Friday, June 29, 2012

Liebster Blog Awards

I was tagged by Priya from Ravenfic Reviews for the Liebster Blog Awards. So you might ask, what exactly is this?

Quoting from Ravenfic Reviews: 

Now, if your scratching your head and thinking, "what in the world is that?", The Liebster Blog Award is an award given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is actually a German word which means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. Well, doesn't that make you all mushy?

So people, here are the rules (for once I decided that I might follow them this time) :

1. Each person must post 11 facts about themselves

2. Answer 11 questions the tagger has given you and give 11 questions for the people you've tagged. (My dirty mind is on it)

3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.

4. Tell them you've tagged them. (Cause seriously they won't have a dream or receive a letter by an owl telling them that they've been awarded by the awesomeness that is yours truly)

5. Remember, no tag backs. (It's said to be a cause of animosity between many bloggers. Just kidding ... or maybe not).

Today I will be answering questions Priya asked me:

1. How long have you been blogging?

I actually don't remember! I've been blogging since a long time, but not on Bookville, on another, but Bookville is new.(I don't remember when I started Bookville either), but blogging is pretty fun, and ever MORE time-consuming

2. What's your most anticipated read of 2012?

Actually the books I was highly anticipating are already released. Insurgent and City of Lost Souls. BUT, I'm pretty looking forward to The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore(Lorien Legacies #3)

3. What are you reading right now?

I am reading Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

4. If you could meet any author, which one would it be?

I have met some authors, but I REALLY want to meet Cassandra Clare and J.K Rowling

5. Which book or book series would you like to be turned into a movie?

The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness

6. From where do you mostly buy your books?

The Book Depository. I really love buying from bookstores but they're really expensive. I occasionally buy from my local bookstores, but TBD mostly.

7. Harry Potter vs Twilight vs The Hunger Games?

  Okay, I love Potter and Hunger Games TOO MUCH! But, I think I'd be team Potter?

And now, 11 random facts about me:

1- I love collecting perfume bottles.
2- I am running out of space in my bookshelves,so I need to get new ones :\
3- I think that no movie has visually beat Lord of the Rings, YET!
4- I suck at drawing. 
5- My book obsession started after Harry Potter ended.
6- I used to write lots of short stories for my English teachers in my school journals.
7- I collect movie tickets.
8- I am a great imitator =P.
9- I love the Harry Potter books/movies. I own every book and movie.
10- One of my favorite directors is Christopher Nolan.
11- I get really excited when I find out about a book cover reveal.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill(UK)

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever. 

I've been hearing amazing things about this series as a whole, but I managed to ignore it. You see, I am over vampire book after the "Twilight Craze" with a few exception. In the end though, I failed and gave in. I picked this book up. I had to know why everyone was raving about it, why everyone kept telling me "READ IT, THIS IS DIFFERENT." 
Also, the ratings on Goodreads quite tempt you to read this book. They're extremely HIGH! I happen to be one of those people to check reviews before checking out/buying a book.

So, what did I think of Vampire Academy? 

Well, before I fully go into reviewing this one, I have to say that I was hooked reading this book.

Positive aspects of Vampire Academy:

1-Writing style: Well let me say this, I instantly fell in love with Richelle Mead's writing style. It has a mix of everything bundled up in its own unique style: humor, sexiness, drama...

2-The world-building: Everybody just stand up already and start cheering, clapping, and applauding for Mead. This book is indeed different than any other vampire novel in the world-building aspect. Yes, you do see the classical vampire elements, but the Moroi, Dhampir, and Strigoi are just really mind-blowing stuff to come up with. 

3-Characters: Well, one thing really amused me about the characters, especially the main character:

Rose: Although she proved to us she's a slut the whole way (which is not a good thing), I actually really liked her! That's weird, I know, but again, all credit goes to Mead for creating awesome characters.

Lissa: Lissa's Rose's best friend. I think her character was really well written, as we could see all sides of her. The happy side, the dark side, the creepy side.

Dimitri: Rose's love interest. Who wouldn't have guessed, eh? Well, he's a great character as well. I like how he's Russian and comes from a different background.

