Tag: young adult

Aug 01

Giveaway: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Books/Writing 23

I am super excited to be hosting my first giveaway here on The Bent Bookworm! I’ve fallen so much in love with the ACOTAR series that I had to share it around. ๐Ÿ˜€ This is for a hardcover copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas. I’m also including a little coloring booklet full of YA book covers, that was included in July’s OwlCrate! It’s adorable but I have lots of coloring books and not enough time for them as it is! You can enter by leaving a blog comment (make sure to add all your entries to the Rafflecopter), following me on Twitter, and a few other things.

Giveaway - ACOTAR1

 

Giveaway - ACOTAR2

Entries are open starting now until midnight, Tuesday, August 9, 2016 (Seoul time, which is about 13 hours ahead of EST). Winners will be contacted within 48 hours and if I don’t receive a response within 48 hours of attempting to contact, I’ll pick someone else. Have fun!! Click below for the Rafflecopter and let me know if there are any issues! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jul 24

Book HANGOVER – A Court of Mist and Fury

Books/Writing 2

Photo linked to appropriate Society6 store. I need this.

No, this is not a review. Not yet. This is just me…flailing. Because OMG all the feels. And because I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. to finish this 630 page beast (no pun intended) and was drinking wine so I feel a little bit actually hungover. I started reading at noon yesterday and only took a few breaks. You know, because eating. And picking the husband up from work.

Found this “Which Court Do You Belong In” quiz, which is OBVIOUSLY WRONG, because somehow it says I belong in the Spring Court. *sob*

Yes, I am showing my new bookmarks off everywhere. Because they’re that adorable.

My morning has been spent finding everything I possibly can on the next books. The next one of which will not be released until MAY 2017. WHAT DO I DO?!? There’s not even a title yet.
Also, ALL the Rhysand/Night Court candles. Because I need them, obviously. I need to be able to smell that sea/citrus/starlight scent. *hearteyes*

Specifically this one. Aaaah! Link to store.

Also this. And this. Because Evie Bookish’s store is awesome.

Real review forthcoming, some time this week. If I can become coherent again.

 

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Jul 20

Book Review: My Lady Jane

Books/Writing, Reviews 4

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This book was like sitting down and eating a big bowl of jelly beans. Or maybe gummy bears. Yes, I think gummy bears. Without the calories!

Like these. My favorites, from the local co-op I used to shop at in Virginia. Mmmmm. (photo from Greenly, but the ones I bought were, um. just pure sugar, haha!)

My Lady Jane is a light-hearted, fun-filled, rollicking good time. It’s billed as YA…fantasy? Alternate history? To me it feels most like humorous alternate history, complete with shapeshifting. Bwhahahaha. Such a refreshing turn on the whole Protestant/Roman Catholic problem. I loved that they took the very gloomy story of Lady Jane Greyย and turned it into something so much fun. Note: no one dies in this version. Except…well. Anyway.

Something that always struck me the hardest about Jane’s story is how freaking young all the main players were. Pawns on a chessboard to their scheming, conniving elders. Well, they’re most definitely given their voices here! I was laughing before I got to the end of the second chapter, as the young King Edward is lamenting his death sentence:

There was so much he wanted to do with his life. First of, he wanted to kiss a girl, a pretty girl, the right girl, possibly with tongue.ย 

And then Jane! I had always suspected, but now I am quite sure, that Jane Grey was a girl after my own heart.

She delighted in the smell of ink, the rough feel of the paper between her fingers, the rustle of sweet pages, the shapes of the letters before her eyes. And most of all, she loved the way that books could transport her from her otherwise mundane and stifling life and offer the experiences of a hundred other lives.

This book does not take itself or its topic too seriously – but, seriously enough to include the facts (and note deviations from them), even down to how Lady Jane’s name came to be carved in the Beauchamp Tower. Alongside that, however, are not-so-subtly-veiled nods to popular culture references that, in context, had me rolling in my chair and my husband wondering if I’d truly lost my marbles. Jane is bookish and nerdy but also a spunky little spitfire, and I love her.

“Who are you calling beef-witted?” she laughed at him. “Your mother was a hamster, and your father stank of elderberries!”

10 points if you can name the original source.

“I might not be able to beat a weapons master, but I can easily best an old, top-heavy, pusillanimous, two-faced, paltry, odious excuse for a man.” He pushed his sword forward until it was against his father’s coat. “Drop your sword.”

