?
Here's a link to the post with four of my other fan covers: http://paradoxrevealed.blogspot.com/2009/01/my-fan-art-book-covers.html
I have to include some stuff because of copyrights. Some images used in making the covers were released under these licenses, and derivative works (like the cover) must be released with the same licenses. They are:
- GNU Free Documentation License (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License)
- Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thank you so much!
These are the people who responded:
WillowRaven from Red House Books
Count Rebula/Rebrebs from Count Rebula's Concepts and Comments
Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century
La Coccinelle from The Ladybug Reads
If you were interested in adding another sidebar to your blog, here are the links they recommended:
- Google search for blogger templates
If you can help, e-mail me at:
paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com
paradoxicalblog (at) gmail (dot) com
In return you'll recieve a public thank you on my blog and the knowledge that you've helped someone. Please?
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
The Lovely Bones
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Is anyone else excited about these?
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Author – Lisa Schroeder
Genre(s) – Verse, Realistic Fiction
Pages - 368
Publisher – Simon Pulse
Publication Date - December 23, 2008
Plot - 26/30
Writing – 19/20
Characters - 18/20
Creativity - 17/20
The *Wow* Factor - 9/10
Grand Total - 89/100
Grade – B+
Summary (From Amazon) -
Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.
Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn't quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.
But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she'll face issues she's been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.
Perhaps she's not so alone after all....
I read this book a while ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but I remember my general impression of it. Far From You isn’t a book with a deep plot, which you wouldn’t expect from a verse novel, but I found that the emotions expressed in the book ring true. As I read, I felt angry along with Alice, or sad, or forgiving. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel all fuzzy inside, and is definitely worth a read.
Far From You has a linear plot, but it has been written very well. But it almost seemed more like a short story than a full-length novel. Perhaps this is simply because it’s a verse novel, but I would have liked to see more. I believe that Far From You tells the story of Alice’s transformation well and I loved the slight hint at the supernatural.
Because Far From You is a verse novel, I never got to know the characters, even Alice, very deeply, but what I did see was more of a snapshot from the lives of realistic people, facing problems and emotions that could be real.
As with most verse novels I have read, I found the poetry to be expressive, and in this case both beautiful and real at the same time. Verse novels aren’t my favorite thing to read, but even I recognize the beauty in Far From You, so I think that many people will also enjoy it. I recommend it especially for those who enjoy realistic fiction, poetry, and inspirational stories.
Book From (Review Group, Bought, Library, Publisher, Author, Contest, Etc.) - Publisher
I recently entered a contest where I had to come up with alternative ways to start a fairy tale (masterminded by Heather of The Secret Life of WriterGirl), other than "Once Upon a Time." I thought I'd share my creations with you, in the hope that I'll get a few laughs.
In the time of the flesh-eating fairies...
Once, when the world was younger than the dinosaurs...
When the rainbow still held a door...
When humans were still young and fae folk ruled the realm...
Once there was... oh, forget it.
Once upon a particular position in the space-time continuum...
It was a (insert adjective here) night and the the faerie eyes were glowing in the woods...
If I tell you this tale I'll have to kill you, or at least leave you badly dismembered...
These words are powerful, so listen well...
Beware the cunning people who live where humans dare not go...
Blood and guts. If this makes you feel squeamish, do not read on...
It was a beautiful summer day and the zombies sat quietly decaying....
If you're reading this now, it's probably too late...
When the naiads had forgotten how to swim and the metal towers scraped the sky...
If the fae folk touch you, call the priest and not the police...
Once, before the sparkly glitter faeries attacked...
To read other people's entries, go to one of these links:
- You can vote for the winner here: http://thesecretadventuresofwritergirl.blogspot.com/2009/07/let-once-upon-time-voting-begin.html
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Here's the trailer:
Does it look good to any of you?
And does anyone here have an ARC? Is it any good?
I think Candor sounds really interesting, so I'll definitely read it when I get a chance.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Author – Lucienne Diver
Genre(s) – Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Pages - 240
Publisher – Flux
Publication Date - May 1, 2009
Plot - 24/30
Writing – 18/20
Characters - 19/20
Creativity - 18/20
The *Wow* Factor - 8/10
Grand Total - 87/100
Grade – B+
Summary (From Amazon) -
Gina Covello's Perks and Pitfalls of Vamp Life
1. Hello?! Eternal youth and beauty!
2. Free. Designer. Clothes.
3. My hot new boyfriend Bobby went from chess dud to vamp stud.
4. No reflection! First order of business: turn my own stylist to stop the downward spiral from chic to eek.
5. Vampire vixen Mellisande has taken an interest in my boyfriend, and is now transforming the entire high school into her own personal vampire army. If anyone's going to start their own undead entourage it should be me. I guess I'll just have to save everyone from fashion disasters and other fates worse than death.
First of all, Vamped was not what I expected it to be. I was expecting it to be set in a high school with a “mean girls” vs. protagonist plot, but with vampires. That has been done before, but Vamped definitely hasn’t. It mixes a lot of more traditional fantasy themes (such as prophecies) with the modern urban vampire story. This book and its upcoming sequel have a lot of potential to be a great vampire series, but there is some room for improvement.
