Friday, February 27, 2015

Push Review: Miki


I was pulled into the Game.
Where I'm sent on missions to fight invading aliens.
But if I die, I die in real life too.

The Committee is the one who sends us.
The ones who pit us against the Drau.
But I'm starting to doubt their intentions.

There are too many secrets.
I want answers.
And I'm going to get them.

My name is Miki Jones.
Guys, today I am the amazing, super awesome and headstrong Miki Jones!
Book: Push
Author: Eve Silver (she is AMAZING)
Series: The Game Series
Book Status: Book 2
Setting: Rochester, New York (present day)
Genre: YA paranormal/sci-fi (aliens, different realiltes)
POV: first person, told by Miki

Reading: re-read
Favorite part: There is no "favorite" part for me. THE ENTIRE THING WAS AMAZING. From Miki yelling out Jackson's name when she's injured, to her confronting the Committee for both her life and Jackson's, to Jackson's reaction to seeing Miki safe, and did I mention JACKSON TATE? 
*insert internal fangirl screaming*
Rating: 5 STARS

How I love this book. How I love Eve Silver. That being said, this probably won't be the first or last time I'm going to be posting about this book, or this series, for that matter. Because no matter how hard I try, I keep coming back to this book over and over again. Mainly because Jackson Tate is the love of my life.

*I will try to keep the spoilers at a minimum, but I make no guarantees because the chances of me getting overexcited are quite high*

Where to start? Miki is pure awesome. She the butt-kicking heroine here, who takes charge and does everything she can for her team. But what I love is the fact that she faces a whole bunch internal conflicts. All the fears and worries she has? It's all very realistic. Her anxiety over everything isn't over-done, because when you think about it, who wouldn't be freaking out? But even though she's freaking out on the inside, she remains cool and collected on the outside. 

One of the great things in this book is that we get to see her actually be the team leader. In the last book, yes, she was leader, but she was battling shock and a whole bunch of emotional turmoil, meaning she led only by imitating Jackson. And given that it was the last mission of the book/climax, there wasn't much time to be able to fully develop her leadership skills. This time, she's the leader with her mind in a more stable place, and is able to lead them in her own way. We get to see the natural differences in leadership between her and Jackson. To be honest, though, given the choice, I'm not sure which one (Miki or Jackson) I would choose to be my team leader. They're both good in their own ways, with Miki being more empathetic with the whole we-stick-together-and-make-it-out-together thing and Jackson secretly watching out for everyone while stressing that it's every man for himself.

Jackson. Sigh. Have I mentioned how he's the love of my life? Yes? Well, I'm mentioning it again. All his emotions, all that inner turmoil, I just love it. The part where he admits that yes, he tried to leave the game by offering up Miki as his replacement? And then how it instead backfired on him when he fell in love with her? Oh my god, I died. And then I died again when I found out that Committee accepted Jackson's trade, but before they could let him walk free, he would have to lose all his memories of the Game and of Miki--something that Jackson refused to do. Can I get an applause for his devotion to her right here?  So he instead decides to stay, but he tries to barter for Miki's freedom. Yes, she would lose her memories of him (the sacrifice Jackson was ready to make? It. Broke. My. Heart.), but she would be able to go free and live normally, as if Jackson had never condemned her to the Game. And of course, this is when we factor in Miki's headstrong personality, who refuses to leave without Jackson, and you put them all together AND IT'S A BEAUTIFUL STORY AND I'M DYING.

What I really loved in this book was how it explored both the mental aspects of the characters, and of how they were able to continue on with their day-to-day lives out of the Game. There's one part where Miki expresses her concern and paranoia of having not been pulled into the Game for a few weeks, which makes her anxious with an impending sense of doom. But it shows how you can't let those things--however dangerous and terrible they are--control your life. You have to be able to live in the moment, whether it's in the real world or whether you're in the Game, fighting for your life. And it applies to life in general too: being able to live in the moment, having a different mindset and focus when you're in different places, no matter how hard it might be. To be able to "steer the nightmare", as Jackson so eloquently puts it. (Jackson. *sigh* Did I mention that he drove Miki to buy cupcakes? That's probably my favorite scene, with the cupcakes. Especially when he holds them hostage.)

Sometimes, there really are things in life that are out of your control. Miki is a control-freak, but given the lack of control she has of the Game over her life, she has to make do with being able to control what she can, not everything. And I think that's an important message: do what you know you can deal with, but don't try to be able to control everything. Generally, doing that doesn't end up in a pretty place.

Let's talk about the Game now. The whole reach-1000-points-and-you-get-to-go-free? It's still not clear whether it's rumor or not for regular players, but we know that it's not true for those like Jackson and Miki, who have a specific gene too precious for the Committee to let them go, ever. There's no way out for them, but for the others, well, that's still to be debated. We shall see...

