Friday, October 28, 2011

Iron Fey Review + GIVEAWAY: The Iron Queen, by Julie Kagawa

Hey, Pretty Readers!

Sorry for the great delay getting this one out. I've been a busy, busy worker bee at work all week. As usual, the giveaway is posted down below, and there are only TWO (2) DAYS LEFT to enter, so hurry up and get your entries in!

Now, without further ado, the review:


Title: The Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: January 25th 2011
Rating:

 Series' Reviews on PiF: The Iron King | The Iron Daughter

Read the first 23 pages HERE!


Out of all the Iron Fey books that I've read so far, I think that I've loved this one the most. The Iron King took a while to find it's place, mainly focusing on introducing us to the land of the Nevernever, and giving us not-so-very-detailed introductions to our main cast. The second book, The Iron Daughter, had surer footing, saw more character development, and dragged us deeper into its original storyline. This book, The Iron Queen, blew me away.

Meghan Chase had thought she was finished with the Fey. She'd killed Machina, the Iron King; she'd defeated Virus, and returned the Scepter of the Seasons to Queen Mab. When all was said and done, she and Ash, the Winter prince, were both exiled from the Nevernever for sharing a love forbidden between those of Summer and Winter descent.

Meghan was more than happy to remain exiled to the human world with her prince, who'd sworn to stand by her forever – or, until she didn't want him anymore – but the Iron Fey had other plans.

This book was a constant struggle. A struggle for the fate of the Nevernever; the struggle that comes with fighting a war; a struggle for Puck to watch the girl he loves love another, and for Meghan's dad to relearn who he was; also, it was a struggle for Ash and Meghan, as Meghan learns to accept her destiny and Ash faces the threat of a curse placed on him long ago.

I think that's why I liked this book so much. Anyone who reads and/or writes knows (or should) that stories thrive on conflict, and I believe The Iron Queen is a prime example of that. I'll admit, that when I am in the process of collecting my thought about my latest read, I tend to glance over the reviews of others. One of the common thoughts I saw was that this book appeared to be the favorite in the series.

Now, we all could be biased, and just like it more because we love the characters more. Really, I just think it's because, as is the case with most series, most of the major conflicts that have been building up come to the forefront and conclude towards the end of a story-arc. And The Iron Queen is the end of the story-arc (Meghan's, at least, as she has met her destiny. The Iron Knight is all about Ash, as he tries to find a way to remain a part of it), which could only mean struggles galore. And, of course, with all this struggling there was always something going on – never a dull moment. Which is awesome, because when it happens (and it doesn't always, or the phrase anti-climactic would never have been coined) it makes that story such an enjoyable, fast-paced read.

I don't really have many complaints for this book. Those I had for the previous novels in the series don't hold true here. Julie Kagawa has definitely developed more as a writer with the more she has written, and I think it was kind of cool to watch her progress unfold throughout this series. There was an instance, or two that may have seemed a little stretched, but I thought them fairly easy to overlook in favor of the story. For argument's sake, though, an example:

Meghan, after two books of people trying to kill her and being unable to defend herself, decides it's time she learned to fight. Ok, good. I'd been wanting that to happen for ages, so I was all for it. Ash went out, got her a sword, and spent everyday for, like, a month training her to use it. So far, so good. She then gets into a few scrapes here and there and, with the help of Puck and Ash, manages to come away the victor. I can chalk that up to Ash being an excellent teacher.

BUT – and this is actually common in a lot of similar stories (helpless girl gets hunted, trained by friends to fight, and fights big battle), so it's nothing new, but still a little irritating – Meghan then becomes involved in bigger battles, even the conclusive battle to a major war in which her side was the underdog, often gets separated by her protectors, and yet still can come out on top of warriors who have been training and fighting for years? Hell, they're fey, so they're probably hundreds, if not thousands of years old, and probably have been soldiers for about as long, yet they fall to a girl has been playing sword for about a month? It's a little far-fetched, but still something I can easily look over if the story is good enough.

Overall, I believe Kagawa did a superb job of bringing to a close Meghan's part of of the tale. Sure, I would have liked Meghan and Ash to have a more solid, happy ending, as I turned the last pages of The Iron Queen, but I suppose then there would be no Iron Knight (which I am already loving). I think this installment of the Iron Fey saga warrants a solid 5 Crazy Hearts.

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3)





GIVEAWAY!

Enter for your chance to win!

Please Note: It has been brought to our attention that some people, when viewing this entry form, see one from a giveaway we did previously, and not one for the Iron Fey.. If you are one of those people, do not be discouraged, the form on this post here should show the correct giveaway. 
Unabridged Andra

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Iron Fey GIVEAWAY! Extension

Due to a few extenuating circumstances (been a bit busy, I literally just got home 'bout a half hour ago.) that kept me away from my blogging duties, I was unable to post the last two reviews necessary to complete our Iron Fey week festivities on schedule. Because of this, I didn't think it fair to end the Iron Fey giveaway before posting, at the very least, The Iron Queen Review (which has been delayed due to the above mentioned circumstances). I will try my best to get that one up tomorrow, and The Iron Knight up Thursday, and if everything goes as planned, the Giveaway will end Thursday night. For now, I have extended it through Saturday night just to be on the safe side, so spread the word.

