Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers Review

Hi Everyone!

Today I am reviewing a book of many layers. 

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Source: NetGalley. 
Rating: 4.5/5 WONDERFUL STARS 

Layer One: Delight

Dark and delightful, Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers continues the story started by its precursor Grave Mercy, this time with Sybella as the lead. Dark Triumph travels deeper in the harsh realities in a complex historical world.

Layer Two: Bravery

In brief, Grave Mercy was the story of a courageous commoner who becomes a nun assassin who learns the power of mercy.
Dark Triumph changes the prose with a different, just as courageous, female assassin who is born apart of a royal family of villains with evil plans against a benevolent duchess and her protectors. Sybella is the daughter of the terrifying and bloodthirsty D’Albret.

Layer Three: Excitement 

The beginning and ending are the best parts of Sybella’s story. The beginning shares Sybella’s life as a daughter of a stanch villain and brings together many eccentric characters. The end brings an mind-altering, action-packed conclusion. 

Layer Four: Distinguished Love 

One character, Sybella’s half-brother Julian marked each of his pages most of all. He has a distinguished, unsettling love. I am embarrassed to say Julian is a favorite character of mine. He will never be a person I would want to befriend, but his actions are curious. He provides is a character who is inherently bad, who internally rightness his horrendous actions by reasoning them out of love. In the confines of my mind, I feel sorry for him. Sorry he spent his past stuck in a love gone sour. Sorry he flung himself far away from good brotherhood.

I have a distinguished love for Sybella and Beast of Waroch as I love them as independent characters, not as a couple. Their romance never sparkled passion like Duval and Ismae’s did in Grave Mercy. Sybella and the Beast’s romance simply felt adrift, lacking heartfelt thunder.

Sybella is everything I look for in a superb heroine. She comes up with the most creative ideas, is very levelheaded, strong when she could, understandably, be broken, and compassionate. I connect to her love of her sisters, as I love my sister. Sybella’s multi-layered secret of a memory is startling and surprising and caused me to care even more about her then I did at the beginning.

Beast is brave, self-less, jovial, and leads with a firm hand and understanding. He is the perfect dinner guest. Truly cares for a family member long dead. 

Layer Five: Death

The fifth layer of is full of questions I personally wondered since reading this book. 

Should death be out of mercy or vengeance? Should a hero die? Should a daughter kill a ghastly father? Is it possible that a heroic death brings redemption? What is a heroic death, really?  

Layer Six: Triumph

Dark Triumph is not an easy book to read. It is gripping and dark. It will startle you. It is worth reading because so much work was put in it. All the layers make this book a challenge to review, because it is so good, so delightful, I do not know what words can end this review to give this book the justice it deserves. Read it. Cherish it. Ignore its imperfections. Dark Triumph has lingered in my mind, and I hope that you will take the chance to let it linger in yours too. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday - 21

Hi Everyone!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and is a wonderful way to share books you are waiting on and add books to your TBR list!

Today I am waiting on...

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Publication Date: May 14th, 2013


Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?
Why oh why?

Simply, I loved the Hex Hall series and I cannot wait to read this book, the start of its spin-off. 

And I always enjoy stories with a little mystery mixed with pretending to be normal. 

Thanks for reading my first WOW of 2013!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hidden Talents by David Lubar

Hi my lovely readers!!!

Today I am reviewing a magnificent book that reveals:

True talents lie in acceptance of personal imperfections. 

Hidden Talents by David Lubar

Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: November 15th, 2000
Source: My bookshelf!

"Hey, if I could read minds, I'd be thinking about how I could use my power to rule the world," I said.
"You sounds like a cartoon character," Lucky told me.
Flinch nodded. "Martin Mindmaster, Conqueror of the Universe."
Lucky started laughing, "With his faithful sidekick, Zucchini, who can read the minds of vegetables and fruits."
- page 184 of Hidden Talents

Leafing through my worn out pages of a book I read so many times before, I feel the same joy I felt the first time reading it many years before. Giggles escape my throat since I am astound by brilliant quotes like the one above. The thought of a superpower in reading the minds of healthy food resonates with me every time. 

Hidden Talents is a special novel to me. Lubar makes a simple story extraordinary with his incomparable wit and outstanding narrative. Every time I settle down to read this story, I am immediately hooked. 

Martin's reputation, one of arrogance and rudeness, is farther from the truth. Too bad the world does not realize this fact. Teachers, parents, all the people in charge just do not like him. His big mouth leads to his downfall of being expelled by too many schools. The novel starts with Martin on the bus to the special high school for juvenile delinquents, the ever-exciting Edgeview. Edgeview holds Martin's journey to maturity, true friends and the discovery of supernatural talents. 

I absolutely love the segways between each chapter where there is little letters, poems, or scripts of scenes that revealed the thoughts or events of the lives of the other characters besides Martin. Above all, I love the "Why I like being me?" pieces that each of Martin's friends wrote. Especially the one of my favorite character Trash. He is certainly not a worthless piece of rubbish to me. He is a star in my mind. 