Push also introduced more types of characters participating in the Game, and the different reactions and mindsets players can have. We got to get a better understanding of what it means to be a griefer, which was first introduced in Rush (someone who hangs back and lets others weaken the enemy before swooping in unexpectedly and taking the killing shot, ultimately stealing other people's points), and what it means to be unable to juggle both lives in the real world and the Game. Mainly through Kendra, we really got to explore the desperation that some players succumb to, of wanting to make it out of the Game without dying in the process. Kendra begins to crack under the constant pressure of fighting such that it all becomes a matter of making it to 1000 points and walking free. And Lien is simply there to try to help her reach 1000 points to get out, because she worries over Kendra. Which includes helping her steal points from others, a big no-no for the team, because it could very well cost someone their life. But I get the feeling that Kendra and Lien don't know that if Kendra makes it out, she's going to lose all her memories of Lien...

The thing with the Game is that it can pull you in anytime, completely unexpectedly without warning. There's one part where Lien comments on how five minutes ago, she was in the shower, and when she gets pulled in, she's wearing flip-flops. If you ask me, flip-flops are not ideal for hunting the Drau in, given the fact that you can't really run fast in them. I don't know about you guys, but if I knew that there was a chance that I could be pulled into the Game at any time, I would probably start wearing clothes that I could run and fight everyday. Being pulled wearing flip-flops is already unfathomable for me. Imagine if you were in formal clothes...for the girls, running in a dress and heels? Just no. For guys, well, I guess it's not as bad, but running and fighting in dress shirts and pants? A little uncomfortable. I would definitely strategize my clothes accordingly, with no tight or restrictive clothing. And if that wasn't an option, I'd probably be in constant paranoia that I might get pulled into the Game wearing ill-fitted clothes.

Prime example would be when they got pulled in Halloween night. Everyone's costumes were relatively modest and suitable for running in. But can you imagine if one of them had been dressed up in something uncomfortable? Maybe Kendra wearing a nurse outfit or Luka wrapped head to toe in toilet paper as a mummy? There would have had to be serious alterations to their clothes before they went on the mission if they spawned in the lobby like that.

I'm really curious about the ending. I'm hoping that there's a happily-ever-after ending, that they defeat the Drau or the Committee or whoever the real bad guy is here. That they all go free, alive and well, back into their real lives. But...if that's the case, what happens after? Do Tyrone, Miki, Luka, and Jackson ever get back together in the real world to hang out? Technically, it's allowed now. They're no longer team members, meaning they don't see each other on regular life-or-death basis anymore. But the bond that they formed is still pretty strong, literally fighting together and trusting each other with their lives. You can't just cut people like that out of your life. You'd owe them gratitude at least, as the war is over and they were such a large part of making sure you made it through. And if they all do make it out of the Game (please please please! At least Jackson, Miki, Luka, and Tyrone!), they're allowed to seek each other out, right? I don't know about you guys, but I probably would seek them out at least once to thank them. Thank them for having your back and saving you multiple times. And rejoice that you no longer need to only see them in grim situations where everyone is fighting for their lives, but in no-danger zones. They're no longer people you need to worry about covering or trusting them to cover you; instead, they're respected peers, who you have a distinct pact with formed through unexplainable dire situations.

But if everyone dies...OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.

(I'm probably going to be looking back at this post a few months from now, after Crash comes out and I know how it ends, and thinking, "wow, I was an idiot." But as of right now, these are my agonizing thoughts...)

Well, this ended up being quite a long post. But hey, I love this book, and I had a lot to say. Correction: I still have a lot to say, but I think this is long enough for everyone for now. ;)

Stay tuned for more obsession over The Game Series! And circle June 9th 2015 on your calendars when Crash, the epic conclusion to Eve Silver's series, comes out!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Cover Reveal: CITY OF BONES

Here at this blog, we are huge huge HUGE fans of Cassandra Clare's world of Shadowhunters.

Which is why news of this beauty over here immediately grabbed my interest. Because there is a new cover for the City of Bones.

A. New. Cover.
This, in comparison to the old one:

What I like about the new cover:
1. Fresh new look!
2. It plays on the movie version of it (the angelic rune in the background)
3. The Mortal Cup's card is there
4. Jace has the Mortal Sword in hand!!!
5. This Jace is oddly closer to the Jace I had in my head when I read the book, rather than the one on the old cover

What I'm iffy about:
1. No hint that this is an urban fantasy
2. "Shadowhunters Novel" on the side--what's with that?
3. Did the Mortal Sword even come out in City of Bones?
4. The title is in two lines rather than one...
5. Jace has magical fingers?

So yeah. Though a new cover came out, I can't say I love or hate it. I still like it, just not sure about the cover design's overall relevance to the plot, as there are some things on the cover that aren't really addressed in the first book. But that being said, I can only be picky because I've read it, meaning that those who haven't read probably won't mind. The cover is intriguing, which is what matters!

