Book Review- Fallen

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Fallen by Lauren Kate
Published by Delacorte Press on December 8 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 452
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What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .

The prologue was the best part of Fallen. Honestly, the rest of the book was a painfully drawn out version of those first few pages with a different ending.

I barely finished this book. When I first started it, I was excited by the prologue. It was dark and sexy and made me think that this book was going to be awesome. I WAS SO WRONG. SO WRONG.

Honestly Luce annoyed me. Daniel annoyed me. Cam annoyed me. EVERYONE annoyed me. They were all just annoying characters. They were flat and boring and didn’t make me interested in them AT ALL. It was like trying to care about the romantic life of a mosquito. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

When Luce wasn’t ogling over Daniel, Cam, or both at the same time (which happened quite frequently) she was crying about something. About what you may ask? I have no idea because usually it didn’t really matter to the plot in the long run.

The whole romance aspect of the book was cringe worthy. It wasn’t cute or sexy or anything. It was just painful. There was no spark between any of the characters except what was said out loud… and even that was painful to read. I just couldn’t get on board with it.

Also, although there were moments thrown into the book that were meant to be shocking, they ended up just being kind of boring and didn’t have the surprise factor that they were meant to. This book was just a flop for me. Needless to say, I won’t be reading the next one.

I am going to give Fallen one out of five hearts. 

Book Review- Scarlet

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Retellings
Pages: 454
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Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

After reading Cinder, I knew that Scarlet was going to make or break this series for me. I was pleasantly surprised.

Scarlet, Meyer’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, turned out to be AWESOME. Her character was tough and determined, and the combination of her and Cinder (even though they are not facing the world together) make for a very interesting story.

I was worried (mostly based on the title of the book) that the continuation of Cinder’s story wouldn’t be explored in detail. But I was wrong. Both Scarlet and Cinder went on awe inspiring and heart pounding journeys, along with some pretty awesome side kicks. I loved the mystery of Wolf and Captain Thorne’s personality.

The character development in Scarlet really surprised me (in a good way), and the plot was amazing. This is one of the few books where both the characters and the plot drew the story onward. There was this beautiful balance of the two that made Scarlet a wonderful read that I had a hard time putting down. And even then I finished it in two days!

If you read Cinder and aren’t quite sure if you should read Scarlet, DO IT. SCARLET WAS SO MUCH BETTER.

I am going to give Scarlet four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Cinder

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Published by Fiewel and Friends on January 3 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 390
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Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

So, not the most original book in the world.

Let me introduce you to Earth, hundreds (?) of years in the future. We have new nations and new laws. We have a prince and an evil foreign queen who is threatening war on Earth. We have a not-so-common girl with a hostile step-family (minus, of course, her younger step-sister) who might just become a savoir. But, what was I expecting? I knew what I was getting myself into when I picked Cinder up.

To be fair, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. It was entertaining, even if it was slightly (read: totally) predictable. I could see the “twist” at the end from a mile away, and there was nothing super surprising. But, the characters were interesting and multi-dimensional, and I liked learning more about them. 

What I did really like about this book (that set it apart from other dystopias) was that it is a kind of retelling of Cinderella. I thought that was pretty cool. I also really liked the technology in the book, and the fact that Cinder was a cyborg.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopia and is looking for another series to dive into. This also would be a great first dystopia, for those of you who are looking for a place to start.

I am going to give Cinder three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Books of the Past

I’ve been thinking a lot about books I read as a child recently. Before I had a blog to document my feelings and opinions on books, I just had my memory (and of course the occasional elementary school book report). I’ve began to wonder how many books I have actually read in my life, and decided that it is impossible to count. I simply can’t remember every single one I have read. So I’ve decided instead of trying to remember every single one, I’ll share a few books (or series) that I remember having a big impact on me, or that I enjoyed very much. I’m not putting these in any particular order, just however they pop into my head.