Now, speaking of The Iron Knight,

HAPPY RELEASE DAY 

For those of you who managed to get your hands on the book today, what are some of your initial thoughts about this fourth volume in the series? Is it meeting up to your giddy expectations?

For those of you not yet reading, feel free to gush about what you're most excited for about this book.

Please keep all discussion here spoiler free, for those who have yet not been lucky enough to crack The Iron Knight's cover.

The GIVEAWAY!




Sunday, October 23, 2011

Iron Fey Review + GIVEAWAY: The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa


Title: The Iron Daughter
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: July 27th 2010
Rating:

Read the first 28 pages HERE!


The Iron Daughter is the second book in Julie Kagawa's highly acclaimed Iron Fey series. It again follows Meghan Chase, this time as she tries to come to terms a bit with what she learned of herself in the last book.

The story starts out in the Winter court where Meghan went at the end of the previous book, as per the deal she and Ash made in The Iron King. There she has stayed for an indiscernible amount of faery time (about 5 months human time, we later discover) by herself with no one (not even Ash, who was off pulling an Edward Cullen – Me: Must. Strangle. The. Stupid. Fey.) but a bunch of Winter fey who hated her purely based in the principle that she was half-human, and half-Summer fey.

That was basically the whole first part of this book. Meghan sitting around in the Winter court not doing much more than pining, and me being irritated about none of these faeries, who are supposed to be so awesome at finding loopholes, being able to see the one that was so obviously glaring them in the face (Meghan, as far as I know, was the only one who did see it, but not until page 122 when it would do her no good because she had already left the Unseelie court!)– Oh! And then me being irritated that Ash was pulling an Edward Cullen (But, if you thought I didn't love you... – Me: Why you little–! *wraps hands around Ash's throat* – apparently, I'm big on Simpson's analogies when it comes to the Iron Fey...).

Still, this book picked up a lot quicker than the first in the series. Especially after the Scepter of the Seasons is stolen, which is when the real adventure of this book begins.

Overall, I think Kagawa did a lot better with this book. The characters (evil villains included) were much more well developed. Virus, for example, was simply terrifying with what she could do, her ambition and her (not in a good way) crazy.

One of the other characters that I absolutely LOVED was Ironhorse. Even though he was an enemy in the first book, I found his constant NEED TO SHOUT EVERYTHING HE SAID LIKE THIS endearing. How can you not love a character, evil or otherwise, who talks like that? In this book, he elects to help Meghan complete her Scepter-finding mission, even going so far as to promise to protect her with his life (which is big with faeries). We find out later in the book why he chose to do so (though I had my suspicions, and maybe it was just my suspicions that thought it was his reasoning all along), and I'm not necessarily talking the “official” story. With the strength of his loyalty to Meghan, and the fact that he never wavered in his beliefs, it was hard not to love him even more by the story's end. Even if he was made of Iron.

I also thought the relationships worked a bit better this time 'round, too, even if the whole Edward Cullen thing irritated me. Then again, I'm still wholly Team Ash (even if I adore Puck), so he must have done something right (like I said in my The Iron King review, I am a sucker for those who feel the need to deny their obvious love in any way, shape, or form – except Edward Cullen. I was totally all for Emmett in those books – not with Bella, just loved Emmett).

I love that Kagawa actually tried to give Puck a fighting chance this book. He was gone so often in the first one that I felt sorry falling for Ash when I knew Puck was supposed to be the other guy and I barely got a chance to know him. Unfortunately Puck seems to have the book-best-friend curse going for him, where though he is loved (a lot), that love is not as intense as the love for the new guy. Sorry Puck, but I'm a sucker for the intense.

As expected, the world of Nevernever was, again, masterfully crafted. Kagawa's imagery was simply beautiful. Even in the (duller) human world, It was enough to actually put me there.

I would rate The Iron Daughter 4.7 Crazy Hearts. It's a lovely, fantastical, romantic read. Definitely worth spending some time on.

Off to read The Iron Queen!

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3)





GIVEAWAY!

Enter for your chance to win!

Please Note: It has been brought to our attention that some people, when viewing this entry form, see one from a giveaway we did previously, and not one for the Iron Fey.. If you are one of those people, do not be discouraged, the form on this post here should show the correct giveaway. 
Unabridged Andra

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Iron Fey Review + GIVEAWAY: The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: February 1st 2010
Rating:


Read the first 57 pages HERE!

As part of this week's crazy fun leading up to the release of The Iron Knight on the 25th, I elected to take on the entire Iron Fey series for the very first time.

So far, I am glad I did.

I'll admit, I was a little wary picking up The Iron King. I'm not entirely sure why, with all the rave reviews and crazy (in a good way) fans, but I was.

The Iron King is the story of Meghan Chase who, after learning that fey had replaced her four-year-old brother with a changeling, steals into the Nevernever (Faery-land) with her best friend, Robbie (who just so happens to be the Puck of legend), in search of him.

While there, Meghan learns new things about herself that she could never have imagined, and of a dangerous new breed of Faery threatening the land.

