Monday, February 25, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Madman's Daughter

Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 420
Genre: Historical Fiction

"In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect."- Goodreads Summary

The Madman's Daughter is not a book for the faint of heart. I hope I'm not spoiling anything by saying this but Ifeel like there should've been a warning packed with it. The warning should've said something along the lines of: 'Caution! Not for a fan of princesses and rainbows and unicorns!' Which, sadly enough, I am. Meaning I like a good character, struggling against evil and, in the end, winning. This is not that story.

To be sure, there was plenty of struggling against evil. Although the lines between good and evil were blurry. After all, when Juliet was 10 her father disappeared after a scandal that shook the wealthy people of London. He was presumed dead and, scarily enough, people hoped he was dead. Because Juliet's father was, simply put, mad. As in the crazy, insane, delusional kind of mad. When Juliet loses her job she comes across a fork in the road. She can either travel across the ocean with her ex-best friend and find her delusional father or live on the streets and most likely become a prostitute. She chooses the former, setting in motion a chain of unlikely and dangerous events.

The plot was exciting, stunning, and brilliant in a twisted way. It made the book unputtdownable and I ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting. It was both shocking and unpredictable and I ran the plot over in my head hours afterwards, wondering why I hadn't guessed what was going to happen. The twists kept the story alive but I did feel that some, at least one of them, was unnecessary and unrealistic.  I will admit that they kept my interest but they weren't what I as the reader wanted- hence the warning. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't that. However, I realize that I should praise the author for her mind-blowing plot and story. This book was something new, something unlike what I've ever read.

Juliet was an interesting person. Having her father leave at age ten and watching her mother slowly die of consumption at age 14 was enough to leave scars on a girl. She hardened and perhaps the loss of her family caused Juliet to crave attention. In any case, the addition of a love triangle in her life seemed a little much considering what Juliet was dealing with. Don't misunderstannd me, Juliet was a strong heroine who made some tough decisions. They weren't always wise but she was going through a lot. Her trust in her dad was believeable because she remembered him as the man who read her bedtime stories. Not the monster. The two boys making up her love triangle were both deserving of her love. One had a history with her and was loyal, while the other was a caring individual who put his life on the line for her. They could get a bit possessive but they truly cared for her.

Although, like I said, The Madman's Daughter is not a book for the faint of heart, it is a book with a gothic element to it that many teens will find to their liking. It is something fresh and exciting and unusual. I am eagerly waiting the next book in the series.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ya Book News

Actual Book News

Stephanie Meyer has announced that she's finally writing a sequel to The Host, a ya romance novel that's vastly popular. I haven't read The Host in such a long time that I'm definitely going to have to brush up on it before reading it's sequel. Check out the article here.

Lauren DeStefano is interviewed here and claims to have written several previous novels for adults that were never published. She has no plans on revisiting them which I am grateful for because it means she has a utopian series for young adults in the works. Just in time too as her Chemical Gardens trilogy is wrapping up.

Finally, after a long and intense wait, The Mortal Instruments Series is coming to a conclusion and the last book now has a trailer, which can be viewed here.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that kick-ass heroines are my favorite thing in the world. Which is why I literally jumped for joy when I discovered that Sarah Larson, a debut author, is writing a novel called Defy about a girl disguised as a boy to become a guard. Not only that but she's a member of a prince's elite guard.

Book To Screen News

As you most likely know, Delirium has been picked up by CW to become a tv series. Excitingly enough, Julien has been cast. Julien will be played by Gregg Sulkin, who I think is perfect for the part. Although that's probably because he plays the part of Ezra's brother in Pretty Little Liars and I associate him with wealth and prestige. Read the article here.

Before I write this, I just want to make it clear that I am a huge fan of the Hunger Games. It's an amazing series and it's fame is one of the reasons that more ya books are being translated to the screen. Anyway, the parody of The Hunger Games now has a trailer, which can be viewed here. I love a good laugh so you can count me in!

The Selection by Kierra Cass has found a lead for it's tv show! Yael Grobglas will now be playing America Singer. I don't know about you, but I am so glad that the Selection finally has a lead so they can start filming as soon as possible. I don't know much about Yael but I think she looks feminine which is a major factor of her character. Read the article here to decide for yourself.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)Title: The Crown of Embers
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 410
Genre: Fantasy

"In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey.

With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy."- Goodreads

Over a year past from the time I read the previous book until reading The Crown of Embers. But I was pulled forcefully back into the world of Elisa as if no time had passed at all. From the enticing beginning to the wonderously filling ending, this is not a book to be overlooked or forgotten.