Do I even need to explain why it took me 5 minutes to stop laughing enough to continue reading? I’m sure there are probably other references in the book, to other movies/stories, but I’m not the most up on pop culture myself so I might have missed some. ๐Ÿ˜›

4/5 stars. My only real critiques would be that, even with the obvious goal of being fun and laughter-inducing, the villains should have been a little more, well, villain-y. Even the Duke of Northumberland, for all his plotting and scheming, isn’t very scary. Maybe that would have effected the gummy bear quality too much, but that part felt a bit flat to me. Also, at one point there is a big “hunt,” which all seemed very convoluted and unnecessary but somehow took up several chapters. After that was out of the way though, the romping pace resumed and all was well. The ending was very satisfactory, to all involved. Too bad the real facts aren’t as full of unicorns and butterflies (to be clear: no unicorns actually appear).

“We’d fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read.”

I quite agree, Jane. Quite agree.

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Jul 18

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Books/Writing, Reviews 4

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I have soooooo many feelings about this book. I loved it, but I have issues with it. I loved the characters, but I want to throttle them. This is my cherry pop for Sarah J. Maas’ books, and I have to say I’m quite definitely hooked. I’ve already checked out A Court of Mist and Fury from the library (thank the stars they HAD it for once). Sadly it will probably be waiting until next weekend, when I can devote an entire day to devouring it all in one go. I’m a bit confused by the GoodReads page for the series, because it lists 8 (count them! 8!) books…while the FAQ on Maas’ author website clearly says “third and final book in the series is slated to be published in 2017.” SOMEONE HELP ME UNDERSTAND!!!! Ahem. Anywho, barring some unforgivable deviation in writing, I’m sure I will be biting my nails for the next release. I’m already waffling on my book buying ban.

ADDENDUM: Oops. A little more digging revealed this announcement! I am trying not to get my expectations too high as I haven’t read that much of her work yet, buuuuut…yeah. So much hope and potential.

My first impression, on page 7 (yes, page 7), was “holy shit does this woman know how to set the atmosphere!” As Fayre is stalking the wolf, my heart was pounding. I actually put the book down for a minute. I was startled at being that sucked in that fast. As the story continued, I continued to be impressed by the world building. Somehow she managed to do it without the massive info-dumps so many authors resort to using. Whoohoo! Mad props. And, I can feel the snow. I can see the poverty, and then the masked glittering court. Ooooh.

Characters. Ah, where do I even start. This could be a very long post. Fayre, we all love you. I do wish you didn’t have quite such a guilt complex though. About 1/5 of the way through the book, she has a dream about the wolf she killed – killed because all her life she was told that wolves were evil, as were the Fae, and would slaughter her and her family without pausing to think twice. And yet, after spending just a few days in the Spring Court, she is suddenly overwrought. Fayre dear, why so many guilty feels?

It was regret, and maybe shame, that coated my tongue, my bones. I shuddered as if I could fling it off, and kicked back the sheets to rise from the bed.

All very dramatic of course, but, um…knowing what she knew at that point in time, I think most of us with an ounce of backbone would have killed the wolf too. Just saying. I’m willing to chalk that up to her being 19 and impressionable. And horny.

Then there is the whole Tamrin Problem. Because while he has some great lines… (Um….possible SPOILERS? You’ve been warned…I tried to be vague but might not have been as vague as I thought)

Against slavery, against tyranny, I would gladly go to my death, no matter whose freedom I was defending.

…he’s a lying bastard who never even apologizes for his myriad deceptions! UGH! I actually kind of liked his over-flown, flowery, stilted mannerisms until his lies are all uncovered. And then even when Fayre is hit in the fucking FACE with them, she just accepts them and follows him to…er…some-indefinite-place-of-mortal-peril.

At least Fayre realizes, however briefly, that she’s caught a bad case of the hots.

I knew I was headed down a path that would likely end in my moral heart being left in pieces, and yet…and yet I couldn’t stop myself.

Well. Bravo to her for realizing it and consciously making the choice, at least. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. The key is personal responsibility, which Fayre seems to have in spades (albeit exhibiting itself most often as the aforementioned guilt complex).

Also, re: Tamrin – HOW, and WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, is it SEXY for your love interest to lose control and be a mindless beast? I get it, it’s Beauty and the Beast, yadda yadda. But. NOT COOL!! Thankfully that scene is short and not portrayed entirely positively…but it was still more sexy than horrific and it really disturbed me.

