Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Out and About: Book Signing with Leigh Bardugo + Giveaway: Signed Shadow and Bone + Six of Crows


Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events, book launches and movie adaptations.

Shadow and Bone has been in my wishlist for a very long time now. I love fantasy, stories set in Russia and light versus darkness theme. I kept delaying getting my hands on the first and book. And when I finally got a copy, I couldn't stop reading. The book basically took hold of me and refused to give me my life back (in a very good way, I assure you.) That was the beginning of my fangirling. This weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend #LeighBardugoInPh.

The Basics
Who: Leigh Bardugo
What books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising + Six of Crows.
When: June 21st 2015
Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1

What I learned about Leigh Bardugo, her books and her writing style from the Q&A:



Here is my question to Leigh: Exotic languages are featured in your series. Could you tell us if these are inspired by the current languages of the world or if you followed Tolkien’s steps and made your own languages?
Leigh based the languages in the Grisha trilogy on the cultures and languages of the world. Ravkan was Russian. Kerch was based on the language in the Dutch Republic during the 1700s. Fjerdan was her Scandinavian.

If you had to choose one amplifier from the Grisha trilogy, what will it be and why?
Leigh will choose the firebird. She is an animal lover. An amplifier could be an animal or a person, slain, and then pieces of them - usually bones,antlers,etc - are worn by the Grisha. This boosts their power. Leigh had a hard time writing the scenes wherein animals were killed.

With the editing process, I assume you removed some scenes from the manuscript. Are there any scenes (HOPEFULLY A BIT STEAMY OR ROMANCE-HEAVY) that you cut and regret?
No, Leigh writes outlines, so the cutting of scenes is rare. However, she took some action scenes from Siege and Storm and put them into the middle of Ruin and Rising.

Can you make a haiku, right now, to describe Six of Crows?

Six deadly outcasts
One impossible heist, yeah!
You should order it

We heard you're writing a book about Sturmhond. When can we expect to hear all about it? And obviously we all love him, but what was special about writing Sturmhond that he's getting a spin-off?
Sturmhond is a very interesting character. He's a privateer and is always doing risky and adventurous things. While Leigh was writing Siege and Storm, this (Sturmhond) character swaggered his way into the scene and started talking. He wouldn't shut up. Leigh already know how his story is gonna go and who he will end up with. However, Leigh is taking a break from the Grisha trilogy after writing the sequel of Six of Crows. She might (please, please, please) write Sturmhond's story after that.

Your upcoming book, Six of Crows is set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy, what made you decide to continue writing a story in the same world instead of creating a new one?
Kerch is a very interesting setting. It is cosmopolitan, hub of legal and illegal trade.

Supposedly a villain who wants to take over the world but like me, many readers ended up liking The Darkling instead. How hard was it to build The Darkling’s character and was it intentional to make him that kind of character?
Leigh set out to write characters and not love interests. Each character has their own motives, goals, reasons and journey.

Is there any chance we’ll have a novella about Alina’s origins and where her powers came from?
There are many threads about Alina's past and it would be interesting to explore them. Leigh says this is a possibility! Hopefully in the near future.

What was your inspiration for creating The Grisha?
Leigh likes Old World England but she felt that there were too many stories set in England. Leigh wanted to bring readers to another place. She thought of Russia, the era wherein there were two elements at work: rise of modern technology and medieval magic.

Six of Crows is the first book in a new series also set in the Grisha world. How has the experience of conceptualizing and writing this new series been unique from writing the Shadow and Bone books?
In Six of Crows, the whole setting was in place before Leigh wrote it. It has five POVs and flashbacks. Shadow and Bone was a classic chosen one story. Leigh wanted to write a book about the people who aren't chosen.

Aside from high fantasy, what genre do you see yourself writing in the future?
Horror. Leigh's upcoming book is called Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, which comes out in August. Leigh is also going to be contributing a story which is not set in our world, for an anthology called Summer Days & Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins.

If you were to collaborate with one author on a story, who would it be and what would the story be?
Leigh would like to write with Laini Taylor. Although she noted that they have very different writing styles. While Leigh outlines, Laini writes the entire book, reads it again and edits it, and so on.

