Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Title: Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published: April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 054762834X (ISBN13: 9780547628349)
First review of the New Year!
Hey fellow readers, it's been awhile! Not going to lie, I almost forgot the password to the blogger account. I know, this is sad. I've kept putting off reviewing this book, and it's about time I sit down and write it.

This book was freaking amazing.

Ismae is a girl who runs away from an arranged marriage to one horrendous man. Basically, he was a woman beater. With the help from the priest who married them, Ismae runs away a covent where she is told she the the daughter of St. Mortain, the god of Death. -cue eerie music- She is trained as an assassin to kill those with the mark of Mortain and to carry out his will. While she holds no qualms to kills a traitor with her training, she is uncomfortable when she must pose as Duval's mistress, and her task is to investigate him. Of course, like any good story, Duval is a teasing, handsome man that makes her job so much harder.

Ismae is an amazing character who is strong willed and lets nothing stand in her way, including death. Her bracelets are made of a wire so that she can garrote a man, she has a knife that can fit into her corset, and pearls that are poisonous. Those nuns have trained her well.

Everyone should pick up this book if they get a chance, because as a I mentioned's freaking amazing.

I've missed you all!
Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Review: Broken Stone by Kelly Walker

UNABLE TO AVOID HER DESTINY ANY LONGER, Emariya has become the leader her mother always envisioned. Before she can focus on embracing her gifts to unify her three lands, she must first stop her own land from dissolving into civil war. Spurred by her brother’s devious policies and thirst for power, the people of the Uplands have surged into revolt. If Emariya cannot convince her own people to stand down and follow her, she will never convince her uncle she can lead all three lands. And he’s only given her half a year to do it.

AS SHE TRIES TO WIN HER OWN PEOPLE'S HEARTS, the love of her life, Torian Ahlen begins to lose his mind. While Torian is driven into a dark depression by his visions of Terin, Emariya realizes the only way to bring him back from the brink is to confront her brother once and for all and rescue Torian's sister. Unfortunately, because of the pull of the stones, his sister isn’t sure she wants to be rescued.

IF EMARIYA IS TO HAVE ANY CHANCE AT SAVING TORIAN'S MIND and his sister’s virtue, she will have to go directly to the source, those that bestowed the gifts (or curse) in the first place. But will whoever is waiting at The Cradle Of The Three be willing to help her? Her only chance to get Terin away from Reeve will be to nullify the pull of the Stones, accepting whatever changes that may mean for her and Torian.

Title: Broke Stone
Series: Souls of the Stones #3
Publisher: Kelly Walker (May 22, 2013)
Warning: Again. If you haven't read the previous two books, which I will link, and you willingly read this review, don't be surprised when you run into spoilers. I feel like I can't write this review without them, and now you can't complain, because you've been forewarned. No worries, there aren't any spoilers from this book though. 

This book--wait, this entire series has been so completely amazing (and is now one of my favorites, I am dying to buy the books and just cast them loving looks every time I pass by, is that weird?) and has made me excited to read. It's these kind of books that make me love reading, and are totally the reason that I plan on having a library for myself (and my books), with the perfect comfy chair. Ah...even this cover is pretty, I love it.

Riya hasn't had it easy, yet I feel that overall she has been pretty graceful at dealing with all of the problems that come her way, from having the person she trusts the most, her brother, betray her so severely, or her father, who was kidnapped for years, die by her side soon after she gets him back. She may be slowed down by difficulties of this sort, but it never completely stops her, and she'll take any risk, go to every length, if she can save her people, and her prince, who she is stronger with, but not hopeless without. 
With that being said, her people do desperately need her, more than they may even know. Her father left her the high seat of a corrupt council, although having them believe that may be a challenge within itself, and her uncle has only given her six months to bring peace to her lands if they are to sign a treaty to bring together the Three Corners, each of which has something the other needs. While trying to bring together the three lands she has to find a way to help Terin, who stays with Reeve by choice because of the pull of the stones, but if the pull is nullifiied, will Torian still love her? Somehow, throughout all of this, she continuously shows herself as a leader, not someone to be feared, but admired. This is why she is one of my favorite female heroines, because of her growth throughout these books, her strength and her independence.

