A Note:


I once told myself: IF I am accepted into grad school, this blog would no longer be updated. As it turns out, in April, I received news of my acceptance for the Fall 2013 semester, where I will attain a Master's degree of Science in Nutrition.

Running a blog, as many of you may already know, is a demanding side job once the excitement wears off. And once I fell out of the blogging community's loop (have you SEEN how many blogs there are now? Wow!), it was like the kiss of death. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get into a blogging routine once this happened due to the disconnect I felt from the community.

So I took a break. I struggled with the loss and with missing my blog. And then I realized I didn't have to run Book Faery to still be a book reviewer; I could read my books and post reviews online. I'm still a book review blogger, just not in the traditional sense.

I'll still be online. You can chat with me on Twitter, where I'll be posting links to my reviews and talking books. I'll also be posting links to nutrition articles. And if you'd like to connect with me where I guarantee I will post reviews, just add me as a friend on Goodreads.

So that's all, folks! It's been a fun and amazing journey, and I thank you all for listening to my thoughts about books. I hope we all can keep in touch elsewhere :)


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Temporary Hiatus

Book Faery will be on a temporary hiatus lasting for the month of May only. My finals are fast approaching, and the slave drivers (ahem, professors), have assigned so much work I'm literally drowning in it right now (who would have thought? Usually I'm drowning in books). There will be a few random updates here and there, including a giveaway or two with some awesome authors, but book reviews will be severely lacking this month from my end.
I've also noticed that, due to the stress from this semester, I've had zero motivation to read any books recently. That will change. I already feel it changing, as my mind rebels against academia. If you're an author/publisher who has sent me a book to review, no worries, my friend, I will read it and review it here in good time. My apologies for taking so long thus far.

While I've got your attention, I'll also apologize to those who have been trying to contact me via email; I've been on spring break right now, and went to Florida last week. It was extremely relaxing, but it also meant I had limited access to my email accounts. I will respond to your emails as soon as I can.

And finally: to all of you who have stuck with me and my blog for this long, especially through my sporadic updates this year...


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Author Interview and Giveaway of RAGE by Jackie Morse Kessler

Please give a warm welcome to Jackie Morse Kessler, the astounding author who is currently writing heartbreaking YA books based on each of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Connect with Jackie:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

Could you please give a brief summary of both HUNGER (book 1) and RAGE (book 2) for those unfamiliar with your Riders of the Apocalypse series?

JK: Sure! HUNGER is about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. RAGE is about a teen girl who self-injures, who becomes the new avatar of War. HUNGER looks at eating disorders and RAGE, at self-injury.

Which Horseman are you going to write about for book 3?
JK: Pestilence, also called the Conqueror. (A very good bridge player, according to Death.) This book will be called LOSS. And it's due May 15 to my editor. (Eek!)

Will you write a future book about Death?

JK: Oh yeah. **rubs hands gleefully** That book will be called BREATH. And it will be epic. Oh yes. It will be epic! (Can you tell I'm having a manic moment?)
What will his book primarily focus on: the present, or how he became Death?

JK: That would be telling. ;) (And the answer is "Yes.")

What inspired you to "pair" Missy with Death of all people?

In HUNGER, War declares herself to be Death's Handmaiden. History shows war and death going hand in hand, so why wouldn't the Horsemen of War and Death work well together?

Which of the four horsemen is your favorite?

JK: Depends on the mood I'm in. While Death is my favorite overall, War gets some really phenomenal moments.

Will this series consist of four books, or will there be more?

JK: Four Horsemen; four books. :)

Is there anything you'd like to mention about your YA series?

I'm donating a portion of proceeds of the books to specific charities. For HUNGER, that charity is the National Eating Disorders Association. For RAGE, it's To Write Love On Her Arms. (I'll pick a charity for LOSS when I'm done with the draft, but I have a pretty good idea which one it will be.) So if you choose to buy a copy of HUNGER or RAGE, thank you for helping make a difference. :)

Riders of the Apocalypse giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster! To enter, send an e-mail to RageGiveaway@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email.