How has life changed for you after the success of the Grisha trilogy?
A few years back, Leigh was really broke. Although she worked as a make-up artist in Hollywood, and people perceives this as a glamorous job, her heart wasn't exactly there. A friend of hers drew a picture of her in a book signing, as a gift to her on her 14th birthday. She knew that this scenario was something that she would like to experience and continue experiencing in her life. Leigh is literally has her dream job.





Big thanks to National Book Store for the awesome event! TWO lucky readers of Fragments of Life will win a signed paperback of Shadow and Bone and a pre-order of Six of Crows.

Okay ladies and gents, mechanics of the giveaway. There will be two winners. The winner from the Philippines will win the signed paperback copy and the international winner will win a pre-order of Six of Crows! How does that sound? :) Enter below.


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Monday, June 01, 2015

[Blog Tour] Review + Giveaway: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Book Description:

Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Harper Collins(Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Alexandra Ridgemont was an admirable character. Despite being schizophrenic, she was eager to get through senior year as normally as possible. She was cautious, observant and brave, in such a way that was right and just. She cared about other people, she supported her friends aka club mates in any way she could. I liked encountering such a strong and problematic heroine in Made You Up. She was flawed, and I like that about her - she seemed more realistic this way.

Miles' physical appearance reminded Alex of her first “hallucination” when a blue-eyed boy helped her free lobsters when she was a child. I perceived Miles as a slightly scary and unpredictable character. He triggered warning signs in my head, and always had me on the lookout for anything suspicious. But Miles was also attractive in his own way, a genius and a gentleman sometimes. Miles shed his stiff outer shell and showed his soft side later on in the story, only then I was able to understand his complexity. I loved how Zappia made her characters complex. She did not set things in simple black and white, there were a lot of grey areas, which would be explored, and I liked that.

Schizophrenia was a constant presence in the book: it affected the story in such a way that the reader would not easily distinguish what was real and what was not. I was attentive to all the details throughout the story, in an effort to spot what was part of the story and what was part of Alex’ hallucination. This trying-to-figure-out-what-is-real-and-what-is-not routing was something that I look forward to in psychological novels. It goes beyond the typical storytelling and adds a layer of unwanted additions on top of the story. It was the reader’s responsibility to get lost in the story and find his/her way out to the other side, to understand the main character and the plot as a whole.

Made You Up was enchanting to me. The story had a holistic aspect, as it explored various elements of the book; it tackled psychological problems, family dynamics, friendship and budding romance, and the line between reality and hallucination. But what I really loved was Alex and Miles' interaction and banter. The back and forth zapping of energy and tension between them, as they learned more about one another, was refreshing. They were unlike other YA couples that I have encountered so far. Alex was a paranoid girl who kept overthinking and over-analyzing Miles' words and actions while Miles was a genius who didn't let anything slip away. But then he was also not as sensitive and not as perceptive of others' feelings.

Made You Up is a heart-racing, suspenseful psychological concoction, with an ample dose of crazy, budding romance, pranks and, surprises and revelations. I highly recommend this to readers of psychological novels and contemporary romance. If you want something a little crazy with a dash of love, this is the book for you.


Rating:


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

About the Author:



Francesca is a YA writer represented by Louise Fury. Her debut novel, MADE YOU UP, is out now from Greenwillow/ HarperCollins.

Follow Francesca: Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook | DeviantArt

Francesca also draws! Check out her art - Miles and Alex from Made You Up!


Credit to Francesca Zappia | Source

Credit to Francesca Zappia | Source



There's a giveaway for an ARC of MADE YOU UP! One lucky Philippine resident will win this one.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

[Blog Tour] Review + Giveaway: The Day of the Wave by Becky Wicks

Book Description:

Kindle Edition
Published May 1st 2015 by Becky Wicks (first published April 27th 2015)

Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day tsunami tore through their beach resort in Thailand. Just days after forming a life-changing bond, both were missing and presumed dead. Unbeknown to each other and haunted by one of the biggest natural disasters in world history, Isla and Ben are living very different lives, until over a decade later when a chance encounter throws them back together.

Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.