"I'm sorry this is late, but I didn't feel like doing it before. Anyhow, I guess I like being me because I'm a good artist. I really like to draw. It feels good to create something new. It feels bad to destroy things. When I pick up my pen and start drawing on a blank piece of paper, I know I can make something wonderful."
- page 173 of Hidden Talents 

What really makes Hidden Talent remarkable is its characters interwoven with its simple story of boys with superpowers rebelling against conforming and learning to fight for what is right. Forgetting the restraints society set and forgiving society's misjudgments.

Each character has an important role to play. Martin, the brilliant protagonist is the one who unites his friends to their full potential while learning more about himself too. Martin and his friends, Torchie, Lucky, Finch, Cheater and Trash, are all grow up magnificently throughout this novel as they learn the truth about Edgeview, their first place to belong. They are real heros! 

I enjoyed the genuine journey as the group of friends steadily learn to accept what they wish was not true. Every scene is full of spark; from forgiveness scenes to playing in an arcade to a delightful science experiment that I wish I could do in school. I love the action-packed finale with its surprising revelation.  

"I imagine every talent has a price, both the talents we know about and the hidden talents - the gifts we haven't yet discovered."
- page 213 of Hidden Talents

This novel in essence is one of talent. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I love musicals?

Hi Everyone!

I am racing with excited energy currently so today I am going to write a rambling post on the hobby consuming most of my life right now. Singing, acting and dancing in my school's musical The Music Man

The four best things about participating in school musicals:

1. Singing a cappella with friends on the musical's wonderful numbers (Lida Rose by Meredith Wilson!) or any of your favorite songs (We Are Young by Fun). Lida Rose is one of the prettiest songs ever. I love the songs genuine romantic lyrics, especially the line "So here is my love song, not fancy or fine" (Wilson 8)

2. Forgetting about homework and instead just living contently in the moment. So many times I forget to just enjoy my present. 

3. Letting out excess energy. Having fun! Learning amazing songs and dance routines.  

4. Feeling accomplished after a long day. Similar to the feeling of writing a good piece of writing. 

Thanks for reading my mini-ramble,

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cover Reveal: Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris!

Hello Everyone!

First, its snowing in March in Maryland!!!!!

Today I am proud to reveal the cover of Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris. I loved reading the fun and exciting prequel to this book, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, and cannot wait to read this sequel! This sequel's lead is the cheerful and sweet Alessandra! 

The Gorgeous Cover!

So beautiful and shiny!!!!!!!!! A lovely cover! 
The font to the cover is terrific and the city sightline is very detailed.   

The Official Synopsis!

Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.
One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.
With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

About Rachel Harris!

As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels. As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.

When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate. A Tale of Two Centuries is her second novel. 

An Exclusive Excerpt! 
Glaring sunlight permeates the thin veil of my eyelids. Even though it is noonday, the light is exceptionally bright, at least in comparison to the shelter of the tent. I shield my brow with a curved hand and force my protesting eyes open…then at the sight before me, promptly shut them again.

Sounds become crisper in the darkness. Rumbles, shrieks, wails, and hums. Unfamiliar chirps and impossible beeps. Piecing together my tattered, wilting courage, I take another peek and find nothing is as it should be.
Where my palazzo usually sits is an enormous structure with golden doors and red columns, a metallic roof, and a massive mounted dragon. A pair of terrifying, sculpted beasts guards the entrance. The ground is no longer one of cracked stone or even the damp earth of my garden, but assorted gray blocks etched with handprints, slipper prints, and a series of strange markings.
I stare at the mysterious shapes on the stone before me and gasp as they all at once become clear: Harry Potter, 7-9-07. Rupert Grint. Daniel Radcliffe. Emma Watson.
While a few of the letters are different than I am used to, it is as if my mind is faster than I, readily making sense of it all. Stooping to see the words closer, I place my hands in the indentations below the word Emma and marvel at the fit.
I twist my neck around, hands still pressed into the cool hollows, wanting to share the astonishing news with Reyna. But she and the tent are gone. In their place, an overwhelming crowd in varying degrees of scandalous dress swarms the square, each costume more shocking than the last.
Exposed ankles, exposed legs, exposed stomachs
I avert my eyes heavenward, twin flames of heat burning up my throat and into my hairline. Clutching the note, I press my hands against my knees and prepare to stand. The rough texture beneath my palms causes me to freeze.
A horrible, unimaginable truth tries to be acknowledged, and I reluctantly run my hands along my thighs, hoping, praying my fingers will brush against the soft, cool silk of my surcoat. But when they follow the curve of my lap and meet in the middle, mortification demands a glance down.
Gentleman’s trousers!
 A Giveaway!

Thanks for reading!