31 December 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

is a weekly recurring meme hosted by The Story Siren
Every Sunday, Kristi shares her mailbox contents 
and gives us bloggers the opportunity to leave a link 
sharing our own mail!

Hey there,

During these last few hours of 2011 the mailman rung my doorbell with a gift, AND I scored a hardcover version of 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner' (a 'Twilight' novel) (in Dutch) in a budget-store near us for only €0.99!!!

When she read about my offer to review YA novels, Patti Roberts asked me to review her book 'Paradox' -in exchange for a free paperback version (of her first and second book!).
Which means 'The Angels Are Here' & 'Progeny of Innocence' are on my To-Be-Read-Soon list, right along with the other books I would've hoped to have tackled during my Holidays, but will now be the first ones I read in 2011.

What books are you planning to read in 2012? Drop me a line, leave me a comment!
Have yourself a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve & see you around Next Year!

30 December 2011

2012 Steampunk Reading Challenge

Hey there!

I decided to join the 2012 Steampunk Reading Challenge which is being hosted by the 'Dark Faerie Tales' blog.
From January 1, 2012 until December 31, 2012 I'll have time to finish my selection from their list of 40+ steampunk novels. Since I already read 2 of them, have pre-ordered 2 of them and the rest is already sitting on my shelf waiting, I decided to have a go!

My reading level choice: GEARS (12 books)

I've read & reviewed books with working links already, 
the other books still need to be read!
  1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  2. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
  3. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
  4. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
  5. Phoenix Rising by Philippa Ballantine
  6. Soulless by Gail Carriger
  7. Changeless by Gail Carriger
  8. Blameless by Gail Carriger
  9. Heartless by Gail Carriger
  10. Timeless by Gail Carriger
  11. The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
  12. Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook
Furthermore I think I'm gonna challenge myself to read 40 books in total this year, on Goodreads. I should be able to pull that off. (Besides, I can always increase the number of books, should I be going faster!) 

How about you, are you participating in any reading challenges for 2012? If so, which ones? Drop me a line!

Have a nice day! :)

26 December 2011

2011 Fav Five

Hey there,

Since the year 2012 is already scratching at the door -begging to be let in, howling and yammering increasingly loud- I thought it would be nice to leave you with my 2011 Favorite Five Reads. 
So yeah, I only started reading in July, leaving me a measly 20 books to choose from, but still! All books  are the 1st part of a series, except for 'Passion', which is already the 3rd installment. Of course I am really looking forward to the sequels, but that's another list! ;)

Here she is, my 2011 Fav Five!

5. Passion 
(Fallen #3) by Lauren Kate

(The Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross

3. Delirium 
(Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

(Iron Codex #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

(The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Do you have a Fav 5 you'd like to share with me? 
Go ahead, leave me a link and I'll pay you a visit as well! Pinky Swear! ;)

Have a good day! :)

Book Review: When Copper Suns Fall

When Copper Suns Fall, by KaSonndra Leigh (e-ARC provided by the author)
Series: Copper Suns book 1
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Paranormal, Dystopia
Published:  November 2011
Pages: 381
My rating: 

In fifteen-year-old Chela Prizeon’s city, alchemy is forbidden and angels hide among the mortal. With a deadly virus ravaging the globe, Chela’s nightmarish memories compels her to experience a past riddled with gloom, and now her brother is infected.
Chela’s only hope is the Caduceans, slayers sworn to protect the last seven Light Keepers and the ancient memories they share. A group led by the sometimes elusive, sometimes infuriating boy who intrigues Chela. But can she trust this boy with the mysterious past, someone who can influence her memories?
With the Caduceans aid, Chela races to defeat her rivals, to unearth dark family secrets, desperate to find a cure…only to discover the glutovirus is far more than a simple disease.

After eyeballing this book for its gorgeous cover and appealing contents, becoming Facebook-buddies to KaSonndra Leigh and shamelessly offering her my review in return for a free copy of ‘When Copper Suns Fall’, KaSonndra was kind enough to indulge me with an e-version of her book! THANK YOU once more for that, KaSonndra. And good luck on the book sales!

