Monday, April 30, 2012

An Interview With Kiki Hamilton

You can find Kiki at the following places:

Why she's here:

Hi Sierra! Thank you so much for inviting me over to your blog and for your interest in THE FAERIE RING! 
Hi Kiki!  It's my pleasure to have you! :D
To start off, can you give us five fun facts about yourself?
1.  I eat cookies and peanut butter for breakfast every morning followed by M&M’s.
2.  Dog lover not a cat lover
3.  I used to have a motorcycle.
4.  I can’t carry a tune but I sing all the time
5.  I believe in ghosts.

How neat!  I agree with you - dogs are definitely my thing!
What are five books you think everyone should read?
There are so many good books out there – it’s hard to choose!
1.  Harry Potter (which means all 7 books)
2.  The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
3.  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
4.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
5.  Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Oh yes, Harry Potter is definitely a must read.  I loooove Hugo Cabret and I'm about to read The Night Circus!  I also own The Thief and look forward to reading it.  Looks like we have similar tastes. :)
How has writing and being published affected your life?
I love writing more than any other job I’ve had. I wish that I would have started writing as a career back in my 20’s, so I guess it’s affected my life because it takes lots and lots of time to write and then market a book, but I’m always excited to do it.

That's amazing!
Who is your favorite character that you have created and why?
Larkin is my favorite character in this series because she is unpredictable and enigmatic. There is so much depth to her that isn’t revealed, yet it makes her who she is today. I find that kind of character intriguing.

Ooooh Larkin!  I can't wait to get to know her character more - even though she definitely sent chills of fear down my spine more than once!
What triggered the idea to mix the faerie world with Victorian London?
When I first started writing THE FAERIE RING I knew my main character was a girl named Tiki and she lived in Victorian London. I knew she was a pickpocket but I didn’t know much else about her.  It was when she stole the Queen’s ring that whole story came pouring out, because I knew that there were secrets in the ring, and others wanted it, as well. Plus, I like the idea of not all the secrets of history being revealed – like if we knew the stories that had fallen through the cracks (or been kept hidden) it would change everything…

I totally love that idea too!  I've always wanted to write a story in which I reveal the secrets of the world... ;)
Which of your characters would you say is most like you?
I guess I would hope Tiki is most like me. I would like to think I have her loyalty to those she loves as well as have the courage to face danger or difficult situations.

Tiki really is a wonderful character!
I know that for me, The Faerie Ring reminded me of my favorite magical childhood reads.
Thank you so much!  When I wrote TFR I was writing what I wanted to read – a story that would stand the test of time and feel ‘magical’ when I visited that world.

Was there anything from your childhood that sparked your imagination for this story?
Well, I suppose it all adds up inside your head and you pull bits of this and that from your memory when you’re crafting a story. I can’t say there was any specific story that inspired TFR but I do love magic and the sense that anything is possible.

As a total girly girl who loves beautiful princesses, handsome princes, and fancy balls, I have to ask:  What was it like writing about a masked ball? :)
haha – I feel the same way (though I’m not a girly-girl at all.) I loved writing about the masked ball. In fact, Tiki’s moment with Prince Leopold and William Richmond is one of my favorite scenes in the book. It was so much fun – almost like being there, because you imagine it all in your head.

That was one of my favorite scenes too!!  Ohhhh William... *swoon*
I really like the dynamic that the scenes from Leo's perspective added to the story.  What did you do to ensure that Leo and Tiki's voices stayed so distinct throughout?
Thank you! Leo’s voice (and Arthurs’ dry wit) were so clear in my head, as was Tiki’s voice. They are such different characters, who come from such different worlds, it didn’t take a lot of conscious effort to make them sound different. I’m glad that it came across in the story!