Amazon | Goodreads

Reviewer's Copy: e-ARC

Source: Becky Wicks and Xpresso Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Becky Wicks never fails to impress me. She has been inspiring me one novel after another. Although The Day of the Wave was related to the 2004 Tsunami Disaster, I was determined to read it. I usually avoid reading sad contemporary stories that have something to do with life-threatening diseases and disasters. This would be my first.

The Day of the Wave was set in various places: London, Bangkok, Phuket, and Bali. As usual, Becky skillfully drew the landscape for you, took a piece of the sun and the moon, put it in the pages, added her atmospheric writing, that I just felt like I traveled to four different parts of the world. Reading a Becky Wicks novel is always like going on a vacation, I got to experience and taste the culture and the atmosphere of her locales. The Day of the Wave was also fragmented into different parts by Isla's moving from one place to another: Part one would be her pre-Ben life in London, which dragging, rigid and clogged with grey spots as she lived with Colin, her boyfriend; Part Two would be set in Bangkok, while Isla was slowly dipping her foot into Thai culture; Part Three would be the emotionally chaotic transit from Bangkok to Phuket and the stay in Phuket itself. Isla and Ben were dancing around one another, both emotionally-strained, both yearning for one another but unable to pass through the barriers separating them; Part Four was set in Bali, which is something that you should find out for yourself.

Isla was a beautiful and complicated girl. The tsunami left her miserable, without parents and without a home. She was not the carefree 16-year-old girl that left UK anymore. She was continuously hurting. To make matters worse, she found out that her boyfriend for four years cheated on her with her ex-flatmate. Heartbroken and carrying the burden of her past, she went to Bangkok on an assignment. Time seemed to stop when Ben found her there, the same boy that she thought she had lost in the tsunami.

Ben carried on picking up the pieces that the tsunami left behind. He had built a shell around him, only really connecting to people who suffered because of the tsunami. But he wasn't entirely whole anymore, there was a gaping hole inside him and he didn't know how to fill it. He kept on moving on to different places, forming friendships but not really committing to anyone. Things were about to change when he found Bizzy in Bangkok, the girl he thought he lost forever.

Ben and Isla were meant for each other, they just didn't know it yet. It was exciting and frustrating to see them play this tug-of-war game. They were dancing around one another, getting close enough to touch, to make all what-ifs a reality, but there was a barrier separating them. I really enjoyed reading about these two, and seeing how their relationship, both in the past and in the present, developed. The flashbacks in between the present narration also enabled me as a reader to understand the characters better. Their loss, pain, guilt, hopelessness and destruction were laid out on the pages. Knowing their vulnerability and seeing their weaknesses diminish day by day gave me a sense of weightlessness. Becky really knew how to reach the readers through her words.

The Day of the Wave was a storm of emotions, issues, lost love, second chances and forgiveness and acceptance. The Day of the Wave was incredibly atmospheric, able to transport the reader to foreign places, romantic, with just the right amount of emotional and sexual tension, and unforgettable. It wasn't the easiest story to read, but it was definitely one of the most meaningful and enjoyable stories of all. I highly recommend this novel to contemporary romance readers, older young adult and new adult readers, readers who like/want to travel.

Rating:



5 Cupids: = Eternal book love. 
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!


About the Author:

Becky Wicks lives in Bali and scribbles books, and she’s mostly powered by coffee. Her first book in the Starstruck Series, Before He Was Famous recently reached #1 in Amazon’s Coming of Age and New Adult & College categories, and her three travel books, published by HarperCollins are online to make feet nice and itchy. Mostly though, she loves to write love stories. She blogs most days at beckywicks.com and always welcomes distractions on Twitter @bex_wicks. Especially if you have photos of cats.

Follow Becky: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Giveaway:

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Out and about: Book Signing with E. Lockhart + Giveaway: Signed Paperback of We Were Liars!


Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events, book launches and movie adaptations.

This time around, I am sharing my experience about the #ELockhartInPH event.

The Basics:

Who: The author is: Emily Lockhart. The Organizer is: National BookStore.



What books:

The books!