Let me start off by saying that digital reading and I will never, ever become friends. I find it harder to feel a connection with characters, kind of like the same way chatting to someone on your computer makes you feel. You know it’s them you’re talking to, but it’s not as good as the real thing. Something personal is seriously lacking.

Maybe that’s why it took me a little time to get into the story, but once I did, I really did! KaSonndra’s writing strengths truly lie with action sequences, because these happen fluently and believable. Her story-telling skills are great. Exciting plot turns, fencing scenes which made me hold by breath (unbeknownst to me) and mysterious boys slowly being unravelled. The plot has been given much thought and the story has a good build-up towards the climax. Great potential exists to develop this whole world even more in further books. I was confused many times though, about who the good guys were, and the bad guys. Which in my opinion does make things even more realistic: in real life there (usually) isn’t ‘just’ good or evil, there are so many shades of grey in between!

For the biggest part this a very fluently written story, it reads away easily in an agreeable, but sort of poetic prose. Some beautifully written, poetic comparisons are easily woven throughout the entire story:
Or maybe they thought I was a little bird waiting to be given an award for staying quiet.
Feelings however, are kind of suppressed -or get repeated in words (‘telling rather than showing’) several times. Also, sometimes there are (tiny) jumps leaving me confused and wondering whether I missed a bit. Then there were times descriptions of some things were lacking, like the depiction of the other world beyond the graveyard. Also, I stumbled across some wrongly written referrals which made me wonder who edited the book before it was published.
The romance between Chela and Faris, much like the time they spend in the other world, evolves rather quickly. Too quickly. They share some time and memories together and somehow out of the blue, a kiss happens. Without really reading about Chela’s change in feelings. It felt shallow somehow. 
Overall Chela is an easy-to-sympathize-with-character, as are the other characters. There’s some growth, some struggle. They’re not cardboard cut-outs, but they’re not the best-written characters I’ve encountered either.

I realize how hard it is to write something original, something nobody has thought off yet. Everything has been done already. And most of this story was very original in its plot, setting and time. But there were many details that felt familiar to me (you can play a guess-game if you’d like), like the fencing, body-tattoos, paintings that come to live, the mansion where kids with special abilities are being trained, the other world not susceptible to normal persons’ eyes, etc.  
Of course, no author owns the rights to any setting unless it’s a world they created themselves, so there’s nothing actually wrong with KaSonndra’s choice of having an important part of this book take place in an amusement park… So what if it happened to play a big role in the 'Hush, Hush' books too? (Which, by the way, dealt with angels also...) Mind you: since ‘When Copper Suns FalltrumpsHush, Hush’ on various levels, there’s no loss here, only gain.

All in all I enjoyed the story in itself, but it felt like a draft version, still rough around the edges. It definitely has potential, it’s a promising story, but it needs some more editing and tweaking. When Copper Suns Fall’ deserves those extra pages to improve the story, in my opinion! So it can truly shine like a copper sun, not fall...

~Have a nice 2nd day of X-Mas (and nice Holidays maybe?)~

P.S. By finishing this book, I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I read 20 books this year. It may not seem much, but I only started counting from July, so... ;) How about your 2011 reading list, and 2012 Reading Challenge?

24 December 2011

In My Mailbox! (4)

is a weekly recurring meme hosted by The Story Siren
Every Sunday, Kristi shares her mailbox contents 
and gives us bloggers the opportunity to leave a link 
sharing our own mail!

Hey there!
It was quite the well-timed coincidence that I ran into the delivery guy today, while walking around the block with my recently hernia-operated-on neighbor lady. I already knew 'Hallowed' was being released (and thus sent to me) earlier than planned, but with the Holidays coming up I hadn't expected my book(s) to arrive this early! I've been very excited for the sequel of  'Unearthly' by Cynthia Hand, especially after reading many good reviews!

Also 'Miss peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' made it to my doorstep today. Earlier this week I already received 'Shattered Souls' but since I posted a couple of times already I figured I'd wait till the end of the week. Also because I hoped to have some more time on my hands now my vacation has officially begun!