You're welcome!
Can you tell us anything about The Torn Wing and what to expect?
Yes! THE TORN WING will be released on October 2nd and I’ll be giving away advanced copies and bookmarks in the next few months, so drop by my website at: or for information.
THE TORN WING is written from Tiki and Leo’s point of view again and introduces a few new characters. The tagline is this:  ‘A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation…’ and really, there’s more than one shocking revelation. Does that help? ;-)

OH MY GOSH!!  The fangirl in me is coming out!! :D  Thank you for that exciting news!!
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Just thank you so much to you and all the wonderful readers who have supported me and my book.  It’s what allows me to keep writing.


I just love this review, don't you all?  Thank you SO MUCH Kiki for joining us here at Yearning to Read!  It's been awesome having you!  Thanks for your wonderful book! :D

Review of The Faerie Ring to come tomorrow, folks!  Get ready to hear about one flipping awesome book! :D

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Buys 4/20-27/12

I'm really trying to be good and not buy books...  These were a dollar or two each and I'm very happy with the purchases! :D


Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories by Thomas Mann  -  $.25
No, I don't know who Thomas Mann is.  I've never heard of him or his stories.  But golly goodness this is the coolest vintage paperback I've ever seen!  I've been collecting them and this one was too good (and cheap!) to pass up!

Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy -  $2.00
Almost in perfect condition hardcover.  Excited to read this one!

The Ambassadors by Henry James - $.25
Again, gorgeous vintage paperback, brilliant price.  I'm down with that!

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray - $1.00
This is one of my all-time favorite vintage classics that I've bought.  OH. MY GOSH.  It's sooooooo beautiful!!  It's in decent condition for it's age (126 years old), with the spine loose, the cover on the spine coming off a bit, and some of the pages loose.  But holy gracious it's too gorgeous to be true.



I found this picture on the Words on Paper book blog at THIS LINK.  The cover is subject to change, as it is an ARC edition.

SO.  What did YOU get this week?  Leave me a link in the comments so I can check out your stash! :D
Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Characters In Books

A fantastic meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Ok, so, character development has always been a HUGE thing for me.  If I don't love the characters, forget about it.  I have to at least kind of like them.  And if I don't love them, then I have to grow to love them, or else it's a downer.  Thus, my reason for liking this week's theme. :)

1.  Dustfinger.  If I could be one character in any book in all of would be Roxanne, Dustfinger's wife.  Yeah,  you heard me.  He's that amazing.  I'm trying to think of words to say that would describe my love for him, but alas I cannot.  He's just.....OMIGOSH I LOVE HIM.

2.  JARED.  Laura @ A Work of Fiction and I, when we are talking to each other, ALWAYS capitalize his name.  He's so wonderful and sacrificial and amazing and loves so completely and is so freaking smart (how does he do it?!) and just makes me melt inside.

3.  PEEEEETTTTAAAAAAA.  No.  I can't describe.  Just...yeah.  I have very strong feelings for him.  (Perfectly good ones, thank you very much.)  One cannot be more amazing than Peeta.  End of story.

4.  Harry Potter.  He's so indescribably heroic and manly and insanely adorable.

5.  Alex........... :(((((((((((((((((((((( :DDDDDDDDDDDDDD  I'm like roller-coaster bipolar when it comes to Alex's story. Happy/depressed/crying like a maniac/beaming like the sun.  Back and forth, back and forth, sometimes two at the same time, sometimes everything at the same time.

6.  Andre-Louis Moreau.  GASP!!!  This man!!  That's what he is.  A manly man.  A geniusly wonderful one at that.  I can't get enough of him EVER.  He will always be a faaaavorite.  EVER.

7.  Any character from any of N. D. Wilson's marvelous books.  I can't choose one so they all count.

8.  Percy Jackson.  How can anyone NOT love him?  With his loyalty and love and wonderfulness that exceeds description and full understand.

9.  Sydney Carton.  I love this man and his story so inexplicably much.  It makes me cry EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

10.  Samantha Kingston, Prince Myshkin, and William Monk.  These characters are COMPLETELY different in EVERY way but since I want them all to be included but can't decide between them....well, yeah.  Here it is.  They have to be smooshed.  Sam, because of the INCREDIBLE change in her.  Myshkin, because Ohhhmygosh he makes his story the brilliant lovely thing that it is.  And William Monk because I've never seen a detective like him and I just want him to REMEMBER gosh darn it!!

