Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"The King Must Die" - Book Tour Stop

Hey everyone!

Today's the day that the The King Must Die book tour stops here at the Into The Literary Forest blog. Today I have the very special honor of having author N. Gemini Sasson do a guest post for us today about how she finds inspiration for her novels.

Finding Inspiration from History

N. Gemini Sasson

A lot of people wonder where writers get their ideas from. Really, how do they come up with all those ideas? Wait for the Muse of Creativity to alight on their shoulder and whop them in the noggin with the Wand of Inspiration? Here’s the boring truth: writers aren’t as much creative geniuses as they are observers of human nature and the world around them. They don’t produce completely original ideas; they absorb their surroundings, transform them into words and reflect them back in a different form. They see similarities in seemingly unrelated things and pay attention to details that others, in their busyness, gloss over.

 A long time ago, back in my high school days, my best friend was an aspiring artist. She taught me to paint and while I never had the passion to pursue art, she said one thing to me that has stuck with me through decades: “There’s more than one color in a sunset, if you look for it—there’s yellow and pink and lavender. And shadows are not just black, they’re shades of blue-gray, moss green and muted brown.” That was an epiphany. It changed the way I saw everything.

 That led to other realizations—about how things move, their shapes, how light changes throughout the day, and how the weather not just looks, but feels. A medieval soldier trudging through the Highlands of Scotland on a wintry day wasn’t just out for a stroll. He was hungry, windbeaten, and footsore. The scenery around him may have appeared monotone at first glance, but it’s not—it’s a patchwork blend of purple and gold dusted with pure white, under an endless steel-gray sky. Sometimes, if I’m stuck writing a scene, I turn to photos for inspiration.

 More than just the physical world, I am an observer of people’s emotions—how the pitch of their voices change when they’re excited, how they avert their eyes when they’re lying, how their shoulders slump when their burdens weigh them down. I put the things I see into words so that someone else can envision the same thing. 

 But a story isn’t much of a story without characters. This is where I feel like a cheat, because my characters come from history books. They were real people. I’m only retelling the happenings of their lives in a way I hope today’s readers can relate to. Life in 14th century England or Scotland may have been very different from 21st century America, but it’s the novelist’s job to make a story relevant and that’s what I strive to do. I don’t have any readers who are kings or queens (as far as I know), but in The King Must Die one thing I tried to highlight was the bond between a mother and her son and what happens when outside forces test those bonds. A question any of us who are parents can understand is: To what lengths would you go to protect your child?

 So I get an idea, latch onto a character and then what? Those ideas get jotted down in a notebook and they can percolate for months or even years before I have the time to turn my attention to them fully. Meanwhile, I bookmark web sites and collect biographies and non-fiction books on anything related. I’m constantly thinking and planning several books ahead, even though I’m actually only writing one book at a time. It’s a very layered and drawn-out process. Throughout process, I just keep asking myself questions, the most important of which is why?

 There is no magical formula to finding inspiration. It’s everywhere. You just have to look.

N. Gemini Sasson is also the author of The Crown in the Heather (The Bruce Trilogy: Book I), Worth Dying For (The Bruce Trilogy: Book II), The Honor Due a King (The Bruce Trilogy: Book III) and Isabeau, A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (2011 IPPY Silver Medalist for Historical Fiction). She holds a M.S. in Biology from Wright State University where she ran cross country on athletic scholarship. She has worked as an aquatic toxicologist, an environmental engineer, a teacher and a track and cross country coach. A longtime breeder and judge of Australian Shepherds, her articles on bobtail genetics have been translated into seven languages.

Thank you so much N. Gemini Sasson, that was really inspirational. Everyone don't forget to read my review of The King Must Die (here) and grab your own copy to read and enjoy the story for yourselves. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So don't forget to comment!


"The King Must Die" - Book Review

Hey everyone!

Today I'm going to be writing a review of the novel The King Must Die for the Book Tour hosted by GoddessFish. It wasn't until after I read this novel that I realized that it was the sequel in a book series, though I still managed to read it just fine. :)


What is done cannot be undone.