I've read other books that have involved fairies (notice the spelling change) before, and one of the things I liked about this book is that a lot of the old myths still rang true (for the majority of the Fey). It's not too often you see that anymore. When a character of mythical origins knows  that  humans of the modern age have pre-conceived notions about their kind, oftentimes you see them say at some point "Ha! And you actually believe that?" or "Yeah, when humans started saying stuff like that about us, we thought it a genius idea to let them believe those lies."







[Like in the first 7 seconds here (just hit play). They're hunting the "big bad wolf", so to speak]

I'm not saying I don't like seeing new spins on an old story, but sometimes it's refreshing to see someone sticking with the classics (like a vampire who actually sleeps in a coffin, drinks humans to death, and can be staked with a piece of wood).

One of the other things I liked was how the Nevernever was portrayed. The description and imagery Julie Kagawa used made this world seem so real and vibrant.  I could see the beauty of the Summer-land the Seelie fey resided in, practically smell the crisp cold of Winter, and taste the copper-tinged smog of the Iron Kingdom.

Of course, this realness helped make the threats Meghan was facing all the more terrifying for the reader.  For example (without giving away too much about the plot), Kagawa's Faeries travel about their world and ours using trods (or, pathways) which, in our world can be found anywhere there is a concentration of creativity. Like in the closet of a very imaginative four-year-old, for example (can you say prime candidate for having a changeling take its place?). You'd never know it, though, because naturally these fey that walk amongst us are all cloaked in glamour, so can look just like us or even be invisible to our eyes.  How is that not scary? Especially when fey are rarely portrayed as very nice creatures (those little tricksters!).

Now, what review would be complete without something to complain about? As it seems to be with a lot of books I've read of late, the main issue(s) I have lie with the characters as well as their relationships.

Perhaps this example is merely a victim of a fast moving plot, or it might be a special circumstance or character trait, or even part of the larger picture, but for me, the development of Mehgan's and Ash's relationship seemed to be too fast. Or rather, it felt to me, that someone who thought of the other person as the enemy the whole time, gave in to his conflicting emotions too easily — that it wasn't much of a conflict at all.

Perhaps I'm picky, and perhaps I'm biased. I'll readily admit I have a tendency to love characters together who simply REFUSE to admit they are in love. For some awesome examples, look to L.J. Smith's Night World series. Ash (ironically) and Mary-Lynnette, John Quinn and Rachelle Jordan, Delos and Maggie — all of these had reasons not to readily give into their obvious love for each other, and all played out in single books, but the hot-cold emotional tug-of-war never seemed like it was lacking, which it felt like here. So, for me, major disappointment.

The Iron King (for which the book was named) was a bit of a disappointment, as well. He was a major cliche, though dressed in some very smart armor.







***POTENTIAL SPOILERS***


Muahaha! *steeples fingers together in a Mr. Burns-esque fasion* I did this so I can demand you become my queen and use the power I offer you as a selling point.







***END***


Yeah. Because I didn't see that one coming from a mile away. Isn't that, like, the evil king go-to?

Normally, I don't really care if I am able to figure things out before the end. In fact, I kind of love that "Aha! I got it right!" moment when I do. However, everything else in this book (excepting what I mentioned above, of course) seemed done so well, and was so well thought out, I guess I was expecting something a little more. This two-dimensional, evil villain with a curlicue mustache seemed like a cop-out.

Still, I did love this book, and I am eager to dig in to the rest of the series. I think its average rating of 4/5 [Crazy Hearts] on Goodreads suits it well.

The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)

  


Friday, October 21, 2011

TGIF! Blog Hop & Feature, and Follow Friday (12) + IRON FEY GIVEAWAY!

Welcome, Pretty Readers, to another weekly roundup!

By now, you should have a bit of an inkling as to how these posts work. Basically we answer a bunch of questions asked by these lovely bloggers:
* Rachel, from Parajunkee's View & Alison, from Alison Can Read, who host Feature, and Follow Friday.
* Jennifer, from Crazy For Books, who hosts the Book Blogger Hop.
* And Ginger, from GReads!, who hosts TGIF.
Then, when that's done, we hop about to other blogs that are participating, see what they have to say, leave them a lovely little comment. That's it! Simple, easy, and hoptastically fun.

So, without further ado:



What superhero is your alter-ego?
Jesse: This is a tough question for me because I don't really relate to most superheroes. But if I had to choose one it would probably be Iron Man (the Robert Downey Jr. version, of course). He's not quite my alter-ego, but I'd still love to be him. (Or know him. Tony Stark or RDJ!) Tony Stark is the ultimate playboy billionaire, what's not to envy? He has anything he could ever want, he gets to fly around in that awesome suit, and to top it all off he's a freaking genius! Yeah. I'd be him in a heartbeat.


Kira: Hmmm...I'm with Jess, tough question. When I was younger, I was a major fan of Rouge from the X-Men cartoon. She could fly (which any kid would think was awesome), she was (mostly) a fellow ginger, and I liked her attitude. She didn't take crap from anyone (which, from a shy kid's perspective, was pretty admirable). Also, she had the cool ability to "borrow" other mutants' powers -- of course, with the unfortunate draw back of not really being able to touch anybody like a normal person would. Still, I found her to be the coolest superhero out there until Peter Petrelli came around. I still love her, don't get me wrong, and I know her inability to casually touch people is part of what made her who she was,  but now I'm constantly faced with the fact that my favorite superhero got the short end of the stick, and that's just not cool (though I do love Peter Petrelli, so I can't hold it against him).