What are YOUR top ten favorite characters??  Link me in the comments!  I'd love to comment on your lists as well! :D

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner

Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner
Pages:  400
Release Date:  March 20th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, April 1st-7th
Received:  ARC via NetGalley
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  10+

Her Royal Highness, the Princess Charlotte Augusta Joanna Hortense of Quale, more commonly known as Charlie, has spent the last six years getting to know every nook, cranny, and shadow of her father's castle.  Her father, the King himself, busies himself by building card castles, higher and higher, driven mad.  Some say by grief, others say by guild - that he killed Charlie's mother, the Queen.  But Charlie knows she is alive, and is determined to find the whereabouts of her mother who disappeared all those years ago without a trace.

I really enjoyed this mystery.  I'm not a huge mystery reader - it typically has to blow my mind and shock me numb for me to 5-star it.  But this book really was wonderful, a fun read as well as an intense one.  Ellen Renner's style is lovely, her writing very sophisticated but easy to read.

I really did enjoy this cast.  Charlie was such a fun MC, a girl with a lot going on - plus a huge personality.  Tobias was a great addition, helping Charlie but to what end?  Why is he helping her?  His motives remain unclear until the end and I love this about him.

Mrs. Odair, the King, Mr. Moleglass, Bettina, Peter and a few others were great supporting characters, good or bad.  All had a place and really complimented every aspect of Castle of Shadows.

My favorite character, however, is Alistair Windlass, Prime Minister of Quale.  I won't spill any secrets about him, but I'll just say that he was perfect.  Part of his perfection goes to the fact that one moment you hate him and the next you love him and after that you're wonderful where his loyalties lie.  It's brilliant, really.

I had one issue with two of the characters - Charlie and Tobias.  They didn't act their ages, 11 and 12, respectively.  Charlie sometimes acted childish, but her level of thought-process, logic, and overall wisdom was that of a 13 or 14 year old.  And Tobias mostly acted 14 or 15.  So, I, erm, pretended they were the ages I pictured them as.

Like I said, mysteries don't always cut it for me, but Castle of Shadows certainly did!  For me, Renner's writing and the way she crafted her story created a wonderfully illustrated picture of life inside Charlie's castle, as well as Charlie's lifestyle and the lives of those around her.  The difference between the lives of, say...Tobias and Windlass were striking.

I really liked the mystery of the missing Queen, but honestly, that wasn't my main draw.  It was definitely Windlass, and everything to do with him.  I was so surprised by all the things he did.  He confounded me, like, every 5 pages or so.

The twist about Tobias in the end was really brilliant as well.  I had an idea something like the real deal but wasn't sure...

Dark intrigue.  That's another thing...the story line was a bit darker/sadder than I would prefer for this age group, but can definitely be an exception.  I really enjoyed Castle of Shadows!  A great book to curl under the covers with.  Especially the last 125 pages - I didn't put it down once!

For the Parents -
Some death toward the end.  Darker themes (madness/murder) but not too strong.  One or two uses of b****rd.  Recommended 10+

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Buys 4/6-20/12


Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C. S. Forester (#1) - $3
I'm excited to read this one! (  My bestie loves the movies and I've been trying to find the first one for less than $8...  And here it is for soooo cheap! :)  And in great condition, too!

Torn by Amanda Hocking (#2) - $3
I know, I know.  I haven't even begun to read the first one, but when I found the 2nd for this price and in SUCH good condition, I couldn't resist.  Self control, much?  Nah!


