Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday Review: Isabella Rockwell's War

Isabella Rockwell's War 
Release Date: August 23, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 288
Source: Won from a giveaway
ISBN-10:  0957332106
Rating: 5 Hearts

Book Description

"Raised in 1820’s India, twelve year old Isabella Rockwell can ride and shoot as well as any of the soldiers in her father’s regiment. These skills, however, are of no use to her when she finds herself on the frozen streets of London, orphaned and alone.
Tormented by guilt over the deaths of those who loved her, she vows never to be responsible for anyone’s life again. If she can scrape together enough money, she will return to India. But Isabella cannot shake the creeping feeling that something is not right; that something threatens not only her new best friend, but the throne of England itself.
Having survived this far on her wits alone, will Isabella escape back home to India? Or will she stay with Alix, a girl whose fate seems to be tied up with Isabella’s own? A fate which will have consequences far beyond those Isabella could ever have imagined.

Winner of the Children’s 12+ Fiction Category at Winchester Writer’s Conference, UK. 2012."


Short and Sweet:

I absolutely adored this! Bursting with beautiful writing and insanely lovable characters, Isabella Rockwell's War is perfect for anyone who enjoys historical middle grade! I desperately want to read more from this author. 

To Elaborate...

When news of her beloved father's death reaches her, Isabella is determined to go find his missing body. Soon after she leaves, she gets more news that the kind woman who was like a mother to her died as well, and Isabella is sent from her home in India to London. There, she lives on the streets until she finds a gang of orphans who share a house. Soon, they become like family to her, but after saving the Princess's life, she will have to figure out where exactly her home is. 

Incredible historical detail? Check. 

Top notch character development that includes some serious heart-warming scenes? Check. 

Really awesome and suspenseful plot line? Check and check. 

Isabella is such a great protagonist, and I love, love, love her story. The grief she experiences, the trials she faces, and the home she misses make her into a wonderfully complex character who's just searching for a place to belong again. I love her interactions with Midge, Ruby, and the gang she meets in London and how close they all get. I admit, I was dying for some romance between her and Zach, but 3 or 4 years down the road (since they both are young and kind of have, ya know, a focus on surviving and whatnot) I could see their relationship really sparking.  

I also really love the friendship between Alix and Isabella. Alix, who is surrounded by people who want to be her friend for royal benefits and a mother who just wants money, is in desperate need of a real friend. Likewise, Isabella can use someone just like Alix who is the opposite of her in many ways but shares a kind heart. The plot behind the danger Alix is in unfolded so well and was absolutely gripping. I bounced around with who I thought was behind it, but I never suspected the full story of what was really going on. 

All in all, this is an excellent story to curl up with and get lost in. I really, really hope that there is more to come, whether it's a sequel to this story, or just another wonderful book from this amazing author.

5 Hearts!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine :) 

I can't wait to read:

 A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Book Description

"Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of what happens after happily ever after.
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world…and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before."

Why I'm Waiting:

Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney movie as a little girl and I'm so excited to see how this re-telling plays out. I kind of love that the synopsis implies a healthy dose of doubt about the prince's 'true love' status. I have high hopes that this will be an incredible story that delivers much more than the original tale; much like the stunning Maleficent movie did this year!

That movie was amazing!

What book are you 'waiting' to read?

Leave me a link to your WOW so I can stop by! :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

This week's topic is a load of fun, and I've made by choices mostly with book boyfriends in mind, because if I'm, ya know, probably near death by being on a deserted island, at least I'll have some good company. ;)
1.) Morpheus from the Splintered series by A.G. Howard- I feel like I mention these books all the time, but I seriously love them and Morph. Not only would he provide high amounts of entertainment with his clever wit, he also happens to have wings, and I think that could come in handy on an island.
2.) Tiam from Drowned by Nichola Reilly- Um, hello, he already pretty much lives on a deserted island, he knows how to make a girl laugh, and he's got some swoony dialogue in him. Yes please.
3.) Sam from Played by Liz Fichera- He demonstrates an excellent knowledge of survival skills in this book. My only worry is that our names would get confusing, so we would have to give adorable pet names to each other. Oh, the horror. *sarcasm*
4.) Sean from Uninvited by Sophie Jordan- I can't even get into the swoony factor on this one. I just can't.
5.) Ignifex from Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge- He's sooooo intelligent and full of confidence. His smooth talking could probably counteract some rough waves.
6.) Jesse from The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe- Bro is a star, literally. He could navigate some friendly ships our direction.
7.) Four from the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth- I want to stare at that tattoo all day. Plus, he has my vote as island spider-killer.
8.) Asher from the Transcender Trilogy (Blog Tour for this stopping here Saturday!)- Hello, he can jump through different dimensions. I think that could come in handy.
9.) Po from Graceling by Kristin Cashore- He's skilled at fighting, and if there were crazy animals or something on the island, he would be the perfect person to defend us.
10.)TIE: Chaol/Rowan from Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas- This is my list, so I'm saying I can have them both. We'll be on the island and have our own love triangle, and they both are excellent survivors so it's a win-win. 

