Blogspiration (4): It’s In Our Nature

October 27, 2012 § 5 Comments

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

The sheer beauty of this continues to bewilder me.

Turn your volume up a little bit and watch the whole thing.

I work at a Shangri-La hotel, and I watched this video on my first day of orientation, something like 2 years ago. It gave me chills then. It still does. And I am proud to be a part of this company.

Review: Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh

October 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Star Rating:

Date released: 13th September 2012
Publisher: Berkeley Sensation
Author’s website: http://nalinisingh.com/
My source: Amazon Kindle Store
Part of a series: #5 in Guild Hunter series
Find it at: GoodReads | Amazon | B&N

GoodReads Synopsis

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.

What I loved:

  • Jason. He’s always been one of my favourites among the Seven (scratch that, they’re all pretty fantastic) and this story highlighted his awesome factor. There’s just something so forbidden about him and that level of intelligence paired with the stealth that he carries like an extension of his body is very alluring.
  • The wedding and subsequent scenes with Honor and Dmitri. It was a great to come almost full-circle and see the continuation of their story, considering that at the end of Archangel’s Blade (Dmitri’s story) it felt like it was cut off abruptly – happily, but abruptly.
  • The level of intrigue in Neha’s court.
  • Nalini Singh can write. Her language is beautiful, lyrical and so bittersweet at times. I see Singh as the cook who can make creme brulee out of egg shells, she’s magical.

What didn’t work for me:

  • Mahiya. Sorry girlfriend, I may be the possessive book-girl/fan-friend of Jason, but I thought his love would be extraordinary.
  • The plotline and ‘twist’ with Mahiya’s family. I can’t say I didn’t expect it because I saw it coming a mile away. Also, after the epic battle between the sisters, I fully expected something tremendous to happen, but all the story details after that point is Mayiha’s getaway to New York. I mean… I felt like the story was cut short, and that it spent too much time laying foundation rather than having things happen.
  • Jason and Mahiya’s romance and relationship. For some reason, I felt it was very… sterilized, like I was touching with gloves. I didn’t feel the same amount of ebb-and-flow surges of passion like I did with the other Guild Hunter books.

Other Thoughts:

… Particularly with the continuation of the series. I think Singh made it very easy for herself to continue writing books in the Guild Hunter series because this particular installment leaves more questions than those answered. What will become of Nivriti and Neha? Will Lijuan play a part in the next book and how will her incorporeal manifestation adapt? What will the Archangels do with the emergence of their new powers, and what will they be?

I can already see power balances shifting with the new powers the Archangels are getting, and I predict that the next book will center on this particular aspect of the books. There will be discontent within the Cadre and I’m sure one Archangel or other will feel slighted, and boom! Out come the powers of epic destruction.

I wonder whose story will be next, however? I’m thinking it’ll either be Illium and a newfound love or the next Raphael and Elena installment. Aodhan seems unlikely, but I would love read Venom’s story.

Overall, a fantastic book that I did not love as expected, but enjoyed all the same. Solid 4 stars!

Blogspiration (3): Disconnect to Reconnect

October 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

 

I find this so amazing.

Disconnect to reconnect.

Really reminds us sometimes that we need to step out of the house, get off the internet, unbury our heads from between the pages of a juicy book and remember there are beautiful things out in the world. If anything, at least it’s liberating!

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

October 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Star Rating:

Date released: 29th November 2011
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Author’s website: www.jenniferarmentrout.com
My source: Amazon Kindle Store
Part of a series: Yes, #1 Lux series
Find it at: GoodReads | Amazon | B&N

GoodReads Synopsis:

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

After my not-so-great experience reading my first Armentrout book, I thought I’d give her another chance and picked up Obsidian over the weekend. I’m so glad that I did!

What worked for me:

  • The chemistry between Katy and Daemon. Phew! I felt like I needed to get some ice packs to cool me down. And their kissing scene? Phwoar. Usually simple kissing scenes don’t do it for me, but I had to set down my Kindle and fan my face for a few minutes before I picked it up again only to scroll back to read from the start of that scene.
  • The familial ties of love that Daemon and Dee have between them. I think it’s so lovely, and being the younger sister in a two-child family, it’s something I can relate to.
  • The pacing. The teaspoon by teaspoon dosage of having the plot, mystery, Luxen history and personalities revealed to the reader. I love when stories are told teasingly, and Armentrout really showed rather than told us about it in Obsidian.
  • The quirk that our female heroine is a bookblogger! Her references to Waiting on Wednesday and the way she felt when she received new books was very amusing, speaking from a book blogger point of view. Thought this was a great quirk.
  • The dialogue. Especially the heated banter between Katy and Daemon. There were times when the story reverted back to descriptions and “what Katy is doing today” scenes where I thought I would lose interest, but then Damon rocks up and they have a fireball spitting conversation that has me laughing or admiring the quick wit. It was great!
  • Katy’s narrative voice. I’ve never met a character that sounds exactly as I do in my head. Saying things like Sweet baby Jesus, and a whole other array of weird expletives really called out to me. I love Katy as a heroine. She’s earthbound, level-headed, knows what she wants and isn’t a hothead (unless Daemon’s around), which I love.

What didn’t work for me:

  • The fact that Katy and Daemon just won’t give an inch! Come on! You guys like one another. Stop dancing around and have a hot make out session sans t-shirts against the wall or something.
  • And… that’s it.

Quotes I loved:

“Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys.”

Aha! So sassy. I love Katy’s internal mind-vomit.

“My palms itched to have a close encounter of the bitch-slap kind with his face.”

