Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I am an Angelfire Newbie! (vlogs)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 with
Labels:
Dear fellow readers,
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and found a lot of bookish things under your tree.

A few weeks ago heard that Epic Reads (a YA book community run by HarperCollins) were looking for reader to be part of their "The End is Here" campaign to celebrate the release of the last book in a series.
I signed up on a whim and I got chosen! I am one of the newbie readers of the Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton. So, instead of writing a review for each book, I got the idea to blog and vlog my way through the series. My first vlog:

My second vlog, in which I talk about my initial feelings about the series and my thoughts after reading the first 100 pages:

I haven't made a YouTube video for seven months until these two and I missed doing them. Hopefully, I can do a few more in the coming weeks.

I'll be talking more about being part of The End is Here because I'll be writing special blog for Epic Reads about Angelfire, doing forum posts and other stuff--and I'll most likely post about it here on our blog.

If you've read Angelfire, let me know what you thought of it.

Books and hugs,
Michelle

Friday, December 21, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 320 pages 
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: October 9, 2012
ISBN: 9780316198684

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
 

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?
Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.
Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.
Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.


Leslie's Review:
When I first started reading What Happens Next, I didn't know what to expect. I know it's going to be about rape but the synopsis seemed vague and really didn't know how intense it was going to be. But I enjoyed Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbirds, which had similar themes so I went right ahead and read it. When I finished reading it, I was amazed and inspired.

What Happens Next is a character driven novel and there's not going to be a lot of action to drive the plot, but nevertheless, the one issue I had with it was that the rising action was long and dragged at times. But when I finally did reach the climax (which was like 20 pages from the end), I was enraptured once more. And then that ending was just... wow! Very inspiring. I liked that the message rang clear and true in those last few pages. It was what made the novel awesome overall.

The main character is Sid. Honestly, I had mix feelings for her: I liked that she was funny and intelligent and her insecurity was relatable. However, throughout the book, it frustrated and bothered me when Sid couldn't express her feelings and didn't seek help from her family or friends after her traumatic event. I wanted to so bad reach out to her and help her myself but instead I had to watch her feel hurt and depressed as she tried to cope. Despite all this, I rooted for Sid all throughout the book, and I felt relieved and happy for her when I reached that great ending.

As for the rape, I liked that the author didn't go into details. What Happens Next was less about the rape and more about Sid herself being a rape victim survivor and how she copes. It is also a beautiful love story, which I didn't expect at all.

I recommend this debut novel to those who loved Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbirds and/or like contemporary YA of this kind of theme. It explores a different kind of way of coping than Alex's in Mockingbirds but it is nonetheless inspiring and touching.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We got new books! (18)

Sunday, December 16, 2012 with
We haven't posted about the books we added to our bookshelf since the beginning of November. We're going to play catch up in the next two Sundays. This Sunday is for the books Leslie got back home on Maui.

Some of the books are for me and I cannot wait to get my hands on them when I go back home in two weeks.
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (for review)

Shiver by Karen Robards (unsolicited)
Possess by Gretchen McNeil (won)
Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis (bought)
The Last Debutante by Julia London (unsolicited)
Rimfire Bride by Sara Luck (unsolicited)
Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols (unsolicited)
Gold Fire by Starr Ambrose (unsolicited)

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (won and signed!)

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Friday, December 14, 2012

ARC: 224 pages 
Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: 12/18/2012
ISBN: 9781440552649
 
Source of my copy: FSG
Series: Twisted Lit #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Michelle's Review:
Tempestuous is a "twisted lit" retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest but since I am not all familiar with the play I am going to refrain from commenting about Tempestuous and The Tempest.

I picked up Tempestuous because the synopsis appealed to me. Miranda Prospero, who lost her high school status as “it-girl” now works in a wiener stand at the mall. When she, her co-workers and her ex-friends was snowed in at the mall, she gets her revenge all the while being handcuffed to Caleb, the last guy she wanted to spend time with.

It’s a very fun premise and, although I had few issues with Tempestuous, it was a fun read overall.

My biggest issue was with the writing which I thought was all over the place. On some parts, it had a… what I would call a Shakespearean flavor and then, a few sentences later it turns to regular speak. The writing switches off like this throughout the novel. I found it a bit jarring and it took me out of the story.

The other issue I had was towards the end when Miranda suddenly got over her anger and forgave her ex-friends seemingly out of nowhere. Three-fourths of the novel was all about getting back at them and then bam!—which left me wondering if I missed something.

Where Tempestuous shined though were the characters. Since both the preppy kids and the mall workers were both stranded in the mall, it quickly turned into a Sharks and Jets type of rivalry. This book had whole cast of characters that, while a bit cliché, were fun to read about because of the plans and schemes they get into with Miranda in the lead.

If you are familiar with Shakespeare's The Tempest, I think you would appreciate this novel more than I did. But if you're like me and you are not familiar with play, I think you'll enjoy it anyway.

I would liken Tempestuous to one of those Nickelodeon movies with a lot of planning and scheming and a lot of running around. There was even a bit of a mystery thrown in there, which made it all the more fun. I recommend Tempestuous for a light and quick weekend read.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

book cover Mass Market: 384 pages 
Publisher: Avon
 Release Date: November 27, 2012
ISBN: 9780062064622
 
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Deadly Angels #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
 

No one knows that better than Trond Sigurdsson. In the centuries since he last went out drinking and wenching with his Viking buds, Trond has been a gladiator, a cowboy, a ditch digger . . . even a sheik. But now he's the baddest of them all: a kick-ass Navy SEAL kicking butts of terrorist immortals with the help of his hotter-than-Hades female partner, police officer-turned-Special Forces operative Nicole Tasso--whom Trond dearly hopes to "partner" with very shortly in a whole different way.
The "cop" part of Nicole tells her there's something bizarre about her gorgeous godlike teammate. But her "all-woman" side can't help wondering how great it would be to have a virile Viking in her bed. Trond has secrets galore, but Nicole feels certain she can dig them out--and really get to the heart of this powerful, unnerving stranger whom she may be risking her soul to love.