Christian: Hands down, Christian is my favorite character. Why? Well, certainly because of his weirdness. His family was a Strigoi. He is different than other people. Misunderstood. Seriously. Awesome. 

4-The story: Well, even though this book/series is called Vampire Academy, it certainly doesn't focus on vampires. There are many other things going on. Killing. Drama. Everything. Again, Richelle Mead has crafted an extremely well-written story that will keep readers hungry for more.

Negative aspects of Vampire Academy:

While I did really like Rose, I sometimes felt like I wanted to slap her and punch her. I mean, she was too free. She always wanted to sleep with guys. She proved to be a slut. I said I liked her earlier, but I liked her for her courage, for her care. I seriously couldn't understand how a someone could be this free about sexual stuff. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I definitely want to read the next five in this series.


Author Interview: Leigh Fallon + Giveaway

I contacted Leigh Fallon, the lovely author of Carrier of the Mark. She accepted my request for an author interview! Thank you so much! It was great coming up with the questions and getting to know you more =) !

 The interview will consist of 10 questions. And here we go...

1-Introduce yourself. What are your hobbies? What were the best experiences you've had when you where a child, a teen, and an adult? Tell us about your hometown.

Okay, well... Hello! I'm Leigh Fallon the author of Carrier of the Mark and the up and coming sequel, Shadow of the Mark. I grew up in Dublin Ireland, then moved to Cork down the South of Ireland. My childhood was spent playing in the fields and forests of the Dublin Mountains. Summers were spent hacking out through the trees on horseback and swimming in the lakes of Feather Beds (bog lands in the Dublin Mountains). It was a wonderful place to grow up, and I hold onto many precious memories.
As an adult, after college, I travelled quite a bit. I worked all over Europe, before settling down in Cork with my Husband. My hometown is a tiny village just outside of Kinsale.  Kinsale is a beautiful coastal town in Cork Harbor that is steeped in rich history.  The Carrier Series is actually based in Kinsale. 
I'm currently living in Massachusetts, USA while my husband is on assignment here. I'm really enjoying living in the US, it's a fun change from Ireland. But Ireland will always be home.

2-What is your favorite appitizer/main course/dessert?

Fun question!!Oh let me see...
Appetizer - Pan-fried mushrooms in garlic butter. NOM! 
Main Course - I adore Indian food, so I think I'd go for Chicken Jalfrezi, Bombay Aloo, and a Peshwari naan. Double NOM! Dessert - That would have to be either Banoffie pie, or bread  pudding with salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream. *sighs*

3-Were you always fascinated with books? What genre did you mostly read?  

Yes! I loved to read, but I never thought I'd be a writer. I was a reader through and through. I read everything.  I loved Dahl & Blume growing up, anything that would make me laugh. Then as a teen I fell hard for romantic comedy books.  I devoured everything by Jilly Cooper. Then I discovered YA and never looked back.

4-When and why did you decide you should write your own book?

It was really out of the blue. I hadn't been planning on it. One day, the story just kind of popped into my head. I wrote it all long  hand and only when it was nearly finished did it dawn on me that I'd turned this idea into a book. I loved every second of writing  Carrier of the Mark. It completely consumed me.

5-How did you find the publishing process? What's the best and worst thing about it?

Getting published is tough, very tough.  I had it relatively easy. I was offered a publishing deal for Carrier only two months after completing it. But it's not like that for everyone. I know I was VERY lucky.  The best part was the editing process, it's difficult but fun. I enjoyed being guided and seeing my manuscript develop and  grow. It was an amazing experience and my editor is wonderful. The  worst part is trying to market and publicize your book once it's completed. I'm quite introverted and it goes against the grain to put myself out in the public forum. It's really quite stressful and plays havoc with my confidence. But all writers must overcome their fears and push forward. It's part of the job.

6-How do you feel when somebody devours your book and cannot stop talking about it? Do you connect with your fans? In contrast, how do you react when someone says really bad things about your book?

