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Saturday, February 9, 2013

I have officially moved to Wordpress!

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Friday, February 8, 2013

[Review] The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Cover Rating: ★★★★★
Title: The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Author: Ruth Frances Long
Pages: 363 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: August 16, 2012
Source: Won

A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things was one of my most anticipated novels last year, but I didn't get to it until now. The fae are quickly become one of my favorite paranormal creatures, and I tend to love fairy tales, so I was hoping this one would be a winner for me. Unfortunately, it was a little disappointing.

Jenny is one of my least favorite type of characters. You know the ones who are thrown into a new situation or a new world and they act like they know better than those who have always been there? Yep, she's one of those. Whenever Puck or Jack tell her to do something, or not to do something, she always has to do the opposite and when they save her her response is something like "But I had to!" No, you didn't have to, and you almost got yourself killed! What she thinks is bravery and taking control of the situation is actually recklessness and stupidity. Less than 1/3 into the book I found myself severely irritated with Jenny.

However, I loved the world! Faerie is hidden within the forest in the mortal realm, and it's full of creatures both beautiful and terrible. It's impossible to tell who's dangerous and who's not, since the most beautiful of the fae can be the most deadly, while the most hideous could save you from certain death. Jenny, of course, learned all of this the hard way. The trees were my favorite part. They're alive in more ways than one. The forest is always watching and protects its own.

The story was also good, too, when Jenny wasn't driving me bonkers. She's out to save her brother who was stolen by the forest seven years prior. However, she gets caught up in the games of Queen Titania and King Oberon. Each wants her for their own selfish reasons, and neither is willing to let her go so easily. Jack, a forest guardian, has debts to both of the rulers, but he also a duty to protect those who get lost in the forest. Jenny isn't sure if she can trust him, since his loyalties may lay elsewhere, but who else is she suppose to trust in Faerie?

It keeps up a good pace, so I was almost always engaged in the story. There's quite a bit more action and violence than I had expected, but nothing too over the top. I do think I would have loved this one if there had been a more likeable heroine. Or maybe if it had been in 1st person POV, so I could at least understand what Jenny was up to when she made her horrible decisions.

Favorite Quotes

"Nature is hard, unforgiving. It can destroy as much as it can create. That's -- that's its nature." (pg 88)

"Beware a kiss," he told her. "Kisses are powerful things. You expose part of your soul. Have you learned nothing?" (pg 247)

Can you get tetanus in fairyland? she wondered idly. Or something worse? (pg 292)

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

[Review] Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Cover Rating: ★★★★★
Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Walkers Children
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Source: NetGalley

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.

I'm not normally a reader of thrillers, but this one sounded really good! Unfortunately, I should have stuck with gut and passed on it. First, the blurb is a little misleading. We don't know what Mallory doesn't remember everything from the night she killed her boyfriend. We get bits and pieces of the story throughout the book, but it isn't until the end when Mallory mentions that she's remembered something new. Also, her past does indeed follow her to the new school, since someone there does know what she did and why she had to transfer, and they know her from the past. So that blurb isn't totally accurate.

One of my first problems with Hysteria was that the writing felt very repetitive. Almost every chapter or tense scene ends with some variation of "And then I was running" or "I ran away." Mallory was always running from something, all the time. She'd go to class, overhear something on the way to her dorm, pop some sleeping pills, think she sees something and runs away. Lather, rinse, repeat. It got boring fast.

My other problem was why she was sent to a boarding school in the first place. It seems like a strange decision for parents to send their teenager away after she's been through something terrible. Out of sight, out of mind? Definitely. Mallory does not do well at the new school at all, so clearly it was a bad decision.

As for the mystery aspect, I was intrigued. Is Mallory suffering from hysteria, or did someone really follow her to her new school? Or is Brian haunting her and leaving bruises on her shoulder? I was surprised by the answer to these, but once it was revealed I still had questions. I can't say what those questions are without spoiling anything though. Then there's the whole murdered student plot. Of course, Mallory is the number one suspect, but who else could have done it? I didn't figure this one out either, but the big reveal was really lame. I still don't understand what the motive was, and the whole thing felt incomplete. What happened to the murderer(s) at the end?

In the end, this one left me with more questions, instead of resolving everything. I am just really bothered by the lack of reason or motive behind the murder and other crimes committed, which kept me from enjoying this one.

