Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

There were a lot of things about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown that I liked. There was only one thing I didn’t like.

1. I liked that Vampires were both romanticized, and despicable. They were beautiful, physically, but they were ugly and awful and broken and were the worst thing to happen to the world. I liked that even though there was a love story, it wasn’t a “Turn me into a vampire so I can be with you forever” story.

2. I loved the plot. It was action packed from the first chapter, easy to follow, but still complicated. The amount of twisting and changing and plotting it must have taken is astonishing, and I have become a fan of Holly Black simply because of her artistry of working this plot.

3. I absolutely loved the protagonist, Tana. She is awesome. She is brave, kick-ass, hard working, she loves passionately in her own way, she is broken and imperfect, and she makes hard choices. She’s stubborn in a good way. She’s wonderful. I want to be like her when I grow up.

4. I liked all the characters. They were all well developed and unique. I would have liked to get to know Pearl, her sister, a little more. I would have liked more relation between Tana and Aiden pre-vampiric adventures, but all things considered, all the other characters were still awesome.

5. The writing itself was lyric, descriptive, and engrossing. It was almost impossible to put down (I only stopped because my ipod died…)

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. It was beautiful and excellent and sweet and nerve wracking… but the very last bit, the conclusion, the “now what,” was frustrating. I didn’t know what was going to happen and that irritates me. (HGHLIGHT TEXT FOR SPOILERS: does she sweat out the cold, or not? does she stay human? or forever cold? does she age? so many unanswered questions.)  I know the open ending lends itself to the feel of the novel. You know it ends one of two ways, and you know both options are equally possible. That keeps it in your mind. It makes you wonder. It lends itself to a sequel, if the publishers decide to pursue one. But it still annoyed me because I like to know what happens!

All that being said, It was an excellent book, and I would re-read/listen to it in a heartbeat.

*pun intended.

Genre: YA, Paranormal | ISBN: 9780316213103 | Published September 3rd 2013 by Little, Brown | Rating: 5! | Amazon | Goodreads

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Curtsies and Conspiracies

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Calliger
Genre: YA, Steampunk
ISBN: 9781478926504
Published:
Rating: 5

Saphronia’s adventures at a not-quite-normal finishing school continue as she tries to figure out which student the local vampire is feeding on, who is trying to kidnap her best friend, and why the teachers are taking an emergency trip to London and bringing boys on the all-girl’s air ship. And those boys… they’re making life complicated.

This is one of those books that you can’t put down because you’ll go crazy. Also, I picked up book 2 nearly a year after reading book 1, and I had no trouble at all remembering details or getting back into the story.

There was a lot of drama in this one. It was good though. Silly teenage Victorian era drama. Fun stuff. Also boy drama. There’s this one boy who is a future duke… and boy has he fallen hard for Saphronia and her gorgeous green eyes and bright smile. But then there’s Soap, the sootie that she doesn’t know she’s in love with. So that’s a fun triangle.

I will admit the plot is a little more back and forth, and a little less of a straight line. Etiquette and Espionage was a straight line of a book… although there were subplots, there was one center line: the device. This one carries the story farther, and goes from the device’s true use, to what it has to do with the girls at the school, and then on to more plot devices (which I won’t include for the sake of spoilers). That being said, it was still 100% enjoyable, exciting, and fulfilling. The last chapter’s ending was a little abrupt, but I still liked it. Expertly narrated by the same Moira Quirk.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

When Did You See Her Last

When Did You See Her Last? (All The Wrong Questions #2) by Lemony Snicket
Genre: YA
ISBN: 9780316123051
Published: Published October 15th 2013 by Little Brown (first published August 1st 2013)
Rating: DNF

As I said in the first book of this series, I found this book very hard to read (in my case, listen to) and hard to get into. The writing style was frustrating and a little annoying, and I found the characters frustrating. Maybe it’s because the time between reading books 1 and 2 was too long… but I just couldn’t get into this story, and I no longer care for the characters. It’s not that it’s bad… it’s just not for me.

Series review, Part 1: How to Train Your Dragon Series

How To Train Your Dragon Series part 1
100/5 stars!!!!!!

How To Train Your Dragon, How To Be A Pirate, How To Speak Dragonese, How To Break A Dragon’s Curse

This series follows young Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III on his adventures from being an awkward young boy to a heroic Viking. Suffice to say it was quite a journey, because as you will see, Hiccup was definitely not originally cut out to be a Viking, let alone a hero. But with the help of his friend Fishlegs (a young boy with a squint, a lisp, and an allergy to reptiles), and his tiny, ridiculous, toothless dragon so adequately named “Toothless,” Hiccup becomes the most legendary leader of the Harry Hooligan tribe in the history of the Vikings.

My original plan for this series was to read each book and write up a little mini-review for each one and put them all together. Except there was a flaw in my plan. That flaw came out when I didn’t stop between books to write the mini-reviews. I couldn’t stop. I just kept going from one to the next. I read (listened) to one every day. I’m about to finish the fourth one and I don’t know how I’m going to survive waiting for the rest of the series to come in the mail! (I had them shipped to me in two parts).