Carrier of the Mark was my first book and I really didn't know how to react at first to the response from readers. Obviously I love hearing from people who adored the book. Their enthusiasm drives me forward.  There are so many amazing readers and fans who contact me, and I appreciate and adore each and every one of them. But negative reviews are part of the business. I didn't know how to react at first. Each negative review is like a punch in the gut to the rookie writer.  You see, we're just starting out. I had no confidence in myself, I took every word to heart and they ate away at my soul. It's silly really, I shouldn't have let it get to me. Some of my favorite books of all time have been torn apart by reviewers. I look back and wish I knew then what I know now. They're just opinions and bad reviews are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact a negative review can reflect quite positively on your book if people don't share the same taste as that reader. I myself chose to buy books based on other peoples dislikes. It's a funny old world. But if we all liked the same things it would be boring, wouldn't it? So now I've developed a healthy policy of not reading reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, because in the end, the important thing is people are out there, reading, discussing, and engaging with each other, and that's what's important.

7-What do you personally think for the cover design of Carrier of the Mark?

I love the cover design for Carrier of the Mark. It is so striking and really encapsulates the plot and Megan's feelings. I couldn't  have asked for better really. The cover for Shadow of the Mark is equally as gorgeous. Wait until you see.

8-How do you come up with your book titles? Do you struggle with naming them? Does your editor help you with them?

Carrier of the Mark was always the name of Carrier, even when it was just words scrawled in a journal.  The only change was we dropped 'The' from the title. It used to the The Carrier of the Mark. The names for the two other books in the series have been changed from their originals. They were right for me as I was writing them, but publishers have different ideas when they are trying to package a series and create consistency and recognition.  Shadow of the Mark started out life as Dawn of the Knights.  When you read Shadow you'll see how both titles would work, but Shadow of the Mark  compliments the series better.

9-Do you have any friends who are authors as well? If yes, name some. Do you think you will co-write a book with them one day?

I have so many writer friends I'd be typing up their names all day. All writers gravitate to one another as it's a lonely business, and when you're traveling to conferences and signings, it's nice to be able to get together.  But then most of us are very far removed from each other as we're spread out across the world, so friendships are built up on line. There are some writer friends closer to me who I meet up with occasionally or talk to regularly, Kim Harrington (Clarity, Perception), Colleen Houck (Tiger Curse Series), Jennifer L Armentout (Half-Blood, Obsidian), Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil) are just a few and are all awesome.

10-What is the best thing about being an author? What are the hardships/challenges/things you hate about being an author?

The best thing, is being able to write.  I love losing myself in a new story, creating characters, seeing what they're going to do, how they're going to act. It truly is the best job in the world.
The worst thing, is as I've mentioned before, the business side of things. It eats into your writing time and in most cases you spend more time marketing and publicizing your book than you do writing it. I just hope that one day I'll be enough of a success to employ others to do that side for me, leaving me more time to write and correspond with my fans. That would be wonderful.

And now, Time for a GIVEAWAY =D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Title: The Hunt (The Hunt #1)
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (UK)

Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. The only remaining humans, or hepers as they are known, are housed in domes on the savannah and studied at the nearby Heper Institute. Every decade there is a government sponsored hunt. When Gene is selected to be one of the combatants he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about his true nature are growing.

The Hunt. I've had heard many things about this book. Once I checked the blurb out, and found out that it's kind of a dystopian-ish and vampire book combined into one. I KNEW I HAD TO READ IT! Who wouldn't find such a story interesting?

This book is Gene's story. It is narrated in first person point of view. Andrew Fukuda was able to bring a new genre into literature. I'd like to call it "dyspire" (dystopia/vampire). I might not be the most creative person to come up with such things, but at least I tried hehe.

On to the book.

Things I liked about this book:

1-The world:  A dystopian world with vampires? No, I cannot get over the awesomeness of this. I think I'll admire this forever. It is just way beyond unique.

2-The dangers and differences: One thing that totally blew my mind was how Fukuda manages to describe this futuristic world. Through Gene's voice, he manages to perfectly picture the dangers and differences of being a human or heper. He describes how humans have hair, how they have body odor, how dangerous it is if the humans are sensed by these vampires.