I don't know if I've said enough about my dearest friend Laura @ A Work of Fiction, but I know that you should all hop over to her blog ASAP and follow and comment.  Trust me, you'll fall head over heals for her and her blog.  She's amazing.
And guess what?  She bought me this book.  The reason?  Just because.  Apparently, I'm such a good friend that I deserve to get books from besties who are WAY cooler than 99% of the world's population.  It is things like this, actions like this, and people like Laura who make the world a better place.  Is she wonderful, or is she? ;)

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen


I adored Austenland, the first book, and am SO EXCITED to have won this hardcover copy from Bloomsbury in the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program!

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale


I really really really love the colors of this stash.  How they all go together but are all different.  Really random, I know, but that's just me. ;)


AAAAAAAHHH I LOVE LISA!!!  And therefore, I automatically love this book.  Period.  End of story.

What have YOU purchased/won/received/borrowed this week?  Or these last couple weeks?  Comment and leave me a link!! :D

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #1 - Tiger Lily

This is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper!  This is my first time participating and I'm very excited!  :D

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . . 

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell. Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter. With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.


When I read this synopsis, every single time, I think I am going to burst into tears.  Peter Pan does that to me.  Anything related to Peter Pan does that to me.  Do you know how beautiful this story sounds?  How heartbreaking?!  Peter Pan is not about Happy Endings.  I have a feeling this is going to be a Forever Favorite, and that I'm going to be a complete disaster when I read it.
The cover is absolutely perfect.  I love the colors and the font and everything.

Released:  July 3rd, 2012
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

What are YOU wishing for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Tips For New Book Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! :)

What a fun theme this week!!  Ok, ok.  Here goes. :D

1.  Have loads of fun.  Normally, you'd see this at the end of a set of instructions, like, "Oh, and, I almost forgot, but you should have fun!"  But no.  I think it needs to be first.  Because if you're not having the time of your life, or at least a little bit of fun, then it might not be worth it.

2.  Post about the books/book related subjects and objects you love.  Don't write reviews for, say, paranormal romance books just because they're popular and you think it will boost your blog.  If you don't like paranormal romance (like me!) then don't even think twice about it.  I was tempted to do this with certain genres when I first started out, but I'm glad I didn't give in!  If you like historical fiction, read/write about historical fiction.  You'll find your niche and everyone will be so pleased!

3.  Blog hop.  This is one thing I WISH I would have known about when I started.  I didn't start blog hopping until 7 or 8 months after I started my blog, which is one of the reasons I only gained about 6 followers in that time...and about 5 were friends.  I didn't know how to market and I was kind of afraid of what the internet would hold.  But I'm so glad I branched out and started following other blogs/commenting/participating.

4.  Comment comment comment!!  Leave comments all over your favorite blogs.  Let other bloggers know how much you love their reviews, memes, and updates by leaving meaningful comments.  It's a good way to let bloggers know you're out there and that you appreciate their work - just don't be too stalkerish.  Feel free to leave your blog address after the comment.  Something I often do is write:  "Sierra @ Yearning to Read" and below it put my web address.  That way the blog owner feels no pressure to visit or follow, but will probably do so.  Ever heard "What goes around comes around"?  Well, Mimi Valentine has a fabulous blog and totally is an example of this.  Comment on her blog, and she'll head on over to yours and comment on your most recent post!!  It's a fun way of playing tag! ;)

5.  Host giveaways and sign up for giveaway hops to attract loads of traffic.  Because you're giving away free books, you can always require something in return:  follow my blog, sign up for email updates, follow on Facebook, on Twitter, comment on a review, etc.  Or all of those.  It gives people 1 entry or many - that's up to you! - and everyone wins.

6.  Use Goodreads.  I have found so many great blogs and gained new followers through the wonderful magical world that is Goodreads.  I like to have lots of Goodreads friends!  I also LOVE Goodreads so that I can see what new books are coming out long before the release and have a great way of contacting authors to ask for ARC's.  Author pages on Goodreads link to their websites/blogs and those have contact pages.  It's seriously amazing!!  And you thought Facebook was addicting....  ;)

7.  Post often.  3-5 posts a week is typically a good amount.  If you're posting regularly and consistently your readers will know you're serious and will be drawn back to your blog again and again!  It is also better to do this when you want to start receiving ARC copies from authors/publishers.  They see you're consistent and that's a huge turn-on for them!