This new cover hits shelves on September 1st, 2015! I already have the old copy and I don't really need another copy, so I probably won't be picking this one up. But either way, I for sure will be heading over to the nearest bookstore to marvel at the cover and how it looks with the other books! 

If you haven't read this series yet, this is your chance!

Official blurb, courtesy of Goodreads-

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...  

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cover reveal: THE WHITE ROSE

I'm about a day or two late, BUT LOOK WHAT CAME OUT!!!

The cover for The White Rose by Amy Ewing! Is that pretty or what?

In comparison to the first book, I really like how they're going with the whole title-representation theme. The first book, The Jewel, had a picture of a girl (Violet) curled up in the centre of a jewel. Here, we have Violet sitting in the centre of a white rose, which is quite fitting for the book's title The White Rose.

Apart from the beautiful dress and the necklace that matches the title, you can see that Violet is starting to come free from the Jewel's restrictive holds on her through the cover. Violet is no longer curled up, as is unable to move, but she's sitting up. She's gaining freedom of mobility, and I'm sure it reflects her state in the book!

The White Rose comes out October 6th 2015, so look for this beauty to match it's pre successor!

Official blurb, courtesy of Goodreads->
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ensnared Review: Alyssa

I have gone mad with loss.
My mother, lost to Wonderland.
My two knights, lost to AnyElsewhere.

I need to restore the human world and Wonderland.
To save the people I love.
And to save the netherlings who I rule.

A battle wages in my heart.
For my human half.
For my netherling half.

I'm going to set things right.
I'm going to do the right thing.
I'm going to stop Red once and for all.

I am Alyssa Gardner.
Hey guys! Today, in a whirlwind of emotions from binge reading, I am the powerful Alyssa Gardner!

Book: Ensnared
Author: A. G. Howard
Series: Splintered series
Book Status: Book 3 (final in trilogy)
Setting: AnyElsewhere, Wonderland
Genre: YA fantasy
POV: first person, told by Alyssa

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "I'll do anything to save Wonderland--to save everyone I love--because I'm responsible. I was weak. I won't be again."
Comments: Beautiful conclusion to a beautiful series. 
Rating: 5 stars!!!

This series captured my heart from the very first book. I read the first book, Splintered, last summer, and it was so good that I immediately had to go buy it and it's sequel, Unhinged. And then I sat in eager and painful anticipation for this book to come. Though it came out in January (I know, I can't believe it--I had to wait an entire month to read it after it was released), I wasn't able to get my hands on it to read it. UNTIL NOW. I haven't whipped through a book as quickly as I did for this book in a while, hands sweaty from the fearful anticipation I felt for the characters and plot twists. I literally started this morning, and by mid-afternoon, I was still reeling from the ending, officially on a book hangover.

This is the perfect Alice in Wonderland retelling I've ever had the pleasure of reading. For those of you who don't know what this series is about, let me give you a brief recap: the story revolves around future events after Alice Liddell's (the same Alice that Lewis Carroll wrote about who went into Wonderland) descendent, Alyssa Gardner, who learns that though she's a direct descendent, it turns out that Alice Liddell actually did go to Wonderland, and that it wasn't all some crazy dream written by Lewis Carroll. In the original Alice in Wonderland books, Alice does a few things that changes Wonderland drastically (i.e. she cried an ocean of tears...meaning she randomly created an ocean that really shouldn't be there), and ever since then, the Wonderland inhabitants have been dragging Alice's descendants back to Wonderland one by one, hoping that they will fix the mess Alice left Wonderland in. And. It. Is. So. Good!

The brilliance of this series is that it addresses Lewis Carroll, saying that yes, he wrote the book Alice in Wonderland, but it also takes into account of how people always write it off as being some fantasy created from pure imagination. A. G. Howard cleverly is able to fill in the gaps of history involving Lewis Carroll and his work, such that there's a direct connection to how he went from hearing about Alice's "dream" to writing it. There's a real life connection here, and I cannot praise the author any more than I already am.

Well, if this isn't any indication, this probably is going to be a long post given that I have quite a lot to say. Meaning that the rest of this post is going to be SPOILERY, so please don't read any further if you haven't had a chance to read the series yet. Stay tuned, though, because I'm doing a cover reveal in a few hours!



Suspicion Review: Imogen

My family is dead.
Death by fire, in our English country manor.
I have never returned there since.

News of my grandfather's passing reaches me.
News of how I'm the remaining heir.
News of how I must return to govern my lands.

I must leave New York.
To return to the last place I want to go.
To face the deaths of my family.

I am the new Duchess of Wickersham.
I am Imogen Rockford.
Hello! Today, I'm the American-British duchess, Imogen.