What is your favorite type of candy?
Jesse: I have two favorite different types of candy. The first is Cadbury Eggs. Best chocolate ever and you can only get them around Easter. It's torture! If I had to gorge myself to death on one type of food Cadbury Eggs would be my last meal. And I'd be the happiest person in the world. My second (non-chocolate) favorite candy are the Lik-A-Stiks that come in FunDip. Not the FunDip itself which is awesome, but just the Stiks. Me and my brother have always, since we were little, said that they should package just the sugary sweet goodness of the Stiks. Ooh! And I just remembered that I actually have some FunDip stashed in my purse from the last time I went to the movies!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

October Reads: Review - Marked, by PC and Kristin Cast

This is our first edition of Read with PiF this month, and since it's late (as in super late), This will be the only post for this book. That being said, discussions for this book, if you'd like to join in, will be held at our Goodread's group. Of course, that by no means means you can't discuss this book below in the comments section. :)

Title: Marked
Author: P.C. and Kristin Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub. Date: May, 2007
Rating:
Read an excerpt HERE

Marked, the first novel in the House of Night series by mother-daughter duo P.C. and Kristin Cast, was one of those books that I used to see talked about, but that took me forever to actually pick up. Once I did, I was hooked.

I wouldn't say it is one of the greatest YA series out there, but it is fantastic, if a little grating at times (Ok, that may just be the main character – ok, some of the characters, but still).

Our story starts out with our lead, Zoey, being, well, Marked. She'd been feeling a little under the weather on a normal day at her normal school when she spotted a vampyre standing by her locker. (Vampyres, in her world are bit more well known and out in the open than most – in fact they're kind of hard to miss), and when this Vamp spot's her, Zoey's life changes forever:
Zoey Montgomery! Night has chosen thee; thy death will be thy birth. Night calls to thee; harken to her sweet voice. Your destiny awaits you at the House of Night! {Marked, ebook p. 11/241}
With that, Zoey is given the blue outline of a crescent moon in the center of her forehead that symbolizes her new existence as a vanpyre fledgling. Now she must move to her new home at the House of Night, a school for fledglings like herself, not only to be with her new kind, but because her body would reject the change if she were to remain away from an adult vampyre for too long (Not that being around adult vampyres guarantees a successful change, but it makes her chances grater).

Soon enough, Zoey discovers she has a very special destiny before her at the House of Night. Granting Zoey with an affinity for all elements (something rather unheard of before), Nyx, the Goddess of Night whom all the vampyres worship, has chosen her specifically for a very great task, starting with confronting a fledgling who is misusing her Goddess-given gifts. Can Zoey find it within herself to step up and answer the Goddess' call?
Believe in yourself, Zoey Redbird. I have Marked you as my own. You will be my first true U-we-tsi a-ge-hu-tsa v-hna-i Sv-no-yi...Daughter of Night...in this age. You are special. Accept that about yourself, and you will begin to understand there is true power in your uniqueness. {Nyx, Marked, ebook p. 41/241}
There were many, many things I liked about reading Marked. The book is fast paced (the whole series is, really, which is why I managed to read the first six books of the series in less than a week – granted, I didn't get much sleep...). The plot-line reads well, and is creative. The imagery is fantastic.

Really, the only thing I had much of a problem with were some of the characters. Zoey, herself can be a bit whiny, woe-is-me, and very childish at times (often in situations of her own creating). She can also be very judgmental, which tends not to work in her favor when she's the one doing something “wrong”. It's not as noticeable in this first book, perhaps, but it does happen. She's not perfect, I get that, and I love that about her, but it can still be very irritating.

Aphrodite is another, in these early books. Her introduction to us, for one was pretty uncalled for. I know lots of people had issues with it, some even putting the book down right there. Perhaps her actions might be part of who she is, but a girl trying to force a blowjob (I kid you not, and in the middle of a school hallway to boot.) on a boy in the early chapters of the first book to a series is ridiculous. Actually, it's pretty much a ridiculous in any book, really.

They weren't the only characters I had issues with in this book, but they were the main ones.

What I did like is pretty much what I like in all books of this type. The idea that it's not what a person is that makes a person who they are, but what they do and how they act. I thought the authors portrayed that fairly nicely.

Something else I liked was the portrayal of non-mainstream religions. It's not too often you see them portrayed in a nice light. Sylvia Redbird (Zoey's grandmother) is a sort of Cherokee wise woman, so you get to see some of the traditions and tales she passed on to Zoey come into play at various points in the book. The vampyes of the House of Night partake in a sort of wiccan religion themselves, which actually gives a decent (if a little farfetched) glimpse into that and other nature based religions.