Riya may have all of this on her shoulders, but she certainly won't face it alone. Garith and Jessa, her best friends from the start, will be there for her no matter what happens. Garith has certainly shown that he can be a leader, and in this book I think Jessa shows just how strong she can be, deciding to go with Blaine during one of the most dangerous points in the book. Blaine and Jessa may also spend a little more time together in this book, and by the end Garith finds someone too, who I didn't find too surprising, though the circumstances weren't necessarily ideal. Torian, who I love lots (and totally didn't expect to when I first started the books), did have the fate of his sister to think about. If she were to have a child, it may turn out evil and become dictator of the three corners, yet, he loves her, the last thing he wants to do is kill her, that's enough to drive anyone insane. Although he has his problems, along with Jessa and Garith, he's there for Riya, supporting and protecting her. 

Every moment of this book, and it's wonderful plot, had me entranced the entire time. I certainly had a hard time putting his book down because of the romance, action, surprises and overall awesome plot. Not only that, but I never got bored, I thought this was a well paced book. Be warned, it certainly has some scenes that made me tear up, yet others that made me laugh or brought a smile to my face. 
The ending was amazing, better than I expected, and I appreciated the epilogue, telling us what happens 15 years later. It ended the series on a great note and tied everything together perfectly, I am sad this series is over yet I'm so happy with the ending, having no questions left to be answered. 

Book Nerd and Proud, 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Memorable Quotes Monday: Divergent by Veronica Roth

"Moths," repeats Will. "You're afraid of moths?"
"Terrifying," Will says with mock seriousness. "That's my girl. Tough as cotton balls."
"Oh, Shut up."
"Not just a cloud of moths," she says, "like...a swarm of them. Everywhere. All those wings and legs and..." She shudders and shakes her head.
"Statistically should have hit the target at least once by now, even by accident... I think you’re actually defying nature."
“Sorry, am I being rude?" she asks."I'm used to saying whatever is on my mind. Mom used to say that politeness is deception in pretty packaging”
“Can you be a girl for a few seconds?"
"I'm always a girl" I frown.
"You know what I mean. Like a silly, annoying girl."
I twirl my hair around my finger. "Kay.”
"Got that gun?” Peter says to Tobias.
“No,” says Tobias, “I figured I would shoot the bullets out of my nostrils, so I left it upstairs."
"You know, most boys would enjoy being trapped in close quarters with a girl." I roll my eyes."Not claustrophobic people, Tris."
"What did you do, memorize a map of the city for fun?” says Christina.
“Yes,” says Will, looking puzzled. “Didn’t you?"
"We could visit him," suggests Will. "But what would we say? 'I didn't know you that well, but I'm sorry you got stabbed in the eye'?"
"Looks like someone had a mood swing.” She rolls her eyes. “Like you don’t want to know what his fears are. He acts so tough that he’s probably afraid of marshmallows and really bright sunrises or something."
"Okay. Then...I can talk. Ask me something."
"Okay." He laughs shakily in my ear. "Why is your heart racing Tris?"
I cringe and say, "Well, I...I barely know you. I barely know you and I'm crammed up against you in a box, Four, what do you think?"
"Maybe you were cut out for Candor," he says, "because you're a terrible liar."
“Yeah, well," I say, "I left Abnegation because I wasn't selfless enough, no matter how hard I tried to be."
"That's not entirely true." He smiles at me. "That girl who let someone throw knives at her to spare a friend, who hit my dad with a belt to protect me-that selfless girl, that's not you?"...
"You've been paying close attention, haven't you?"
"I like to observe people."
"Maybe you were cut out for Candor, Four, because you're a terrible liar.”
"I think it would be easier to fight in a dress,” says Marlene, tapping her chin. “It would give your legs freer movement. And who really cares if you flash people your underwear, as long as you’re kicking the crap out of them?”
Lynn goes silent, like she recognizes that as a spark of brilliance but can’t bring herself to admit it.“What’s this about flashing underwear?” says Uriah, sidestepping a bunk. “Whatever it is, I’m in."
"So, the thing we’re all not talking about,” he says. He gestures to me. “You almost died, a sadistic pansycake saved you, and now we’re all waging some serious war with the factionless as allies.”
“Pansycake?” says Christina.
“Dauntless slang.” Lynn smirks. “Supposed to be a huge insult, only no one uses it anymore.”
“Because it’s so offensive,” says Uriah, nodding.
“No. Because it’s so stupid no Dauntless with any sense would speak it, let alone think it. Pansycake. What are you, twelve?”
“And a half,” he says.
We really hope to get on a more regular posting schedule soon.
Book Nerd and Proud,
K.G. & C.J.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Wings of Nestor by Devri Walls

Kiora needs answers. Who is the Shadow? Who is Jasmine? Are they connected? And even more pressing—how can she stop the Shadow from using her dreams as a map to find them? They have escaped three times, but are living on borrowed time—and everybody knows it.