Book: Suspicion
Author: Alexandra Monir
Series: stand alone (I think)
Setting: present day, mainly Wickersham
Genre: YA mystery, a little paranormal
POV: first person, by Imogen

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "I just don't understand how everyone else seems to magically know where they want to go to school and what they want to study and do with their lives. Since when did seventeen become the age when we're supposed to have it all figured out?"
Rating: 3 stars

I picked this book up on a whim, mainly because the cover was quite intriguing. Suspicion is a cross between The Princess Diaries (the whole you-just-inherited-lands-from-afar-and-now-you-must-return-to-you-native-lands-to-become-their-ruler kind of thing) and Rebecca (though I haven't read it, but sort of know what it's about. The whole last-mistress-of-the-place-haunting-the-new-mistress thing). Also add a touch of paranormal powers, and you get Suspicion.

Imogen was a relatively likeable character. You really understand her thought processes, on how bewildered she feels, being forced to take the place an English Duchess after living seven years as a regular citizens in America. Suddenly, she's no longer dealing with trying to convince her parents for a gap year before going to NYU, but now she's trying to orchestrate and host parties for various English noblemen and all the other responsibilities that comes with governing the lands of Wickersham.

The situation that Imogen finds herself is that she really doesn't want to ever return to Rockford Manor, as that was where her parents died, but she really doesn't have much of a choice. The people there need a Duke or Duchess to maintain Rockford Manor and the lands at all times, as they are the ones that supply the homes and jobs for the people of Wickersham. Not going would mean leaving an entire town stranded with both no homes, and no jobs. So Imogen makes the decision to face her fear for the better of her new people.

Though this was a good read, there were noticeably a few bumps in the plot. Part of it could be the result of the book being so short. As mentioned before, there was a touch of paranormal abilities in this book, but it didn't really play that much of a role. It was merely introduced, but it wasn't developed as fully as I would have liked it to have been. More pages will be needed to fully explore the role of these abilities.

Which comes to the next question: is this a standalone book? It's not clear. There are a few major loose ends at the end of the book, with the antagonist still at large, predicted to one day return. But will she? Or is this simply their happily-ever-after? I'm not sure, and when I looked into a sequel, there was no news of another one being released. this really the end? Was the ending satisfactory for a stand alone? There wasn't the closure I expected, nor was there that big of a character development on the paranormal side.  Yes, there was a complete plot twist that drew the attention away from it, but I feel that this book could be more elaborated through a sequel. As for whether or not a sequel will be made, only time will tell!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Aftermath Review: Claudia

I live in a desolate world.
One where it's a daily struggle to live.
Where thirst, hunger, and cannibals are everywhere.

But then I realized something.
None of my actions are my own.
I am being controlled, like a puppet.

There is a gamer who controls me.
But when she's gone, logged off...
That's when I'm able to move and speak freely.

A boy, Declan, found me.
Says he can get me out.
Away from here, from my gamer.

My name is Claudia Virtue.
Hi! Today, I happen to be Claudia from Jen Alexander's book The Aftermath!

Book: The Aftermath
Author: Jen Alexander
Series: Aftermath
Book Status: Book 1
Setting: Nashville, 2039
Genre: YA post-apocalpytic, dystopian
POV: first person, told by Claudia

Reading: first time
Comments: very unique concept. I don't think I'll ever look at video games the same after this!
Rating: 4 stars

Whew. I must say, it feels nice being able to finish a book in a day again. The beauty of having time.

This book definitely has a seriously cool idea. The idea of a characters in role-playing games actually being real people controlled by other gamers? Daaang. This is just a touch spoilery, but think about it: the low class/poor people are forced to be characters that the high class pay to control. It's just...creepy. And it really shows the structure of society, how the high class lives off the lower classes' suffering, because think about it: if you had the choice to either control someone or be controlled, everyone would definitely rather be the one in power, the one controlling.

The horrors of being a character. Claudia, upon receiving a hit to the head, becomes sentient, and starts to realize that she actually can't control her actions or words. Her thoughts are her own, but her motions are not. That is, until her gamer "logs out", in which Claudia is supposed to be left in a suspended, mindless state of rest, until her gamer returns. But because she's aware of this, she no longer is the empty mindless person. Once her gamer logs out, Claudia's up and about, taking action, trying to figure a way out of the Aftermath.

Claudia's determinism to get out while sneaking behind her gamer's back is really awesome. She knows, or at least can guess, the consequences of being discovered, yet still her continues on. She has a clear goal in her mind, and she plans accordingly so that she can reach it, with minimal interference from her gamer. Another thing I love about her is that once she realizes that everyone else, all the other characters, are actually real people being controlled by other people, she wants to free them. She's not selfish; she wants to help the other people, because being controlled by someone else is clearly wrong.

I don't think I'll ever look at a role-playing video game the same again. As a gamer, am I actually forcing my character to move? Are they aware of me? Does my character hate me for controlling their every movement? And what exactly does my character do when I'm not playing? Oh, the philosophical questions!