About halfway through I felt the story became really predictable. Maybe due to the Beauty and the Beast influence? Still a bit sad. However, Maas still has some lovely, lovely prose that actually stirred my little non-believing critic’s heart.

I was loosened, a top whirling around and around, and I didn’t know who I danced with or what they looked like, only that I had become the music and the fire and the night, and there was nothing that could slow me down.

Ahhhhh. Yes. Talk to me, baby. I kind of wished I was drunk while reading this, because I’m pretty sure I would have been spinning right along with Feyre.

Then we’re kind of back to the predictabilty. Boo. But then, a few interesting things happen. But then, there’s this riddle deal thrown in – was that supposed to be a big mystery? Because honestly. I hadn’t even finished reading it before I was mumbling the answer at the pages in front of me, and yet SOMEHOW it takes Fayre several more chapters to figure it out.

So, this is near the end. I was thinking this was a 3/5 star book. Then…Rhysand happened. Also there’s the little not-much-explained story of Lucien. And OMG Fayre. What happened to you, Love? She’s still Fayre and yet…her naivety and what innocence she had left gets wiped entirely clean. But there is still Rhysand…omg. What…what?? Dun-dun-dun, and it’s over.

Leaving me reeling in my chair and desperately checking the library catalog for the second one. Despite all the flaws. Despite my homicidal feelings toward Tamrin. Despite odd division of the story into 75% slow, sweet romance and then BAM! 25% knives and blood and confusion.

It was lovely, for all its flaws. I am going to be tearing my hair out until I get through A Court of Mist and Fury.

Oh, but…Fayre? Can you please, please get over your obsession with the “shell” of your ear?

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Jul 11

Book Review: The Graces

Books/Writing, Reviews 7

Releasing September 6, 2016

The Graces, by Laure Eve. Where to even start with this book. I was on such a rollercoaster with it. One minute I wanted to fling it across the room and not even finish, the next I was reading as fast as possible to see what happened next. Then I would go back to the flinging. And the ending? WTF. OMG. The ending left me like this:

Pretty sure I actually said this out loud.

I honestly don’t know how to write this review without spoilers. But I’ll do my best.

*crickets* *thinking* *more crickets* Ok, here we go.

Everyone said the Graces were witches.
They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.ย They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

We experience this story through the eyes of River, a 15-year-old transplanted misfit to a new school and new town. She and the rest of her school are obsessed with (and frequently manipulated) a family of alleged “witches,” 3 of which attend their high school. The life goal of most of the students seems to be to be “in” with the Graces, who not only have their own popular circle of friends, they have their own style, and their own rules. Rumored to have their own “abilities,” but this has never actually been confirmed.

Drama llama, high school drama llama, everywhere.

River refuses to stoop to groveling, like the rest of the school. She is much more experienced in manipulation, we see right from the start. Yet she seems to be such an unconfident, scared little rabbit.

Sometimes they’d paralyze me, the “what ifs” of action, and I didn’t do anything at all because it was safer.ย 

But why? How? I had so many questions for River, about River, right from the beginning. I was both confused and rather bored through almost the first half of the book. High school politics and teenage drinking (this is one of my pet peeves with SO many YA books – does no one notice these kids are drinking? who provides the alcohol?) really don’t interest me. Though, for once, the author actually explains the drinking somewhat. And, I couldn’t figure out if we were supposed to take magic seriously, or not, or…what. Until the last third of the book, it seemed like all shadows and smoke, nothing else, even though the Graces have all the appearance of a family practicing modern paganism of some type.

That was the first half. I was repeatedly irritated by the amount of time we seemed to spend in the school cafeteria. Teenage angst and drama, wan-wan. But even through all that, I kept getting this odd little 2+2 = 5 feeling. Something wasn’t right.

“We all hide our true selves.”

River’s continuing obsession with the Graces (particularly the youngest, a girl named Summer), and numerous other little red flags I kept seeing out of the corner of my eye, had me convinced at about Chapter 18 that something was seriously wrong with our little narrator. She is intriguing and yet insufferably irritating. Her dependence on her new “friends” is disturbing.

I just had to drift along like the ghost I was before, no Summer to anchor me, feeling like the last three months had never happened, and how fragile my existence was without her for even one afternoon.

This is my “getting-a-leeeeeetle-bit-creeped-out-now” face.