After Elisa's glorious defeat of her kingdom's enemies, she recieves both worship from her people and suspicion form her court. Of course, with Hector by her side some of the suspicion is alleviated. However, there is more to worry about than court politics. Elisa's country is in trouble and they need as strong ruler to guide them. Despite this, Elisa must deal with her growing feelings for her guard, assaination attempts, and a struggle to grow with everything going on around her.  

I have to come clean and say this: Crown of Embers did include an epic journey but the plot was missing something. It was like crossing a stream without a bridge. It needed more direction. Yet there was so much happening that this was almost unnoticeable. Elisa is dealing with her feelings for her guard while attempting to put her kingdom first. Danger is in the horizon and maybe even in the castle. There are many suprises along the ride an it was an expedition that ensnared me.

Elisa had serious self-esteem issues in the first book and there are still scars left from them. She is courageous and she is kick-ass when facing danger but she is still coming into herself. She may be a Queen yet, at the same time, she is a teenage girl still getting used to a strange new land and people. However, she is starting to realize that perhaps she is fit to be ruler after all and it showed through her actions. Because of Elisa's Queenliness Hector is hesitant to interact with her and clings to his postition as Commander of the Royal Guard. He is on his toes when around Elisa which I understood. He is there for Elisa but often keeps a certain respectable distance between them. The rest of the court is wary of Elisa and her new position in the kingdom. I felt that made sense and made the story more believable. If they hadn't been wary of Elisa, the story wouldn't have obtained an element that made it more than fantasy. It felt real.

The authour's writing style created a believable world, even while I knew it was just fantasy. I was trapped throughout the duration of the story and it didn't upset me at all. The writing flowed pretty well, although, at times it felt a bit rough. It was written in such a way that I felt a connection to the characters and their hardships. The characters could be real because of all their strengths and flaws. This leads me to desire to get to know some of the characters better, which will hopefully happen in the next book.

Over all, this was an enjoyable read that I couldn't put down. It helped me escape the confines of real life and dwell in a new world full of possibilities. There were flaws but they were easily overlooked. As a matter of fact, the only reason I noticed most of them was because I write book reviews. I would recommend this book to anyone searching for a new fantasy series that will rock their world.

Memorable Quotes

  • “A quarterstaff is not very subtle. Or handy. If an kidnapper comes at me, what am I supposed to do? Say, 'Excuse me, my lord, while I pull my enormous quarterstaff out of my bodice?”
  •  “You made me cut and dye my hair.”

    Surely he understands that we face greater problems? “I thought it would greatly improve your looks,” I snap.

    “Shorn hair is a sign of shame. You humiliate me greatly.”

    “I’ll light a candle tonight in honor of your dead tresses.”
  • “Catch me if I fall?”

4/5 Mugs Of Piping Hot Chocolate
-Decadent and Delicous

Monday, February 18, 2013

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Annex, #1)Title: BETA
Author: Rachel Cohn
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Pages: 331

Genre: Dystopia

"Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.

Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers--soulless clones like Elysia--are immune to.

At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an under-current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care--so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing Elysia's mind?

If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi-ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.

The first in a dazzlingly original science fiction series from best-selling author Rachel Cohn, "Beta "is a haunting, unforgettable story of courage and love in a cor-rupted world. Praise for Beta "A terrific premise that is equally well executed...Readers can only hope [the sequel] will be as thrilling as this series kickoff."-Los Angles Times

Beta started out promisingly enough. The writing drew me in and I soon became excited for the story. However, the story became something completely unexpected and although that's not necessarily a bad thing, I felt that it could've been better.

Beta was filled with jaw-dropping twists and, after starting with an exciting eye-opener of a beginning, continued with a roller-coaster of a ride before it ended at the top of a drop roller coaster (a roller coaster that drops straight down). Elysia is one of a select few of teenage clones. As a clone she has no emotions, needs, or wants and her only purpose is to serve. And serve she does. Because if anyone found out that she actually had these emotions, she would die. However, the family she serves quickly becomes people that she loves when they decide to treat her like a regular teenage girl. She begins to hang out with her new "brother" and his friends, including the secretive Tahir. She eventually discovers the island hides some shocking secrets and through it all must work hard to hide her feelings because if she doesn't, there will be hell to pay.