What do you guys think? Give The Aftermath a read and let me know!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Burning Sky Review: Iolanthe

I am an elemental mage.
A powerful one.
Born the night of a great meteor shower.

There is a prophesy apparently about me.
One I never knew existed.
One that mandates my destiny.

The Bane is the greatest tyrant the work has ever seen.
But he is powerful, indestructible.
And I'm destined to take him down.

The prince of the Domain, Titus, wishes to help me.
But he's keeping secrets from me, using me.
Using me to fulfill both our destinies.

It could very well be suicide.
For the both of us.

My name is Iolanthe Seabourne.
Hey guys! Today I'm the awesome element-wielding Iolanthe Seabourne!

Book: The Burning Sky
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy
Book Status: Book 1
Setting: the Domain (fantasy world), but mainly London (1883)
Genre: YA fantasy
POV: 3rd person, told by Iolanthe and Titus

Reading: first time
Favorite part: when Titus stopped Iolanthe from looking at Sleeping Beauty, because he had modified Sleeping Beauty to look like Iolanthe, so that he could kiss her.
Rating: 5 Stars!!!

The remainder of this post will NOT be spoiler-free. Read at your own risk!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Singles Awareness Day!

All the couples in the world have had their fun yesterday. It's our turn now.

Just because you're single doesn't mean you aren't allowed to to have a celebration for yourself too! After all, the first and most important thing to love is that you love yourself. So for all you singles out there...let's celebrate!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ah, Valentine's Day. Quotes like "love is in the air" and "I love you." 

Funny. Want to know what the word quote entails? Nine times of ten it comes from a book. Want to know what else comes from books?

Hot fictional characters.

Really, now, did you think I wouldn't compose a list of my top book boyfriends? Of course I would. It's Valentine's Day, and there is nothing better than going out on a date with your bae. Aka favorite fictional boyfriend(s). The only issue with multiple ones is choosing who to go out with first, because there are so many.

So, here are my dates, in no particular order...

1. Jackson Tate (Rush by Eve Silver). Because. He. Is. So. Hot.

2. Ash (The Iron King by Julie Kagawa). Strong, silent, broody. Again, hot. Or, if you see it, cold, as he's the Winter prince. Either way, he gets my ever-lasting love.

3. Cadan (Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton). A demonic reaper who chooses good? A hot demonic reaper who chooses good plus makes kind, sincere comments? DONE. Consider my heart melted.

4. Puck (The Iron King by Julie Kagawa). He who makes me smile and laugh and have fun  is forever my love. Forever.

5. Quinn (Defiance by C. J. Redwine). QUINNNNNN, MY BABY. PLEASE BE MY VALENTINE???

6. Daemon Black (Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout). He starts out a jerk, but it turns out he's a jerk to pretty much everyone. But then he becomes the biggest protective jerk ever known to earth, especially for his loved ones. Adorable. I want him.

7. James "Jem" Carstairs (Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare). Jem, my Jem. He's sweet, the perfect gentleman, modest, plays the violin, everything. How could you not love him?

8. Morpheus (Splintered by A. G. Howard). Seductive Nethering, whispering things that make you shiver in your ear? My heart has officially been stolen, for better or worse.

9. William Herondale (Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare). Tormented, rebellious lost soul. Let me ease your pain and have a conversation about books with you.

10. Jasper Renn (The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross). Let's just leave it at the fact that he's an "American Cowboy" in England (not actually a cowboy, but the people in England call him that), and is quite handy with a gun. And he loves people enough to willingly get blackmailed.

What have I noticed with all my dates? They all can fight/handle a weapon (see: bad-ass), and not one of is 100% normal human. What does that mean?

"Erika, you need help. Serious help."

And I totally agree. Because having this many boyfriends is clearly not healthy. But you know, I'm not exactly cheating on them if they're in different books...well, most of them aren't...

And, because I am a idiot, I'm going to throw in a video game character or two.

1. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII). The ultimate silent, brooding guy with freaking awesome sword skills. Who also harbours guilt issues (he's not to blame, yet he blames himself) and JUST LET ME LOVE YOU AND HELP YOU OVERCOME IT.
2. Riku (Kingdom Hearts). Who initially chose darkness, but realized it was the wrong path and risked everything to choose light. And as such, he's trying to find a way to stay on the path of light, even with the internal torment and taunting of the power of darkness inside him. That, everyone, is true power. Again, LET ME LOVE YOOUUU.

(Aaand, I realized those two are both Square Enix characters. Oh well.)

Anyways. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Hope you all have a great day with your special someone, let it be real person or a fictional person! And if you're an anti-Valentine's Day person, don't worry, because tomorrow is Single's Awareness Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Reading Week 2015 Book Haul

Finally, finally, FINALLY. My first (mini) book haul of the year!

By my definition, a book haul consists of anything more than the purchase of one book at the same time. And thus, this qualifies. So may I present to you...