~Once again I wish you Happy Holidays!~

21 December 2011

Cover Reveal (2): The Girl in The Clockwork Collar

Wow, I am terribly sorry for posting twice in one day, but I just found out the cover for 'The Girl in the Clockwork Collar' ('The Steampunk Chronicles' book 2, by Kady Cross) has been revealed! (See left.) 

It's not as gorgeous as the first one, in my opinion. And I wonder who the cover-girl is? It's definitively not Finley!

'The Girl in the Clockwork Collar' is the sequel to 'The Girl in the Steel Corset' (see right) which I am very, very eagerly awaiting! Expected publication will be June 2012. From what I've understood there will be more sequels to this series, a 3rd and 4th installment will be written if all goes well. (YAY!)

When I read this book would take place in America instead of England, I was afraid I'd be left wondering what would happen to Finley, Griff, Jack and the others, and the book would focus on Jasper Renn instead. Luckily, reading a small exert from the first chapter proved me wrong. I'll leave you with this preview, hopefully getting you as giddy as it has left me! Have you read and enjoyed 'The Girl in the Steel Corset' as well? In that case, enjoy this sample and drop me a line if you wanna talk about these books! 
~Happy Holidays! :)

High above the Atlantic Ocean, July 1897 

"What are you doing?” 

Finley Jayne smiled in the darkness. She should have known Griffin would come looking for her. Gripping the slender prow with both hands she glanced over her shoulder and saw him standing just inside the dirigible’s softly-lighted observation deck. The wind blew strands of hair into her face. 

“Finding out what it feels like to fly,” she replied. 

“You’re over three thousand feet in the air.” His gravelly voice carried over the sound of the airship’s engines. “Flying might prove fatal.” 

Finley laughed. That was his way of scolding her for having ignored the signs that warned passengers not to climb out the windows or over the protective railings. Griffin King was the Duke of Greythorne and sometimes he carried the weight of the entire world on his shoulders. That he was worried about her was… sweet. 

“We’re going to be landing soon,” he called, trying another tactic. “Why don’t you come in and make sure you have all your things?” 

“I’m packed and ready,” she called back. “Why don’t you come out here and see how beautiful New York City is at night?” 

She didn’t expect him to take her up on the dare. It wasn’t that he was a coward – he was anything but. However, as a duke and an only child, it would be irresponsible of him to risk his life for no reason but a pretty view just because she asked. No, Griffin wouldn’t be so foolish, but Jack would. 

Finley pushed the thought of the notorious criminal Jack Dandy from her mind. Jack was in London, and it wasn’t fair of her to compare Griffin to him when neither of the young men had an equal. 

There was a faint noise behind her and the next thing she knew Griffin was there, sitting with her on this narrow shaft. All that was below them was the ship’s figure head – a robust blond woman of dubious virtue carved from wood – and thousands of miles of night. 

“What are you doing?” Finley demanded, her tone a reflection of what his own had been – only slightly more panicked. She wasn’t that breakable, but Griffin was. “You shouldn’t be out here.” 

One of his legs brushed the back of hers. Beneath her striped stocking her skin prickled. “I know, but I hear it’s the only way to experience the sensation of flying.” She could tell he was smiling without being able to see his handsome face. 

"It is magnificent, isn’t it? Look, there’s the Statue of Liberty.” 

It was magnificent, so much so that Finley couldn’t find words to reply. Spread out before them – just beyond the ship’s lanterns – was a blanket of lights. It looked like stars covered the ground, and set a short distance from it all was the largest lady she’d ever seen, the glow from her torch illuminating from her raised hand to just the top of her crowned head. The lights of the dirigible brought the rest of her into view. 

“I asked the pilot to fly by her so we can have a better look,” Griff said. 

“Asked or told?” She teased. This was Griffin’s private airship – the Helena, named after his mother. Someone else might fly it for him, but he was one in charge. 

He smiled. “Asked. What do you think of America so far?” 

“It’s grand.” It came out a little more exuberant than she’d planned. She had never been outside England – never been outside London – so this already the adventure of a lifetime for her. Never mind that only a fortnight ago she’d been battling for the safety of all the world against a mad man. That had been terrible and frightening, and not really a proper adventure at all. But this – soaring above the vast Atlantic Ocean with the night wind in her hair and Griffin sitting behind her… this was amazing. 