 England, 1326. Edward II has been dethroned. Queen Isabella and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer, are at the pinnacle of their power.
Fated to rule, Isabella’s son becomes King Edward III at the callow age of fourteen. Young Edward, however, must bide his time as the loyal son until he can break the shackles of his minority and dissolve the regency council which dictates his every action.
When the former king is found mysteriously dead in his cell, the truth becomes obscured and Isabella can no longer trust her own memory . . . or confide in those closest to her. Meanwhile, she struggles to keep her beloved Mortimer at her side and gain yet another crown—France’s—for the son who no longer trusts her.
Amidst a maelstrom of shifting loyalties, accusations of murder propel England to the brink of civil war.
In the sequel to Isabeau, secrecy and treason, conspiracy and revenge once again overtake England. The future rests in the hands of a mother and son whose bonds have reached a breaking point.

My Review:

There are so many historical fiction renditions of Edward II's attempted murder and Isabella's supposed involvement. However, N. Sasson has portrayed a different perspective and shone light on the possibility that Isabella didn't try to murder her husband. The dialogue was powerful and N. Sasson brought each of these historical figures to life in her novel The King Must Die. Even though the book is historical fiction and based on an event in history it is still a work of fiction and the author managed to create conflicts, inner turmoil and other conflicts going on around the characters' center issues that they were facing throughout the book.
N. Sasson  has a gift for story-telling and her talent of imagery made the story so vivid it could easily be interpreted into a visual picture within the imagination. I enjoyed this book, at times it felt rather slow but I would continue to read nonetheless and it would pick up pace again. The dual first-person perspectives between Isabella and her son Edward III was a great way to see both sides of the story and see how much Isabella cared for her son and what great lengths she went to, to protect her child even if he was king.
It would be really great to see this adaptation of Edward II's 'murder' to be turned into a movie, through the perspective N. Sasson had painted it in.


Edward III – Stanhope Park, July, 1327

“Douglas! Douglas!”

Praying it was only a nightmare, I slapped at my cheeks to bring a rush of blood to my hazy head.

Hooves clattered. More shouts. Then ... sword clanged against sword, struck flesh. Chaos. The cries of the wounded.

My heart clogged my throat. The realization struck me with the deadly force of one of Sir John’s cannons: we were under attack. Swallowing hard, I groped in the darkness for my sword. Frantic, I flailed my hand in a wider circle, my palm swatting at a mat of crushed grass. Then, my fingers smacked against my shield. My bones screamed in pain. Great, burning throbs. I pulled my hand to my chest and tried to move my fingers, but couldn’t.

The sounds were coming closer, growing louder.

Kyrie, eleison,” I chanted. “Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie —”

A dull glint caught my eye. I flexed aching fingers, wrapped them around the hilt and pulled my sword to me. Then I grabbed at the edge of my shield, dragging it over a crumpled shirt, and slipped my left arm through the loosened straps. No time to pull them tight. Rolling over onto my knees, I scooted around the center pole toward the opening. My blade clunked against metal—my helmet. Tucking my sword on my lap, I reached out, grasped it, and settled it snugly onto my head.

The shrill neigh of a horse ripped through the night air. Hooves crashed to a halt just outside the opening of my tent. I froze.

“A Douglas!”

Don't forget to get your own copy of The King Must Die and stay tuned for a guest post by author N. Gemini Sasson coming shortly! I had a lot of fun with this virtual book tour.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Immortal Hearts (Vampire Kisses #9)" - Book Review


Athena "Stormy" Sterling is coming to Dullsville, and Raven is both excited and panicked in anticipation of Alexander's little sister's visit. Alexander tells Raven that she and his sister have a lot in common, but can the mini-Raven be everything she hopes for? Alexander calls her Stormy for a reason.

Stormy's visit stirs up the perfect immortal whirlwind. Raven is forced to take a good look at what it would really mean to be a vampire in the Sterling family, aside from some of the things she already loves, like shunning the sun and sleeping in a coffin with Alexander. When Raven compares her life with Stormy's, she can see that it's not all starry skies and black roses. But Raven knows she's always wanted to be a vampire.

Alexander is as romantic and dreamy as ever, and though he keeps showing Raven how much he loves her, will she ultimately be able to convince him that it's the right thing to turn her?

This final chapter of Vampire Kisses' nocturnal romance will keep all mortal and immortal hearts racing.

