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I'm back, sort of...

Monday, August 29, 2011
I've been gone for the last 3 weeks on vacation over in Viet Nam! It was really nice there but I'm really glad I'm back. One of the down sides of traveling is getting use to the time change. It was hard when I flew over to Asia. I even fell asleep while we were at dinner. Now my time is all off so I'm usually tired during the day and fully awake at night. This is not good since school starts next week. Viet Nam was great though! A got really tan from the beaches I've visited.

But now that I am back it's time for me to get serious about school again. This year I'll be a freshman so I'm not sure what I'm expecting out of high school. For now here are some pictures of Viet Nam. :D

One more thing, thank you to everyone who visited my blog while I was gone. Also big thanks to those who commented!

Going to the market in a boat.
Really fresh seafood :) I also caught a very small fish!
Love those Da Nang beaches!
I rode the longest and highest non-stopping cable cart to Ba Na Hill.
It also stopped 3 times which was really freaky.
Even while I was over there I found my way into a bookstore.

In My Mailbox (20) - August Books

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and inspired by Alea from Pop Culture Junkie. It gives bloggers a chance to share all the books we bought, borrowed, and received this week.

Titles that are linked go to goodreads and covers that are shown on my iTouch are eBooks.

I just recently been back from my vacation at Viet Nam and I'm still not use to the time change and have been sleeping at the oddest times. I still wanted to do an In My Mailbox for all the books I got in August, but my camera is still lost somewhere in my luggage. And there are more books than I thought so it'll just be links for this one. I promise that the next IMM will be full of pictures or with a vlog.

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Crushed by K.C. Blake
Hades by Alexandra Adornetto
Cold Case by Julia Platt Leonard
Far From the War by Kathryn Schweighardt
Catalyst by Marc Johnson

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
(Thank you Sarah from Sarah's Random Musings for lending it!)

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
(Thank you Meredith from Mint Tea and a Good Book)

Supernaturally by Kiesten White
(Thank you Yani from The Secret Life of an Avid Reader)

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Passion by Lauren Kate

The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
Double by Jenny Valentine
Ditched by Robin Mellom
Eve by Anna Carey
The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

Simon & Schuster Galley-Grab:
Past Perfect by Leila Sales
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez 

Leave a link of your IMM with your comment so I can check it out.

Review: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
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Series: Seven Realms #3
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.

The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.

*Slight spoilers if you haven't read The Demon King or The Exiled Queen*

My Thoughts:

Cinda Chima does it again with another great fantasy. I have been fan girling about the Seven Realms series and I was crazy excited when I finally got a copy. The Gray Wolf Throne brings everything I love about Cinda's novels. There's that adventure, the complicated romance, and the amazing character developments.

There were these moments where I couldn't help but just hold my breath and flipping the page frantically! This really didn't help especially since I was sitting in a hair salon waiting for my turn. Although I felt like there was a bit too many pages of detail, but I was always anxious for the moment Raisa and Han would meet again. Their futures are entwined but I'm just waiting for something to happen.

Raisa comes back as bold as ever. When she returns she makes a show that the throne belongs to is her and her only. She learns that sometimes you must put duty before love and that really killed me. Raisa cares so much for the people in her queendom that I just wanted her to be selfish. Especially when it comes to Han. Han looks at everything like a game, a game that nobody knows. Every step he takes is with a purpose that I'm dying to know about.

I was satisfied with what the story gave me but I just wanted a little bit more. There were a good amount of pages but there was just a bit too many pages of detail. I didn't want the book to end because I just wanted to know everything! It is the perfect build up to an amazing ending in the next book.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5


Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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Series: Divergent #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Format: Signed Hardback
Source: The Dark Days of Supernatural Tour

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I had the chance to read this weeks ago but never had the chance to review it. This was too great of a book for me to just let slip without having the chance to say how much I loved this.

When I heard, "Hunger Games fans would like this", I became kind of wary. Lately there has been a lot of books being labeled that and sometimes they're not. In this case it is most definitely true. I'll have to say that it's up there in my favorite books with The Hunger Games.