She felt close to him, enough that it scared her a little. She didn’t even know who she was inside, and he was a duke who could bring down buildings from the inside out by controlling the Aether. There could never be anything but friendship between them, but that didn’t stop her from the occasional day dream. He made her feel like she could do anything she set her mind to – what girl wouldn’t have a bit of a crush? 

“Would you like to know how it really feels to fly?” He asked her.

In My Mailbox! (3)

is a weekly recurring meme hosted by The Story Siren
Every Sunday, Kristi shares her mailbox contents 
and gives us bloggers the opportunity to leave a link 
sharing our own mail!

'Tis the season to be working many, many hours again so I'm seriously lacking reading (and blogging) time! However, tomorrow is the last day of work before my Christmas vacation starts, yay! I do hope to have time to read with all the planned/obligated visits and stuff. A week is nothing, it flies by like a whisper from the wind...

So, this week I got a pressie in the mail again! Boldly, I asked Patricia Leever whether she would be kind enough to send me her book 'Cat O' Nine Tails' in exchange for a review. Because I had been eyeing it for a while... Because we both married into the 'Leever' family... ( I hoped that would do it!) Well, guess what? Patti was kind enough to send me her book (signed by the author herself) and she threw in a bookmark and set of trading cards as well! What a wonderful Holiday spirit!

Which means my X-Mas Holiday reading list suddenly expanded with this beautiful lady! Somehow Christmas seems like the perfect time to read a romantic, 'old school' pirate adventure! (At least that what I suspect/hope it will be!)

When pirate hunter Orrin and his brother Kale are hired by Queen Winifred to hunt down Aeron and her band of miscreants, Orrin never dreamed he’d fall in love with the beautiful she-pirate nor the kind, accepting people of her island hideaway. As Orrin learns of Aeron’s jaded past with the Queen, he allies himself with the pirate captain and her crew. Joining forces on the high seas to bring Winifred’s evil reign to an end, Aeron and Orrin soon discover that the strongest weapon in their combined arsenal is the love they have for each other.

For now...

I wish you 
Happy Holidays 
Once more... 
Spent with your loved ones...

(Be it books or relatives...) 

16 December 2011

In My Mailbox! (2)

is a weekly recurring meme hosted by The Story Siren
Every Sunday, Kristi shares her mailbox contents 
and gives us bloggers the opportunity to leave a link 
sharing our own mail!

Hey everyone!
I just had to share what the (soaking wet) mailman brought me today! I had pre-ordered it already on the English Amazon (along with 'The Iron Knight' by Julie Kagawa) but both books still weren't available somehow. Since it didn't matter that much 'money-wise' to order the books in my own country (you know, the flat one with the excess cheese, tulips and rain...) AND they would arrive much sooner, the choice was easy.

Once I finish reading 'When Copper Suns Fall' by KaSonndra Leigh (which is kinda hard in the annual stress period at work, during which I hardly have time for a private or social life) and my well-deserved one-week-holiday from Christmas to New Year finally commences, guess what my next read will be...?

Another gorgeous cover for 'The Infernal Devices' series!
So, what are your Holiday plans? Do you have some time off as well? And will your days be filled with books, or family? 

Have you read 'Clockwork Prince' already? 
Let me know what you thought of it, or what you'll be reading otherwise! 

Oh, and does anyone else beside me hate the fact that they make follow-up books in a series bigger than the previous instalments? It makes my bookcase look unnecessarily cluttered! 

Happy Holidays! :)

7 December 2011

Review: Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan 
Series: Immortal Beloved, book  1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 2010
Pages: 407
My rating: (Unfinished!)

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past. Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

It couldn’t have been just the blurb that got me to buy this book, because that still made me wonder what on earth the book was about. So, other than the beautiful cover, it must have been a review that drew me to the book instead. Because reading the summary on Goodreads didn’t do it for me either, to be honest…

So, how interesting can a book about an immortal wasting her (not so-precious) time be? After the overdose of vampires, angels, witches, faeries, dragons and other supernatural beings we’ve had lately, it was high time for a ‘new’ supernatural species. Why not drag out the old (pun intended) immortals again?! Okay, why not? Okay, why so?
After reading the initial paragraphs I wasn’t even that curious to find out WHY Nastasya’s life had been turned upside down, because she sounded like a drag. But I read on anyway. (One thing that stood out immediately though: the book is written in the third person! Finally! I was beginning to think they stopped making them all together!)