Eeeeeks, they're so pretty! It's so exciting!!! ^.^

Snow Like Ashes, if I haven't obsessed over it enough, was so good that I had to buy it for myself! And Ensnared, which is the final book to the fantastic Splintered series, is a beautiful Alice In Wonderland somewhat-retelling/continuation. Though I've read and reviewed/obsessed over Snow Like Ashes (you can read my review here), I haven't read Ensnared yet. My to-read-list is quite long at the moment, but at least Ensnared has been bumped up a few notches now that I have a physical copy of it! My review/character session will be up soon once I get through my other books, so look forward to it. ;)

Now the challenge of making room on my bookshelf for them begins...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cover Reveal: ICE LIKE FIRE


Remember that book review I did a while ago on Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch? And how I absolutely loved loved LOVED it? Well! Today, the cover for its sequel, Ice Like Fire, came out!

It. Is. EPIC. And if you don't agree, I don't think we can be friends anymore. Haha, just kidding, but this is seriously one sick cover.

And without further ado...
That. Cover. I mean, just look at it. It is BEAUTIFUL. So gorgeous! *Tries to grab the book through the compeer screen*

Let's also do a quick comparison to the first cover, shall we? :D
Don't they look so good together? *Squealing* 

I don't even know where to start with this epic cover...

1. That volcano/fire/ember imagery: it is AMAZING, and I'm sure there will be no shortage of fierceness in this book.
2. The placement of the chakram: I just love how the chakram has embedded itself into the ground. In the first cover, the chakram was more so gently nestled in the train of ash, but in this one, there's no mistaking that it stands up on its own, strong and proud.
3. The three separate kingdoms reflected in the chakram: the first book only gave us two, just Winter and Spring. But now, we're getting not just Winter and Spring, but also what looks like Summer (it's kind of a desert). What danger lurks in Summer, I wonder?
4. The intricate design of the rim: because it is lovely and complex. Just like the series.
5. The elegance of the title: there's a regal sense here, even in through the darkness.
6. The dark grey/purple palette: those colors, put together, are a recipe for heart-slaying gorgeousness. Consider my heart slain.

Okay, I might be written off here as being an english class keener, but I love the transition from light imagery to dark imagery between the two covers. I think it really reflects Meira's character and the problems she's going through. And I love the contrast between the title Ice Like Fire and its cover. What is ice doing in a volcano setting? Is Meira going to the Kingdom of Summer? Oh man, these questions are getting me more and more excited!

Well, it's official. I'm in love. Who needs a Valentine's date when you have a book cover you can stare at forever and gush over?

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch comes out Oct. 13th, 2015! Mark it on your calendars and if you haven't yet, read Snow Like Ashes

Official blurb, courtesy of Goodreads->

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cover Reveal: STORM

Behold: cover reveal sessions! Because they're book related, and thus reason for excitement!

I'm about a week late in announcing this, but for all you good folks who missed it, the cover for Storm, which is Amanda Sun's third and final (noooooo) book in the Paper Gods Series, came out last Thursday!

Let's just take a moment to marvel at it.

Because. That. Cover.

1. It's GREEN!!!
2. I just love that wind-blowing-upwards effect.
3. The green bolded title really makes it seem like this book is going to be an epic storm of a finale! I love the little smudges and lines coming out of it!
4. The fact that that cover is different from the other two covers means change. Is. Coming! 
5. We're one step closer to having the actual book in our hands!!!

On another note...

For one, this cover is a lot darker than the last two, and by that, I mean literally. Half of the cover is black here, which is a huge change. Plus the title is in color, rather than being in black. Secondly, I noticed that we don't get a full face shot like the other two. It makes it seem like there's going to be some serious changes to Katie. I really love the facial expression here! I can see her sighing as wind (or power) blows! Just...deep breath as a whoosh of power leaves her! So cool!

Storm, by Amanda Sun, is the third and final book in the Paper Gods Trilogy, out on June 30th 2015! I can't wait!!!

Official blurb, courtesy of Goodreads->

After almost a year in Japan, Katie Greene has finally unearthed the terrible secret behind her boyfriend Tomohiro's deadly ability to bring drawings to life—not only is he descended from Kami, the ancient Japanese gods, but he is the heir to a tragedy that occurred long ago, a tragedy that is about to repeat.

Even as the blood of a vengeful god rages inside Tomo, Katie is determined to put his dark powers to sleep. In order to do so, she and Tomo must journey to find the three Imperial Treasures of Japan. Gifts from the goddess Amaterasu herself, these treasures could unlock all of the secrets about Tomo's volatile ancestry and quell the ink's lust for destruction. But in order to complete their quest, Tomo and Katie must confront out-of-control Kami and former friend Jun, who has begun his own quest of revenge against those he believes have wronged him. To save the world, and themselves, Katie and Tomo will be up against one of the darkest Kami creations they've ever encountered—and they may not make it out alive.