I don't even know where to begin about how much I love this book. After reading the eighth book in the Vampire Kisses series and having heard that the ninth installment would be the last I was terrified. Mixed emotions had coursed through me; joy at finally finding out what Alexander and Raven's futures would hold and heart-wrench that something could go terribly wrong. Even though I had picked this book up from the bookstore just days after its release I was reluctant to read it, not knowing what to expect. Every time I saw it on my bookshelf it was just beckoning me to read it. I felt a pull to read it straight away and find out the ending of the Vampire Kisses series.
But today I finally mustered up the courage to sink my teeth into the conclusion to the Vampire Kisses series and finished Immortal Hearts in one go, unable to put it down just like every other book in the series. Raven was as spunky as ever and I fell in love with Alexander all over again, he truly is any girl's dream vampire. I loved it when Ellen Schreiber would introduce new characters into the series (Like Sebastian who I had instantly loved) and Stormy was no exception. Alexander's little sister was wonderful and she really brought life to the story and showed another side of Alexander. The strength of the friendship between Raven and Becky was evident in Immortal Hearts and made us see that true friendship can be strong enough to surpass anything.
At the turn of every page I was kept on my toes dying to know if Alexander would finally give in and change Raven or if fate had something else in store for the ravishing ghoul couple. Trevor, as menacing as he always is, remained Raven's nemesis to the very end, allowing us to enjoy more of their bickering throughout the book. This is one of my favorite books in the series now along with the first, second and fourth, though I love the entire series. Ellen Schreiber has easily become one of my favorite authors and she didn't let me down with this last book.
A few years ago in my freshman year of high school was when I had originally discovered the Vampire Kisses. I was going through a really tough time and got into loads of trouble, messed up in a really bad crowd, and was put into tight spaces by people I had thought I trusted. I felt like I couldn't trust anyone anymore and felt alone because of what I was going through in real life. At the time I had hated reading and wouldn't touch a book unless I was forced to by my teachers with a looming threat of a bad grade that would appear on a report card if I didn't. It was no accident that Vampire Kisses had been sitting on a library bookshelf waiting for me to pick it up. As cheesy as it may sound, Vampire Kisses helped me during that dark time and I really connected with Raven and suddenly didn't feel so alone. Vampire Kisses isn't a classic or an all-time best seller but Ellen had touched me through her words and I will always look back at the series with fondness. Because throughout the years as the books to the series would come out I can see how much I've changed from the first book to this last book and I know that Vampire Kisses had changed me in some way. You understand if you had connected with a book in some way, it's kind of indescribable. (Okay I'll cut the cheesiness now ;))
The ending was perfect and warmed my heart and was a fitted conclusion for Alexander and Raven. I loved how the audience was left off able to imagine for themselves what they would expect to happen afterwards. Those are the best endings, the ones that bring a smile to your face and have you saying "and they lived happily ever after" at the end.
But the adventures aren't over, we can relive them over and over again by rereading the wonderful story of Vampire Kisses. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good light-hearted, easy read with sappy romance, spunk and a hot vampire. You may not get all emotional about the book but you'd still love it, I assure you. If not then you must have something wrong with you...just kidding...actually, no I'm not.

Thank you Ellen from the bottom of my heart.

In My Mailbox

Hey everyone!

Once again it's time for an 'In My Mailbox'. In My Mailbox is a book blogging Internet meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. In My Mailbox is a meme where you talk about books you receive in your mailbox, giveaways, books you bought at stores, borrowed from the library and etc!

This is an accumulation of books that I've gotten over the last couple of weeks from grocery stores to giveaways!

(In order from top to bottom)

Once in a full moon by Ellen Schreiber
I absolutely love the Vampire Kisses series and have been dying to read other books by the glamorous Ellen because she's one of my favorite authors. So after several times of going to the bookstore and dying to pick up her famous werewolf series off of the shelf I finally did! Woohoo!

Cloaked by Alex Flinn
I loved Alex's other urban fairytale retelling like Beastly and A Kiss In Time.

Immortal Hearts by Ellen Schreiber
The last book in the Vampire Kisses series which both thrills and saddens me. I'm super excited to read the conclusion of the series but nervous about what's going to happen. But I'm so excited to sink my teeth into this book! ;)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
While on a trip to the movie theater a few weeks ago I saw the trailer to the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie directed by the amazing Tim Burton and was instantly thrilled. As soon as I had laid eyes on this book at the grocery store I knew I needed to get it because I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie so that my mind could be fresh and my imagination unaffected. (It's one of my quirks.)

Vengeance by Ian Irvine
I won this book in a giveaway on GoodReads and the synopsis sounded pretty cool so I'm excited to read this whenever I'll get the chance.