1. The Magic of Spider Woman by Lois Duncan, Shonto Begay (illustrator)244612

Despite my crippling fear of spiders, this book never failed to enchant me. It tells a Native American tale about a woman who learns the secret of weaving from spider woman. However, this secret comes with a warming. When the main character ignores the warning, she gets trapped within one of her own creations. I remember reading this book over and over. The story was so interesting and the pictures were stunning. Of all the children’s books I read, this is the one that sticks out most in my memory.


2. Junie B. Jones (series) by Barbra Park958277

Of course there weren’t quite as many Junie B. Jones books when I was in elementary school ( I think there are 28 now?) but I always loved Junie B.’s adventures and thought everything that happened was absolutely hilarious (which it probably still is). We had a box of the books and home and a bunch floating around our classroom at school, so I never had to worry about finding one to read, even if I had already read them all a million times already (of course that’s an exaggeration…. unless it isn’t?).


3. The Magic Treehouse (series) by Mary Pope Osbourne 824734

Much like the Junie B. books, I read this series over and over again (and also there weren’t quite so many out when I did). I travelled in time with these books, and there was a new world to discover every time I did. It also didn’t hurt that there was a bit of mythology and magic thrown in (which began to show up more in the later books). After finishing a book I would go find my older brother (who is even more of a book worm than I am) and pretend that I was Annie and he was Jack, and go on adventures of our own. That is until we found another book to read!


4. Little House in the Big Woods (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder441602

These books were probably my favorite stories. I loved Laura and wanted nothing more in life than to be her. Her life to me was something of a fairy tale, and it sounded so fun and adventurous. I loved reading about her moving across the country in the wagon and all the obstacles they ran into. I loved reading about how Pa built the houses they lived in as they moved west. And I loved reading about how she grew up and made friends and became a teacher and fell in love. And now all I want to do is read them again.


I could probably make this list a hundred thousand books long, but I think I am going to stop at four. When I look back and think “What books made me fall in love with reading?”, it is these books. I do have some honorable mentions; books that I loved but that I don’t feel exactly belong on the list.

The Cam Jenson books– These books were another great series, but I didn’t enjoy them quite as much as some of the other series.
Captain Underpants books– hilarious (and I loved the flip-o-ramas) but I got tired of them after a while
Encyclopedia Brown books– fun, but I think I only had one or two, so I didn’t really get into them as much as the other series
Harry Potter books– Okay, so don’t hate me for putting these down here. I did love them, but I didn’t start reading them until I was a little older, so I don’t really consider them “childhood books” even though they are technically for children
Ballet Shoes– I remember reading this book over and over and over in my third grade classroom, but as much as I loved it I don’t remember it as well as the books on my list, so I don’t think it quite belongs.


There were of course a lot of books that I liked, and if you want me to think up some more I would be more than happy to. But how about you? What books did you love as a child? What books shaped your childhood? I’d love to hear what they were!!

Author Q&A- Fiona Quinn

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Fiona Quinn; the amazing author of the Lynx Series among other works. She somehow finds the time to write in-between homeschooling her children in the most amazing way possible. Her books are definitely not ones to miss! Read the interview below.

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Q: What is the first thing you would want somebody to know about you?

A: The grey hair comes from teaching my teens to drive. I just started kid #4 behind the wheel. Have kids they said. It’ll be fun they said.

Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I have been a story teller since I can remember. My grandmother said that I have two traits of the Irish: I have the wanderlust, and I am full of blarney. I would say three traits. My skin is so fair that I can burn under a 40-watt bulb – but that doesn’t really inform my writing.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I am inspired by my own curiosity. I take classes, travel, read, and meet people; and eventually, all of these strands twist themselves into a yarn of some kind or other.

Q: You have published several books including the Lynx series, Mine, and Chaos Is Come Again. What inspired these books?

