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Monday, November 24, 2014

A Letter to THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin

by Becca

THE WALLED CITY
by Ryan Graudin
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (November 4, 2014)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window..... 
Dear The Walled City,

Whoa, Nelly. I was totally under the impression that you were a dystopian. Very tricky, but at the end of you, I found out you are actually more suited as historical, which fascinated me! I couldn't believe I had never heard of it before. After reading you and your author's note at the end, it made me want to read up on all the actual history. From what was listed, you had quite a few similarities to the 'real' Walled City.

The Walled City, you are told from three main characters, Mei Yee, Dai, and Jin, who were all so brilliantly crafted and carefully woven together. Their backstories were just so well-thought out, and one of the main reasons I kept turning your pages so fast. I had to know more about who each of these characters truly were. I think my favorite was Jin though, because she made the ultimate sacrifice to cut off all her hair and chase after her sister into The Walled City, when she is sold to a brothel. Dai was my second favorite though, because even though he shouldn't have cared, he still did. 

The second thing about you that made me lose sleep time in favor of reading you was without a doubt, your action. It was non-stop, and I truly had no idea what was going to happen next. Plus the atmosphere your author, Ryan Graudin, created was so gritty and realistic. I could practically see it in front of me. 

There are a few minor drawbacks to you regarding younger readers. Mainly how much drug use and sexual encounters there are. I mean, one of your MC's does reside in a brothel, which also doubles as a drug house. Not that the sexual parts were heavily detailed, but it did happen. There is also a lot of violence, but again, that's to be expected from a novel set in a walled city full of criminals and vagrants. 

All in all, I thought you were fabulous, The Walled City. I was terrified about what was going to happen when your final pages came, but I was so satisfied with you ending that tears came to my eyes (in happiness!) If someone were to ask if they should read you, I would tell them heck yes but only if you enjoy suspense, action, and historical stuff! I think the only complaint I would have about you would be the lack of swoonage, because I like to swoon over fictional boys (A LOT). Four stars to you, The Walled City. You were eye-opening, inspiring, and one heck of a read! I'm looking forward to reading another of your author's books soon!
Love always,






@PivotBookReviews



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mockingjay Part Boring . . . I mean Part 1


You should probably know going into this that I hated the book.

Like, seriously. Hated. But, regardless, I had high hopes for the movie. Well, maybe not high hopes. More like midlevel hopes.

I had some hopes, okay?

As far as the acting goes, I don't have much to say. They were all fine. Jen Lawrence did a good job crying. And crying. And crying.  Josh did a good job of looking ugly. Liam did an amazing job of being beautiful to behold.

The movie itself? It was just. So. Boring.

I did hate the book, but I don't remember being this bored by it. I swear, nothing happened. I almost fell asleep. Not surprising when they took an already small book and split it into two. Why? WHY?? Oh yeah, because we're suckers and we'll pay for it.

I intentionally didn't reread the book before going to see this. One, because I hated it (did I mention that?) and two because I always find it more easy to cope with book movies if I don't remember all the details. That way I don't get mad when they screw things up. But there was a lot in this movie that I just don't remember happening at all. They definitely tried to make Gale a little more unlikable (didn't work), and up-play the relationship between Katniss and Peeta (not feelin' it).

The story just didn't stir any emotion in me at all. It felt so forced. Effie was dull. Coin was bland. Heavensbee was kind of corny. Gale hardly had any lines. Snow was barley in it. Finnick, was he even in this movie? sarcasm. Really, it just should never have been split into two parts. Especially when all the action happens in the second half.

Summary in pics:

Katniss cries. A lot.


Peeta turns into a zombie


Gale looks hot


Katniss shoots down a plane with an arrow



Yep. That's about it! I know if you're taking the time to actually read this post, you'll probably go see it anyway, and who knows, maybe you'll love it. But I'd say save your cash and wait for it at Redbox.

Enjoy the show! (or the nap)


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quick-Fire Review: FROZEN by Melissa De La Cruz

Review by Andye

FROZEN
Heart of Dread #1
by Melissa De La Cruz & Michael Johnston
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Series: HEART OF DREAD (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (August 5, 2014)
Goodreads | Amazon

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.
At a Glance:

I knew I was in the mood for a good paranormal romance, so when this shiny new paperback arrived I couldn't wait to dive in. With an exciting storyline, a dark post-apocalyptic world, romantic tension filling the pages, and a myriad of mysterious paranormal creatures, FROZEN did not disappoint.


Cover:

The cover was redesigned and I absolutely love it. Of course now the paperback matches the hardcover for book 2, which we all hate, but I think the original cover could fit ok with book 2 also? Maybe?


Action:

FROZEN was full of action. From the tense beginning to the dramatic end, there was a constant threat to the lives of Nat, Wes and their group.


Romance:

The romantic tension was exactly what I was looking for when I picked up this book. Wes and Nat struggle with their feelings for each other, while I kept screaming for the stupid boat to STOP LURCHING and ruining their "about-to-kiss-moments." I really liked the two of them and their banter and I can't wait to see where their relationship goes in the next book.


Heroine:

Nat was fantastic to read about. She's smart, strong, loyal and determined. Exactly how I like my main characters. Plus there's something strange about her. It involves magic :D


Hero:

Half the book was told by the viewpoint of Wes (Ryan Wesson), and I liked that a lot. He's super swoony and mysterious and I just wanted Nat to GRAB HIM AND KISS HIM ALREADY!


