Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Tsarina by J Nelle Patrick

Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it's not in the right hands.

Best Bits: I love a good historical fiction novel, and if it involves any popular writing/film/tv names (The Tudors, The Romanovs, etc) I'm there. When I found out that J. Nelle Patrick was actually the pseudonym for Jackson Pearce, I was even more excited. I can't say that it was a perfect read, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. The fantasy element was an interesting twist throughout the book, and I was kept on the edge of my seat until things were resolved. 

I found it realistic that Natalya didn't really understand the purpose of the revolution. She can't understand why people are targeting those who are rich, and believes that the Romanov's will prevail. I think this is an honest portrayal of someone who is isolated in a lifestyle of wealth. So, while others may be frustrated by her naivety, I think that it provides some uniqueness to her character. It was also contrasted well with her friend, Emilia. She also has the same line of thinking, but is a bit more shallow than Natalya. It was refreshing to see over the course of the book the growth in their understanding of the world and politics.

Nit Picks: Sometimes, I felt like the story was taking place during the communist revolution, but within it's own little bubble.  For example, it's clear that Pearce did her research while she was writing this novel.  She discusses people that were involved with the Romanov family, and particularly with Rasputin, paints an interesting picture of the time. At the same time, however, there have been some changes with Alexi (who was still a young boy when he was killed). Even small changes like that made me question what was changed as a plot device, and what was accurate. 

By J Nelle Patrick
Published by Razorbill
331 Pages

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (June 21)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week.


A World Without Princes (The School of Good and Evil 2) by Soman Chainani

In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn't quite the fairy tale they expected.

When Agatha secretly wishes she'd chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love-and this time, it comes from within.

From my Book Fairies:

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Sue and Kate Rorick

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie's life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters, beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets, and for Lizzie's viewers. Suddenly Lizzie, who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman, was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (June 17)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

"A man in his mid-twenties was edging his way into the tiny cafe. He was short, slight, and extravagantly good-looking." 
-The Cuckoo's Calling, Page 98, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another Lunar Chronicles Book!

Jeeze, I leave for a little while and amazing things go down!

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles .1) by Marissa Meyer

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Published by Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Okay, I just need to take a second to stop jumping up and down! It's 256 pages, so it's n0vel-length. I cannot wait to read about her descent into a need for power and control! This will also tide me over until November when Winter is released. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Still Here

My computer is down for the count (hold me while I openly sob, Internet)! I'm still here planning and reading! I've got winners to get in to he with, too! I've also got a pretty big announcement that I'm hoping will happen soon :) I'll be back with everyone ASAP

In the meantime, happy reading!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Yes, I'm an adult who still reads YA

Some of you may have recently read an article on titled "Against YA" by Ruth Graham. It was certainly an interesting read, but I can't get on board with it.

The overall message of the article is that if you're an adult who still reads YA, there is something wrong. As an adult, we should eschew anything that isn't written for the intelligent adult (and, if I'm guessing based on tone, there is a subset of fiction that is still less-than). I'm an adult, I have a full-time job, and I read a variety of literature. That includes a love of YA books. Why is it that I have to be judged for enjoying what I read? Why does this author feel the need to force emotions upon me. How does it benefit anyone to shame me into giving up a genre I connect with, and enjoy?

The author asserts that the reason I, as a twenty-something, read YA falls into three categories. The author believes that it's either nostalgia, escapism (isn't all reading some form of escapism?), or instant gratification. Yes, I have 90's nostalgia, but the books that I read rarely create that yearning in me. The author seems to believe that because these books depict and cater to teens, they are, by nature, unsatisfying and unworthy. That she didn't cry while reading The Fault in Our Stars because it just wasn't good enough. Couldn't we chalk that up to individual preference?

Why should we shame those who read? Why not embrace YA and read more than a handful of books before stereotyping an entire genre? If being an adult means that I pass judgement on others, and embrace an air of superiority in any aspect of my life, then we are no better than the way some teens view us. We pass judgement on them, tell them their emotions are less valid because they are still young, and that their literature is less than. Not I!

For some fabulous reading by my local indie owner, check out her response from Publisher's Weekly. She's created a fabulous anti-anti-YA list that everyone can enjoy. View it here.

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