And then things start to happen fast enough to keep me entertained. I started to suspect everything, everyone, nothing could be as it seemed…or could it? Could it?? What? I stayed up until 11:30 on a work night (I’m usually in bed by 9 or 9:30) to finish it and at the end…well, you saw the WTF already. I was completely blown away. I had to go back and re-read, I had to look for clues. I despise – repeat, abso-freaking-lutely despise – sudden twists that have no buildup. Deus ex machina is never an acceptable plot device with me. Well…Laure Eve isn’t using it. The clues are there. You just have to recognize them. And then, naturally, she pulls a cliffhanger. SUCH a cliffhanger. Like, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-that-did-NOTJUSTHAPPEN cliffhanger.

They used truths to tell lies, and they were very good at it.ย 

I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book and had to think about it for awhile before I could rate it. In the end, the things that bothered me so much in the first half brought it down to 3/5 stars. There’s at least one little error in description that REALLY irked me. I still feel all the high school drama fest was really unnecessary. I mean, set the scene and forget it. No one wants to relive the awkwardness and horror of the high school lunch room. Over. And over. In a book, no less.

Besides all that, it was a good story. The characters were interesting when not particularly sympathetic. I love actually being surprised by a book. I’m exceedingly annoyed that I will have to wait an entire year to read the conclusion. If you like twists, off-beat characters, and a bit of pagan woo-woo thrown in definitely give it a try!

Many thanks to Netgalley for providing an early review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Oh, but can we talk about the cover for a minute? This fantastic, beautiful cover? It’s honestly what FIRST caught my eye when browsing soon-to-be-released books. And then the description, and I was lost. I want it.

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Jul 09

Book Review: Jackaby

Books/Writing, Reviews 5

This book reminded me of why I read. Why, as a child, I could immerse myself in the world my book created and not come out for hours (sadly, as an adult, that feeling is more and more elusive and I’m rarely left alone by the other humans in my life long enough to read for hours). But. This book. I love it. Unequivocally. And I am practically dancing in place waiting for the second one to arrive to me (damn you slow, unfunded library!), and then hopefully followed in short order by the third, which releases on August 23rd.

Jackaby is William Ritter’s debut novel. Everywhere that I can see online, it’s listed as a “teen” book but I would have put in more in middle grades. The subject matter is pretty tame, barely even a flirtation – but maybe the descriptions of demons and demon-slaying push it over the edge to the older label? Regardless, Jackaby has a sense of ageless appeal – the ages of the main characters are never expressly stated, and while the narrator Rook seems the younger she is still independent. Anywho, on to the details!

The end result was astounding. I had managed to completely transform myself into…a silly, obvious girl wearing boy’ clothing.

Meet Abigail Rook – fresh off a boat to America in 1892, she has abandoned her finishing school for more exciting prospects. Her voice is energetic and wry. I wanted to step through the pages of the book and introduce myself. She starts off looking for work, and in her search stumbles upon a certain R.F. Jackaby, whose misplaced soliloquies on the background of whoever he happens to be addressing invoked a certain other finder of facts. (Sherlock, is that you?) This “investigative services” entrepreneur however, specializes in clues that the average human can’t see even when they try – he has the ability to see the supernatural beings that inhabit the world. As such he is quite the anomaly, since the general populace would still like to believe that the supernatural is firmly corralled to their imaginations.

“I have ceased concerning myself with how things look to others, Abigail Rook…in my experience, others are generally wrong.”

Ritter’s supernaturalized New England is entertaining and Rook’s view of the world fresh. So often when I read fantasy or paranormal books I find myself stopping for a groan or eyeroll every few pages, the result being that I’m not able to sink myself completely into the story. Jackaby has none of the jarring halts to my suspension of disbelief. The only thing I stopped for was to scribble note on a quote – and after awhile I was in such a hurry to move along I stopped doing even that. Suffice to say that Rook kept me entertained all the way through.

“I find most men are already more than happy to believe a young woman is a frail little thing. so, technically the deception was already there, I just employed it in a convenient way.”

The girl has balls, pardon the expression.

My words petered out and slipped into the shadows, embarrassed to be seen with me.

Why can I not be this witty in real life? Why?? Ahem. Moving on. Then there is the supporting cast of characters, who are somehow just as intriguing as the main characters. I sincerely hope that the stories of Jenny, Douglas, and Charlie are further expanded on in the subsequent books. I’m a complete sucker for werewolves, and while the appearance they make in this book is minor I reeeeeeeally hope Ritter extends it in the sequel(s). Besides the werewolf appearance, there are also banshees, demons, and faeries…be still my little mythology loving heart!