3-The story and action: I really enjoyed the idea of this book. It reminded me of The Hunger Games a little bit, with the idea of the hunt. Also, this book was quite action-packed and worked really well. I really liked this aspect. As long as there's action, I'm gonna love a book (most of the time).

Things I disliked about this book:

There is only one thing I didn't like about this book. It was actually how the first part of the book was a little slow. I felt like the pacing needed to speed up, and it quite bugged me. I felt that Fukuda could have done a better job in that part.

In conclusion, this book was very entertaining. I enjoyed it. It was very unique. It had its flows, but despite all that, it is a very good read.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen

 Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

When I read the summary of Anna Dressed in Blood, I found it to be very interesting. I knew I HAD to read the book.

I'd like to really thank Tor Teen for providing me a copy to review this book even though it was out last year. THANKS SO MUCH :D

Anna Dressed in Blood is a ghost story. I've never really read a ghost story. No, I don't think I have read one. I might have, but I don't recall.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a very fast-paced story where you wanted to read more.

What I liked about this book:

1- When I read this book, I felt that the author was a smart lady. It felt like she knew about many subjects, and put them in a story. This was really interesting actually because I actually got to learn new things from reading this book.

2-Blake's writing style was brilliant. It flowed easily and  kept you captivated. I felt like finishing the book in one sitting.

3-Cas was an intriguing character. I liked him. Blake makes him realistic.

4-History. I really admired how Blake put up history. While this history isn't real(it is a work of fiction), it felt really real and fit with the story.

What I disliked about this book:

1-While I really enjoyed reading this book, I felt that there was something missing. It lacked that element to blow me away.

I will definitely read Girl of Nightmares when it comes out because Blake's series is adventurous and highly entertaining.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: Brothers to the Death by Darren Shan

Title: Brothers to the Death (The Saga of Larten Crepsley #4)
Author: Darren Shan
Publisher: Harper Collins UK

The fourth and final instalment in the epic saga of Larten Crepsley – vampire, hero and victim of fate…

Just as Larten is finding a new place for himself in vampire society, trying to help vampires escape the Nazi menace, horrifying tragedy falls on his own family, thanks to the nefarious Vampaneze.

With his old friend Wester calling for war against the ancient enemies of vampires, Larten finds himself a figurehead of the campaign.

But there are more evil things than just the Vampaneze stirring. And soon, Larten might find himself grieving again – as he faces the worst and final betrayal…

This is the last book in a series about Mr Crepsley, a character we have known about since a long time ago, and I should be sad because I will read no more bout my favoirte orange-haired friend. However, this is not the case. I have just finished reading this book. I am not sad. I read the last few pages with a smile on my face.

This perhaps is/will be my favorite Darren Shan book. Not only because of the main story, but also because of many other reasons.

Before I dicuss the reasons this book is great, I'd like to review the story.

This book was heart-stirring. Seriously. I felt extremely attached to the characters. I felt like I was where Mr Crepsley, Gavner, Vancha...etc were. Darren Shan perfectly captures a scene. He makes it so real, so believable. I felt like I was witnessing the disasters of the second World War. What's even more astonishing is that Darren Shan is not a vivid describer. I have no idea what technique he uses, but he has just mastered creating something unbelievable.

The title. This title resembles the story so perfectly. Brothers to the Death. In fact its giving me the shivers because I still cannot believe what happened. It was insane. That twist was, what can I say? I never ever saw that coming, and I couldn't ever have. EVER. I can't believe it.

The emotions. It is the first time I connected this deeply with a character written by Darren Shan. I felt sad when Mr Crepsley was sad. Happy when he was happy.

The setting. I was extremely captivated by the countries Darren Shan chose for writing Mr Crepsley's story. Paris, Berlin, New York. All magnificent places. I've been to Paris and Berlin, and they're beautiful. I am really glad Darren Shan chose to tell a story in those places.

Finally, I'd like to talk about why this book made me smile.

First of all, the character of Mr Crepsley made me smile. I admired how experienced he was, how light-hearted he was, how hurt he was. All bundled in one person, or in this case, vampire.