That's all for the books In My Mailbox. What books have you guys gotten recently that you're excited about?


Friday, May 25, 2012

Update - New Blog Title & More

Hey everyone!

So I've got some really great news. I just changed the name of my blog, it's something that I've been contemplating over for quite some time....It's just that 'Into The Literary World With Noellie' was quite a mouthful and not catchy at all. So the other day I saw a cool picture of a forest and thought 'huh, why don't I do something forest themed for a title?' and the gears in my mind got rolling and today it just clicked. Thus, The Literary Forest is the new title of the blog. Now I'm going to have to send out e-mails to the book tour groups I'm affiliated with and let them know so they won't get confused haha.

So not only is the banner new but I also finally made a visual rating system for the book reviews. It's not fancy and pretty simple but it's purple and it glitters! Woohoo.

Five Stars - I Absolutely Loved It

Four Stars - I Really Liked It

Three Stars - I liked it

Two Stars - It was Alright

One Star - I Didn't Like It

Or in other words I wanted to throw it across the room at a wall. But I have only given a book a one star for a review maybe twice... so hopefully I won't encounter another book deemed wall-toss worthy. There will be an In My Mailbox post coming up this week as well as a few other reviews AND the 'The King Must Die' Book Tour will be taking place next week! So stay tuned for some upcoming awesomeness!


"Perfect Chemistry" - Book Review


When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Every time I went to the bookstore Perfect Chemistry would be sitting there on a shelf beckoning me to pick it up to read it. A lot of people recommended it to me and told me that it was really great and that Alejandro (Alex) Fuentes was a really hot character that you couldn't resist falling in love with. So, the next time I had gone to the bookstore I took a leap of faith and I am certainly not disappointed. Perfect Chemistry was a wonderful love story, although a bit cliche at parts (but I'm a total sucker for cheesy, sappy romance) it had a lot of emotion and passion in it.
The dual first-person narration style was really great because we got to see both sides of the story from the unique perspectives of both Brittany and Alex. It felt like we were always one step ahead of the game with a secret with one character that the other didn't know about and that was really exciting. Brittany was a really believable character and I liked how she cared so much about her sister and although she put on a performance for everyone else she didn't like not being able to be herself. Alex, oh where do I begin with muy caliente Alex? He definitely won me over, maybe it's because I always root for the underdog but it might also have to do with the fact that even though he wasn't walking a straight line he still always had his family and Brittany as his number one priorities.
I loved the chemistry between Alex and Brittany, those romances that start out with the characters biting at each other's throats and then starting to fall for one another when their passioned hatred turns to unconditional love are definitely my favorite type of love stories.
Simone Elkeles definitely has a wonderful writing style, I really loved how she put Spanish into almost every other sentence, especially when  it came to Alex's perspective. I really liked Paco, he made me laugh and reminded me of someone I used to know, but I COULD NOT STAND Colin!

Oh goodness, the whole time I read any scenes with Colin in it I just wished Alex or anybody would sock him. From the beginning of the novel I just knew what kind of guy Colin was and just knew what was coming. One thing is for sure, after reading Perfect Chemistry I am DEFINITELY going to continue reading the series. Thank you to anyone that recommended the Fuentes Brothers series, you rock! So, are you guys suckers for bad boy characters too? ;) I also heard this book was going to be made into a movie? Or is that just cruel gossip to get our hopes up? :(


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Fix by Force" - Book Review


Spencer doesn’t have a choice.

He can't choose to be different than what he is—the son of the town's worst enemy, the weakling who can't stand up for himself, the loser without friends.

He can't change the way things are.

Or maybe he can.

Immediate confidence.

Rapid change.

Instant hope.

These are the things Spencer believes he needs to fix his life, and that is what the steroids promise—a quick fix.

But promises can be broken and shortcuts are often treacherous, and Spencer must decide if those risks are worth the perceived rewards—if “artificial” hope is strong enough for him to be fixed, by force.