Veronica Roth writes of the future of Chicago where people are separated into factions. This was a very fresh idea that I found very interesting. Beatrice, who is later on known as Trice, isn't like others. Unlike others, Trice doesn't fall into ONE category. She grew up as an Abnegation, but she is Divergent. Which is something that is too dangerous to be spoken out loud. Instead she must chose a different faction, Dauntless (Brave).

Beatrice is super fierce, tough, and someone who can take on anything. Trice has to be one of the coolest characters ever. When she's put into Dauntless she meets Four, who happens to be her instructor. Four is Dauntless, not what Dauntless is now which is brutal, but Dauntless as in brave. He starts off being very distint, but when Trice gets through that defense he's vulnerable. (LOVE FOUR!!!)

Divergent has everything from the intense action, to the natural romance and everything in between. This is definitely a book to read!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5


Mini-Review: The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Girl In the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
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Series: Steam Punk Chronicles #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them."

I've read this a while ago but I didn't want to put this aside without gushing about it just little bit.

What I loved were the characters. Every character was distinct and very specific. My favorite had to be Griff because he was full of surprises. Finley was a favorite in a different way. Unlike most girls Finley isn't afraid of walking the streets alone because she knows she can take on anyone. Even with this strength she's still vulnerable which makes her very real.

The story of their battle against the Machinist was very easy to follow with the occasion twists and turns that kept it interesting.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Author Interview: Melissa Buell

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reading at the Arboretum

Melissa Buell is the debut author of The Seventh Blessing. She has always had a vivid imagination and would fall asleep to scenes she would make up. That then turned into writing those scenes out which turned into...a novel. She is a substitute teacher at the jr. high and high school level. (They aren't that scary, really!) She is also a voracious reader (several books a week) who loves many genres. Favorite pastimes include spending time with her husband and kids, taking photographs, baking, blogging and volunteering.

1) What would you like your readers to take from The Seventh Blessing?

I would like them to know that they can have some say in the choices in their lives. You're not a robot and you don't have to do what others tell you to do or expect you to do. Unless it's your parents and they tell you to clean your room!

2) Which fairy blessings/gifts would you wish were your's?

-The ability to clean quickly would be amazing.

-The ability to not get hurt would be great. I'm always getting hurt in the most random of ways.

-To be able to say exactly what I mean to say exactly when I need to say it.

3) Do you have a favorite writing place? Like the beautiful beaches of South California?

I have been able to write at the beach before but I don't get to go very often. I like to go to my local Starbucks if I'm writing by myself. If I'm going out with my writer friends, we go to Panera because they have bigger tables and more outlets.

4) Not only are you a writer, but you're also a substitute teacher for students like me. Has that impacted your writing in any way?

Definitely! Being able to be around teens and know what they are like brings a lot of realism to my writing. I also have a 16 year old sister and get to see her ups and downs with friends, school, guys, that sort of thing. SO much material with teens! It helps to know my audience, I think.

5) I've read from your blog that book two of The Tales of Gymandrol would be out next year. Are able to tell us anything about what we'll expect from the next book?

It's the story of Samantha's daughter, Emma.
Expect more magical hijinks, more danger.
And love, of course.

6) Would you like to add anything else?

I really like hearing from my readers, even if they didn't love the book. I want to make sure I can listen to my audience and give them good material to read.

Thank you so much to Melissa for taking the time to do this interview. And also big thanks to Melissa's publicist Caroline for putting this together.

Review: The Seventh Blessing by Melissa Buell

Monday, August 8, 2011

 The Seventh Blessing by Melissa Buell
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Series: The Tales of Gymandrols #1
Publisher: TLT Publishing
Release Date: August 15, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: TLT Publishing

Not all fairy blessings are enchanting . . .

Unlike most royal eighteen-year-old girls, Samantha finds it difficult to be a prim and proper princess. When she discovers her seven fairy blessings that were bestowed at her birth are a lie, her entire world is turned upside down. Although she can forgive the feuding fairies who made this large error on her behalf, she must find a way to control her real blessings--which may be more trouble than its worth.

Things start to become complicated when her best friend's brother becomes seriously injured just weeks before the annual knight competition. Samantha realizes the only way to help him and his family is to enter the competition by disguising her true identity. Balancing her mandatory princess lessons while hiding her secret blessings on top of this becomes difficult, but things begin to get challenging when Prince Nolan, a childhood friend, reenters her life. Samantha, bitter about their constant bickering relationship, suddenly begins to see Nolan in a new, and often confusing, light.

But when she finds out her seventh blessing has yet to be decoded from the ancient tongue, Samantha's most dangerous quest of all is discovering the true power her real blessings hold. Now, the fate of herself, her future, and her kingdom lie in her hands.

A head strong princess, a charming prince, and fairy magic. How could it possibly get better?

The Seventh Blessing is very well paced. It starts when Samantha is born and steadies at the age of 18. I was able to see how Samantha grew to be the adult she'd soon become.

While other girls are giggling softly and having long fingernails, Samantha is learning self-defense and becoming a knight. She's not afraid to speak her mind and make sacrifices for others. The person she becomes is actually based off of accidental gifts. Each child is given an amount of fairy blessings based on the month they were born. Samantha was born in July which equals to seven blessings, but the blessings she received weren't meant for a princess. The blessings were meant for a prince who would one day become a king.

When the power of fairies are scattered across different kingdoms there most likely be chances of power abuse. With an unknown evil causing trouble no one is aware of but Nolan and his family.

Once upon a time, Samantha hated Nolan for all the times he got her in trouble and scold at for not acting lady-like. When that little boy grows up he learns a few things about smooth talking, which is somewhat close to his gift. Nolan and Samantha's relationship was rough, really rough. At times I had a hard time figuring out how Samantha felt about Nolan, but I never doubted Nolan. I did find myself liking Nolan's character, but I wanted just a little bit more from him.

The Seventh Blessing was a well paced book that was highly entertaining and can be easily enjoyed.

Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Colleen Houck - Tour Stop: Portland, OR

Friday, August 5, 2011
A while back on Thursday, July 14, I stopped by Powell's for Colleen's last tour stop for her book Tiger's Quest. It is the sequel to Tiger's Curse which I unfortunately haven't read yet but did buy! This author visit was a while back but I still wanted to do a little post about it.

Colleen showed up in a really pretty Indian outfit with 2 huge stuffed tigers. I didn't a picture of the two stuffed tigers but I think I heard that Colleen's mom made them which is pretty awesome.

I haven't read Tiger's Curse yet so I was a bit lost but I did pick up that each book has to do with an element such as water, earth, air, etc. I also picked up that Colleen's third book, Tiger's Voyage would be water based and that the cover would be green. Colleen was really sweet and was amazing with the Q & A.

I'm not sure if I saw any other bloggers there but I did bump into Suzanne Young while I was there. If you were also there and I didn't get the chance to say "Hello" leave a comment! I'm pretty sure I missed a couple of people but was glad that I went to this fun event.

Wrap Up: July

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It is already the end of July. Wich sadly means that there is only one more month left before school starts. Since I was in summer school for July I lacked a lot of posts. Even though I didn't get the chance to review much I did get to read!

NetGalley Month

TGIF (3)

In My Mailbox (16) - Vlog
In My Mailbox (17) - Vlog
In My Mailbox (18) - Vlog
In My Mailbox (19) - Vlog

Author Signings:
Suzanne Young - A Need So Beautiful

Personal Demons by Lisa DesRoachers
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Books Read:
1) A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
2) Personal Demons by Lisa Desroachers
3) The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
4) Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
5) Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
6) The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
7) Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa
8) The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
9) Love Story by Jennifer Echols
10) Wildefire by Karsten Knight
11) Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
12) The Seventh Blessing by Melissa Buell
13) The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
14) Firelight by Sophie Jordan
15) Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
16) Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
17) Original Sin by Lisa DesRoachers

July RAK Wrap Up

Monday, August 1, 2011
Book Soulmates

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) is an event hosted by the ladies from Book Soulmates. Every month you can sign up and spread the random acts of kindness by sending books to other bloggers. For more info click here! And be sure to check back to Book Soulmates to sign up for the month of August.
This is my second time participating in RAK and I didn't get the time to send out the books I wanted to send out to people this month, again. But I did send out just a little bit of RAK swag :)

Books Received:

Thank you to Stephanie from ¡Miraculous!:
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Thank you to Amber from Me, My Shelf, & I:
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

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