Kiora’s search will push her closer to Alcander, send her to the dragon mountain of Toopai, and lead straight back to Meros—where magic will finally return to the land of no magic. Answers will be uncovered and plans unearthed that have been waiting for thousands of years.

But with the Shadow’s forces gathering, the rebels are hurtling toward one outcome: war. Armed with knowledge and hope, Kiora is determined to change that path, but will fate allow it? Or will it teach her a hard lesson about following her own destiny?

Title: Wings of Nestor
Series: Solus #3
Published: June 24th 2013 by StoneHouse Ink (first published 2013)
ASIN: B00DMC4068
Xpresso Book Tours
I know, we never do this, posting a review for the third book in a series before the first but these are for a book tour so once it's over I'll have up the reviews for the others, I promise! At which time I'll rewrite this, because I'm not sure what I'll be adding to the first and second review, and I really don't want to spoil anything. 

One of the best parts of this book must be the writing, which I feel is an odd thing to say so I'll explain. Devri Walls is an amazing writer, creating an amazing world and then adding imagery truly allows you picture this world without any trouble or confusion. It makes these books a pleasure to read, and so sad that the next book isn't out yet, but then again I don't want the series to end.

Kiora is a very strong female lead, and has grown a lot throughout this series. Usually with love triangles it's very obvious who is going to be picked, but I think many readers will come to like both of the males, Emane and Alcander, and have a hard time choosing just one.

Aside from the romance, there are a lot more dragons, some pretty awesome magic and cool fight scenes. Overall, it was a great read and I'll be waiting for the next book!

Also, I had to mention the Xpresso Book Tours link goes right to this tour, so you can go check out all of the other wonderful bloggers reviews too! 
Book Nerd and Proud, 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

As a prizewinning foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Geraldine Brooks spent six years covering the Middle East through wars, insurrections, and the volcanic upheaval of resurgent fundamentalism. Yet for her, headline events were only the backdrop to a less obvious but more enduring drama: the daily life of Muslim women. Nine Parts of Desire is the story of Brooks' intrepid journey toward an understanding of the women behind the veils, and of the often contradictory political, religious, and cultural forces that shape their lives. Defying our stereotypes about the Muslim world, Brooks' acute analysis of the world's fastest growing religion deftly illustrates how Islam's holiest texts have been misused to justify repression of women, and how male pride and power have warped the original message of a once liberating faith.

Title: Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women
Published: December 1st 1995 by Anchor
ISBN: 0385475772 (ISBN13: 9780385475778)

As some of you read this review, you'll probably wonder why it sounds so much more formal compared to my regular reviews and why it's so long. Well, to answer your possible questions, it's an essay for my AP World History class, and since I've been doing nothing but read this book and write this essay, I don't really have anything else to post this enjoy!

“Nine Parts of Desire,” written by Geraldine Brooks, gives readers a glimpse into another world through her first hand experiences as a reporter in predominantly Muslim countries. Because Geraldine Brooks was a Middle East news correspondent for two years, she covered stories and met people that average people could not, and wrote during the time of Khomeini’s death and conflicts in the Middle East. When she began, Brooks was outraged women were oppressed in such a way that she did not have the same rights as she would in Western cultures. She could not report in the same areas as men because women were considered a distraction, but later she realized she had been given a greater opportunity to write countless stories about women and gain knowledge about their daily lives.

Muhammad, the founder and prophet of Islam, received his first revelation from God after his first wife, Khadija, passed away. He was told, “Men are in charge of women, because God has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property [to support them].” Then after, he was told, “Marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice [to so many] then one [only]." However, Muhammad himself was the exception to this rule and took up eight or nine wives. Each of the wives was scrutinized by those against the new religion, and soon there jealousy grew against the prophet’s favorites. Because of this, Muhammad received another revelation from God telling him to seclude his wives and stay concealed in their rooms; they could only go out when they were completely covered. Soon the rules applied to the prophet’s wives spread to other Muslim women.