8.  I can't believe I'm saying this...but you should get addicted to NetGalley like the rest of us.  It's a seriously fun way to get books for review.   You might never want to leave the website, and will be trigger happy and requesting every book that looks interesting for the first month or so, and then you'll only get a tiny bit better for the rest of your blogging career and only request three-fourths of the books you find interesting.  The only downside to this is that you have to either read it on a Nook or Kindle or eReader of sorts...or read it on the computer.  So if you're okay with any or all of these options, then join and have a blast!!

9.  Create your own memes and allow people to use your memes, as long as they link back to you.  Kind of like Top Ten Tuesday!  I haven't done this myself, but I think I want to start doing it with at least one of my memes...I just haven't decided which one yet.  If you start a meme and have people link back to you with a Meme Button or just a link, then you will gain followers like this, I promise!

10.  Create a blog button!  Look below for the link to how to do it...  It's not too hard, just a little bit of photographing, editing, and HTML.  If you have one, people can post your blog button onto their blogs and you can gain more traffic through it!

Want to learn some fun new blogger tricks & tips?  Head on over to the fantabulous world of Small Review to read some really really cool posts!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2)

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2)
Pages: 375
Release Date:  February 28th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, March 2nd-4th
Received:  OWN
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  16+

This review contains spoilers for the first book, Delirium.  Read my review of Delirium here.

Lena Holoway is old, dead, and buried.  Lena Morgan Jones is new, reborn, and ready to fight at whatever the cost.  The memory of Alex, of Grace and her mother, are all she has left of her life before.  Her new life is with Raven and Tack, after a grueling time in the Wilds; she lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is a student, a cured, a Zombie.  She has been charged with trailing Julian Fineman, son of prominent leader of the Deliria Free America.  When the two are thrown into an adventure they never bargained for, they must put aside their differences - and fight a forbidden love that can never be fostered.

I read. I cried. I threw a fit.

This book makes me want to pull a squirt gun on the publishers, Dick Harper style, and yell, "GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S! GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S!"

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  It's something that never gets old, and I don't believe it will ever change.

Lauren Oliver is Brilliant.  With a capitol "B".

And because of that Brilliancy, we have Before I Fall, Delirium, and now Pandemonium.  (I'm sure Liesl & Po is just as wonderful, but I have yet to read it.)  If I had to pick a favorite between Delirium and Pandemonium, I'd pick the first book, but its sequel is so excellent I cannot deny my love for it.  It is a Forever Favorite and will stay there for all time.

Once again - Lauren's writing is freaking GORGEOUS.  It envelops you in warm, comforting arms and feeds you inspiration by the spoonful.  Even after the story is over, it sticks with the reader for a long, long time.

Lena Morgan Jones is my new hero.  She's my role model.  If I could be half as brave as this young woman, then I'd feel like a superhero.  In Delirium, Alex is the one who causes her to bud into a beautiful, brave young woman.  Pandemonium shows the continued growth, the building of a new Lena who strives to do right by her memory of Alex, of her mother.

Now, ahem, ALEX.  No, he is not exactly in this book as a character, but his memory shines for him, real and encouraging - to the reader as well as to Lena.  I loved the way Lena's thoughts of him, her motivation to make her life exactly what he'd died for her to have, practically brought him to life.  Oh, how I miss him.  I'm serious - I felt like I was Lena, aching for him, wishing for his strong guidance, but also pushing forward, fighting for another day, to live, breathe love.  That is why I love Alex.

Julian Fineman.  Can I just ask a question?  HOW THE HECK DID YOU BECOME WONDERFUL AS WELL?!?!?!  After gaining composure...  Julian  I wasn't sure of him at first, but now I'm dead certain.  What I'm certain of (besides his awesomeness) I have no idea.  I just hope Lauren has something awesome in store for him.  (Although, compared with Alex....he doesn't even compare.  Ok, so, we're not comparing him with Alex right now.  Sorry, I just can't help myself.)