A: Chaos Is Come Again has a kind of funny story behind it. I was new to Twitter and John Dolan tried to save me from making a buffoon of myself by explaining RTs to me. Soon, we started playing a game where we each advanced a story by a single tweet. John wondered if we could do something with this – like turn it into a noir novel. Now here’s the thing, John is an English ex-pat living between Thailand and Dubai. I’m a Canadian ex-pat living near DC. Our time zones were 8 hours different. But somehow, through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, we wrote this novel. And I think it’s great – if you like your humor dark.

Minecame from an invitation to be part of an anthology. Each novella was about a small town murder mystery. My character, Kate Hamilton, got a lot of requests for a follow up novel, so that’s churning in the back of my brain.

The Lynx SeriesStarted with a journey. I’m a homeschooling mother (unschooling to be precise) One year, my oldest two moved out for college, and I packed up the younger two to take them on an adventure. We toured the USA for 6 weeks, studying history, lit, science, and cultures along the way. As I was driving, I wondered how my children’s unusual way of being educated (it was highly unusual when we started 20 years ago) would impact them as adults. I had a lot of time to think as I drove 9,000 miles.

What I did was write WEAKEST LYNX in my head. Lynx was an unschooled girl who grew up with the mentoring system I put in place for my own kids – only a little more extreme. And it needed to be. Lynx had some very extreme events happen in her life. I wanted to see how Lynx would handle things in ways that were unique to her background and temperament. It was a very fun exercise, and I absolutely loved writing this novel. The next three novels followed – all of them named by Kid #4 – MISSING LYNX, CHAIN LYNX, and CUFF LYNX.

Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing career?

A: Everything about a writing career is a challenge. It is not for the faint of heart. Lots of learning curves about the business side of things, and then when you think you’ve “got it,” you find out that everything changed on a dime, and you have to start another learning curve. I try to think of it as mind yoga – strengthening my brain, building new and amazing synapsis…that’s me thinking positively. It really is a very interesting and challenging time to have a writing career. The easy part for me is the writing.

Q: What advice would you give to new writers?

A: Write because you love it. Then love yourself for writing. Be gentle with yourself. Stretch to make yourself better because stretching feels good. Enjoy the process. Enjoy getting into the mud and flailing around. Enjoy the darkness that your writing lets you take out and examine. And the goodness. And the beauty. And then, if you want to, share it with others – and if you don’t want to, keep it for yourself. But if you are a writer, you will only feel whole when you write. So write on.

Q: You have said that you homeschool your four children. Why did you decided to do this? What about homeschooling do you like?

A: I did indeed! And as to the why. . . there were a lot of things that happened all at once that made me feel that my children were not safe and not educated in the public school system. It felt like a really bad fit for us. Though I had a new baby (Kid #3) I pulled #1 and #2 out of kindergarten and first grade and started teaching them at home.

We learned measurements and temperatures by baking cookies. I read out loud to them – thousands of books – while we drank hot cocoa in front of the fire and the kids colored in their coloring books, or knit, or sewed. . . We went into the woods at midnight with the Herp Club because the salamanders were spawning and once you see it, and hear about the amazing event from someone who is passionate about animals, well you don’t forget. Those kinds of sensory experiences dig deep into the brain where reading a paragraph in a science book just won’t.

We travelled. We hands-on-ed. We tasted, and witnessed, and experienced. I got to try out my ideas about education – and so far, my kids have turned out pretty darned fabulous. They’re still works in progress – as are we all. But if nothing else, by homeschooling, I think I instilled the idea that we are life-long learners, and we should always be growing.

Q: If you could only have one type of chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Seriously? Only one? Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. But that would be just mean. One needs variety.

Q: What kind of books do you read? Do you have a favorite book?

A: I prefer to read romantic suspense, but I read widely from most genres (but I only read horror if you are my dear friend – there has to be a lot of love in my heart to compensate for the nightmares I will have to endure). I particularly love the books I read to my children — Bridge to Terabithia, Rolling Thunder Hear My Cry — so many wonderful books. Reading them out loud and experiencing them with my family made them very precious jewels in my memory bank.

Q: In your opinion, what makes a book good?

