i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Knightly Academy

Knightly Academy (Book 1)
by Violet Haberdasher

Henry Grim has never been in trouble for borrowing a priceless sword. He has never discovered a forbidden room in a sinister castle or received a death threat over breakfast.

All Henry knows is life as an orphaned servant boy at the Midsummer School, bullied by the privileged sons of aristocracy–until he becomes the first commoner accepted at the prestigious Knightley Academy, where he will train as a modern-day knight alongside the brightest and most arrogant fourteen-year-olds in the country.

It soon becomes apparent that Henry and his two roommates, also from decidedly un-Knightley backgrounds, are not welcome at the Academy, and that someone will go to great lengths to sabotage their chances at becoming knights. But Henry discovers that much more is at stake than his future at Knightley—a war is brewing, and only he can sound the alarm. But is anyone going to believe a former servant on the brink of expulsion? (knightlyacademy.com) (because the lacking summary on goodreads sucked!)

I first heard of Knightly Academy at the Teen Author Carnival in NYC in May 2010. Violet Haberdasher was one of the author panelists during the event and as soon as she spoke about her novel I was enchanted by the idea of it! Sadly, I didn’t have the money to buy the book then and this last year didn’t allow me to buy many books – especially not in hard cover. This summer things changed a little and the book came out in paperback. What I once thought was a YA novel turned out to be a MG novel and to be honest, that made me want it MORE. I didn’t figure the MG book to have a stupid love-triangle-teen-romance deal in it. That made me H-A-P-P-Y!

I really enjoyed this book right from the first pages. Of course I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the Harry Potter series, but the story did well to distinguish itself from that big time series. I liked Henry Grim right away and I loved his two roommates as well. The entire concept behind the Academy was such fun! I wasn’t sure what to expect, I thought it would be a lot darker and gothic but it’s not. It’s a light, fun read about a boarding school type place where boys learn to be knights and girls, well, one in particular, would rather learn the boy stuff (reading, language) than the girl stuff (embroidery and etiquette).

All characters were FUN. From Adam and Rohan to Professor Stratford and Sir Frederick. Even good ol’ meany Lord Havelock (who resembled Professor Snape a little too much to me) was pretty entertaining.

I enjoyed this book so much I even attempted to read it while on the bus. Not a good idea. It results in some pretty violently ill moments. It didn’t stop me from trying a couple of times though. I finally finished it last night.

I am very frustrated that the second book is out in hard cover because I would like to read MORE of this series NOW. Alas, I must wait a year all impatient-like for it to come out in paper back. I can’t possibly buy the sequel in a different format, now can I? As it is, I am happy I waited for this book to change formats because they changed the cover of the book and I would have been stuck with miss-matched books in a series! GASP! The HORROR! So they’d best not change them again next year. =P

I like when I discover fun books! I seem to like MG books more and more over YA lately. They have meatier stories and are much more entertaining!

Knightly Academy series

  1. Knightly Academy
  2. The Secret Prince

Starcrossed

Starcrossed (Book 1)
by Josephine Angelini

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart. (goodreads.com)

I have waited a while before starting this post because I wasn’t sure what to say about the book. I will admit that the first 5 chapters did not wow me and I turned to my husband and said “The problem with Twilight and Stephenie Meyer is that the success of those books made it easy for other authors who can’t really write to get published since publishers probably bought all paranormal books to try and make ANOTHER Twilight!” (Yes, I do not like Twilight and I think the writing was just horrible. I am not afraid to admit this. I will however not tell you where I live… =P) I almost gave up on the book because those first five chapters were just so… so… heavy handed. The writing, description, plot, they made my teeth hurt. But the premise of the story was so very interesting to me that I kept going.

Thankfully the book got better. I was cringing less over the writing and plot devices and I was enjoying the flow of the story a lot more. There were still some very cringe-worthy moments in the writing. One sentence in particular jumped out at me and I wish that I had stuck a sticky note on that page because I want to quote it here so bad. I read it to my husband and he just laughed and laughed. It was in relation to when Creon appeared and was always lurking in his shadows. Oh, it was a laugh!

The romance angle between Helen and Lucas evened out a little more and it wasn’t all LUST! all the time. They had intelligent conversations and some pretty entertaining scenes together that weren’t all about wanting to jump each other’s bones. I could stomach their romantic feelings for each other much better by the end of the book than in those first five chapters.