Raven, Tack, Hunter, Sarah, etc. - these are the men and women and children of the wilds.  They were all very clear and precise and consistent.  I mean, come on, these are Lauren's characters I'm talking about here - what else would they be?!

I'm going to be honest:  I missed 37 Brooks, Back Cove...Portland.  I really did.  But here, in Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver has built something just as real, just totally different - Brooklyn, NY.  An entirely new setting, a new structure, a strong difference in her MC - and yet everything felt as though I'd experienced it my whole life.  So natural, life-like.

I really liked the then and now idea - how they were different times but they still melted into each other, seamless.  Lena's contrasted self was a beautiful thing to see, to be reminded of.

Wanna know what really blows me away?  The love triangle.  Yep, you heard me.  I flipping love this love triangle.  It's not giggling teenage girls with hunky men where all they want to do is make out.  It's something totally different, out-of-this-world, mindboggling: it's mature.  Yes, Lauren Oliver has succeeded in creating the mature and realistic love triangle I've ever read.  Now, I have my biases.  I'm a "first love" fan 1,000,000%.  But honestly, I trust Lauren's expertise.  What she says goes.  I'm placing my already fragile heart in her hands.  I trust she won't crush it.  (Ok, just kidding.  She's already crushed it and shredded it and mercilessly pounded it into the dirt a million times get what I'm trying to say, right?)

On the topic of love, I must say the love story in this one was a bit less believable, because of who Lena is and what she's been through.  I mean, with Delirium's slow-progressing romance, thick and delicious and wondrous, and with the world's best lit-man, nothing really compares now.  Because of this, Pandemonium's romance seemed quite a bit fast.  It was definitely beautiful, and still believable, but not as much as Lena and Alex's.  I sure do hope this makes sense...

And then...WE ALL DIE BECAUSE OF THAT END.  WHY?!?!?!!  My mind seriously threatens to burst every time I even think about it because I can't even wrap my head around Lauren's brilliance!!!!  She is the Queen of Cliffhangers and Heartbreakers.  WHY do we have to wait till freaking NEXT YEAR to know what happens?!?!?!

It's just....pure genius.  Pure.  Genius.

You heard me - pure genius.  From first page to last.  Every word in between.  Everything.  I'm seriously freaking out right now!!
Requiem:  I need you desperately, but you are worth the wait!!!

For the Parents -
A handful of s**t, brief strong language (2 F's, 2 GD's).  Reference to "unnaturals" (two guys are apparently a couple).  A male character asks to see Lena without a shirt on.  She covers her breasts but he does get a peek at the rest.  A passionate kiss, some description.  They sleep in a bed together but nothing happens.  Recommended to 16+

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pendemonium (Quotes)

The next morning I wrap my toes in cloth, stuff my feet into my shoes, and run again.  If you can...just a little bit farther...just a little bit'll see, you'll see, you'll see.  Alex is alive. 
I'm not crazy.  I know he isn't, not really.  As soon as my runs are done and I'm hobbling back to the church basement, it hits me like a wall: the stupidity of it all, the pointlessness.  Alex is gone, and no amount of running or pushing or bleeding with bring him back.
I know it.  But here's the thing:  When I'm running, there's always this split second when the pain is ripping through me and I can hardly breathe and all I see is color and blur - and in that split second, right as the pain crests, and becomes too much, and there's a whiteness going through me, I see something to my left, a flicker of color (auburn hair, burning, a crown of leaves) - and I know then, too, that if I only turn my head he'll be there, laughing, watching me, holding out his arms.
I don't ever turn my head to look, of course.  But one day I will.  One day I will, and he'll be back, and everything will be okay.
And until then:  I run. 
- Then, Page 75



I'm still getting over this one.  SO.  PAINFUL.