Elysia was a strong character with enough weaknesses that made her relateable. She was like your average teenage girl- she wanted friends, had crushes, and was in love with chocolate. The only difference was she had to work hard to bury these feelings. I liked Elysia's new faimily. For people that were pretty much brain-washed, they were okay. Her "mother" was desperate for love and attention, as was her new "siblings". Although things were eventually revealed about the family, my first impression of them was positive. Tahir was a complicated character and I didn't understand Elysia's feelings for him. He wasn't easy to like and I found him annoying but I will admit that he added to the story. Adding to the mystery of the story, Elysia is having some memories of her past life, something that is unheard of. These memories include "her" first love and introduce a whole new character to the sory. He felt almost 2D but I'm assuming the reader will get to know him better in the next book.

The end of the story introduced some new characters and ensured the plot of the next book would be wonderful. Although I felt that Elysia was left in the dark for too long in Beta, I think the next book will be great.

The writing was alright. To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with it. The world that was created- a dystopian island filled with brain washed people and emotionless clones lacked something. The story seemed like it was missing a depth to it, as if it was a frosting without a cake. Delicious but missing something more solid to hold it together. All in all, though, the writing was nothing to cry over. It kept my interest which is imperative to a good story. In fact, the book contained a certain humor to it that kept me giggling throughout the story.

Overall, Beta was a book that kept me reading. It had it's flaws but nothing too major. Although the plot appeared to lack a backbone, it definitely kept me guessing and was unpredictable. This is a series I'm definitely going to be sticking with, especially after the ending.

3/5 Mugs of Piping Hot Chocolate

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cover Trends #1

There are several cover trends that have striked my interest lately. I am in love with certain book covers and whenever I see them I want to squeel with hapiness. Although at times there have been covers that bug me. I know the rule says don't judge a book by it's cover and it's usually a good rule to follow. However, sometimes covers effect my opinion of a book. If a book looks like trash, it makes me think that the author just didn't care enough about selling their book. Of course, I'll still read the book but I'll be a little skittish about reading it.

Trend # 1: Recycled Covers

Product DetailsProduct Details
What I don't understand is why people can't create their own covers... I feel that the lovely cover on Opal was seriously degraded the second it became recycled.

Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura, #1)Kissing Zombies (A Girl's Guide, #1-2)Handling the UndeadPretty Monsters (Josh of the Damned, #1)
This is one cover trend that I just don't like. Changing the colors of the models or zooming in doesn't make it unique.

Evermore (The Immortals, #1)SimplicityNorth of Beautiful

There are so many other covers out there with the same models. What do you think about this trend?

Trend #2: Kick- Ass Heroines

Soulbound (Legacy of Tril, #1)Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1)Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Scarlet (Scarlet #1)Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)

This is a trend that I'd love to see more of simply because my favorite type of book is the kind with tough heroines. Even seeing covers like this is enough to get my pulse pounding! The swords or weapons are an intelligent way to get the point across that these book aren't just about a pretty girl. This is literally my favorite cover trend and the books that I am most likely to pick up have covers like these.

Trend # 3: Mysterious Covers

Outside In (Insider, #2)Shadowlands (Shadowlands, #1)Hysteria Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)Perfect Cover (The Squad, #1)

 Mysterious covers are hard to categorize. They're the type of covers that make you want to look twice. They make you really wonder what's going on and they make me want to read the book. I think these are the drool-worthy covers of the ya genre because they just seem so unique and eye-catching.

Trend # 4: Summer Covers

The Story of UsIt's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2)Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking BootsSecond Chance SummerSomeone Like You

I think books that scream summer are fantastic covers for several reasons. I love the summer and love delving into a summer book even more. Also, I'm a California girl so books with covers of the ocean are something I can relate to. And I like reading summer books, especially during the winter and early spring beacaue they help take my mind off of school and remind me that it'll be summer eventually.

There are sp many different cover trends out there and I only skimmed them. So look forward to more posts on cover trends from me. It's good to be back!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My... Edgy Blog Status

You may have noticed that I haven't been able to post much this past week. And it's killing me. It really is. I hate not being able to post something everyday. I feel like I'm missing out on memes and discussions and I have several reviews I need to write.

Now don't worry. I'm not going anywhere! I just don't know how often I'm going to be able to access a computer for the next week. I'm writing this on a mobile device right now but I can't post much until I can use a computer.

So I just wanted to put a notice up here to explain my very temporary absence. I will be back and when I get back my blog will be better than ever. I have some fun stuff in store for you! So anyway don't forget me.

BYE- For Now!
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