Second, I glorify Darren Shan's way of slipping some life experiences into the book. He teaches us essential life lessons. It shows how much he has experienced during his writing process since he first started.

I think that Darren Shan should be applauded for writing such a book because it is not just a tale of vampires, but something much deeper.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Slated by Teri Terry

Title: Slated (Slated #1)
Author: Teri Terry
Publisher: Orchad Books

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

This book is perhaps the one of the best books I have read/will read this year.

I've probably read way too many dystopians by now, and I can finally say I can differentiate between a good one and a bad one. If you have seen my reviews and ratings, you'd probably notice that I've given all of the dystopian books I've read either a 4 or a 5 star rating. You might wonder why, that's because I find dystopia extremely interesting and I'm deeply captivated into the stories.

However, this is not the case with Teri Terry's Slated. Slated exceeds expectations, pushes the limits, and is not afraid to take risks.

This book isn't a small book. It's almost 450 pages. Did that stop me from reading it quickly? No, in fact, I was reading in a super fast speed I was shocked with myself.

I was intrigued by the concept of this book. I found it exceptionally unique. This book is about a world where terrorists are not prisoned, are not punished. Instead, these terrorists are given a second chance by having their memories erased. They will have a new life, new parent, new everything. This process is called Slating. Now, Slating isn't something perfect. It has its consequences. Whoever is Slated is controlled by something called a Levo. This devices makes sure you're not too happy nor too angry. If you are, you will die.

Now that sounds really great, doesn't it?

I also loved this book for Teri Terry's writing style. This is her debut novel, and wow. She manages to keep you turning pages without you realizing. You wanna know more, and more, and MORE!

The characters are very interesting. I didn't find Kyla to be an annoying female character. She has bigger problems and things to worry about other than falling in love with a boy. Yes, there is a romance, but it is very subtle, and isn't the main part of the plot.

I think that Slated is a very unique book. The story is very realistic. When you read it, yout think: "This really sounds realistic. What if it REALLY happens in the future?"

This book sends shivers down your spine. Teri Terry has created a very realistic world. This book is not only a tale. It conveys many themes and important messages. It shows how horrific societies can be and clearly shows some real-life problems.

Teri Terry has managed to write a book that will capture the interests of many different readers and has the potential to be one of the most recognized books one day.

I cannot wait to read Fractured, the sequel to this book, which comes out in early 2013.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Before I start my review, I'd like to talk about the two covers. The old cover (top) is very cliche. I do not like it. We've seen girls dressed up for a cover a book million times. I'm really glad Harper Collins decided to change the cover to the new one (bottom). It perfectly resembles the story.

This book was unique. One of a kind.
This book kept me reading. Addicted.

Yes, I really enjoyed this book. The idea is wonderful. Suppose you have a power curse, but your power doesnt help people. It kills people.

 What I liked about this book:

1-Writing style: Hands down, the best thing about this book was the writing style. Tahereh Mafi truly writes beautifuly. Shatter Me is her debut novel, but it's is perfectly polished. It doesn't feel like it is a first-time published book. It is full of imagery and visuals. You see the site of birds, waterfalls, nature... Another really fascinating writing technique was the crossing out. Congratulations Tahereh Mafi, you have brought created a new unique writing style into literature. 

2-Narrative: I think our main character, Juliette, had a very authentic voice. The way she sees things is very different than any character in young adult books. 

3-Ending: While I was reading throughout the 330 page book, I never knew where this book was gonna go. The story went somewhere I did not expect at all. It gave this bad-ass epic feel to it, made me smile.

What I didn't like about this book:

1- Romance: I've reached a point where I don't mind romance books anymore, and sometimes I feel that there's something missing in the book. However, with Shatter Me, I thought Tahereh Mafi overdid the romance. It felt like Juliette thought about her romance way too much. There was too much emphasis on descriptions.There was too much kissing. Kissing the lips, necks, nose. It made me a little uncomfortable at many instances.

Overall, this book is an amazing debut novel full of adventure. Tahereh Mafi is a brilliant writer and I can't wait to read Unravel Me.