I loved every moment reading this book and I’ve already gotten Onyx lined up on my Kindle!

solid 5 stars!

Waiting on Wednesday

October 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Waiting On” is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

Release Date: October 23 2012

Author’s Website: www.beccafitzpatrick.com/

Can’t wait for the final installment of Patch and Norah’s story! It’s been such a long wait, and what with the way the third book finished – agh, suspense is killing me. I know already that I’ll be sad to finish this book when it comes out because it’s the end of an era. I started reading Hush Hush by chance because it was on sale at my local Basement Books, that was all. I hadn’t heard a thing about it from friends, nobody gave me any recommendations… I only picked it up because it was on sale. And I’m glad I did!

GoodReads Synopsis:

Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean they are fated to be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. Now Nora and Patch must gather their strength to face one last, perilous trial. Old enemies return, new enemies are made, and a friend’s ultimate betrayal threatens the peace Patch and Nora so desperately want. The battle lines are drawn—but which sides are they on? And in the end, are there some obstacles even love can’t conquer?

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Release Date: November 6th 2012

Author’s Website: www.lainitaylor.com

Will you just have a look at that cover?! Ridiculously beautiful, paired with the title – it sends shivers up my spine and I can’t wait to read what’s next in store with Karou and Akiva.

GoodReads Synopsis:

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

I can’t wait for these books to come out! What’re you waiting on?

Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

October 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Star Rating:

Date released: 18th October 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Author’s website: www.jenniferarmentrout.com
My source: Amazon Kindle Store
Part of a series: Yes, #1 in the Covenant Series
Find it at: GoodReads | Amazon | B&N

GoodReads synopsis:

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem–staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

This is a very difficult book for me to review. It’s sheer bad luck on Half-Blood’s behalf that I’d just recently finished reading Richelle Mead’s Last Sacrifice just a few weeks ago. A lot of people have been comparing Half-Blood to the Vampire Academy series, and… yeah. The similarities and parallels are almost too good to be true. So, I’ll try my best to review this in isolation.

Don’t get me wrong! I just thought I’d be a bit more engrossed… a little more caught up in the story. It was flashy, sure, there were some sweet and heartfelt moments but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it.

What worked for me:

  • Seth, as a character. I never knew what to make of him and his constant irritation of Alex should have made me, as the reader, dislike him automatically. But I liked his strangeness and his reserved, sassy manner.
  • Pacing. Both a good and a bad thing – the story started off full throttle and it pulled me in quickly.
  • The idea of Apollyons. Ingrained in the history of the Hematoi, it was a creative and unique element that I thought was great and separated Half-Blood from the Vampire Academy series.
  • The prose. It was well written, lyrical almost.

What didn’t work for me:

  • The (lack of) world building. The world of the Hematoi is blurry at best. Yes, we are told about the cultural differences, the hierarchy of society and the Hematoi aligned version of creation via the Greek Gods but I wasn’t satisfied. It seemed very here-and-there, and I would have liked to have seen more of it.
  • Alex, as a character. She was subliminally … stupid. Aiden called her “brave”, but everything she did had me rolling my eyes at the stupidity. You’d think that being on the run for 3 years would have made Alex a bit more stoic, a little more wary and on her guard, but nope. She would always rush into things without thinking, running off her mouth – damn the consequences, and not taking other people into consideration (that is, until she got nabbed and Caleb’s life was on her head).
  • Pacing. What I didn’t like towards the end of the book was that it stuttered and lost the momentum of the first few chapters after Alex’s return to the Covenant. Where was that fast-paced, got-me-on-the-edge-of-my-seat action that appeared in the beginning of the book? It was like it went fastfastfast, then a third in and almost right till the end of the book when Alex goes out to hunt her mom, it was sloooow and then it was ahhhquickquickfaster! kind of pacing.

Parallels with Vampire Academy:

I’m adding this in here nonetheless, and I know it’s absolutely sucky of me to, but I honestly can’t help but be bothered by it. A lot of people are reviewing on GoodReads that the similarities are huge and even to the extent that Armentrout should be sued for ‘stealing ideas’. I’m not going to go that far, but the resemblance in both circumstance and action taken by the characters are uncanny.

  • Capture and return to the Covenant. Living out in the mortal world only to be caught and dragged back to where they once were (Vampire Academy), similar especially as it was within the first few chapters.
  • Having a hot, bad-ass trainer. Aiden and Dmitri, and both of them falling for their pupils.
  • Taking on the responsibility of having to kill their loved ones: Alex and her mom and Rose with Strigoi-Dmitri. And escaping the confines of their respective schools, both Alex and Rose defied authority by seeking the one that they loved with the determination and burden of being the one to kill them.
  • Pures and Half-Bloods … and Dhampirs and Moroi.
  • Deacon and Adrian, as the troubled character who drinks for a reason other than the like of it.

I try never to compare books with others, but I just can’t with this one, hence the 2.5-3 stars. I’m sorry Armentrout, I tried desperately to love Half-Blood. Here’s to hoping that Pure, the second book in the Covenant series, has a lot more creativity and originality.

3 Stars

Blogspiration (2): Hemingway got it right

October 13, 2012 § 3 Comments

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

Isn’t this just wonderful? Hemingway, you had it down pat.

I literally do not have words to describe how inspirational this simple message is to me. Write drunk; edit sober. I mean, it’s four words, but it contains an essay’s worth of talk. When you write, don’t let yourself be constricted by your worries, by your inability to write, by the plot bunnies or the writer’s block – just write. What you get down may be horrible because of your impromptu mind vomit, but once it’s edited? I get this feeling that it’ll be something special.

Write drunk. Edit sober.

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