Jackie's next stop is Bookworming in the 21st Century at http://www.bookworminginthe21stcentury.com/.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Giveaway of Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Guess what! You have THREE chances to win a signed copy of the incredible Dystopian Young Adult novel, ENCLAVE, by Ann Aguirre. And, if you have no idea what this book is about, then have no fear, because I've actually reviewed it on the blog (and it received a Faerie of Honor rating, because it was that great!). 

Contest Guidelines:
1) Answer the question: If you were stuck living underground for your entire life, would you be the person who eventually goes to explore the surface world, if given the opportunity? 
2) Include your email address
3) This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY
4) Contest ends: Sunday, April 17th  

Extra Entries:
1) +1 for tweeting about this giveaway (but only if you include a link!)

You can increase your chances of winning ENCLAVE by visiting the following blogs, who also happen to be participating in this giveaway extravaganza!

For What It's Worth
All Consuming Books

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tori's Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

- 304 pages
Price: $9.99
ISBN 13: 978-0373210268
Released: April 19, 2011

Aimee's Website
Buy it via Amazon

Obtained: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal Romance
Series: The Goddess Test 
1. The Goddess Test

Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

My Rating: Two ratings: Technical - 2.5 / 5 wings; Enjoyment - 3.5 / 5 wings.

My Opinion:
I could go on for days reading about all the Greek myths that are available. The gods, particularly Hades, Artemis, and Athena, were my favorite aspects of the myths. So, to have them make an appearance in THE GODDESS TEST made me quite giddy. Then to discover that TGT was based upon the Hades/Persephone myth? Well, I requested the book yesterday (3/3/11) on NetGalley, got approved right away, and spent the rest of the night reading it on the computer.

The threat of a horrible headache (from reading on a computer for way too long) and a 13 hour day of classes in the city, however, did not deter me from my reading goal. Why then, you must all be wondering, did she give the book such weird ratings?  It was difficult. While I enjoyed the novel, was engrossed with what was happening (minimal skimming), there were technical problems which lessened my enjoyment. There were a few points where I would have preferred to close this book and never open it again because some of the scenes or characters were too ridiculous.

The mother/daughter relationship is what ultimately engrossed me with the tale from page one. I found myself continually tearing up in the beginning as Kate attempted to cope with her mother's illness and the fact that she would be alone soon. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, and love her very much, which is why I had such ease relating and absolutely adoring the start to TGT. Had I been in Kate's position, I do not think I would have been so composed, which is why I respected her as a character also.

Alas, that relationship is soon cast aside as the paranormal swarms into Kate's life. I read that some reviewers felt the relationship Kate had with her mother was cheapened towards the end, but I did not think so. I was disappointed that Kate's entire attention span transferred from her mother to an emo punk, but she's a teen, and I think what happened was supposed to ween her off her dependency.

I had high hopes for Hades, aka Henry. I wanted him to be badass, I wanted him to woo Kate off her feet and seduce her into the role of Persephone. To bad it did not happen, and Kate was the awkward wooer. I was disappointed about how two dimensional Henry's character was at the start, and even towards the end. While I read all the scenes with him, he came off as apathetic in my mind--dull, even. I am also not buying the fact that he would let Persephone stumble upon such a fate in this book, reinventing a myth or not. Persephone's fate aside, Henry's characterization could use a lot of work in order for him to come alive for me.

Now that I'm talking about characterization, I might as well mention that this was my primary problem with the novel. None of the characters felt alive to me. Even Kate had her moments where she felt more like a paper-cutout and less like a real person. The only instances where the book and its characters truly felt genuine were the moments of interaction between Kate and her mother. The rest... I wish the secondary characters had more to them to make me care, because damn it, I wanted to care.

Suspending disbelief was a close second. I could not believe some of the friendships that were so easily accepted by Kate. There were no reasons whatsoever for Kate to feel such loyalty to some of the characters she just met. There was no reason for her to sacrifice her life for a girl who wanted to harm her.

Complaints aside, I think me reading this book in one night reveals that I still enjoyed myself. I think that's why I've given this book two ratings. For the enjoyment factor, it was definitely a 3.5 star book, and I want to recommend it to most people I know, but for the technical aspects, it is clear that this is a debut author's book. Some elements incorporated into the story needed to be fleshed out more, and because they weren't, they worked against the novel.