5/5 stars for me. I love the historical setting, the addition of the supernatural, the repartee between Rook and Jackaby, the enigmatic Jenny. Somehow Ritter has managed to write a story that, I think, will appeal to readers of many ages. Is it the most in-depth story you’ll ever read? No. Is it sexy? No. Is it intriguing? Yes. Is the writing entertaining? YES. And that is what, in my opinion, really makes the book. The writing is practically flawless, and it sufficiently entertained my intellectual side while appealing to my love of the other-worldly.

I found it difficult to be frightened by the announcement. I had crested that emotional hill already, and the view was becoming familiar.ย IMG_3350

Run, don’t walk, to your bookstore (or library) and get a copy. You won’t regret it!

I read this book on my own dime and was not in any way solicited or compensated for this review.

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Jun 25

Review: June 2016 OwlCrate

Books/Writing, Reviews 4

Now for the pictures and all the awesome details of the amazing OwlCrate box! As I mentioned, I’ve been a subscriber for quite some time, and while I’ve posted some unboxing photos on my Instagram, I’ve never written a full review of the box! Shame on me. So here we go!

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It comes to your mailbox looking like this. I practically do a happy dance in the mailroom every time I pick one up!

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Dun-dun-dun! Isn’t it pretty? My cat really appreciates all the crinkly paper, by the way. He photobombed the first attempt at this photo trying to get to it.

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The full contents! Now, here is what made me realize that I really, really don’t want to ever unsubscribe: the book they chose for this month, was one that I had added to my TBR list just a little over a week ago. And? This is the second time OwlCrate has managed to do this to me. They’re that good.

List of contents:

Book (most important, right?): My Lady Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I’ll have to confess I’ve not read anything by any of these ladies, but the premise of My Lady Jane sounded so fascinated it went on my list straight away. One of my (many) favorite things about the OwlCrate box is the author’s note that they always include with the books. It makes it feel so special, and I really like hearing the author’s thoughts on the book and whatever else they decide to add. I read the note and keep it inside the book on my shelf.

Such nice touch!

Such a nice touch!

Extras (because they are always awesome!):

A Funko Pop Mystery Mini! From the Disney Princess collection. I love Funko Pops so much. Disney I’m not quite as crazy about, but somehow I managed to get the mini from what has to be my favorite recent Disney movie (btw, if anyone got Merida and doesn’t want her…*hinthint*):

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“Brave,” if you were wondering. Because who doesn’t love a fiery Scottish princess turning her mum and 3 little brothers (of which this is one) into bears?

A bee-yoo-ti-ful bracelet from the very talented Jami Butler at RichLoveShoppe.

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Yes. Be jealous.

Awesomely adorable bookmarks from Crafted Van. I really need the coffee set. Also the cats. All the cats. But can you please add orange or orange and white kitties? ๐Ÿ˜€

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So stinkin’ cute!

In something of a departure from what they’ve done in the past, also included was a $10 off coupon to My Bookmark…which, I will be completely honest – I’m using as soon as I get done writing this review. Because OMG. I need one.

Look. At. These. (photo from the My Bookmark site)

Also with (no individual pics, but they are all in the contents photo) a cute little paper crown, which I think was a great touch for those with eager young readers that aren’t quite of age for a box of their own. The Red Queen quote print is beautifully done on a heavy cardstock, suitable for framing or hanging however you like. As usual, there were coupons from all the contributors to the box and a sneak-peek at the next OwlCrate (the card almost hidden under everything on the right in the full content picture). The awesome book choice and the sneak-peek for next month together just sent me over the edge. I’ll be subscribing to OwlCrate for a long time to come!

Now if you want to get yours ย – and there is still time to sign up for the July box, which reportedly includes another Funko (squee!) and is themed Good or Evil – click through here and sign up! The referral will get me a discount on my subscription, hehe.

This box was bought by me and this review is completely honest and unsolicited – I received no compensation whatsoever, just wanted to share my favorite subscription box!

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Jun 23

Coming Soon: OwlCrate!

Books/Writing 0

I got my June OwlCrate box today! And let’s just say…I’ve been subscribing for 6 months, and loved every single month. However, after the May box (which was great!) I decided to cancel in June because I wanted to try another sub box.

Um. No. After this box, and the teaser insert for NEXT month’s box, my happy little self went right back to the OwlCrate website and resubscribed. Full review coming in a few days, after I’m pretty certain of not spoiling it for anyone.

If this is enough to tempt you into subscribing, please use my referral code…I think it means I get a discount on my next box!

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^This is me. Looking at this box.

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