When I had first received this book after winning it in a giveaway on GoodReads hosted by Jason Warne himself I wanted to read the book just to expand my literary boundaries but hadn't expected to be super impressed. However, I stayed up until 2 o'clock in the morning to finish reading this book, that pretty much speaks for itself. Fix by Force was definitely enlightening about the psych of someone on steroids or considering steroids. Prior to reading this book I just assumed that the only people who took steroids were egotistical meat-heads, but Jason Warne's story told me otherwise.
Spencer has low self-esteem, feels disconnected from everybody, and hates being compared to his father; the town's enemy.
What I really liked about this book was how it went against stereotypes; the steroid user wasn't the already big quarterback who just wanted to bulk up more, or how the new-start school Spencer went to wasn't filled with only delinquents, there were also students who just made a dumb mistake. When Spencer goes to the New Start school and is in a new environment he starts changing, getting violent, throwing punches for almost no reason but it isn't because of the influence of his peers it's because of the steroids.
I really liked this book a lot more than I had expected to, Spencer was a believable character and at times really relate-able, going through high school and feeling like you just don't fit in or having bullies.
Jason Warne's writing style was great and I found myself thinking 'this is an awesome book, I'm gonna have to check out other books by this author.' At the Dodge scene (don't worry no spoilers) I almost started crying, not just because I'm such a crybaby but because Warne knew how to captivate that moment and the emotions that Spencer was feeling perfectly.
I recommend this book for any teen or adult, it's perspective-changing and can teach you a thing or two about how to perceive others and about the consequences of trying to fix everything by force.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Cover Reveal - "My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century"

Hey Everyone!

I'm super excited to do a cover reveal with you all today. This is my first cover reveal hosted by YA Bound. Plus don't forget to read the never before seen excerpt from My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century at the end.

Isn't the cover beautiful? :)

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

And don't forget to check out the new book trailer for Rachel Harris's novel My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century.

Never-Before-Seen Excerpt from MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY:

“I thought I’d teach you a dance from where I come from,” I tell him. “One that’s much easier than that multi-step mess inside.”

            I place my left hand on Lorenzo’s shoulder and slip my right one into his. I pause to listen to the music floating over the tinkling voices and bubbling fountain, and begin counting the three-beat tempo. “One, two, three. One, two, three.”

            I stand still, only my head moving, slowly nodding with my words so he can hear the rhythm.

            When his head begins subtly bobbing with mine, I show him how to add his feet. He takes a tentative step forward with his left while I step back with my right, then we side step, close, and repeat the steps with our other feet, all while I lightly whisper the beat count.

            The breeze picks up, blowing my skirt and skimming my veil across the back of my neck. Chills run down my spine, but the warmth coursing through my veins from being in his arms provides a delicious contradiction.

            Lorenzo continues nervously darting his eyes to our feet, but he is dancing. As he relaxes into the movement, his shoulders rising and falling with the steps, the confidence he always seems to exude creeps back on his face, and he tightens the hold around me. Our faces are kissably close, our lips a hairs breadth away from touching. I stare into the chocolate depths of his eyes and the rest of the ball fades away. The only music guiding our steps is my light whisper and the erratic rhythm of our breathing. Time slows. Lorenzo grins.

            “I think you got it,” I say breathlessly, running my hand along the soft fabric of his shoulder, feeling the rock-hard muscles underneath.

            My body curls inward, pressing against his. The proper form for the waltz is a straight spine and shoulders back, but if there was ever a time to break the rules, this is it.


As a teen, I threw raging parties that shook my parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.
As an adult, I read and write obsessively, rehash said embarrassing fodder, and dream up characters who become my imaginary friends.
When I'm not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find me homeschooling my two beautiful princesses, hanging out with my amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.

 MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is my first novel. I did have my own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn’t televised.

I'm really excited for this book and would love to read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seven Deadly Sins Of Reading Tag

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to do the Seven Deadly Sins of Reading Tag that I saw TheReadables (watch video here) do on a YouTube video yesterday and just had to do it too. Who says you can't do tags that booktubers do too? So without further ado, here are my seven deadly sins of reading. ;)


What is your most expensive book? What is your least expensive book?

My most expensive book would have to be a collectible version of The Grimm Brothers' Fairy tales that my grandmother had given to me as a Christmas gift a few years ago. It's hard cloth-covered and has gold decals along the spine and the case it came in. I really like it not only because it was the last gift I had ever gotten from her but because she knew me so well and that I would love The Grimm Brothers' Fairy tales.
My least expensive book would have to be The Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall that I had picked up at a thrift store for $1.99 last year. I have yet to read it but I'm a huge History buff and I love historical fiction novels.The Red Scarf is a fictional tale of a woman in a Soviet labour camp in Siberia back in 1933.