Book Description:

Hardcover, 225 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Delacorte Press

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

When: March 22nd 2015

Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 4


What I learned about E. Lockhart Frey, her books and her writing style from the event:

Frankie was different in lots of ways better than the author. Frankie is a very difficult person. - executes large-scale and political and funny series of pranks. The pranks end up shaking up the social hierarchy of her high school and end up bringing down the all-male secret society. These pranks took the author forever to figure out, the author had to read tons of books on college pranks.

All her characters have a big part of Emily. Frankie is smarter than the author really was.

Emily basically like to experiment with formats. The boyfriend list has lists. Emily always set herself some kind of structural challenge. In We were Liars, the various tales that Cadence tells are used as interstitials between the stories while not really revealing anything major. In We Were Liars, for the first time, Emily used a different word processor. She used Scrivener, which allows you to see the structure of the book that you're writing from a bird's eye. You can look at the pieces from above and move it around. Emily shared the book with a lot more colleagues than she normally does. She didn't know when people would have the misleading suspicions that she wanted them to have or when they would figure out the plot.

Emily was taught the same way you were taught how to write - to erase yourself. She came out of college writing as formally, as invisibly as a person could be. She writes the same way that she would talk to a friend. The way that you would tell a story to a friend is quite unusual, because you jump back and forth through time, the same way you tell a story, you don't have to make sure that everything is in order. You don't have to be invisible. You just fill them out with what they should know.

Lockhart went to two different high schools: she grew up in Seattle in Washington state and went to the Northwest School of the arts, humanities and the environment. She was just completely miserable in this high school. She couldn't find a friend. She couldn't get into the drama productions. She was so unpopular that people would move away when she sat down at their lunch table. Then she decided to go to a Prep school called Lakeside. She got into the school and she was still the same exact person and nobody had any idea that she was a nerd and a loser. She had boyfriends. She was on the Prom committee. She got into drama productions. She got to experience high school from the bottom and from the top - two radically different experiences, both culturally and socially.

She does not reread We Were Liars. She made the best book that she knew how to make and she's not thinking about it again. We Were Liars had a different style of writing. She was ready for people to dislike the book or the characters because of the style.

She had this idea to write a book about an island, a family, a patriarch with fairy tale. When you have published books, you don't write the entire book, you write a pitch. That was what she did. She met her editors for lunch. She told them: "I want to write a book about real estate." They initially didn't like the idea and suggested for her to write "the sexy stuff" into the story and to include "a thing that happens."

It only took 10 minutes for Emily to finish the plot for We Were Liars while she was waiting in a coffee shop before picking up her daughter.

Emily would like to write about con artists. The next book is not set in high school, and there is a little bit of murder and international jet-setting characters.

Emily likes to write unusual characters who have an unusual voice or way of thinking. But she also always needs to find some points of connection between those unusual characters and other people's lives, human experience. So, in We Were Liars, one of the things she wanted to write about was real estate. But real estate is not really it. It is families fighting over property, and grown children fighting over parental love and approval, and younger kids in the family hearing older people fight and feeling powerless and angry about the way the grown ups are conducting themselves. So, that is an experience that she had and she thinks most young people have had. All families fight, all kids feel threatened when the grown ups in their lives are threatening to dissolve or implode or whatever they're gonna do. That was one of Emily's subjects. All families fight over property and the affection that it symbolizes.

Truism of mystery writing versus writing. In a book or story, when you don't know whats a lie and whats a truth, it gets more interesting. There would be multiple interpretations of what is really going on. The characters are lying for their own reasons and you would know when they are lying but not why they are lying.

Emily and her mom lived in communal houses, with around 15 hippies smoking, meditating and doing yoga during the 70s. She didn't have bookshelves and funiture. One thing that they moved from house to house was a cardboard box filled with books of late nineteenth and early twentieth, beautifully illustrated, bound books of fairytales. It was only much later that Emily found out why: these books were given to her mother by her father during their courtship. She was interested in writing a story We We Liars with objects that were endowed with a lot of family baggage and meaning. She always had that King Lear set-up. Three daughters, one of whom is good, two of whom are bad.


Me and E.Lockhart, my blogger ladies!

Signed books :)

Big thanks to National Book Store for the awesome event! One lucky reader (aka Emily's bookish liar) of Fragments of Life will win a signed (with a message) paperback of We Were Liars. Emily tucked a bookmark in between the pages for you, as well.