However, as I said before: Nastasya’s mind, where I found myself the entire time, never stopped spinning  in circles with the same uninteresting, selfish thoughts. After what happened in the beginning I really didn’t like this girl. Woman. Antique. At all. I was baffled that someone her age (about 450 years old!) still acted so adolescent. Her friends seemed like ‘the wrong crowd’ also; an elite, arrogant, sadistic, superficial, egoistic clique. Especially Innocencio. (Note: I understand people had different names in the past, but these are truly unpronounceable…)
But, a good thing happened when ‘Nasty’ didn’t like herself either and ran away, ending up at a kibbutz/rehab centre for immortals. Reyn sounded like a dream come true, being, you know, the guy you usually don’t encounter unless he’s on the cover of cheap romance novel. Swoon...

Not certain whether to blame my own lack of reading mood/time, or the promise of having to continue this particular book, I choose to go with the last reason after all. I gave the book another chance last night and continued reading. It seems the only time Nastasya really had been happy was during the sixties: when she was on drugs, at parties. How shallow. How pathetic. Things became even worse (be it with a heads-up provided by Cate Tiernan herself) when Nasty found out about Reyns German background/origins and decided to act on them when he suggested she could rinse the dishes.
Proving that maturity doesn’t necessarily come with age, I saluted and goose-stepped to the sink. ‘Yes, Herr Kommandant!’ 
My jaw practically dropped to the floor upon reading that, feeling vicariously embarrassed for Nasty. The story proceeded to drinking herbal tea, kneading bread and Nastasya’s thoughts about those things, as well as her thoughts on the self-grown vegetables. Not only extremely boring to her, also to me. Nastasya is a failure, a loser, a quitter, a very adolescent girl despite her age. She’s all the things I mentioned above about her ‘crowd’ which makes her an unattractive person, unappealing to me and undeserving of my further attention.

I don’t care what’s going to happen to Nasty, whether she will succeed in becoming a better person. It only took her 450 years to realise what a horrible person she is, I however already knew after reading the first page. (Maybe that IS a sign of good writing though?!) She couldn’t have had a better nickname. 

I give up after reading 82 pages. No matter how fluently written the stoy itself may be. I’m not wasting my time reading Nasty's story, the way she wasted her eternal life. If I happen to find myself being immortal after all, I might give ‘Immortal Beloved’ another chance. Until then it’s ‘Immortal Whatever’ to me.

Care to share your thoughts on this book with me? Feel free to drop me a line! 
Have a good day! :)

6 December 2011

Release Day Blitz 'When Copper Suns Fall'

As promised, I'm sharing the cover of the upcoming novel 'When Copper Suns Fall', by KaSonndra Leigh. I for one can't wait to get my hands on this book, because it sounds very promising!

In fifteen-year-old Chela Prizeon’s city, alchemy is forbidden and angels hide among the mortal. With a deadly virus ravaging the globe, Chela’s nightmarish memories compels her to experience a past riddled with gloom, and now her brother is infected.  
Chela’s only hope is the Caduceans, slayers sworn to protect the last seven Light Keepers and the ancient memories they share. A group led by the sometimes elusive, sometimes infuriating boy who intrigues Chela. But can she trust this boy with the mysterious past, someone who can influence her memories? 
With the Caduceans aid, Chela races to defeat her rivals, to unearth dark family secrets, desperate to find a cure…only to discover the glutovirus is far more than a simple disease. 
In this haunting debut, KaSonndra Leigh offers an escape into a world as intriguing as The Mortal Instruments and a story as chilling as Enclave. Full of celestial creatures, fascinating villainy, high-stake choices, and a secret romance, When Copper Suns Fall, is a fresh and original urban fantasy—with a dystopian twist—that will take readers on an unforgettable adventure.

Have a good day! :)