The plot of Vamped where I had the most problems, but none were unforgivable, and loose ends can definitely be tied up in a future book. I was immediately drawn into Gina’s story and her emotions, but I also found myself feeling confused, especially since so many things about the different vampires and their motives were never fully explained. Everything seemed a bit rushed, and there was a distinct feeling that there was a lot going on in the background. My problem isn’t with the complicated world of vampires, which I actually found fascinating, but with the fact that, for the most part, Gina was cloistered away from it. I think Vamped could have been much better if Gina’s could have seen more than just a few locations in her town and Mellisande’s hideout, and if the book had been a bit longer than 240 pages. I would like to see more of the hidden vampire society in future books, as well as have some secrets revealed about Gina and Bobby’s fate. There is a prophecy and glowing stone involved, so this could get epic!
My favorite things about Vamped were the characters and writing style of the book. Gina narrated the novel, and I loved her voice and funny commentary. I often found myself laughing out loud at her thoughts and words. She was a lot of fun, and was a very original character. I also loved her habit of nicknaming people. And Mellisande was definitely a character I loved to hate. Besides being evil, she was also annoying because she was never generous when it came to revealing information about her plans, and those of other vampires. Bobby was also an interesting character; very kind, but somehow a part of Mellisande’s scheme. And the man-eating psychic completely creeped me out, and was definitely something I’d never seen before. Some minor characters seemed less developed and more disposable, but the main characters were very well done!
In conclusion, Vamped was a fun beginning to a promising series, and I can’t wait for the next book, which I believe will be called Revamped. I think that any lover of vampire stories or urban fantasy will love Vamped, as well as those who love reading about a snarky heroine. And isn’t the cover awesome?!
Book From (Review Group, Bought, Library, Publisher, Author, Contest, Etc.) - Author
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Soooo... Congratulations on your release, Lisa Mantchev!!!
In addition, a promise: I promise here to make a fan cover for Eyes Like Stars when I have completed it. If you want an example of what these look like, scroll down a few entries to see my Prophecy of the Sisters fan cover.
Here's the awesome cover of Eyes Like Stars:
Here's the blurb from Amazon:
All her world’s a stage.
Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.
That is, until now.Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.
COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.
ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
BERTIE. Our heroine.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.
Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.Open Curtain
P.S. - If you are interested, yes, this is contest-related. But Eyes Like Stars is really a great book, from what I've read of it and the rave reviews I've seen. In fact, I haven't come across a single bad review for it.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Author - Patricia C. Wrede
Genre(s) – Fantasy, Alternate History
Pages - 320
Publisher – Scholastic Press
Publication Date - April 15, 2009
Plot - 27/30
Writing - 19/20
Characters - 18/20
Creativity - 19/20
The *Wow* Factor - 9/10
Grand Total - 92/100
Grade – A-
Summary (From Amazon) -
Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent -- and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.
With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I’ve seen a lot of reviews with varying reactions to this book, but I really enjoyed Thirteenth Child! I found it to be original, and it appealed to my interest in parallel worlds and alternate histories. It may be a bit slow for some readers, but I think that it will appeal to those who like books with this pacing, as well as fantasy lovers.
The world building for Thirteenth Child was incredible, and I enjoyed learning about this alternate version of 19th century America and the many types of magic and creatures. There were mentions of many historical figures from our world, but many events and people in power were different due to the existence of magic, and many country names were different. North America (or at least the US) was known as Columbia, and Europe was Avrupa. Many of these changes were fairly small, but they were different enough to draw my interest. The setting of Thirteenth Child was one of my favorite parts of the book. Some things weren’t perfectly explained, but Thirteenth Child is only the first book in a series, so it is likely that more will be revealed later.
I enjoyed the characters, who were mostly three-dimensional and interesting to read about, but sometimes I felt that there were too many to keep track of. Eff, the main character, had such a huge family and met so many people that it became confusing at times. But I suppose this is due to the fact that the book takes place over many years, from the time Eff is 4 to when she turns 18. I especially liked reading about Eff’s struggles to accept herself despite her extended family’s prejudice against “unlucky/evil” thirteenth children. Some of Eff’s relatives were infuriating, but that was the point. They were the characters that readers love to hate.
The plot was a bit hard to pin down, which is why this book didn’t get an A. The first half of the book is mainly about Eff growing up, and is very episodic. This is the part that may be considered slow, especially since Eff does not cross the magical barrier until she is 18. It is after this that Eff is challenged to use all that she has learned growing up to solve a problem that is the climax of the book. Perhaps the next book will have a tighter plot.
There is some controversy over this book because it has no mention of Native Americans, and while this is a bit disturbing, I found some evidence in the book that they might be introduced later in some form or another. In one part of the book, a character who had gone west mentioned seeing smoke come from beyond the mountains (the Rockies.) And while there are three main systems of magic in the book (Avrupan, Aphrikan, and Hijero-Cathayan), it is mentioned that there are numerous other types, including some that are unknown to the Columbian settlers. SPOILER: Also, Eff is given a magical necklace by the same person who saw the smoke (a traveling magician), which supposedly has spells from unknown magic systems woven into it. So it is likely that this world’s version of Native Americans will show up in the next books, and if they do, they probably have their own systems of magic.
This book has been compared to Harry Potter, the Little House books (it did have a similar feel to them,) and the Monster Blood Tattoo books, but I’m going to add another comparison. I see lots of similarities to the Worldweavers books by Alma Alexander, which is set in the present time, but in a world that has always had magic. I’d recommend Thirteenth Child to anyone who likes these books.
Book From (Review Group, Bought, Library, Publisher, Author, Contest, Etc.) - Library