What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Oh this is a tough one...There are authors that I absolutely love and authors that I cannot stand but one that I'm wishy-washy about would probably have to be (don't kill me!) ...Stephanie Meyer. Don't get me wrong I love Stephanie Meyer's books. I really loved the Twilight series because it was the series that had originally gotten me into reading and I really, really loved The Host. But the reason I'm kind of mad at her is because she has been focusing a lot of her time on Twilight and has been doing graphic novels and novellas and I just really would like to read another book by her that isn't Twilight related. *Sigh* but I know she has to be on set during the movie productions so she probably doesn't have enough to time to write another novel but I'm hoping that once the second Breaking Dawn movie is done she can write another book. But I still love  her writing style.


What book have you deliciously devoured over and over with no shame whatsoever?

Without a doubt a book series I can read over and over again without getting bored or feeling shamed would be The Vampire Kisses series especially the first and third books. I love that series more than any other series ever! I could also read the Harry Potter series again and again because it's just super awesome like that.


What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Ugh...I would probably have to say Papillon translated by Henri Charriere. I really do want to read it because once again it's a historical novel but it's an autobiography of a French man that was accused of a murder he hadn't committed and is a compilation of his 13 diaries he had kept describing the 13 times he had escaped European prisons and even the worst one on Devil's Island. I was really excited about it when I first got it but it takes a lot of concentration and is definitely not a light read because it is graphic at some parts because of what happened to prisoners in some of the jails he was in. Hopefully I can read that sometime when I can give the book my undivided attention.


What book do you most talk about in order to sound like a very intellectual reader?

Um...I would probably have to say a book that I read in my IB Higher Level English class back in high school. So perhaps One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn or Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Which I wasn't a big fan of) or maybe To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Which I really liked a lot.)


What attributes do you find most attractive in male or female characters?

I really like it when the male characters have that sexy crooked smile, it's just gorgeous. Beautiful eyes and dimples are also a plus but personality-wise I really like it when the character acts all tough and macho even though he is hurting inside and the girl he falls in love sees his vulnerable side. Haha I don't know, I just think it's endearing. Another attractive attribute in male characters would probably be...when he defends a girl, even if she's strong and kicks butt but he defends her when someone talks bad about her or whatever.


What books would you most like to receive as a gift?

Hmm... a book I'd most like to receive as a gift would probably be Ash by Malinda Lo or Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause.

I tag everyone to say what their seven deadly sins of reading are or you can list them down in the comments below. :) This was fun, I think I'll start doing tags more often.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Vampire Academy" - Book Review


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.

Vampire Academy was a lot different than other vampire books I've read and was very unique and original in its concepts of a school specifically for vampires. The idea of different vampire races was pretty neat and I liked how there was a risk for them to turn into Strogoi if they went too far while drinking blood from people.
Rose was a really strong character and the powerful friendship she and Lissa shared was obviously evident from the get-go of the novel.  It was admirable that she was always putting Lissa's needs and safety before her own and it was endearing. Richelle Mead has a great gift for detail and I could easily see the setting and events taking place as the story went on.

I knew who the culprit indirectly attacking Lissa was from the beginning. Demitri was a really lovable character and I loved the chemistry between him and Rose. The middle and the events leading up to the conclusion really reminded me of another vampire book "Uninvited" because of all of the partying, drinking and hooking up. The book was alright, I liked it, but I wasn't crazy about it though I will continue reading the series and hopefully I'll grow to like it more along the way. A lot of people told me that the second book is a lot better so I'm hoping they're right, I'd really like to read more of Rose and Demitri's budding, forbidden romance.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In My Mailbox

Hey everyone!

Once again it's time for an 'In My Mailbox'. In My Mailbox is a book blogging Internet meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. In My Mailbox is a meme where you talk about books you receive in your mailbox, giveaways, books you bought at stores, borrowed from the library and etc!

This is an accumulated haul of books that I've gotten over the past month. I'm really excited about these books because I've been wanting to read a majority of them for quite some time and now I can! So without further ado, shall we begin the haul? :)

In order from top to bottom;

An ARC of The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards GoodReads
Fix by Force by Jason Warne GoodReads
          (I won this book in a giveaway on GoodReads by Jason Warne himself, it's the first time I've ever won anything so it was pretty exciting :) I can't wait to read it thought, it's different than the books I normally read.)
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins GoodReads
          (I already have a copy of this book and read it a few months ago, read my review on GoodReads here, but my aunt sent me a copy thinking that I hadn't :))
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare GoodReads
Divergent by Veronica Roth GoodReads
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles GoodReads

So I'm really excited about this haul, a few of these books have been on my To Be Read list for quite some time and now I finally got a hold of them. Hopefully there will be some reviews coming your way pretty soon. What books have you guys been dying to get your hands on but haven't yet?


Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Mockingjay" - Book Review


My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.

I was really anxious to read this book, being the final installment of the Hunger Games series. Out of all three of the books in the trilogy I liked this book second best after Hunger Games. It had a lot of racing action and tons of suspense. The details were really great and the imagery was outstanding, at certain points I could actually see what was going on, smell the smoke or hear the sounds of the muttations. This book kept me up all night until I passed out on the couch reading it. Mockingjay was a great ending to a phenomenal series.
However, there were some things I wasn't too thrilled about. I was really expecting Prim to finally have some depth added to her within this book because in the previous two books she seemed pretty two-dimensional even though she was really important to Katniss.
Some of the scenes felt really rushed, especially after something huge happened and then it felt like we were being pushed along to get somewhere else with little explanation.  When explanation was given after a quick shove it felt brief and not as in depth as I would have liked.The epilogue was so hasty and short it didn't really satisfy me or give enough closure to the end of the book, it kind of felt like we got a little flash of what happened and then poof it was over.
But regardless, I really liked this series and can easily say that I have never read any books like them and liked the Hunger Games books a lot. This is a story that will stick with me, and I cannot wait until the other movie adaptations come out.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Ascend" - Book Review


Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself. If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe. But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them?

The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life—and now all their lives might be coming to an end.

Everything has been leading to this moment. The future of her entire world rests in her hands—if she’s ready to fight for it.

I don't even really know where to begin describing the awesomeness of this book. Ascend was definitely my favorite of the Trylle series, it was action-packed, filled with passion, secrets were unveiled and characters had a lot of depth added to them. I really enjoyed the flow of the plot, it had me turning pages and staying up way past midnight to find out what would happen. Normally when I read a series I can usually find something I might not like and complain about like Breaking Dawn in the Twilight series (don't worry I won't go ranting on ;)). But with this series I loved everything about it and I especially loved the ending, it couldn't have concluded more perfectly. It became evident that over the course of the series Amanda Hocking had gotten better at writing because when you compare Switched and Ascend you can tell that she greatly improved in her writing, imagery, characterization and diction. The only thing I think some people were really complaining about in this book were the adult scenes, so if you don't like that then just be warned there are a couple. I definitely can't let my little sisters read it yet but one day. I've also decided which 'team' I'm on. After reading Switched I was rooting for Finn but that was because Loki didn't even show up at all in that book. But I really fell in love with Loki and started rooting for him in the second book because he's such an amazing character and the perfect match for Wendy's personality in my opinion. Finn really annoyed me in Torn but I've learned to be alright with him now. I totally recommend anyone to read this series because it's got something for everyone; action, romance, comedy, adventure, fantasy, the whole shabang! I'm also really excited about Amanda hocking's upcoming WaterSong series about sirens and Greek mythology coming out in August too. :)

Read the reviews of the rest of the Trylle series;
Switched (here)
Torn (here)


Update and Upcoming Awesomeness

Hey everyone!

Sorry I haven't been updating my blog for the last couple of weeks. I just finished my first whole year of college!

So I was pretty busy celebrating and hanging out with family and friends since I hadn't gotten a chance to while in school. But with all of the free time I've also had a lot of time to read books and work on  my novel! So stay tuned for a couple of book reviews and 'In My Mailbox's to be coming your way. :)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

"The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas" - Book Review


Berlin 1942 When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

I don't think that I have ever read a book that brought me to tears quite like The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, not even Anne Frank's Diary. Boyne's concept of writing a story about a budding forbidden friendship between the son of a Nazi commander and a Jewish boy in the Auschwitz camp was tragically brilliant. The book was implicit when it came to details and references but you can tell right away what's going on with basic knowledge of the events of the Holocaust.
There's a fence separating Bruno and Shmuel and although they only live a couple hundred feet away from each other their worlds are complete opposites. Throughout the book Bruno doesn't fully grasp what's going on, even at the end, his perceives the world as all good and that his father a Nazi commander is also good and wouldn't do anything bad to anyone. Although Bruno was oblivious to what was going on he was constantly telling his best friend Shmuel that they weren't very different which shone a light on the innocence trapped within the monstrous evil surrounding them. The horrific unexpected ending left me in tears, not just because of what happened in the book but because of the horrible truth that these things did happen less than a hundred years ago.
The author did a wonderful job to show the innocence and oblivion of children to the world around them. This book really changed my perspective of the Holocaust regarding children and how they must have perceived what was going on. I knew children were victims but I had never really thought in depth what may have been going through their minds on 'either side of the fence'.
Completely, tragically beautiful and surely it's a story that I will never forget.