Of course, where matters of religion are concerned, there are always a “right” and a “wrong” (which, personally, I find ridiculous). There is a group of “religious right-wings” known as the People of Faith, and they oppose all things vampyres and religions not theirs in a not so very nice manner. I'm not saying these things don't happen, because they do. You can still find stories in the media of religious oppression, even in the United States, where our right to choose and practice our own religion is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

That being said, I think it was perhaps a bit unfair the way this opposing religion was portrayed, if only because of the way they portrayed Zoey's family (And this is an ongoing issue throughout the series, so I won't go into to much detail). Sure, there would be situations, were this real, that a family might disown someone who “turned”, but I don't really see Zoey's mom as one of those who would willingly do that, she was just portrayed as too weak willed and malleable to think for herself, and naturally, she happened to be married to one of the big names among the People of Faith.

All in all, I enjoyed the book (and the subsequent novels in the series) and would recommend that if you're into paranormal/vampyre YA, you at least give them a shot. 4.4 Crazy Hearts is my rating.

Marked (House of Night, #1)




  

TGIF! Blog Hop & Feature, and Follow Friday (11)

Book Blogger Hop is a bookish meme hosted by the blog Crazy For Books. It is designed to get book bloggers talking about, what else, books.



Book Blogger Hop
The Question they had for us this week was this:

What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?

Jesse: I don't usually read spooky books. The spookiest books I've probably ever read fully through was The Vampire Diaries (the original books, not the new ones). I don't know, for some reason they just kind of creeped me out when I read them. But if I was purposely trying to freak myself out I'd definitely read one of those drug store thrillers. You know, the ones about missing children or creepy possessed houses. I haven't been able to make it fully through one of those yet. 


Kira: I have issues when it comes to throwing the term favorite around. It's almost as if I refuse to pick just one. That being said, I haven't read anything reaally "spooky" in ages (like, since I was 15, maybe? don't really remember). It's a shame, really, cuz I do love me some spooky...does paranormal count? Can't really choose a favorite of those either...


Ooh! You know what was kinda creepy that I read (semi)recently? Cryer's Cross, by Lisa McMann. I wouldn't call it a scary read, but it had a nice, spooky feel. especially the trailer (which sold me on the book in the first place.




Feature, and Follow Friday, also known as Follow My Book Blog Friday, is another bookish meme seeking to do the same thing, as well as get all parties involved more followers.
Feature & Follow Friday

This week, Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read asked us:


If you could have characters from a particular book meet and form an epic storyline with characters from a particular TV series, which would you choose and why? 

Jesse: Oh, what a question! So many choices and combinations. Wow! I just had an amazing idea. It's kind of cheating since technically they're both tv shows, but oh well. What would happen if Shawn and Gus from Psych were to cross paths with say, Dean and Sammie from Supernatural?

Uh, it might possibly be the greatest love affair of all time!

Think about it. Shawn and Gus pretend to be psychic (but do not actually believe in anything supernatural), Dean and Sam deal with the supernatural day in and day out. Demons, ghosts, scary freaking angels, power tripping gods. Somehow I picture lots of screaming, maybe even some tears (from Gus, of course), and some sort of man crush between Dean and Shawn (or Dawn, perhaps?). It would be absolutely epic! 


Kira: I hope you realize how evil this question is, because I think about weird things like this all the time, especially if certain scenarios are similar or contradictory to those going on in my current read, or show. Or, you know, if I happen to be reading any paranormal fiction that I feel could use the awesome touch of our favorite brothers' Winchester -- *cough* the characters from Meg Cabot's Abandon so need to learn the valuable use of the Salt-and-Burn technique (and I wouldn't mind seeing Sam and Dean pop up everywhere). *cough* (meh. awkward cough. who cares?)


But, yeah, Sam and Dean are my main go-to when it comes to dream cameos. Another example of that fact? When I was reading the Secret Circle series by LJ Smith, there where was this scene where one of the circle members was fixing his car when Cassie comes in, I believe, to flirt. When he turns to meet her,
Blasphemy!
he's wearing a shirt that says "Friends don't let friends drive Chevys."  Naturally, that brings to mind Dean Winchester, and his one-true-love the Impala. 


So, when I first read that scene, and every time I think about it since, all I do is picture Dean randomly showing up looking all offended, stroking the Impala and saying "He doesn't mean it, baby."

I'm  crazy, I know. 


Our final meme of the week is TGIF, hosted by GReads! The idea here is a similar get-to-know-you question, as well as a recap of the past week's blogging events. This week:



Show Tell: Where do you grab a book and get lost in it? Show us your favorite spot you like to read at.?

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Jesse: I'll pretty much read anywhere and since I normally read on my iPhone I can. But my favorite place to read is on the couch outside on my deck. I'll read there day or night, summer or winter, eBook or hardcover. I've even sat out there when it was raining! (There's an over hang so the book doesn't get wet.)

Kira: As strange as it may be, I don't really have a "favorite place" at the moment. I'll read pretty much anywhere, however I prefer someplace nice, quiet, and comfortable. Somewhere I can lounge out and not be disturbed. Lately, that's been my room, but I wouldn't count it as a favorite place.


We awarded the blog award we mentioned last week to 15 other bloggers.
* We wrote a review and are hosting a GIVEAWAY of Savor, by Megan Duncan.
* We reviewed our first October's Read with PiF book: Marked, by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Savor by Megan Duncan

Hey Pretty Readers!