Suffice to say I didn’t know what I signed up for when I requested these awesome audios for review. Each story is captivating from the very first sentence, and doesn’t let you go for the entirety of the story… even at the end you’re ready for the next ones. There were parts of the stories that made me laugh out loud, and others that made me gasp, and some endings that sent chill bumps down my arms. I’ve decided that I want to be a Viking when I grow up.

They’re expertly read by David Tennant (which may or may not have been the reason I requested them in the first place…) and are expertly “translated” (written) by Credissa Cowell. I’m adding Cowell to my Author Watch List. Also David Tennant does an amazing job with his excellent energy, pronunciation, and character voices (and swoon-worthy Scottish accent).

The point is, I’m a 22-year-old college graduate with an English degree. And I am totally in love with these children’s books. Guys, if you haven’t read them before, now is the time to get down to your nearest book store (preferably a local one) and grab these a.s.a.p..

About the Author

Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. She was convinced that there were dragons living on this island, and has been fascinated by dragons ever since. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin's and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton. Cressida loves illustrating her own work, but also loves writing books for other people to illustrate as the end result can be so unexpected and inspiring. Cressida has written and illustrated eight books in the popular Hiccup series. The unique blend of child centred humour and sublime prose made Hiccup an instant hit. How to Train Your Dragon is now published in over 30 languages. A DreamWorks Animation feature film is out in March 2010. Also the author of picture books, Cressida has won the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 and has been shortlisted for many others. Cressida lives in Hammersmith with her husband and three children.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Review: The Alligator Man

The Alligator Man by James Sheehan
Genre: Crime, Suspense | ISBN: 9781455508648 | Published: October 8th 2013 by Center Street | Amazon | Goodreads

Rating: 5

From Goodreads: Kevin Wylie's crooked boss wants to run him out of town, and Kevin's long-time girlfriend is ready to take a hike. He decides that now is the time to leave Miami, visit his father, who he hasn't seen in 28 years, and get some answers. Heading back to his hometown, he doesn't realize that he and his dad will become embroiled in a murder case.
The victim, one of the richest and most-hated corporate criminals in America has been dubbed The Alligator Man since pieces of his clothing were found in a local swamp. Billy Fuller had every reason in the world to want Johnson dead and all the evidence leads right to his doorstep. But legendary trial lawyer Tom Wylie believes in Billy and he and his son reunite to fight the courtroom battle for Billy's life.
The Alligator Man is a story of greed, anger, love, redemption and two powerful trial attorneys who fight to the end-- and risk everything--for the truth.

I decided I loved James Sheehan’s work after reading last year’s release The Lawyer’s Lawyer. I jumped at the chance to read this new book and was not at all disappointed.

The Alligator Man starts off with a chapter from the perspective of a murder victim. From the very first chapter, I was hooked. There were two parallel stories going on at the same time, and at one point I didn’t know how they related. About halfway through the book the connection became clear and suddenly every character was a thousand times more important, and every word more interesting. At one point the case seemed hopeless, at others it seemed there could be no other alternate ending. But of course there were several wild twists at the end that totally through me. Yeah, several. Not just one surprise. Like, surprise after surprise. And maybe a little bit of crying at the very end.

All in all, I loved The Alligator Man and am, once again, impressed with Sheehan’s ability to make a dry boring courtroom seem exciting, and to weave a powerful story about humans and love and greed and destiny.

The narration was very good, though not as good as The Lawyer’s Lawyer. In the same way that the narrator didn’t add anything to the book, he didn’t take anything away either.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Oi! It’s a new year!

Suffice to say I was a little busy this past year. Hopefully 2014 will be a year filled with lots of books. Especially because I’M A COLLEGE GRADUATE, GUYS!!!

Anyway. Here is the list of books I’ll be reviewing (hopefully) by the end of January.

 

I’ll Seize The Day Tomorrow by Jonathan Goldstein

The Alligator Man by James Sheehan

Parasite by Mira Grant

Rags and Bones by Melissa Marr

The October List by Jeffery Deaver

Burial Rights by Hannah Kent

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Suite Life by Suzanne Corso

Anomaly by Krista McGee

The Art of Falling by Catherine Craft

How To Be Alone by Tanya Davis

In Mint Condition, 2013 by Shannon John

When Did You See Her Last by Lemony Snickett

Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff (just have to finish this one)

Dark Secrets by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt

It’s a lot. I’ll do my best. Not making any promises.

I’m also hoping to get some writing done on my own book this year. But if I learned anything from college, it’s that you should read just as much as you write (if not more) so I’m going to make reading a priority again this year.I didn’t read enough last year and I started to feel it! you start to miss books. It’s awful.

In other news, I’m teaching at 3 ballet studios, and working full time at Panera Bread. So there’s that.

Happy (late) new year!