While Brooks didn’t have much to say about Saudi Arabia, she explains other countries aren’t always so restricted. In the United Arab Emirates there are women soldiers, and in Iran, women have been voted into Parliament. While Pakistan is the first Islamic country to elect a woman prime minister, Turkey has both a female economist and prime minister, and within Bangladesh, there is a woman prime minister and leader of the opposition.

Geraldine Brooks poses the question, “Islam did not have to mean oppression of women. So why were so many Muslim women oppressed?” It is not necessarily the religion of Islam that represses women, but rather it is the varying interpretations of the Islamic religion that create different cultural and political influences. For instance, many people assume genital mutilation in order to preserve a girl’s chastity is solely an Islamic practice, but in reality, Christians also do this. It is not either religion that sanctions this act, but occurs because it is a traditional African practice.

While genital mutilation is influenced by cultural traditions, it is the political influences in that deny women the right to stay in a hotel room without a husband, the right to drive a car, and the right to an education. Few girls are given the opportunity to an education and only because if parents are able to afford it, and the literacy rates in Saudi Arabia show this. By 1980, while 62% of men were literate, only 38% of women were literate. While countries have made strides in women suffrage, but there is still much work to be done.

Rana Kabbani, a Muslim woman wrote, “I am always pained by Western misconceptions about the lives of Muslim women. Western ignorance is often inseparable from a patronizing view that insists on seeing us as helpless victims, while hardly distinguishing between the very different cultures we come from.” While there is injustice towards women, they should not be considered weak. Despite everything that keeps females from doing what they want, they still manage to find ways to accomplish their goals. Because of the restrictions of the hijab, many women living in Islamic countries cannot compete in the Olympics. So in 1993, the first Islamic Women’s Games were to take place in Tehran. This alternative gives Muslim females the chance to do sports they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

When Emirates’ Muslim authorities were against recruiting women soldiers, they pointed out Nusaybah, a woman soldier who saved Muhammad’s life on the battlefield when all the men had run off. Soon a ragtag group of 74 women were chosen from over 1,200 applications. United States female specialists from Fort Bragg were to run a basic training course for these women. None of these women had been physically active, and were brought up to “lower their gaze and be modest,” so it was an immense change for them to learn to look their officers in the eye and go through four mile runs. Because of their accomplishments, some Emirates officers found it hard to acknowledge their success. Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Nasser, the commander of the academy, could not believe the shooting scores, and ordered the women to redo the test on the men’s shooting range. He was surprised to see each woman shoot with such precision that each bullet hit dead center of the target.

For years, Geraldine Brooks observed the lives of Muslim women. She sheds light on the injustice towards women in the world, but she also shows women who carry out their ambitions despite all the obstacles in the Islamic lifestyle. Whether that is to become a politician, or an athlete, or a soldier, these women pave the path for others to follow.

Finally finished!
Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review: Second Stone by Kelly Walker

You are only a pawn if you don't know the game you are playing.

In the second installment in Souls of the Stones, the stakes are higher, the romance is hotter, and Emariya's power as a Cornerstone is growing.

DETERMINED TO MAKE SENSE OF THE BETRAYALS, lies, and her undeniable attraction to Torian, Emariya and her prince begin the journey to Sheas to confront her uncle and bring her father home.

Only days after leaving the castle, devastating news threatens to tear Torian and Emariya apart. Overcome by guilt, Emariya wants to repair the rift between them but first she must answer one important question: why can't she wake up?

A DEADLY FORCE HAS COME FROM THE SEA to claim its daughter, and if Torian wants to save Emariya, he'll first have to find a way to forgive her...and himself. That's easier said than done when both his sister and Emariya are counting on him at two separate ends of their world and the only people who might know how to help him are hiding in exile.

TO WIN THE BATTLE FOR THEIR LIVES, they will first have to win the battle for Emariya's mind. Only then can she rise up strong enough to face what she has to do.

Title: Second Stone
Series: Souls of the Stones #2
Published February 15th 2013 by Kelly Walker (first published February 1st 2013)
ISBN: 1482357100 (ISBN13: 9781482357103)
Warning: There isn't a way I can write this review without spoiling major plot points for Cornerstone (link to that review here), the first book in this series, and you've been forewarned so there shall be no complaining. 