Review on Monday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DNF Review: Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill

Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill
Pages: 160
Release Date:  March 27th, 2012
DNF date:  2012, January 17th
Received:  ARC via NetGalley

(From Goodreads)
Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glassmakers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glassblowing is not for daughters—that is her brother's work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she's prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her. 

Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father's wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled.

I was very, very excited about this book when I first heard about it.  Italy?  Romance?  Glass blowers?  Magical, right?


I wishwishwish I'd been able to get into this book.  From page, say, 5?  I was lost.  Where is this going?  Why can't I get into it?  Why do I not care?  Why?!

It was a frustrating experience.

Here are my reasons for DNF-ing this book:

1.  The verses themselves.  They felt very complicated, too complicated.  Almost like they didn't hit the right description or conversations, just flailed around uselessly.

2.  Characters.  Ummm...who?  Who is this book about?  Seriously.  So flat, so unrealistic.  So...not even there...

3.  The romance. Or lack thereof.  I skimmed ahead some when I got bored out of my mind and saw that the romance didn't come around this much too late in the book...well, to catch my interest.  I was looking for some awesome love story, based on the description and what I'd read about it, but Sisters of Glass did not deliver.

So, while this could have been a great book, it was more of a chore than anything. I hope others find it fascinating, but I cannot say I recommend it.

*This ARC copy was provided by NetGalley (thanks a million!!) in return for an honest review. I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.* 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Bookshelf Dilemma: Episode 1

So here I am, introducing my newest meme!  I don't know how often I'll be posting, but I had a lot of fun taking these pictures and deciding which section of my "shelves" to post first.

Everyone has shelf problem, right?  Well, ok, every avid reader has a shelf problem.  Either you have too many books, you don't have enough, you don't have a place to put them, they're being trampled on (oh!  the horror!), you wish you could put them somewhere safe and sound, you already have them someplace safe and sound but something's just not right...  There's always something, right?

Well, your's truly has a problem.  I don't actually have bookshelves.  I've had to totally reconstruct my room based on how many books I have, where they go, what I want to be seen and what I don't want to be seen. How I want them organized, what makes them easiest to find when I want a specific book...  It took a long time, and lots of rearranging.  I'm still not fully happy with it (that's why it's a dilemma, of sorts).  I want to share it with my readers to see if there are any ideas out there that my family and I haven't thought of, and just to share the progress in general.  You will get a tour of my books, aka a tour of my room, since my books are my room.

Here goes...

So.  This is kind of an unusual shelf.  I'm not sure I've ever heard of anyone who has one of these.  (If you do, please let me know, so I can feel sane.)  It's my TBR shelf.  (I guess that doesn't actually sound crazy when I say it like that.)

You see these books?  They are constantly being switched out.  My library books I get go on the right, and the books I own that I want to read go on the left.  I have approximately 15 books up there at a time, displayed for me so I can decide which one I would like to read next.

I have these cute little decorations.  All book related, of course.  Well, the perfume is the present I received from our Spanish exchange student...which I love and wear allll the time.  It smells soooo good!  (And see the little silver rectangle poking out of the O?  That's my most prized possession, over anything else in the whole wide world.  It holds every last one of my stories/ideas.  Kind of important?  I think yes.)

Then I have my vintage paperbacks.

Behind the paperbacks and the decor are more vintage books.  They're newer, though, and not as stunning as my others.  Unfortunately, for now, they take the backseat.  Literally...

My vintage records also have to be shoved in the back.  At least it looks cool, right?!

This is even where I keep my dust jackets when I'm reading a hardcover!!

The pictures below are of my TBR that is soon-to-be-read-but-not-as-soon-as-the-front-books.  Mouthful, huh?  It's what pops into my head every time I see them.  Terrible piles, they are, piling up like growing monsters ready to devour me.  I do it to myself, of course.  But they get bigger and bigger.  Some are re-reads that need to happen soon. Some are books that I've had for years.  Some are new.  (Correction:  MOST are new.)  Massive brain explosion is going to happen if I don't STOP GETTING STUPID LIBRARY BOOKS and start plowing through my....extensive collection.
The words of a madwoman.