What I did really like was the relationship between Helen and her best friend Claire and then Matt. I love that she doesn’t keep her powers/secrets from her friend. I could almost over look the fact that she does keep this from her father. The relationship between Helen and her father seemed like a very strong one and I feel that she should have confided in him based on how they were written. I get her wanting to keep him from getting hurt, but it seemed odd that she wouldn’t go to him with her problems. For a parent who was suddenly faced with a child who was acting completely out of character he was certainly accepting of her changes and allowing her to tell him there were things going on but she couldn’t tell him yet. I am not sure if I am ok with that or not.

I also liked the Delos clan. Each member was unique and memorable. They all played a part at some point and I grew very fond of them.

As for the mythology, well, it was certainly interesting and different from other books out there. My only qualm is that I am tired of stories where characters suddenly discover they are the most powerful *insert paranormal creature* here and OMG! the world NEEEEEEDS them to SAVE IT! Helen also seems to be able to do EVERYTHING. All the different powers people have individually she has in a package. I don’t find this makes her more interesting, I think it makes her as common as almost every protagonist in paranormal stories these days. All in all though, I really liked Helen and I could over look her super powery demi-goddessyness. (Yes, spell check, I made that word up and I am proud of it!)

I ended up liking the book enough to want the sequel, which I don’t believe it due out until next May, so I have a while to wait. I love the idea for this story regardless of the issues I had with the book. I liked the characters a lot even though some were slightly stereotypical. The book didn’t blow me away but it was entertaining and captivating. Once I got about 8-10 chapters in it picked up for me and I didn’t cringe as much as those first 5 chapters.

EDIT: I almost forgot! I bought the book because of who recommended it!

 

I didn’t even know my little pup could read! But since she liked it, I had to try it, right? 😉

Starcrossed

  1. Starcrossed
  2. Dreamless – 2012
  3. Untitled – 2013

 

i hope july passes quickly

For the last handful of years, ever since Monkey gave me the most awesome gift, I have always had the Emily the Strange calendar on my desk at work. I have loved these calendars and their art and unique monthly-box things at the bottom. Normally the worst month would be October when there would be spider art all over the place, even if tiny, but it wasn’t that noticeable.

This time, I have problems with July.

SHARK!!!

Not only that but…

SUBMARINE SHARK!!

I used to not turn over the month until the first day of the month. I’d freak out if someone changed their calendar before the first. The last year I have had to change it within the last few days because I reference a month ahead at work. So I turned it yesterday and those SHARP SHARK TEETH have been haunting the corner of my eye for two days. I can’t handle it.

Sharks freak me out. Subs freak me out. It’s BOTH.

I can’t handle this!

I am going to have to stick a photo or a sticky note or something over that shark head. I can’t have it staring at me for a month. I can’t.

Thankfully tomorrow is a holiday, so I won’t be in. I shouldn’t be in on Monday either (though I am contemplating that), so I have 4 days away from it. And I will have Fridays off this summer and hopefully at some point I will be on holiday (though I don’t know if that will happen in July…) So I will have time away from the SHARK SUB!!!!! but for when I am here – especially if I am alone in the office with everyone else gone, it will freak me out!

Need to think about how to fix this…creatively. 😉

 

just how bad are some marriages?

I logged on to Facebook this morning and was met with this lovely reminder on the right side of my screen. My first thought was, “Ha! Facebook is trying to save marriages by reminding people 6 days in advance!” Then it occurred to me that FB also felt the need to remind me to whom I am married.

I am going to assume that it does this for every one and not just because FB thinks I am some sort of spacey fool who has no memory capability. (Honestly, they wouldn’t be far off thinking that, however it would be insulting.) Now, in assuming that it does this for everyone (who has the information in their profile of course) I have to wonder – how bad are some marriages that FB feels the need to not only remind people of the date but also of the PERSON they are married to? 0.O

Really!

Firstly, I don’t need to be reminded of my anniversary date because I am a huge sap (so is my husband but don’t tell him I told you that) and I will never forget the date we got married. It’s not just because it’s attached to a holiday weekend here (although, for those of you planning weddings who have lousy memories, I highly suggest picking a date close to a holiday ;)) but because I married the person that I love more than anything in the world! (Yes! Even more than vanilla cake with butter cream icing that my mother makes. That is LOVE people.) The date/weekend means something to us.