Favorite Quotes

"So," Krista said, speaking carefully again, "Lord of the Flies is really just a metaphor for bad fashion decisions?" A few giggles escaped around the room.
Mr.Durham grinned. "Or maybe it's just one big allegory for high school." (30% eARC)

Go back. A do-over. Like this was all a game. Like what you do doesn't count unless you want it to. (61% eARC)

"You can't know you've forgotten something until you remember it." Then she scrunched up her mouth and said, "That was either really profound or really dumb. I can't decide which." (85% eARC)

Title Quotes

See also: Somatoform disorder. Hysteria.
Reid slept on while the words seared themselves into my brain. Psychological. Hallucinations. Hysteria. (50% eARC)

Long, lanky strides. Hair lit in the moonlight. Brian. Hysteria, I though. In my mind. Hallucinations. (62% eARC)

I couldn't see, even though I could look. And in a brief moment of clarity I thought, Hysteria, even while the rest of me refused to process. (65% eARC)

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Moving to WordPress: RSS Feed

Hey everyone! I'm slowly but surely getting my new blog up and running. Everything is looking good, so I've gone ahead and updated my RSS feed. The old one should be redirecting to WP if you're already subscribed, but it wouldn't hurt to double check.

New RSS Feed:

I'll be unscheduling the posts I already had scheduled this weekend. Make sure you update your subscription if you need to (or subscribe for the first time!) since this blog will only be updated for a few more days!

[Review] Pantomime by Laura Lam

Cover Rating: ★★★☆☆
Title: Pantomime
Author: Laura Lam
Pages: 392 (Paperback)
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Source: NetGalley

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

I'm totally conflicted about my feelings for Pantomime. At first it reminded me too much of The Night Circus, which I didn't like. It wasn't just the circus theme that was similar, but the alternating between past and present and extremely slow pacing. However, the plots are completely different, and once things started getting going I enjoyed it much more. This is he second book I've read this month where the protagonist repeatedly brings up the fact that there's something different about them, but refuses to say "what" they are until a quarter or more into the story. It's extremely annoying rather than intriguing, and I didn't see this point of it in Pantomime since it's super obvious what Micha's medical condition is. Not the specifics, which we get later, but the general idea is clear early on.

If you think the secret is going to be a spoiler, you should stop reading this review, since I'm going to talk about in the next paragraph. So STOP reading now if you don't want to be "spoiled" but like I said it's revealed fairly early so...

I've never read about an intersex character before, so I was definitely interested in learning more about Micha/Gene. Gene has had to hide her "condition" from everyone for fear of being called a monster, but one day she up and leaves, and joins the circus. She feels like a freak, so why not run away to be with more freaks? Once she gets there's though, she's Micha, a boy, which is easy for her to pull off due to having a fairly boyish figure.

I also really enjoyed Micha's struggle with her sexuality. Would she be dating as a boy, a girl, both, or neither? Did that really matter? Is she attracted to boys, girls, or both? Does she have to choose one? It was all very confusing for her, but it was nice watching her discover who she was and who she wanted to be with. I do think that the author handled these topics very respectfully.

I also really liked the world. It's a fantasy realm, but it's very much like our Victorian era, especially in the fashion and social etiquette. However, there's magic and Chimaera! At the beginning of each chapter there's little excerpts from different texts that are about the circus, ancient magic, social lessons, etc. I'm almost always a fan of little tidbits like this, so I definitely enjoyed that touch to the world building.

The plot isn't really much of a plot at all. Once we know "what" Micha is, the only thing left is whether or not he's going to get caught and dragged back home. I desperately hoping not, since Gene's parents are pretty awful and selfish people, and she deserves so much more!

In the end, I liked Pantomime but it failed to wow me. I absolutely LOVED the concept and the themes presented, but the lack of an interesting plot and the slow pacing stopped me from loving it overall. It's most definitely an amazingly unique story though, so I would recommend it simply based on that. I'm just wondering if this was the first book in a series or not. The ending is quite open for a sequel, but it could also be seen as a standalone. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Favorite Quotes

"What is your biggest fear?" he asked.
I was quiet, thinking. There were so many things I was frightened of. "Not being accepted or loved for what - who - I am." (29% eARC)

I did not trust secrets. [...] Secrets, once spoken, have a way of running away from you. They cannot be gathered in again. (69% eARC)

"But life is a circus, and one player is rarely missed. You should bear that in mind." (91% eARC)

Title Quotes

The pantomime planned for Imachara was a retelling of the classic romance Leander Iona, one of those stories where the young man and woman must overcome the obstacles blocking their love. (66% eARC)

If Bil could pull off the pantomime and the various acts in Imachara, I had no doubt that if would be an extraordinary circus. (69% eARC)

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