The weaknesses are what will make or break this book for some readers. I already know that most readers I usually agree with when it comes to disliking a YA will probably not enjoy TGT. I also know that many will adore it, because the positives will probably outweigh the negatives for them. To be completely honest, I'm still not sure how this book kept me going, but it did, and I want to know what happens in book 2.

Would I recommend THE GODDESS TEST to readers? Yes and no. Those who generally have similar tastes in YA books as me probably won't enjoy this novel as a whole, unless they have some weird "holy crap" moment like I did. For those readers, I would suggest checking the book out at the library or seeing if they can borrow from a friend/request from NetGalley if they still want to read TGT. I do not think an excerpt will be adequate, because the first few chapters were so beautifully written that I wanted to 5-star this book initially. As for everyone else, yes, yes you should get this book, and you should get it fast; it's a great read, and one you'll probably adore.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tori's Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

- 272 pages
Price: $9.99
ISBN 10: 0312650086
Released: April 12, 2011 

Ann's Website
Buy it via Amazon

Obtained: Publisher 
Genre: Young Adult - Dystopian 
Series: Enclave 
1. Enclave
2. Outpost

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

My Rating:
This book has received the Faerie of Honor Rating (what is this?)

My Opinion:
I read this book in one sitting and was willing to stay up until 4AM (or later) to finish it. For the first time in YEARS, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack while reading a book. The words "this book is awesome-sauce" do not nearly give ENCLAVE enough justice; it was: "blow your mind holy freaking crap" SPECTACULAR, and that is coming from the girl who usually bashes, nitpicks, and DNFs most YAs.

Before I begin, I would like to give you all this warning: avoid reviews with any spoilers. This is one book that will get your heart pumping and, if you're anything like me, will get you 100% emotionally invested. I'm not joking when I said my heart was pounding the closer I got to the end of this story.

After waking up this morning (Jan 16th 2011), I logged onto Twitter and noticed some bloggers had begun discussing ENCLAVE. The second I saw this book's title on Twitter, a huge grin plastered itself to my face and I started giggling and squealing. Now this might not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you that, after reading 140+ books back in 2010, it takes a lot for me to recall character names. Most of the time, I'll even forget what the heroine's name is after going to bed. Not the case here. Even after sleeping, I still felt the same level of excitement and happiness upon reflection. (See? I'm not so jaded after all)

ENCLAVE is the story about Deuce, our heroine, who grew up underground. We follow her after she finally earns her name, becomes a Huntress, and meets Fade, the hero. Basically society is separated into different "clans" that contain Hunters (who protect, who hunt, and who kill Freaks), the Breeders (who, like their name suggests, breed brats), and the Builders (self explanatory). Nobody lives for very long in this society. For instance, their leader is in his 20's, and they consider him old enough.

The Freaks are like zombies. They've always been there, and they're the scavengers/gluttons of the underground world. They attack everything and anything that moves, and will eat each other if one dies. I actually felt terrified whenever Deuce/Fade went out and encountered these creatures, and I never feel terrified while reading a book.

Ever since Deuce could remember, the Freaks were mindless, blathering idiots that feared each enclave... but recently, they've been venturing closer and closer to the barracks. And I'm stopping there, because like I said, this is one story you need to read it without knowing anything.

The main characters will squirm their way into your heart without you realizing it, and by then it's too late--you'll be in love with them all. Sometimes, they will also earn your ire, and perhaps will even make you growl or scream out loud. Regardless of how you feel, kudos to Ann for making each and every character three-dimensional and appealing in his or her own unique way.

The romance in this story was also masterfully done. I wish I had Ann's skills at not only writing, but also weaving romance in so effortlessly. If you are looking for a love story first and foremost, you will not find it here. The adventure comes first and romance second, which, I think truly makes this novel that much more convincing.  And, while I hate to say this (because I am a Deuce/Fade supporter all the way), I loved the way Ann kept everything open-ended by the novel's conclusion.