A: To me a book is good when I’m invested in the outcome and fighting right along with the heroine. Also, if my kids can’t understand what I’m saying because I’m sniveling too hard and have to hand it off to someone else to read – that’s a good book because I cared.

Q: Is there anything else you would like the world to know?

A: I wrote my latest book, IN TOO DEEP, spring 2016, about an event where my husband almost accidently died last year. It was really frightening and unfixable. He would either live or die and all we could do is wait and see. He survived – thank goodness! He told me he thought this event would make a great plot. I told him that I have the gift of Blarney (having kissed the Blarney Stone 3 times) and really, he didn’t need to go to such extremes to help me with my plots. But I do really like the book.

Find Fiona Online:

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Author Q&A- Jessica Dall

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Jessica Dall. With her first book in the Order and Chaos series out, and a second coming, she is not one to miss! Read the Q&A below.
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Q: How long have you been writing?
A: My mom will tell you that I’ve been “writing” since before I actually knew how. I would scribble loops on paper in a way that I thought looked like cursive and write “stories.” As far as actual writing, well, I wrote some fan fiction in middle school and then finished my first novel in high school (which is now safely buried away on my hard drive and only comes out when I need to remember I have actually improved over the last decade-plus). I’ve been noveling ever since.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: All sorts of things have inspired my writing–pictures, music, quotes… I’ve never had a lack of ideas. I’ve just never had enough time to write them all!
Q: Tell me about your book, Raining Embers. What was the original idea behind it?
Raining Embers is a historical fantasy novel set in a world loosely based on Renaissance Italy with a bunch of ancient Greek/other mythology thrown in for good measure. The actual story has been through so many iterations that most of the original parts of it has likely been lost to red lining at this point, but the original spark actually came from an art history lecture I went to years ago. The lecturer put up a picture of the Vatican library–and all the beautiful artwork decorating the walls in one of the rooms–and the idea of a similar library in the middle of a battle began to percolate. That original scene is still a small part of chapter one.
Q: What plans do you have for the next books in the Order and Chaos series? How many books are you planning to write?
A: Book Two–currently titled Graven Idols–should be coming out later this year and is currently in edits. It starts a few months after the end of Book One and directly continues the story with all the main characters trying to deal with how their lives have changed. I’m working on writing Book Three right now and have a rough outline for Book 4. If all goes as planned, things should be done at that point–but who really knows until everything is written?
Q: You did a “virtual book tour” hosted by Sage’s Blog Tours. Tell me exactly what that means. What happened on this blog tour?
A: A month after Raining Embers came out in November, my publisher–Red Adept Publishing–partnered with Sage’s Blog Tours to host a virtual book tour. Mostly that means a series of blog take overs/reviews/other things related to the release all taking place over a couple weeks. There are a number of reviews and guest blogs and author/character interviews still floating around cyberspace from December for anyone who’s interested in tracking them down.
Q: Are you working on any writing projects now besides the Order and Chaos series?
A: I’m currently in the research phase for a historical fiction novel that’s planned to take place in 18th Century Portugal–which is really a lot of fun, since it’s entirely not my area. I’m trying to see if I can work out a trip to Lisbon at some point for research (and because Portugal is supposed to be a beautiful country). Whenever I need a break from Order and Chaos I pop over there for a bit to try to clear my head.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do while writing?
A: It entirely depends on my mood at the time. I’m one of those lucky people who is able to write pretty much anywhere any time. Sometimes music helps, sometimes silence, sometimes I’m sitting with my laptop on the couch with a glass of wine. Whatever it is, I’m just glad to be writing most of the time.
Q: Who are your favorite authors? If you could meet one (alive or dead), who would it be and why?
A: On top of being an author, I’m also an editor, so I’m actually pretty lucky that I’ve gotten to meet a lot of brilliant authors from working on their books. For one author that I would still love to meet, though, that would be J. K. Rowling. On top of just seeming like a wonderful person from everything I’ve heard about her, Harry Potter is definitely part of what got me writing years and years ago (see that middle school fan fiction…) Partially I’d just want to say “Thank you.”
Q: Where is the strangest place you have ever come up with an idea?
A: Man, that’s a tough one, since my ideas tend to pop up just about anywhere I am. One strange one would have to be watching my husband play Assassin’s Creed. I’m not a huge video game person myself, but Assassin’s Creed has an amazing range of craziness that has sparked some equally crazy ideas.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: I love talking to readers. It’s always a ton of fun to hear what people think, and I’m happy to answer questions if anyone wants to catch me on Twitter or my blog. And remember, if you like any author’s work, leave them a kind review on Amazon/Barnes & Noble/wherever. Good reviews help authors get through days when picking up scorpion petting seems more attractive than going over rewrites for a seventh time.
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Author Q&A- Rose Montague