Even from the beginning I was absolutely enthralled, after I had read that Riya's brother, Reeve, was behind all of it! I couldn't see him being evil, really, but, what you learn in the second book about that is also very interesting, and I thought unexpected. I thought this book had less twists, but more action and more romance between Torian and Riya. There might even be another couple forming, however unlikely it usually would be. 

Something I thought is important to mention is the flawless changing between POV's, and there were a quite a few of them. I never thought the transition was jumpy and erratic, plus in some books there's that annoying re-account of events that JUST happened, and truly provide no further information to the reader, but that didn't happen in this book. Even more important than that is that I could automatically tell who was speaking, I never encountered a moment when I was thinking: "Is this Riya or Jessa? Or maybe even Terin...?" 
Jessa groaned. "So he told you he loves you, and you said 'see you later.' Brilliant, Emariya.
Flashes of Torian's distant and strange looks earlier at the campfire came surging back. Once more, she pushed to her feet. "I think I need to go find Torian"
As I mentioned there's even more romance between Torian and Riya, I think they're a great couple. It started out as just an arranged married meant to bind the lines but now it's so much more than that. They both understand that part of their pull is because of them both being stones, but I think they would be in love even if there wasn't a pull. They make each other the best they can be, and that's a great kind of love. As mentioned in the description of the book, Riya does make a very bad (unintentional) decision, which really did test them. 

While Torian and Riya are very important, some pretty important things happen to other characters too. Riya's accidentally slip may end up risking the life of Terin, (I was really excited when I got to see things from her POV), and I don't think I'm spoiling anything because it basically says the same thing reworded in the description, plus you learn about this either at the end of the first book or during the first 10 pages of the second book. I can see the third book being important for Jessa, but this book was for Garith. He really grows, showing how strong and smart he is. He graciously takes the leadership he is given (but didn't ask for), leading better than most would've expected, and maybe even better than their formally trained leader did. Someone else you can't forget about is Riya's father, while we all know she's taking a trip to the Shea's to find her father when Reeve actually has him, and maybe they'll figure that out once they find out they've assumed the wrong person has had her father locked up for years. Will he finally be freed? 

While this book isn't free I totally believe it's totally worth the $5 it costs (as an eBook), I'm sad the series is ending with the next book but I'm also very excited to read it.  
Book Nerd and Proud,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Title: Obsidian
Series: Lux #1
Published: May 8th 2012 by Entangled Teen
ISBN: 1620610078 (ISBN13: 9781620610077)

For all you blog readers who have been here for awhile, just for your information, Jennifer Armentrout's writing is just as amazing as it was when I read the Covenant series that I fangirled over. There's just something that I love about a relationship that starts out with hate. Even though it's so obvious what will happen in the end, I enjoy it all the same. Like when I read The Host, I didn't expect an alien story to be so entertaining. When I think of aliens, I imagine those nerdy sci-fi movies, which for some odd reason have the hottest main characters. Anyways, this book is a must read!

Katy Swartz moves from Florida to a small town West Virginia before her senior year in high school. She is definitely one of my favorite female characters to read about...maybe it's because she's a reader and blogger like Kayla (HEY!) and I! 
"The day my internet was hooked up was better than having a hot guy check our my butt and ask for my phone number." 
Daemon Black...he definitely goes on the "Favorite Sexy Heroes" list up there with Jace and Will. The constant witty banter kept me laughing and I loved Daemon's arrogant attitude. Dee, his twin sister had a happy personality and befriends Katy when she first meets her. Daemon, being the protective brother that he is (doesn't that just make him hotter?!), doesn't want his sister hanging out with a human, because he knows that they can destroy his life. Why would that be? He's a freaking alien, that's why, and humans tend to enjoy poking, prodding, and experimenting on things that are unknown. Daemon and Dee are Luxen that take on a human form as they choose, but their real embodiment is light, and they have mind boggling powers. 

While Daemon and Katy try to avoid each other, they find themselves in situations together all the time. He teases and baits her which makes their relationship all the more fun. 
"Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys." 
Kiss or kill was the real question throughout the book. There were definitely some hot moments -fans self- which made even laptops'd get it if you read it. It was such a fun novel to read, and I will never make the mistake of waiting to read one of Armentrout's books again...

Book Nerd and Proud,