Monday, February 9, 2015

BOOK 4 of the White Rabbit Chronicles!

Have you heard THE NEWS? The NEWS!

There's going to be A FOURTH book to Gena Showalter's White Rabbit Chronicles! 

It means that there's going to be another lovely cover to match these beautiful three :) I cannot be any more excited!

Now, why else is this exciting other than the fact that there's another amazing book on zombie slayers coming out? Well, The Queen of Zombie Hearts was great and all, but I got to say, I was partially dying with all the loose ends. Well, one loose end in particular...and the next paragraph is a spoiler, so highlight it if you want to read it. Else skip down to read the res of this post.

The main loose end I couldn't deal with was Frosty. I mean, can't you just feel the anguish emitted from him? Kat's gone, and he wants his memory erased. That's extreme. He goes around asking everyone to erase his memory, and so far, everyone's turning him down. But he's clearly depressed, meaning he might be doing some relatively questionable things. I don't know about you, but the possibilities of what Frosty does were endless for me, from drinking his sorrows away to getting clumsy and being turned into a zombie, or just dying in other painful ways. Maybe he got over it, but he became a bad guy, maybe started sympathizing with Anima Industries. Maybe he never gets over it and he does something stupid, and Kat meets him at the other side and refuses to talk to him. Bottom line is that he needs support. It was great that us, the readers, could fantasize about the ways Ali and Cole and everyone helped him out, but at the same time, no one really knew whether or not Frosty was going to be okay in the end. And that itself is a cliffhanger. Cliffhanger + end of a series = DEATH OF THE READER. Anyone else with me, here?

I won't say more, except that I'm really glad that Gena Showalter is doing another book! It means more Ali and Cole, and overall more kick-butt weapons and zombie slaying!

Of course, it comes out at the end of September, which is an agonizingly long wait away...but at least it's coming!!! So if you haven't read this series yet, you should definitely pick it before the fourth book, A Mad Zombie Party (that title alone is AWESOME) comes out!

For the full announcement, go here:

Can't wait! :D

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Jewel Review: Violet

I have been trained as a surrogate for royalty.
I had no choice in the matter.
And now I'm finally being put to use.

I was sold at the surrogate auction.
Purchased by the Duchess of the Lake.
Bought simply as #197.

I am simply her property.
Just the surrogate of the House.
They even took away my name.

But I won't forget my own name.
I won't forget me.
I am not just someone's property.

My name is Violet Lastings.
Hello, my friends! Today, I am Violet Lastings from The Jewel!

Book: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City Series
Book Status: Book 1
Setting: The Lone City (dystopia)
Genre: YA dystopian, little bit of fantasy (there's "magic", but it's relatively insignificant)
POV: First person, told by Violet

Book Reading: first time
Favorite line: "Well, guess what--I'm human. I'm not perfect. I was trying to do the right thing, but you know what? I don't care anymore. I don't want to be right, I don't want to be good."
Rating: 4 stars

Whew, this book. It has a powerful story, for sure. There's a phrase, "the thing you're most afraid of. Write that." And I think this book is a perfect description of it. I don't mean it in the sense that it's badly written (it's very well-written!), but in the reading sense. This book deals with one of my absolute nightmares in life. 

"Then why did you read it, fool?" you ask. Well, the thing about books is that with them, if I ever do come face-to-face with a situation like this, I'll know (or have a better idea) how to deal with it. Through Violet, I lived through my fear, and as a result, learned strength from her. 

Let's list off a few of my biggest fears addressed in this book, and how Violet deals with them:

1. Surrogates. This word alone sends little warning sirens off in my brain. But being taken away from home to be raised and trained as a surrogate? Do you have any idea how scary that is? Do you even fully grasp the concept of what it means for people training you to be used merely for your body? To willingly submit? Just...the idea terrifies me to new extents. Kudos to Violet for dealing with it. I'd probably jump out of a window as a way out.

2. Auction. To be sold off to someone, as property. Hello, this is a slave market. Not just any auction, but a surrogate auction. Where people buy you simply for your body. The disturbing images and thoughts that must go through the buyer's god. I'd probably start screaming at the top of my lungs. Violet, however, takes the entire thing calmly, even if somewhat fazed.

3. Constant drugging. This is one of my worst fears. Violet is constantly being drugged unconscious simply for the sake of being transported places. Surrogates aren't allowed to know exactly where they are on a map (can't escape if you don't know where you are), so they keep on knocking them out. Violet doesn't get a say in whether she wants to be knocked out or not; it happens with or without her consent. In the book, they sometimes give Violet the option of the "easy way" or the "hard way", in which Violet usually goes for the "easy way" (letting herself be willingly (and grudgingly) knocked out). I don't know if I'd be able to do that. I'd be hyperventilating for sure.