So this is open to PH residents only, but if you're based abroad and have a Philippine address to send the book to, you could still join. Enter below!



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Monday, March 16, 2015

Review + Giveaway: Before He Was a Secret by Becky Wicks [Blog Tour]

Book Description:

Before He Was A Secret by Becky Wicks
(Starstruck #3 - can be read as a stand-alone)
Publication date: Feb 24 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Another standalone Starstruck romance from the HarperCollins author who brought you Amazon #1 bestseller Before He Was Famous and Before He Was Gone

“What if we can’t choose
Every battle we win and lose
What if we decided years before, to live this life, to fight these wars
And all the dreams we ever thought were ours
Were written in the stars”

Waiting tables isn't exactly what singer/songwriter Stephanie has in mind for her move to Nashville, but memories of the past and a case of writer’s block mean inspiration isn’t coming easy. When brooding pianist Conor Judge opens his mouth in a smoky bar he proves music can heal, and even help you re-write your story, but a history of his own means the one thing he starts to want most is always just out of reach. Stephanie.

Enter Travis Flynn - an upcoming star who won’t take no for an answer, and a record label intent on helping Stephanie shine, without Conor. As fame comes knocking as hard as the ghosts of their pasts, it soon becomes clear that no matter how hard you might fall in love, having the perfect songs doesn’t always mean perfect harmony.

Reviewer's Copy: e-ARC

Source: Xpresso Reads Tours+ Becky Wicks(Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Becky Wicks is my favorite indie author. So when I found out that she was writing the third book of the Starstruck series, I knew I had just had to get it and read it. I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed. Becky's writing is superflouous, the kind that made you sit back comfortably and you see that your hours were gone. Becky writes the kind of books that trap you into their storyworlds and refused to let you go unless you were done with the story.

Stephanie was the kind of heroine that made you believe in the goodness of mankind. She was determined and talented, pouring her heart out into her music and her songs. I loved reading about her adventure in Nashville, how she sought out the music. What I liked most about reading about Stephanie was reading the lyrics that she writes. The lyrics came out to me as poetic, lovestruck and raw.

Conor was the knight in shining armor. He was gentle, thoughtful and talented. I think Stephanie fell for him the moment he sang his heart out at stage, with Stephanie in the audience. Conor and Stephanie's interaction was what I would like to consider magical and fated. They complimented each other with their music, passion and strength. I loved reading about them falling in love with one another, no matter how they tried to stop themselves from falling. It was the kind of love that was effortless.

There was magic in reading about music: your mind imagines the beat, the rhythm of the song, without you thinking too hard about it. This was what I liked in Before He Was Famous, with Noah's songs, and I'm happy to experience it again in Before He Was a Secret. The lyrics reached out to my heart, they felt so raw and filled with memories and emotions, that I couldn't help but love the songs. This was something that I look for in contemporary novels.

The plot was filled with twists and turns, some were predictable why some were not, but in the end I enjoyed every page of it. Chloe and Noah's appearance in the book made me excited, it was good to see the couples interact. Becky Wicks unleashed a measured darkness onto Conor and Stephanie's story, as expected. Becky molded the character's personality with trials and challenges, peeling back the surface to let the readers see the true Conor and Stephanie underneath it all.

Before He Was a Secret is a heartfelt and breathtakingly beautiful contemporary romance. I highly recommend this to readers who liked the first book, since Before He Was Famous and Before He Was a Secret are more alike, music-wise. If you are a contemporary romance reader, new adult reader, this would work out for you.

Rating:



5 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!

About the Author:

Becky Wicks lives in Bali and scribbles books, and she’s mostly powered by coffee. Her first book in the Starstruck Series, Before He Was Famous recently reached #1 in Amazon’s Coming of Age and New Adult & College categories, and her three travel books, published by HarperCollins are online to make feet nice and itchy. Mostly though, she loves to write love stories. She blogs most days at beckywicks.com and always welcomes distractions on Twitter @bex_wicks. Especially if you have photos of cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter| Goodreads


Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)

-Five copies of Before He Was A Secret, plus a character named after them in Becky's next book!