Secondly, if you’re in a marriage where you might find yourself wondering “Hey, does anyone know who my husband is? Because I have a wedding anniversary coming up, I know I do. I just feel like I am forgetting something.” Well, then you have a problem with your marriage. Perhaps you shouldn’t have gone off and gotten drunk in Vegas and married some shmo off the street. If you had a huge wedding with people everywhere and you still don’t remember? Well then, I can’t help you. I don’t think you should be allowed out in public.

I appreciate the help, Facebook, but I can assure you that Shawn and I have our wedding anniversary nicely in hand and we’re on top of things. As long as it doesn’t rain too much we’ll be in the Old Port at the Pub we always eat at like every year. We love it. Wouldn’t change it for the world.

The Throne of Fire

The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, #2)
by Rick Riordan

Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven’t given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.

And now their most threatening enemy yet – the chaos snake Apophis – is rising. If they don’t prevent him from breaking free in a few days’ time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it’s a typical week for the Kane family.

To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished.

First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly?

Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride. (goodreads.com)

Hmm, this summary makes up for the last two lame ones. Need to make sure my review is at least as long as this. Good grief. (Yes, I could very well write my own but I suck at that immensely.)

I was super excited to read this book, which is why when I was finally able to go out and buy books last weekend it was the first one I picked up. (I might have left the store with seven books in total, which was actually me being very reserved with my buying…) Unfortunately I just can’t get into anything I read this month (which is why I have only read a total of 6 books so far, when last year I read 12 in June!) I struggled through Throne of Fire because I knew that I was enjoying it, I just didn’t feel like reading it. But I WANTED to read! I just didn’t want to. Does that make sense?

As is the norm with Rick Riordan novels, there were a ton of laugh out loud moments. I even contemplated taking notes while reading to remind myself what pages the best lines were on so I could share them with you. However, I was having enough time trying to focus on reading the book that I didn’t think adding some steps to the process would be the smartest thing I could do. You’ll have to trust me on this one – I cracked up a LOT while reading the book.

I am still holding to the fact that I like this series better than Percy Jackson. I think it’s better written (I think) and I find the humour a lot funnier. There is something about the plot and action that hooks me a little better as well. I have yet to read The Lost Hero which is set in the same world as PJ and I have heard great things about it so I will read it at some point. That series I think I will collect in paperback. The only reason I am going hard cover with the Kane Chronicles is because I got the first book in HC at BEA last year. My book OCD will not allow me to change the other books lest the series look out of sorts on my shelf. (I say this as if the books are actually on a shelf and not in a pile on the floor since I have no shelves and need some desperately.)

Look at me saying a whole lot of nothing about the book just to fill some space. Heh.

My one problem with the series is that I keep forgetting how young Carter and Sadie are supposed to be. Sadie only turns 13 in this story and I have  hard time thinking she’s that young. Especially since she’s all gaga for Walt who is sixteen. Am I that old and crotchety already that a relationship between a 12-year-old (now 13) and a sixteen-year old is creepy? I know three years is no big when you get older, but for some reason that just made my skin crawl. Plus I didn’t really get Walt’s deal. (Or even get his name right since I have called him Will all this time and only noticed I got his name wrong when I was proof reading.) Carter and Zia also bugged me. I guess I just enjoy these books as adventure stories and I don’t need the added love story to muck it up. Now is it there because publishers and authors feel that every story now needs some sort of romantic angle like Twilight? Is it there because at the ages of 13 and 14 these crushes and obsessions happen normally (because they do seem like normal every day teen activity). Is it there to try to grab more girl readers? I don’t know. There could be many reasons, I just don’t like it. I am apparently old and crotchety. Sigh. (In my defence I wouldn’t have liked that aspect of the story when I was a teen either, so maybe I was just born old and crotchety.)

Based on the ending of this installment of the series I am extra curious and excited to read the next book (which I believe should be the final book). Some interesting things happened that I can’t wait to see where they go.

Maybe this summer I’ll see if I can find myself a copy of The Lost Hero so I can get another Riordan fix. His books always seem to make me laugh and I need that more and more these days!

Kane Chronicles