“What exactly was the difference? he wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”
-John Boyne, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

After the past two books that I read on my 'to be read' shelf that were extremely deep and tough subjects I'm going to take a break and read light-hearted young adult novels.


"The Memory Keeper's Daughter" - Book Review


On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

Last summer I had started reading this book only to abandon it for months leaving it lying on a bookshelf collecting dust. I had gotten this book from a thrift store where a woman told me it was absolutely amazing and imperative that I read it immediately.
The first half of the book, where I ended up stopping and abandoning it, was really slow and I found myself forcing myself to read it. Once I begin reading a book I can't put it down until the very last word, it's just a personal quirk. This was a book I needed to read and get off of my shelf so I started reading it again yesterday, but found myself bored once again and not wanting to carry on reading it.
What I really didn't like about this book though was how the author/narrator made the reader sympathize with the father after what he had done to his family and made us hate the mother when she had done nothing wrong but mourn the supposed death of her daughter. Several times while reading this book I would rant about that to my friends and family and they're already tired of hearing me complain about it saying 'just ignore it' or 'if you don't like it don't read it'. Paul and Pheobe were the only characters that I really liked in this book, completely innocent to the treachery and dark secrets of their family. I felt really sorry for them, having to live their lives well into their middle-ages to discover they had a twin sibling out there in the world when Paul had thought Pheobe had died the day of their birth and Pheobe had thought she was an only child.
The last hundred pages or so were okay for me and I no longer felt like reading it was a chore. I liked the ending, it was really beautiful and although the new relationship between Paul and Pheobe was strange and difficult it was a wonderful note to end the book on. Once I had passed that really fuzzy unbearably boring part I slowly started to find myself liking the book.
The hidden messages in the book were deep and easily relate-able and wrenched my heart at times. This wouldn't really be a book I would recommend in a jiffy but don't get me wrong it wasn't terrible. If you have ever dealt with discovering new family members you never knew your whole life or know someone that has then this book would touch that spot in your heart, that's what it did for me drawing  out those personal feelings. But alas I've gotten one 'to be read' book on my shelf and can swap it for another book at my local library. I just heard that the book was also made into a movie so I might watch it whenever I get the chance.

Here's the trailer if you'd like to check it out.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In My Mailbox

Hey everyone!

Once again it's time for an 'In My Mailbox'. In My Mailbox is a book blogging internet meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. In My Mailbox is a meme where you talk about books you receive in your mailbox, giveaways, books you bought at stores, borrowed from the library and etc!

This is a haul of books that I got all on the same day back on April 17th when Ascend by Amanda Hocking came out. My mom and I were doing errands and I rushed to the book aisle of every store we went to but they didn't have the third book to the Trylle trilogy. I got all mopey that I couldn't find it and my mom said 'Noel you already have so many books you haven't read you can wait.'
And of course I said 'Mom this is Ascend, the Trylle trilogy, I can't wait!' So I ended up driving us down to Barnes & Noble and of course they had it :) I love B&N. So I had just gotten paid a few weeks earlier so I splurged a bit and ended up getting a few other books that I had wanted. Something you need to know about me; I can never walk into B&N with only one book, it is physically impossible. So without further ado;

(In order from top to bottom)

The Ghost And The Goth by Stacey Kade, Which I have already read and you can read the review here)
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (The sequel to Goddess Test, I'm so excited! :D)
Ascend by Amanda Hocking (the third and final book in the Trylle trilogy) 

I probably won't have another 'In my Mailbox' for a while because I really need to minimize my to be read shelf. Most probably I'll be participating in a read-a-thon since school will be out in a couple of weeks!!! Woohoo summer :) I've got about a month of free time before my college summer classes start so hopefully I can get a lot of books read by then.



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