Michelle's Review:
I used to read Sandra Hill's books back in high school and I used to get a kick out of her humorous Vikings and the zany story lines. I wanted to see if something written by her today would be the same. Well, I was not disappointed with Kiss of Surrender! But this time, instead of just plain, old Vikings we instead have vangels: Viking vampire angels.

KoS is the second book in the Deadly Angels series but it can be read as a standalone--I haven't read the first book but I was able to jump right in and was not confused at all.

Basically, there were seven Viking brothers that were each guilty of the seven deadly sins. As punishment as well as to help them change their ways, the angel Michael transformed the brothers into vangels. KoS is Trond's (whose sin was sloth) story.

Fast forward more than a thousand years later, Trond is now a Navy SEAL. His new mission is to stop Osama bin Laden's sadistic son from enacting something that may be worst that 9/11. But unbeknowst to the SEALS, Jasper the king of the Lucipires (hell's equivalent to vangels) and his cohorts are pulling the strings and things could get ugly fast. So, it is up to Trond (with the help of his brothers) to make sure Jasper doesn't  win.

Trond must work with Nicole Tasso, a tough female SEAL (aka WEALS) on the mission. Trond and Nicole feel a strong attraction for each other but Trond cannot act on his attraction because it's against vangel rules and Nicole has serious trust issues because of a past abusive relationship. Oh, and Nicole thinks Trond is gay...

I didn't like Trond in the beginning because he was just so... lazy and so lifeless. But he eventually grew on me as he got less lazy and more alive and motivated. Nicole is a tough girl but with a vulnerable side and I liked her immediately. I liked the interactions between the two of them. But the best scene were with Trond and his brothers--their conversations were always so funny!

The writing in KoS is very tongue-in-cheek and quick and clever. There are plenty of ridiculousness and silliness but they were fun and had me laughing out loud and the romance was steamy as well.

Need a break from your angsty romances? Kiss of Surrender is your book.

Friday, December 7, 2012

ARC: 387 pages 
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: 1/29/2013
ISBN: 9780399256769
 
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Legend #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.
But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?


Michelle's Review:
I LOVED Legend A LOT. It was one of the best dystopian novels I read in 2011 (the other being Divergent) and I counted down the days until I can go back to June and Day's world.

When I got the chance to read Prodigy before the release date I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed with Prodigy (it was FANTASTIC!) but I wasn't completely happy with it either. I will explain:

One of the reasons why I enjoyed Legend so much was that there was no love triangle. I am not a fan of love triangles because they leave me frustrated and annoyed with the characters--in most cases, with main female character with their indecision and repetitive thoughts. Well, a love triangle was introduced in Prodigy. Sigh. It is not as frustrating as other [paranormal] love triangles but I wished it wasn't included at all. I think it could've worked without it.

Another thing that didn't make me happy was that for most of the novel (most of which happened within a few days) June and Day were separated. I would've liked them to be working together more.

Other than those two things, the rest of the novel made me very, very happy and dying to read the conclusion of the series.

I love the alternating perspective between June and Day. It was wonderful knowing exactly what each of them were thinking and feeling and seeing what unfolded through both of their eyes. June and Day were equally interesting so I did not prefer one over the other. It just worked!

Just like Legend, there's plenty of intrigue and edge-of-your-seat action. There was a lot of twists and turns and the revelations in Prodigy shook my perspective and what I thought was true when I read Legend. Like, the Colonies was thought of (especially by Day) as this utopia and a place to escape to from the corrupt Republic. We finally get to visit the Colonies in Prodigy and I was like "whoa!" Maybe the Republic was not as bad a place after all...

I am very excited to read the conclusion of this series. I love that the last scene of the novel did not leave me feeling very cheated but ...that revelation in the end about Day. AHHH!! I am DYING to know what will happen and how everything will turn out!

If you haven't yet, I recommend you read the Legend series. It is excellent, unpredictable and memorable.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hello fellow readers!
I am mired in papers and due dates as the semester ends. So, I have asked Jade of Real Mermaids series to share a recipe with us. If you read Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (read my review here), you are familiar with this recipe.

Here's Jade:
___________________

Hi everyone! Jade here from Real Mermaids.


One of my favourite things about the upcoming holidays is the great treats we get to make and share. I love food so much, in fact, that I included a recipe for some of my favourite snacks in each of the Real Mermaids books.

My friend Cori and I thought we’d experiment a bit and ‘holiday-ize’ each recipe for you!

In Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings, I was stuck at my Gran’s cottage without any chocolate in sight. That’s when I turned to Google and found a recipe for a 5-minute Chocolate Mug Cake. Yes! Cake in FIVE MINUTES. I added raspberries and whipped cream to this version. Holiday dessert, anyone?

Chocolate Mug Cake with Raspberries and Whipped Cream

First, get yourself the biggest microwaveable mug in the cupboard. Add:
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa

Mix it well. Then add:
- 1 egg

Mix. Then add:
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoons oil

Mix. Then add:
- 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (NOT optional—at least as far as I’m concerned)
- 1 capful of vanilla extract

And… MIX!

Cook in the microwave for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will look like it’s going to overflow but don’t freak out! Let it cool for a bit (unless you want to burn your lips off) and add raspberries and whipped cream to make it fancy, then ENJOY!

Happy treats and have a great holiday, everyone!

Love,
Jade

___________________

Thanks Jade! If you have not check out the Real Mermaids series by Helene Boudreau, you really should. I don't often read middle grade but I really enjoy this one.