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing and amazing author named Rose Montague. She is coffee, chocolate, and wine lover, as well as an amazing writer. If you haven’t read her books, you are missing out big time. Read the interview below.
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I experimented with writing when I was a teenager and even submitted a few short stories. It never went anywhere and I didn’t try again for a long time but I love to read and I kept that up. Four years ago I decided it was time to write my first novel and was fortunate to see Jade published in 2013.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I get most of my story ideas when I am half asleep. Sometimes I remember to write them down and sometimes they are forgotten. Most of my writing is done in the early hours of the morning, well before sunrise.
Q: Tell me about your series Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. What was the original idea behind it?
25116933A: You know that SNL skit with Christopher Walken demanding more cowbell? I was writing Jane, the sequel to Jade and my beta reader, Hans Markus kept saying we need more Jewel. Jewel was a young teen witch who helped Jade, Jane, & Jill. The more cowbell, more Jewel eventually led me to spin off a new series featuring Jewel and Norma Jean’s School of Witchery was born.
Q: What makes your witches different than other witches in books and movies. What did you base their powers off of?
A: My goal was a Harry Potter style school for older teens with more romance and more of the things teens think about. One of my reviewers said it “Makes Hogwarts seem like a play school”. I like that quote. Magic is not hidden in the world of Norma Jean’s and the setting is in the United States. There is a ton of action to go with that romance.
Q: You have also written Jade and the sequel, Jane. Tell me a little about these. What inspired them?
18820229A: Jade is an action paranormal mystery with a little romance on the side. I loved writing this one because of the mystery and I drop clues here and there than most readers don’t catch until the mystery or surprise is revealed. The biggest mystery is Jade herself. That was so much fun. My main goal in writing is to have fun writing fun books to read. Jade is the prime example of that. Jane is more of a roller coaster ride of a road trip, packed with enough action to fill three books. I can only describe it as a war. There is a wedding, and a funeral. Both were a ton of fun to write. The wedding of Jade & Jane is my favorite scene in that series.
Q: What is the strangest place you have ever come up with an idea?
A: Usually when eating or drinking. A word search of Jade will show coffee mentioned 20 times, espresso 11, wine 39 (LOL), & chocolate 13. If you like those things you will love Jade.
Q: Which of your characters is most like you and in what way? Which is least like you?
A: I would like to think that Jewel is most like me. She doesn’t hesitate when it’s time for a decision to be made. She goes 100 percent constantly. She values friendship and she knows what is right and wrong. She doesn’t second guess herself even when the result of her decision does not turn out exactly like she wanted.
Q: If you could be a character in any movie, who would it be and why?
A: I like Selene from the underworld series.
Q: What are some of your favorite books? What about them do you like?
A: I love urban fantasy and young adult reads. My favorite authors are Jim Butcher, Faith Hunter, Ilona Andrews, & Patricial Briggs. My favorite book is Sunshine by Robin Mckinley.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: My books are a lot of fun but it’s not all fun and games. There are some life lessons and messages in my books. I wrote a blog post about this here if you are interested in finding out more….
Find Rose Online: