Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

 
In honor of our favorite Gryffindor, today's post will be in honor of the young wizard that started it all...HARRY POTTER!  Mr. Harry Potter who was marked with the iconic lightning bolt scar turns 34 today and I can honestly say that MY YA journey would not be complete without HP!  HUUUUUGE thanks to the wonderful J.K Rowling (who also has a birthday on 7/31) for creating the most magnificent world building my imagination has been able to roam in and creating such beloved characters that really nearly became real to me.  This definitely was my introduction to FANGIRLING and midnight releases and dare I say, even costuming.  So again, Happy Birthday to one character that has had a lasting effect on my personal reading preferences!


Now, what, my friends to do on this momentous day? Have you considered...

1.  Baking your own Happy Birthday Harry cake?  I love this cake and its imperfections. Gotta love that goofy and adorable Hagrid!



2. How about re-watching your favorite HP movie!  Of course my fav is #1!  Harry was so little and cute and this truly introduced us to the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter!  Gotta love the magic that was and is Diagon Alley!  Which is your favorite?



3. Re-Readathon the books!  Oh the books!  They made us laugh and cry and have heartbreak all over ourselves.  These books are worth their weight in gold IMHO!  Have you seen the new covers that are going to be released with artwork by Johnny Duddle?  *drools*



4. Have you seen the amazingness that is Harry Potter world in Orlando, FL OMG!  I went a couple years back and I have to tell you, the butter beer is AMAZING! The ride lines can get long, but oh so worth it!  Gotta pick yourself up a wand too!  AND...they just opened up Diagon Alley!  I need to get myself back there clearly!  Definitely a good alternative to the "happiest place on earth."

 
*Photo courtesy of AP

5.  And one wouldn't be the other without a visit to WB Studio Tour in London!  I totally did this a couple years back too and it was amazing.  Much more "Museum-like" but amazing none-the-less just without any rides. 

 
 
So what are you doing to celebrate Harry Potter's birthday?  Let the celebration being!!!!
 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Young Elites

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Okay, so when I first caught wind of this project I could barely contain myself and now, well let's just say my need to have this book adorn my shelves has grown ten-fold!  I CANNOT wait for October.  Why you ask, well on the blessed 7th day of October this mortal world will be blessed with the release of The Young Elites by none-other than our beloved Marie Lu (author of the amazing Legend Series).  *Swoons*
 
If I were to pass from this world before this release date a big regret would be having never turned the pages of this book.  Melodramatic you ask, why yes, yes I am, especially when it comes to amazing authors with outstanding talent.  This one definitely looks like it will follow in the legendary footsteps of it's predecessors.  I mean, okay, come on check out this synopsis.
 
Summary courtesy of Goodreads:
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.
 
Right?  I know!  I could barely contain myself either!  A league of young elites who might possess magical powers? YES!  Sign. ME. UP! Marie Lu, welcome to the world of fantasy!  I'll leave you with this quote from Krys from Bibliopunkreads: "This book is all the things, reckless and brave and breathtaking."  Okay, shelved for TBR and October, please, please, please come quickly!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Branded (Sinners #1)

So if you're like me and the summer kinda gets you in a contemporary mood but at times you need a little break, then you should check out Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki!  Although this was released a year ago it just went through a cover/reBRANDING...haha get it? and OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE this revamped cover. So sexy and intriguing!  Love that it shifts the focus from the dystopian world view of the last cover to more about Lexi and focus on our strong heroine.

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:

Fifty years ago The Commander came into
power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.

Constant darkness.

Brutal and savage violence.

Excruciating pain.

Every day is a fight for survival.

But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.


What an exquisite novel that really explores what I can only equate to hell. Charged and branded for a crime she did not commit - LUST, Lexi Hamilton is sent to the Hole and there endures the worst of society. She is however, guarded and protected by handsomely strong soldier, Cole and his crap for brains guard dog Zeus and from within the depths of this hell she does find strength.

The characters are so well developed and really have a life all their own.  I fell instantly in love with Cole...tough exterior but as the story progresses his walls slowly crumble and we get to see a man in love, but a tortured love none-the-less.  Lexi is everything you can want in a strong female lead.  She's not overly whiny, has a mind of her own but doesn't make everything due to her cause and endures more than I think would be possible.  I also have to give a shout out to Zeus.  LOVE him.  I know he's a dog, but wow, I want him to be my dog.  Protector, comforter, lover (not in that way)...true companion till the end.

With so many twists and turns and amazing world building this story feels so fresh and raw. Well done on so many levels. There are some seriously hot moments in this book and equally terrifying ones as well. This is definitely not a series to miss!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Orphan Queen

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Okay so I *Promise* I will update reviews soon…life has just been, well a tad bit crazy.  That being said, I could not go without my WoW!  So without further ado….

This week I am eagerly anticipating the release and addition to my bookshelf, THE ORPHAN QUEEN by none other than the lovely and very talented, Jodi Meadows!  We all know her as beloved novelist for the Newsoul trilogy: Incarnate, Asunder and Infinite and now it looks as if she’s done it again this time venturing into the land of deadly royals and adventures of epic proportions! 

I cannot wait to get my little paws on this read (I mean just look at this cover! Absolutely stunning!!) and curl up for a day just devouring this one!  I love love love these types of books…adventure, princesses, deadly spies, romance and MAGIC! EEeeee!  Definitely so excited! Hurry hurry hurry!  I need 2015 to be here NOW!  Wah…2015!  I need to work on being patient… ;-)



Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Queen of Someday


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


For those of you who love historical period pieces with a twist, Queen of Someday by Sherry Ficklin definitely looks like one amazing read!  Loosely based on Catherine the Great, this one looks to have all the good fixins' of a wonderful historical romance YA! 

Before we dig in too far though, can we all just take a moment to marvel at this cover!  Holy hotness!  Yowza!  If one can judge a book by it's cover than this one looks steamy!  Beyond the cover though, this looks to have all of the classical elements: romance, betrayal, action, mystery, intrigue... the list goes on and on!

I always kinda chuckle at book descriptions but this one does provide a fair amount of insight...so yes, Queen of Someday...mark as TBR and coming to shelves in early October!

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:

ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES...

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Perfected

Imagine a world where people are bought and sold.  Not quite slaves, but more like pets - Human companions for the rich and famous.  That is exactly the disturbing future that Kate Birch imagines in Perfected.  This beautifully crafted novel explores a world where these “pets” are genetically engineered for their calm demeanor, short stature and grace and sold to the highest bidder. Troubling and alarming this examines the coming of age of one of these na├»ve pets as the way she views the world around her changes and crumbles.

Summary courtesy of Goodreads:

Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Keira Cass’s Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.


I really instantly fell in love first with the premise of Birch’s novel…I mean who can beat this horrific future where humans are made to be pets for the uber wealthy?  The second thing that really captivated me about this one was the cover.  Simple, clear, clever and GORGEOUS!  Perfected reminded me of a few futuristic books that look at genetically modified people but Birch does it in a different way where there is a bit of controversy around the idea of human “pets.”   There are parts of this book where it really keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I personally expected the evil/creepy to be lurking around the corner for Ella but it never really came to that which on one hand was like “whew…” but on the other hand I really did expect a bigger conflict on that front...I mean really, what type of people buy human companions...Creepy people, right?  The only thing that I would say is lacking is that the romance between Penn and Ella didn’t really do it for me.  There wasn’t really a long period of time where the two really got to know each other and build their relationship.  The relationship that they did develop was sweet and Penn really is more than just the typical rebellious bad boy but it just seemed to happen so fast.  I like my love stories drawn out I suppose...

The world building was quite good and allows the reader to really dive into the world that surrounds Ella.  At first nothing seems wrong, but then she begins to see the world for what it really is.  This is a perfect beach or vacation read.  The story reads fairly quickly and the ending will really get your heart pounding.  I really am eager to read the sequel as I’m thinking the best is yet to come!