Don't forget to check out the other awesome sites participating in the month long Savor Blog Tour for your chance to win some awesome prizes! Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for your chance to win one of our cool prizes!

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Good Luck!






Title: Savor
Author: Megan Duncan
Publication Date: October 10, 2011
Rating:

Ever since reading Released by Megan Duncan I've been waiting anxiously for her second book, Savor, to be released. Savor is the first book in a brand new series about vampires, royalty, and a girl who's life just keeps more and more complicated.

Savor tells the story of Claire, an eighteen year old who lives in a world run by vampires. The vampire royals who rule Claire's region take care of humans, unlike the vampires in some of the other regions, but there is still a lot of animosity between the races. Humans protest against the Royal Family and refuse to sign up to donate blood to the blood bank for vampire consumption. But not Claire. Claire is finally old enough and after being raised by her pro-vampire mom, she's more than happy to donate.

When a man arrives at her door the next day saying she's been chosen as the new vampire princess, Claire is a little less eager to comply. It means leaving her friends and her mom, everything she's ever known. It also means being turned into a vampire. When Claire agrees to becoming vampire royalty she never expects the turn her life will take.

Can she overcome the harsh realities that go along with living forever in the palace or will her enemies get the best of her? And how will she ever decide between the two men she comes to love? One who she's never even met.

Savor was a fun read, it's quick and entertaining. The characters were likable and the vampire society was so detailed that I found myself wanting to learn more about every aspect of it. Especially the other regions because no one talks about them. Guess I'll have to wait for the sequel to learn more!

There were a few things that got on my nerves as I was reading the story. Claire and her new vampire friend, Robin, giggled like the palace was pumping laughing gas through the air vents. I know that they're eighteen year old girls, but do eighteen year old's really giggle THAT much? If so, can we check to see what's in their water supplies, because its unhealthy.

I also found it a little odd how affectionate Evilyn (Claire's new vamp mom) was with Claire. I mean, almost right off the bat there was a sense of motherly love. Hugging, kissing. It was so instant and out of no where it sort of seemed suspicious to me. Made me question Evilyn's motives. Is she really as sweet and good natured as she seems, or does she have an agenda?

I'm not usually a fan of the insta-love between characters in paranormal romance, and I wasn't when it came to Dmitry and Claire either. They went from meeting each other and being sort of friendly to being madly in love the next day (with hardly any interaction in between). It just seemed a little ridiculous to me. I mean, sure, there's a scene where they have some sort of magical connection, but it still just seemed too fast for Claire to decide she loved him. And even worse was how she acted like she was betraying him when she was going through with the Blood Mate ceremony. They weren't even dating! They only kissed once. I just didn't see any legitimate reason for their feelings besides the fact that they decided they liked each other. It seemed to have little to do with any actual feelings on either side.

On the other (more hypocritical) hand, I adored the mystery man! He alone had me ripping through Savor hoping he'd finally be introduced to Claire. Their connection, while still magical and instantaneous, had a more realistic feel to it. They were connected magically before they had even met, so it seems a little more natural when Claire talks about her feelings for him.

During the course of the book Claire must go through a few different vampire ceremonies. Before each ceremony someone always wants to talk to her, yet they never explain what will happen at the ceremony itself. Claire is always left wondering what to do, much to the annoyance of the people performing the ceremony. I found myself becoming annoyed at Evilyn and Robin because every time Claire would ask them what the ceremony would be like or what she would be expected to do, they would simply say they couldn't tell her, or that she would figure it out. I'm sorry, but if you are forcing me to undergo ritual after ritual then I would demand to know what those rituals consist of. I'm not going into a room full of hooded vampires and priests with daggers and silver goblets unless I understand what is expected of me first.

The writing seemed a little forced at times but it truly didn't bother me that much. I liked the story and really wanted to see where it was headed.

All in all, I enjoyed Savor and can't wait to read the second book in the Warm Delicacy series, Indulge. I have to get more of the mystery man now that I know who he is! And most importantly, what happened to Louie?! I need to know!

You can purchase a copy of Savor online at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble!





Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Versatile Blogger: We Won!

This past Thursday, we at Pretty in Fiction received an awesome surprise. F, from Girls Who Love To Read had tweeted us to let us know she had chosen us among her picks to receive the Versatile Blogger Award!

Many thanks for even considering us, F, you are awesome!

The Versatile Blogger Award is another of those passed among the blogosphere so we bloggers might show our appreciation for our fellow bloggers.


The rules of this award are simple:


1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Send it onto fifteen other bloggers you appreciate and let them know you have awarded it to them.

Seven Simple Things about us:
Part of the reason it took us so long to get this post out is that we had to decide if it would be better to do these facts separately, or about us as a group. We decided to go with the latter, so please bear with us.

Some of the these facts you may already know.
-1- We are two sets of sisters who live in central NJ

-2- We all share the same last name (being cousins can do that to you).

-3- Two of us do not really fall into the YA age group anymore (though obviously we love the books anyway), while two of us are the prefect age for the genre. Can you guess which of us is which?