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman + Giveaway

Book Description:

Hardcover, 499 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover

Source: Random House Books for Young Readers(Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

I was blown away in epic proportions by the extremely detailed world building, formed by the foundations of the colorful history of Goredd, Samsam, Ninys and Tanamoot; the geography, philosophy, culture and languages. I was mostly impressed with the expansive history - from politics, to the military records, to the cast of Saints, and quotes from philosophers. Every additional detail made Seraphina more and more alive and believable.

Seraphina was unlike any other heroine I've encountered. She was flawed, hiding in fear, brilliant and incredibly talented. She felt that she didn't truly belong - being half human and half dragon, in a place and time wherein dragons and humans were still uncomfortable and even antagonistic towards each other. The tension could be cut with a pair of scissors. Having been given a draconic education, she could easily understand human-dragon affairs, whether it was political or social. She was also the assistant of the music composer, enabling her to do what she loved best - music.

Prince Lucian Kiggs was an extremely observant, perceptive, down to earth and kind. He has a golden heart that could be easily opened. I enjoyed reading about Kiggs, especially with the way he interacted with Phna. I found another outcast to love in him. He was a bastard prince, and though he has a position in the court, he has never truly been accepted by everyone. There would always be that distinction, that barrier between him and his happiness.

Orma was one of the minor characters that I liked best. Although he was emotionally "uninvolved," as an average saarantras would be, he had his human moments. He was slowly being "humanized" through the years of staying in Goredd, and because of his fatherly connection to Phina. Orma was my second favorite character. He was emotionally conflicted, torn between staying true to his dragon self and forcing all emotion and emotional memories out of his system, and succumbing to his weakness, embracing and riding out wave after wave of emotions that lap against his heart.

The plot was highly political and adventurous, woven with threads of social politics, struggle between races, religion and belief, music, simmering romance and knotted with twists and turns. I liked how the focus was on the struggle between dragons and humans alike, highlighting the pros and cons of being a member of each race. There was romance but it was not the typical all-consuming kind. It was slowly growing between the all the action, biding its time. I was lost in Seraphina's daily life - her struggles, her tasks, her passion and her loneliness. Dragons took human forms called saarantras, in order to blend in with the Goreddis. They were either "belled" or anonymous. Hartman brought to life a fresh take on dragons, that was both daring and intriguing. I got close to understanding them and their ways, rationalizing and thinking about the reasons behind their actions.

Seraphina is an epic adrenaline-pumped high fantasy that would keep readers thoroughly entertained and thoroughly lost in its story world. In these pages lies the most detailed and most well-developed story world I have ever encountered. Seraphina is unparalleled with its attention to detail, mythology and storytelling. I highly recommend this to high fantasy readers, readers who are looking for dragon-related literature and literature reminiscent of the middle ages.

Rating:

5 Cupids= Eternal book love. 
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!



Giveaway Alert! Win a finished copy of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. For US + CA residents only, as per publisher's request.

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Friday, March 06, 2015

Character Profiles: Vendetta by Catherine Doyle

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle is one of my most anticipated reads for 2015. I'm happy to be a part of this blog tour and spread the word about it. It seems to me that not that many people know about this novel, so, I'd like to tell you about it. First of all, let's start with the mafia-esque blurb:


Book Description:

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Chicken House

Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

For Sophie, it feels like another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill, waitressing at her family’s diner and hanging out with her best friend Millie. But then someone moves into the long-abandoned mansion up the block--a family of five Italian brothers, each one hotter than the last. Unable to resist caramel-eyed Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him -- and willfully ignoring the warning signs. Why are Nic's knuckles cut and bruised? Why does he carry an engraved switchblade? And why does his arrogant and infuriating older brother, Luca, refuse to let her see him? As the boys' dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. Suddenly, she's torn between two warring dynasties: the one she’s related to and the one she's now in love with. She'll have to choose between loyalty and passione. When she does, blood will spill, hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, dishonor can be the difference between life and death.

Character Profiles:

Let's get to know some of the characters in Vendetta, Sophie and the five Italian brothers.








Check out what other people think of Vendetta:
Blackplume: Review & Character Interview with Luca
Library Mistress: Guest Post - On Creating Five Brooding Characters
Amia Book Lover: Review
The Escapist: Review