Something I loved:

I really loved the dark feel of the book. It was exactly what I was in the mood for. There were crime lords and pirates, a world that has been decimated and frozen, strange creatures and evil people. I loved it!


Something(s) I hated:

There was nothing that I hated. There were a few moments that bordered on cheesy, but it didn't bother me too badly.


Cliffhanger?

There is a bit of a cliffhanger, or just an unresolved storyline, but luckily book 2, STOLEN, just came out, so there's no waiting!!


Would I recommend it?

If you're in the mood for a dark, post-apocalyptic, paranormal story, I definitely think you'll enjoy this book.


Will I buy/keep it?

I'll definitely be keeping the pretty paperback copy I received!


Book Doppelgangers:

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, The Farm by Emily McKay



DEFY Book Trailer and Giveaway!



Fantasy lovers! Have you read DEFY by Sara B Larson? If not now is the time! Adventure? Fantasy? Romance? A girl who has to pretend she's a boy? Sounds like my kind of book!

Check out the new book trailer!



DEFY will be out in paperback next week, on November 25th! The sequel, IGNITE, will be out on December 30th. YAY! No waiting!!

About DEFY

By: Sara B. Larson
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: January 7th, 2014 / paperback edition to be released on 11.25.14
Series: Defy #1
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

About IGNITE
Published by: Scholastic
To Be Released on: December 30th, 2015
Series: Defy #2
Pre-Order it from Amazon | B&N | iTunes
Add it to Goodreads

Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?

About Sara B. Larson



Sara's debut YA fantasy novel, DEFY, released in January of 2014 from Scholastic. The sequel will come out in early 2015--stay tuned for announcements about the title, cover, and synopsis! Sara lives in Utah with her husband and three young children. She writes during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in "the art of multitasking." On occasion you will find her hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish or some mint chocolate truffles. She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Find Sara via: Her Website | Twitter | Facebook |Instagram | Goodreads

The Giveaway 

To celebrate the November 25th release of the paperback edition of DEFY, and the upcoming release of IGNITE, the sequel to DEFY, which will be released on 12.30.15. I have 3 shiny paperback copies of DEFY to giveaway to three lucky winners, courtesy of Scholastic. *US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't miss it! You can check out the trailer reveal via these fabulous sites:

Bewitched Bookworms
Good Choice Reading
Fiktshun
Mundie Moms
Novel Novice
Reading Teen
Supernatural Snark
Two Chicks on Books

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Are You Apologizing??

by Andye


I've recently found a new blog that I'm in love with called Notebook Sisters (the name is soon going to change as there is only one sister, Cait, blogging now). I stumbled on it from one of my Bloglovin' recommendations, and I'm so happy I decided to click that link, as it's become a fast favorite.

Cait had an awesome post about how we should Stop Apologizing (or apologising, because she from Australia) on our blogs. I've actually been in the process of writing the same post. I swear the girl has been shuffling around in my brain. This is something that's been bugging me for a long time, and every time I see a new post where someone is telling the world sorry for their blogging choices, it makes want to shake someone. NOOOO!!!! Don't do it!

What are we apologizing for?

The one I see the most, and the one that drives me the most insane, is when bloggers apologize if they haven't posted anything for a few days.

Guys. There is absolutely NOTHING to be sorry about. You owe the world NOTHING. You owe the blogging community NOTHING. You owe authors NOTHING. You owe publishers NOTHING. (Now if you've promised an author/publisher to post something, different story, but that's not what I'm talking about.)



This is kind of harsh. And you may not want to hear it.

BUT REALLY, NO ONE CARES.

If you hadn't told people that you haven't posted anything in a long time, probably exactly zero people would've noticed. Most people follow a ton of blogs, and they just get an update in their feed or an email, and your lack of posting doesn't even register. Until you tell them.

But when you TELL people you haven't posted, it just makes you look unreliable, or flighty.

Of course this is just my opinion.

Back when we first started blogging, 5 years ago (me, Amy, Kit, Austin, & Abigaile) we literally never missed a day. Ever. This went on for a few years until Abigaile & Kit got old and moved away & Austin & Amy got busy. Then, suddenly it was just me. Trying to post EVERYTHING ALWAYS. It got a little hectic, so I basically just quit. I'd post something every once in awhile, but it was only when I felt like it. I never once said anything about "sorry I haven't been around" or "I'm taking a break" or whatever. The percent of people that noticed this happened? Zero. None of the percents.


When I had my break, and got a little rejuvenation, (and the idea of "Review My Books" which is the best thing ever. Hi Becca!) I started posting frequently again, and lo and behold, everyone was still there! No one said, "Hey! Welcome back! I've missed you!" Probably because they didn't miss me. I guess that could mean this blog sucks, but since people are still here, reading these things, I'm going to just go with Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

Basically, I just want you to feel okay about your blogging choices. Stop feeling guilty, stop stressing out, and just STOP APOLOGIZING! You have nothing to feel sorry for!

What are your thoughts on this? Do you find yourself feeling guilty? Apologizing for skipping a few days, weeks, months? Do you think people notice that you're gone if you don't tell them?




P.S. I like how Cait went further about this by listing all the different things bloggers should stop apologizing for, so make sure you go read her post. She seriously cracks me up!


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