-4- The books that started our crazy little book club were the Twilight series' books. Actually, it was The Host, but Jesse passed that book off upon learning I had read Twilight, et. al.,  and enjoyed them (not that we hadn't shared books before, but after that practically every book became a discussion). Tayl was already obsessed by then, more so with The Host, which she'd randomly walk around quoting. Then we made Courtney read them.

-5- Taylor STILL can quote almost the entirety of Welded (The Host, chapter 56) from memory.

-6- We created a card game based off our book obsessions (interspersed with a bit of TV and movie here and there, but mainly books), and call it The Ultimate Showdown: Crazy Hearts (Or, just Crazy Hearts -- sound familiar?). All the characters (except our "trumps", though they can usually be associated with one of the groups, or another) are separated into five suits (Mundies, Vamps, Hunters, Downworlders, and Robots & Aliens)  then rated on a scale of 1-5 hearts (again, sound familiar?),  based on who garners the greater love/obsession as well as who is generally more bad-ass.

-7- This one's sort of a cop-out BUT, this month (over the next 2 weeks, to be specific), we will be hosting 2 giveaways here on Pretty in Fiction.

Photobucket

The first is part of a blog tour for Megan Duncan's new novel, Savor. The tour started on the 1st of this month, goes through the 31st, and will be stopping by our blog on the 14th. Be sure to come by Pretty in Fiction anytime between the 14th and the 18th for your chance to enter and win this new book.

Iron Fey

Our second giveaway starts the day before the Savor giveaway ends, and runs from the 17th through the 21st. It's being held in hour of the release of the latest of Julie Kagawa's books, The Iron Knight (October 25th), and the fact that having never read the Iron Fey before, I decided to read them all now (stay tuned for reviews).

Stop by anytime between those dates (10.17.11 - 10.21.11), and you could be the lucky Pretty Reader to win all four of the books pictured in the banner above.

Who we'd like to feature:

1. Loretta Lynn, from Between The Pages
2. Amber, from Down The Rabbit Hole
3. Missie, from The Unread Reader
4. Diana, from The Lovely Getaway
5. Andra, from Unabridged Andra
6. Lea from LC's Adventures in Libraryland
7.  Lennystew from The Little Book Blog
8. Amy and Jennifer, from Seduced by Books
9. Lisa, from Read. Breath. Relax.
10. Miolli, from Once Upon a Prologue
11. Jackie, from My Tower of Books
12. Amber, Rosmelie, and Vickie, from Me, My Shelf, and I 
13. Amanda, from Hippies, Beauty, and Books. Oh my!
14. Tia, from Falling for Books!
15. Dwayne and Hanna, from Girls Without a Bookshelf

Congratulations to the new winners!

Friday, October 7, 2011

TGIF: Blog Hop & Feature, and Follow Friday (10)

Welcome, Pretty Readers, to another round of Friday fun!

We'll kick off this week with Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by the lovey ladies of Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read:





Feature & Follow Friday

If you could pick one character in a book, movie or television show to swap places with, who would it be?



Jesse: If I could replace any character in a book, movie or television show it would be Belly Cochran. Hands down. I would love to take her place in The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. I would save Conrad so much heartache that way. Belly is ridiculously immature in The Summer series and I would go through and make sure I never made any of her terrible mistakes. I'd fix Conrad—because really he just needed some time and support to work his problems out—and I'd never in a million years lead Jeremiah on like that!

My alternate answer would be Tessa Gray from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I'd end up with Will Herondale and I'd be very good friends with Jem—also without leading him on!


Kira: You know, I'm honestly not sure how to answer this one. Part of the reason I love the books movies and TV shows I do is  often because I love the characters. If I love the characters, why would I want to replace them? If I had the chance to choose, I'd rather just be written into several different stories, but I can't think of any I'd want to swap places with.

Our next lovely little meme comes to us from Jen over at Crazy for Books:

 It’s time to spread some love beyond the borders of the Book Blogger Hop! This week, we aren’t answering a question. We are spotlighting our fellow bloggers. Find your favorite(s) author interview(s), guest post(s), book review(s), or bookish article(s) that ANOTHER BOOK BLOGGER featured on their site recently and tell us why you love it/them! As an additional challenge, find your favorite one of EACH of the categories above and spotlight all 4 (interview, guest post, review, article).?



Jesse: Over the past three weeks we've been participating in the My Book Boyfriend meme hosted by The UnreadReader. I think it's such a great idea. Everyone who reads falls in love with a fictional character every now and then (or once or twice a book in my case). So Missie came up with this wonderful way to feature your latest book crush and spread the word to others who are just as crazy about fictional boys as you! Sometimes pictures of hot guys who look like the hero of your favorite book (and swoon worthy quotes of said hero) will sell the book faster than any review will!
Look at that pretty, pretty cover.

Kira: Yesterday, actually, Fire and Ice did a review of a book I happen to have been lusting after for a while now (Carrier of the Mark, by Leigh Fallon), so naturally I gave it a look. What I love about this review, is that it did absolutely nothing to satiate my want for this book. In fact, it made my need to get my hands on it that much greater. It's always good  when a reviewer leaves you wanting a book more than you did before you found the review. It's a sure sign the reviewer is doing their job, and doing it well.