I actually have nothing to complain about in this book. The characters were solid, the world was intriguing, the romance had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and the descriptions were beautifully done. I think the only thing I was unhappy about was the book's ending. There was no cliffhanger, and it actually ended in a great spot, but because I was so invested, I never wanted the story to end! I groaned out loud, PRAYING that there would be a second book.

Unfortunately, OUTPOST (book #2 in this series) does not come out until Fall of 2012 (I kind of died inside when I first saw that on Ann's website). It's a long wait--especially after reading ENCLAVE a few months before its release, but I think it'll be worth it. I know I will be rereading ENCLAVE later in the year. Add OUTPOST to your "to read" list folks, because you're going to be salivating for the next book in this series.

ENCLAVE is a strong YA debut Ann should be proud of. This is a book I am gladly adding to my all-time favorites list, and it's one I've already begun suggesting to all searching for an engaging read. I think anyone craving for a dystopian--whether you're a regular reader, you've written dystopians off, or are just starting out with the genre--should read ENCLAVE. I highly suggest pre-ordering the hardcover copy of this book ASAP; it will be money (and time) well spent.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tori's Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

- 368 pages
Price: $17.99
ISBN 13: 978-0061797026
Released: April 12, 2011

Kelley's Website
Buy it via the Publisher
Buy it via Amazon

Obtained: ARC Tours
Genre: Young Adult 
Series: Darkness Rising Trilogy
1. The Gathering

Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

My Rating:

My Opinion:
I actually have a couple of ratings for this book, so I think I'll take a different angle regarding my review.

Story 4/5
I thought that the premise of this story (much like Kelley's other YA--the Darkest Powers series) was both strong and interesting. There's lots of information I learned about in this one, and I enjoyed it all while it happened. We also learned about a not-so-explored culture and background, which is always good.

Characters 3/5
*Diversity: Wowza. Everyone always complains about how books don't explore other races and how they're always about white people. To be honest, I don't usually give a shit because I picture my own version of each character anyway. Point is, diversity is great, but it's not a deal-breaker in a book for me if all the characters are white, black, yellow, magenta, or rainbow. I think I'd enjoy the book more if the characters were rainbow, actually.

I kind of got off track though... You won't have that problem in THE GATHERING, friends. The heroine, and her love interest, are not white.

*Characterization: All the characters did appear believable, and I have to commend Kelley on individualizing each teen. I thought Maya was interesting and well fleshed out, yet despite that, I had some issues with her behavior. Maybe it's because I didn't really know any teens who behaved like she does. Maybe it's me taking issue with Kelley's characters, because I noticed I had the same problem while reading her Darkest Powers series.

*Dialogue: Sometimes it worked, sometimes I wished there were less speeches. Will go into this in more detail in the romance section.

Antagonist(s) 2/5
Note: If you do not want to read ANYTHING spoilery, then please skip this section.
This is where things get a bit unclear for me. We're left on this wild goose chase wondering if a cougar killed someone, or if someone else (someone you will find out for yourself while reading) had something to do with it. Then when the ending comes, we're introduced to these random dudes in suits with guns trolling around the forests--which are currently burning down thanks to them--and then the book just ends. We don't know anything more, we don't know who the real bad guy is, and we don't know what happened to another character. Perhaps this was intentional, since this is a series, but like a few other reviewers, I am unsure of the story arc's direction from here and on.

Romance 3/5
Despite my criticisms, I enjoyed the blossoming romance in this, and was cheering for Maya and her love interest. I took issue with her "first" real interaction with the boy because he ended up going into huge speeches about his past and what went wrong and this and that. I didn't find it realistic--maybe because even the most forthcoming of guys I knew would never open up that fully (and so easily)--and I actually rolled my eyes at some points regarding certain repeated statements. I'm not sure if this was supposed to make me sympathize with his character, and if so, it didn't work too much for me.

Also, I think I'm a pervert because I only started really liking him after he made out with Maya.

Would I suggest you pre-ordering this right away, or rushing to the stores to buy? ...Not really. Much like the Darkest Powers series, it was an interesting read and kept me engaged while checking it out, but once I closed the book, it was a lot less memorable. I do, however, suggest everyone reads this story, though. I think that THE GATHERING is setting the scene for future installments, and I anticipate the next book to be a lot more memorable.