And so there it is.  The first episode of my ridiculous meme.  And there will be more.  Oh, beware!  There will be more!!

I love the comments - let me know what you think of this new meme and any ideas you have about it!  What can I do to my poor bookshelves?  How can I make this meme more interesting?  :)

Happy reading!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: The Academie by Susanne Dunlap

The Academie by Susanne Dunlap
Pages: 368
Release Date:  February 28th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, March 4th-11th
Received:  ARC via NetGalley
Rating:  3/5 stars
Recommended to:  +12

Eliza Monroe - daughter of America, innocent and young, desiring romance and handsome generals, wanting to be accepted.
Hortense de Beauharnais - daughter of Josephine Bonaparte, beautiful young woman, one who loves deeply, one who has a secret she cannot deny, but must try to escape from.
Madeleine - actress in the Comedie Francaise, treated like a slave by her own famous mother, in love with the son of Josephine Bonaparte, waiting for someone to take her away.
Three girls, three paths of life, intertwined and tangled.  When thrown together, their lives will never be the same.

I was hoping to love this book...but even though I didn't, its still a good historical fiction that I enjoyed.  It started out with 5-star material, and ended 3 star.  But that's not bad.  I appreciate it for what it was.  However, there were definitely some major points that stopped me from loving the story.  One thing was Susanne Dunlap's style. i was okay with telling apart three 1st person voices...until they were all thrown together into the same place. For the last 100 pages they were frustratingly similar.

Eliza, Hortense, Madeleine, Caroline, Josephine, Napoleon, Eugene....  The list goes on.  This is one large cast.  Surprisingly, it wasn't hard to keep track, except maybe a little with Josephine and Caroline.  Caroline is Napoleon's sister, and Josephine is married to Napoleon, and has two kids - Hortese and Eugene - from a different way. a way, Caroline is Hortese's step-aunt.  But they're around the same age.  This could have been super confusing, but it was only a tiny bit confusing at first, and as time went on it got easier to understand.  I appreciate this very very much.

Putting that mess aside, I really did like most of the characters because they were human.  Eliza was a brat, doing the most infuriating things until finally she saw sense.  (So don't give up on her!)  Madeleine was mysterious...I suspected the twist about her at the end but wasn't too sure.

Hortense and Eugene, siblings, step-children of Napoleon, were by far my favorites.  They were consistent, selfless, and people I could relate to because they weren't all about the ridiculous society rules that their parents/cousins followed.

Caroline was fascinating, but less consistent and I felt there were holes about her development in the end.  She changed suddenly, it seemed.  But maybe it was just my perception.

I like historical books that have reality and fiction mixed together.  So, while Eliza, the Bonapartes, and all the stuff about France were real, Madeleine and Eugene and the events surrounding them were fabricated.  I found this interesting and it kept my attention throughout.

For the most part I was totally glued to the story, but there were a few anticlimactic scenes that should have been riveting.  The outcomes (Eliza's first kiss - which was weird, for who she kissed - Hortense's visit to the music teacher's house, and Caroline just disappearing) made me go, "Wait, where were we?"

I didn't love the climax because 1. it seemed a bit pointless; and 2. it was SO SAD.  Thinking about it even now, I can't help but shudder at the thought of the events.  However, the very end did sum up the story well and I liked the lessons the characters learned from their experiences.

A good mix of real life and good story-telling.  I wish it had been better, but that's just me.  I'm sure tons of readers will eat this book up like a gourmet dessert.  And if I happen to come across one of Dunlap's other books, I'll definitely give it a try!

For the Parents -
A kiss or two, talk of affairs/lovers; an antagonist is addicted to opium; some brief but very saddening violence.  Recommended 12+

*This ARC copy was provided by NetGalley (thanks a million!!) in return for an honest review. I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.*