Lastly, it's only our third week participating in this gem, Ginger from GReads! hosts our weekly wrap-up:






To-Be-Read's: How big is your pile? Which book keeps getting pushed down the stack, but you keep meaning to read it?



Jesse: My TBR pile is starting to get longer than I'd like. I have over 100 books in my Goodreads to-read list and that's only there. That's not including a lot of the digital samples on my iPhone or all of the books filling up my camera roll. (Everytime I'm in a bookstore I just take pictures of everything I want but can't get!) A lot of books I want to read get pushed back down towards the bottom of the pile, but the one book I want to read the most on that list is Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers. It's the sequel to Personal Demons (which I read a while ago) and I really want to read it. Unfortunately I haven't gotten around to reading more than the digital sample yet.

Kira: This is kind of a loaded question for me. It's hard to pin down how big my pile is, because it is ever-growing, and ever-changing. And there are a LOT of books that keep getting pushed down the list, too. Especially since starting this blog. Now it not only the "books I'll get to eventually" that keep getting pushed back, but often books I've been eagerly anticipating for ages, in favor of getting some of my review books out (and I'm even behind on them, so...)

(slow week, apparently)
* Ian O'Shea was our Book Boyfriend of the week.
* We won an award! (our post to come, so not really ON PiF, but yeah.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Book Boyfriend (3) Ian O'shea

Hey, Pretty Readers!

We have another lovely Book Boyfriend for you! Technically, this was meant to be out yesterday, but i spent most of my day (well, past two days, really) fighting with my internet, which sucked (especially since the internet, or lack there of, pretty much won that round). No matter, our book-boy obsessions have never been strictly limited to one day a week, so here is ours today:

My Book Boyfriend is a weekly meme hosted by Missie from The Unread Reader (who is genius, by the way). She gave this one so we might safely and eagerly divulge our favorite book-boys among those who are likely to share in our strange obsessions. Because, let's face it. If you are reading this post, you're more than likely guilty of falling for a fictional guy yourself, at one point or another.

His Hair is a little on the light side,
But Chase Crawford (when he looks
 as above & below) seems to fit the bill
Like Ian O'Shea. Ian is one of the lead guys of Stephanie Meyer's other (and better, though there's only one book so far) series, The Host.

Ian O'Shea:
* The younger of the brothers O'Shea
* Dark hair, blue (blue, blue!) eyes
* One of thirty-two humans and Wanda and Sunny, who live in a cave system that was formed by volcanoes somewhere in the Arizona desert.
* Is in love with someone (Wanda) not of this world.

Why We Love Him:

Jesse: Ian O'Shea is one of my first mega-book crushes. It's impossible to not fall in love with him. He was an angry, scared man who seemed to follow the mob mentality of the other humans in The Host. But then he caught me off guard. I was never expecting him to have such a change of heart and become so protective and fall in love with Wanda.

Ian is one of the few people who believe Wanda is just an innocent girl and not an evil body snatching alien hell bent on killing all humans. He would do anything to keep her safe and happy, even if it meant giving her up and letting her be with Jared Howe. And he's protective of Wanda while not being ridiculously protective. He still let's her do what she wants to do. But maybe that's because there's no way to stop Wanda from doing what she wants. She's sort of stubborn like that.

Maybe it's because their love is so unexpected or maybe it's because it's so forbidden. I mean, how can you not love someone who falls in love with the "enemy"? It's so... romantic!

Kira: Ian O'Shea is probably one of the sweetest book-boys I've read. Sure he was a little distrustful (Kind of understandable in his situation) and violent (at one point he attempts to choke Wanda) at first, but with the exception of a couple of the other humans in their little cave, Ian was one of the first to see Wanda for the very harmless Soul she is. 

Once he'd done that, he was a goner. He was in love, and all he wanted to do was keep Wanda safe and happy. I don't know how anyone can not fall for Ian in this book, he's just that amazing and sweet. (That, and his constant tête-à-tête with Jared, who loves Mel, whose body Wanda was put into...well, you can't not love those scenes, either...) 

Be Prepared to Swoon:

"He knew what he was doing. He's my brother, yes, but he did what he did, and you are... you are... my friend." {The Host, ebook pg. 305}

He raised his hand as if to lift my chin, but I flinched and he dropped it.
'That makes me so sick,' he said, and his voice truly did sound as if he were nauseated. "And worse, knowing that if I hadn't stayed behind, I might have been the one to do it..."
 {The Host, ebook pg. 258}
 

"Jared is my past, another life. You are my present.'
He was quiet for a moment. When he spoke again, his voice was rough with emotion. 'And your future if you want that." {The Host, ebook pg. 532}

"You. Are. Not. Leaving. Me." His eyes blazed -- burning brighter than I had ever seen them, blue falmes. {The Host, p. 572}



"You deserve a life, too, Wanda. You deserve to stay."
"But I love her, Ian."
He closed his eyes, and his pale lips went dead white.
"But I love you," He whispered. "Doesn't that matter?" {The Host, p. 574}


He kissed me again, his mouth rougher with the return of anger. His hand curled into a fist around my hair, and he pulled my face an inch away from his.
"Good or bad?" he demanded.
"Good."
"That's what I thought." And his voice was a growl. {The Host, p. 576}



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