With love from me and Ariel my sweet kitty.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: Hollywood Said No

Hollywood Said No by Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, Brian Posehn
Genre: TV Script
ISBN: 9781455526307
Published: September 10th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 3 stars

This was a funny, wacky, light read (listen). Great for a car trip! Some scripts were better (or more ridiculous) than others, but all in all I enjoyed it (though I probably won’t listen to it again.) The narration and production was excellent though! It felt like I was listening to a radio show.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Mistress by James Patterson

Mistress by James Patterson
ISBN: 9781611130430
Genre: Adult, Murder Mystery
Published: August 5th 2013 by Little, Brown & Company
Rating: DNF

 

I just haven’t had good luck with James Patterson lately! Some of his stuff has been great, while others just make my head hurt. This was one of those books. I got to chapter 6 (which, for a JP book, is like halfway through chapter 1 in a normal person book, because his chapters are pretty short). After that I couldn’t take it anymore. Oh the sappiness. The main character was really eccentric, which normally would make me love him! But he was just a little too… overly-attached and dramatic. Granted his idol just fell to her death and he’s grieving, but it was written in a way that made me wince. Sadly this one will not be finished. It will instead be donated to my local library where hopefully someone else will enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard
ISBN 9781442476967 | Expected publication: September 3rd 2013 | amazon | goodreads
Fifteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson had never heard of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who brutally murdered seventeen people more than twenty years ago. But Jeff’s life changes forever when the man he’d thought was his father hands him a government file telling him he was constructed in a laboratory only seven years ago, part of a top-secret government cloning experiment called ‘Project CAIN’.
There, he was created entirely from Jeffrey Dahmer’s DNA. There are others like Jeff—those genetically engineered directly from the most notorious murderers of all time: The Son of Sam, The Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy . . . even other Jeffrey Dahmer clones. Some raised, like Jeff, in caring family environments; others within homes that mimicked the horrific early lives of the men they were created from.
hen the most dangerous boys are set free by the geneticist who created them, the summer of killing begins. Worse, these same teens now hold a secret weapon even more dangerous than the terrible evil they carry within. Only Jeff can help track the clones down before it’s too late. But will he catch the ‘monsters’ before becoming one himself?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

So…

so tomorrow is my last day of college.

Ever.

0.o

I have like four projects I need to finish today that are due tomorrow. Then I’m packing everything I own up into a little car and driving away. So that’s why I haven’t posted in a while.

Also. I’m writing a novel. But you knew that. I’m writing a different one right now. High fantasy, chose your own adventure story.

here’s a picture to make you happy.

that's how writing a novel works

Until we meet again (probably mid August)

:D

Monday, July 15, 2013

All About Book Tours

“Any way you can do a lowdown on tours and giveaways?” ~ Jessica

Well sure I can! Let’s do this one piece at a time, for organization’s sake. Tomorrow the Giveaway post will go up, so watch for that!

What is a “Book Tour?”

A book tor is a series of dates and events set up by an author, publicist, promo group, or various hosting locations. Authors go to one book store or venue after another, read from their book, answer questions, sign copies, etc. in hopes of promoting their book and gaining new readers. Tours can last from a few weeks to several months, depending on the publicity plan.

What is a “VBT?”

In a VBT, instead of stopping at a physical location at a set date and time, authors virtually stop at a blog, focusing their attention on that post for one specific day. The nice thing about VBTs is even after the tour is over, the post stays online!

How does a VBT work?

The blogger, usually referred to as the host, prepares a blog post (the content pre-decided upon by the host, the organizer, and the author) and all the parties involved promote the post. The author gets publicity, the host gets page views, and the organizer gets paid (or gains popularity as a tour organizer).

I’ve hosted quite a few tours, especially starting out as a blogger. Tours are a great way for new book bloggers to get their blog out there! The tour group usually provides you with a copy of the book, an option of interviewing the author, all the post information, and sometimes a code or quote for a giveaway. All you have to do is write up a nice post and make sure it’s the first thing a new reader will see upon going to your page.

Some tips for tour hosts

  • Always confirm that you’ve received your information and date for the tour.
  • Write your posts ahead of time, and schedule them to publish at midnight of the date of the tour (a great program to use for this is Windows Live Writer—easy to set up, posts are easy to edit, and it lets you schedule the post to go live at whatever time you want).
  • Spread your link around! Promoting the author means promoting your blog as well!
  • If you are an awesome host, the tour group will usually ask you to participate in every tour they can get you scheduled for, so do your best, especially for those first few posts. Look around at other people’s tours and see what you like, what you don’t like, and what is best for all three parties.
  • Don’t sign up for more than you can handle! one or two tours a week is everyone’s max—don’t try to do one every day just because it’s exciting. Trust me on this one, you’ll regret it later!
  • Never be afraid to ask questions. Nobody minds answering them!

 

Hope this helps! Below are a few tour groups that are always looking for hosts.

Goddess Fish VBT

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Pump Up Your Book

TLC Book Tours

Copyright

All content is property of Haley Mathiot except where otherwise noted.

No reviews may be copied or reprinted except to quote, or with permission.

FTC

I do not post a disclosure on every blog post, I post them beside the title on my Reviews page. Click here for my Disclaimer. See Sources to see my suppliers of review copies.