Which characters would you choose to keep you company on a deserted island?


Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Skyscape
Pages: 348
Source: ARC for Review
ISBN-10:  1477847200
Rating: 2 Hearts

Book Description

"In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.
In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power."


Short and Sweet:

  While full of potential and good ideas, Gates of Thread and Stone was a disappointing mix of information that didn't quite fit. 

To Elaborate...

  This story started off pretty strong and I was really enjoying it. However, at a certain point I lost a feel for the world almost completely. It just stopped making sense and the world-building seemed to come to a screeching halt. This was a huge hit to the story for me because I had questions and raised eyebrows about improbable moments throughout the second half of the story.

Second of all, while I enjoyed Avan's character, Kai stayed pretty one dimensional and single minded. I found it hard to believe that she was so entirely focused on her missing brother that she wouldn't form other relationships (she sort of does, but not really), or grow as a person. Also, it really stretched the imagination that she never seemed to understand that Avan was into her. I just felt like I was waiting for her to be amazing, but she seemed like an in-over-her-head 'little sister' who was minutes away from becoming a casualty of her own naivety. 

Lastly, the ending had plenty of 'big moments,' but for me, they were cartoonishly unbelievable. Especially the final pages. The ending was bizarre to say the least. I especially disliked the last part of Avan's story line and I felt cheated out of the one part of the story I was enjoying.

Overall, this story had many elements that could have been great, but sadly didn't live up to that potential. 

A disappointed 2 hearts. :(

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bookish Talk: Why I Do What I Do 

 When it comes to reviewing and/or doing bookish things, we all have our reasons for doing so. For this Bookish Talk, I wanted to share why I personally do bookish things. :)

 Between interning at a publishing company and a literary agency and reviewing at two different sites, I can't add up the hours I spend reading, writing reviews/posts, composing manuscript reports, and doing other bookish things. Naturally (particularly during midterms and finals seasons), things can get pretty stressful and I need to be reminded why I do this (as I think maybe we all do occasionally), and why I don't purely focus on school and work and things like sleep. The reason I do this, other than of course the sheer enjoyment I find in books and the bookish community, comes in two main reasons. 

1.) Because books are like family, best friends, red velvet cake ice cream, and Diet Coke all rolled up into one for me. When I was growing up (actually until I went off to college), I was a fairly lonely kid. I lived far away from most things (Wal Mart was about 35 minutes away, school 45, and thus most of friends, 45 minutes or more away as well). We lived in an area that got dial up internet and had little to no phone signal. My single mom worked long hours, and I was left alone for quite a while (not when I was super young of course, my grandparents lived next door). This isn't me complaining, because I absolutely still enjoyed life, had some awesome friends, loved my family, etc. I'm just painting a portrait of how life was, which was often lonely. Books were what I always turned to. They were my friends when I couldn't get to mine. They were part of an outside world that I just couldn't experience yet. I loved the words they gave me. I loved how they made my young self feel brave and not so alone. As I get older, they come to mean different things to me, but I feel like they gave (and continue to give) me so much that the least I can do (that I LOVE to do) is spread the word about them, share them, work to find more books that could change another kid's life, etc. 

2.) Because art matters. One of my favorite episodes of One Tree Hill is when Peyton (cheerleader/tortured artist) is seriously doubting her work. She doesn't see the point of it anymore. Lucas (swoon worthy love interest) tells her something along the lines of, "Your art matters. It's what got me here" (which makes sense given the context of the episode). Authors are brilliant. They are absolutely stunning, and I am in constant awe of the talent I see from them. If one small review even has a tiny chance of showing that to them, give me a computer and a word document and I'm on it. Are authors all insecure and need their work validated in some form? No, of course not. But everyone has their doubts sometimes, and sometimes it's just nice to hear that people appreciate what they do and that just maybe it changes them (the reader) in some way. Makes them think about something they didn't before or brings a new side to something they couldn't see. Their work matters, and it personally really is what 'got me here.'

What about you? Why do you review/read/blog/etc?

Imagination Designs
Images by © Kelly J Sorenson |