4. Impregnation. This goes hand and hand with the whole "constant drugging" thing. It's Violet's job as a surrogate to bear a child, but it. Is. Creepy. This scares the living crap out of me, as I'm sure it does to a lot of people. I think you'd be crazy for it not to. Knowing that one day, you're going to be drugged and impregnated? No, no, no. That is my worst fear come to life. Again, how Violet deals with it is remarkable. I would die.

"Jeez, Erika. What the heck are you reading?" someone grumbles.

Well, what I'm trying to get to is that this book deals with a lot of fears of mine. The key word is deals with, in which the main character goes through all this and still comes out on top (sort of). She faces these issues, and she conquers them on a personal level. And to me, that's strength. She has the strength to go on, to keep being who she is, to find a loophole out of this twisted system of a world.

Why did I enjoy this book? Because it gave me a different outlook on how to handle these issues. If it was me, I'd probably do one of two things: either go along with the entire thing, submissive and obedient due to fear, or I'd just leap out of a building. I would not be brave enough to do what Violet does, to challenge her role. Which is why I liked reading about her.

Fun fact time!
a) This is a women's world. Literally. They don't even need males to keep the human race going. The Duchesses and Countesses and Ladies are the ones in power here, not the males.
b) I'd say this is a cross between The Hunger Games and The Selection. With a darker gender theme.
c) It's a sexist book in the way that females are both the strongest and the weakest of the human race. I mean, there are two types of females here: the surrogates, and the women who buy them. All that really differentiates them is their class. Males are kind of in between, being not as powerful but certainly not weak.
d) Magic. There is sort of magic here. I don't actually consider it fantasy, because it plays little to no role in the main plot. But it's there, and I'm interested to see how far (or if) its role will develop in the next books.

All in all, this is definitely a different book, but not in a bad way. It hits close to home for me, as it addresses a bunch of nightmares I have of the world. This world is such a terrible and exploiting place, and I know I absolutely would not want to live there. But at the same time, reading about it makes me a little less afraid of it, in which I'm grateful. It gives me hope. Well, as much hope as the first book can give me. The rest of the hope remains in books 2 and 3, which haven't come out yet...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Epic Reads Book Tag


So, if you don't know, Team Epic Reads (subpart of HarperCollins) started this awesome book tag, and I'm going to take part of it.

"But don't you have to be tagged to do it?" someone in the back asks.

Excellent question! Yes, you do! But funny thing, because I was sort of tagged by Kiera Cass (author of the Selection series). Well, actually, she tagged everyone that watched her book tag video. Which includes me. The only thing is that I'm doing a blog post rather than a video like the rest of the world, because a) I suck at videos and b) I don't have a good camera.

So, without further ado, let's get started!

1. If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

Oh boy. Probably Sara Raash, author of Snow Like Ashes, and her main character Meira. What I would serve them, I haven't a clue. Probably something cold, as Meira is from the Kingdom of Winter. I'd suffer brain freeze, indefinitely. 

2. What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?

I'd love to read a prequel to The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I mean, the series itself is a prequel series, but I really want to know about the younger versions of Will and Jem, before all the bad stuff happened to them.

3. Which two characters (not from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

Well. This is ridiculously hard for me, mainly because I can't bare to break couples. But maybe...Jasper Renn from Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles and Reyna from Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series. Okay, maybe they wouldn't make the best couple, but it would be interesting to see what happens if you threw them together. Or, better yet, how about I just become a fictional character so that I can ship myself with various other characters? Because I can name tons of characters I wouldn't mind getting together with...

4. If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?

If I ran into Julie Kagawa on the subway, I would probably collapse from sheer excitement or just stare at her like a creeper. Meaning I wouldn't even be able to say anything to her. Besides, I'd probably say something super lame like "I love your books" or "I hate how I can't move on in life because of the characters in your books".

5. What book made you a reader and why?

I went through many stages of reading. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis was what first introduced me into the magic of books, but I didn't really pick up any books to read after that. Then I went through Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, but again, I didn't read anything else afterwards. The book that propelled me into my constant book-reading is probably Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.

6. Incendio! If your bookshelf caught on fire, which book would you save? 


7. Which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? Why?

*Bites lip* Well, seeing as the nature of dystopian books is to be sort of, you know, fatal in all ways, I'm going to have to go with The Giver by Lois Lowry. Mainly because there, no one's trying to kill me, and there isn't really any poverty for me to succumb into. Everyone's (sort of) happy. It would still suck, but at least I'd be living in ignorance, which is kind of good, I guess?

8. What is your most epic read of all time?

I think it's cute how you think I can only choose one. Because that. Isn't. Possible. You want me to choose between The Iron Queen and Rush? Make me choose Splintered or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer? The Young Elites or Killer Frost? City of Glass or Ignite Me? Are you insane?

9. Tag some friends to answer these questions.

I'm tagging anyone who reads this. It doesn't matter whether you're reading this 3 years from now or 5 minutes, I still want you to do one.