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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely #3) by Melissa Marr

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: January 1, 2009
Pages: 389
Source: Library
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Description: Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone—but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.

Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her—but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined.
In Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.

In short: Though I didn't love Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr as much as the previous two books in the series, it was still a solid, entertaining sequel. I still hate Keenan.
I've never written a review for a sequel in a series before (Ink Exchange didn't really count) so I am going to do my best to try to make this as vague as possible to avoid any spoilers.

First off, let me say that I am glad I decided to read Ink Exchange instead of skipping it even though it wasn't technically a sequel. In Ink Exchange, the reader gains loads of information about the Dark Court. As the Dark Court is still integral to the plot in Fragile Eternity, I would have missed some significant developments had I chosen to skip it.

Right at the start of Fragile Eternity, there's a promise of action the likes of which we haven't seen before in the previous books in the series. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a false promise because there wasn't really a whole lot going down for the first half of the book. There was a lot of talk of the impending doom of the world, but very little danger actually takes place. The majority of the drama in the story occurs in the complicated relationships. Of course, this is true for the previous books in the series as well but I was able to overlook that because that was during the still early stages of the series. I'm getting a bit impatient for some real action now that I'm more than halfway done the series.

In case you were wondering, Keenan is still a selfish prick. He continues to manipulate both of his love interests for his own gain, blatantly leading them both on. He wants the total love and attention of both of them. And somehow they're both still forgiving and sympathetic towards him?! There were some hints that he feels bad for his actions, but I just don't buy his feelings.

Okay, okay. Enough of the bad. Now let's talk about the good. I enjoyed the new reveals in the faery mythology. Whereas Wicked Lovely focused on the Summer and Winter Courts and Ink Exchange focused on the Dark Court, Fragile Eternity focuses on the High Court. I've really come to enjoy and appreciate this slow reveal of the Faery World that Marr has been doing with each book, learning about it all in bits and pieces rather than all at once.

Although I didn't like Fragile Eternity as much as the first two books in this series, it was still a fairly entertaining read. I look forward to reading Radiant Shadows next!

Previously, My Reviews for Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange.

Other Reviews:

Stalk the Author (not for serious):

*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge
*The Letter F in the A-Z Reading Challenge

Note: I'm so sorry that it's been two weeks since I last posted a review! I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with school at the moment as I scramble to write up a research grant proposal for the summer. And it's only going to get worse as midterms are fast approaching... Sincerest apologies.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Muggle Monday (7)

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I post a quote, a video, or a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this meme: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

This week, an excerpt from Snape's Worst Memory:
Image credit to the original PotterPuff creator, Naomi

'All right, Evans?' said James, and the tone of his voice was suddenly pleasant, deeper, more mature.
'Leave him alone,' Lily repeated. She was looking at James with every sign of great dislike. 'What's he done to you?'
'Well,' said James, appearing to deliberate the point, 'it's more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean…'
Many of the surrounding students laughed, Sirius and Wormtail included, but Lupin, still apparently intent on his book, didn't, and nor did Lily.
'You think you're funny,' she said coldly. 'But you're just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave him alone.'
'I will if you go out with me, Evans,' said James quickly. 'Go on… go out with me and I'll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again.'
Behind him, the Impediment Jinx was wearing off. Snape was beginning to inch towards his fallen wand, spitting out soapsuds as he crawled.
'I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid,' said Lily.
'Bad luck, Prongs,' said Sirius briskly, and turned back to Snape. 'OI!'
But too late; Snape had directed his wand straight at James; there was a flash of light and a gash appeared on the side of James's face, spattering his robes with blood. James whirled about: a second flash of light later, Snape was hanging upside-down in the air, his robes falling over his head to reveal skinny, pallid legs and a pair of greying underpants.
Many people in the small crowd cheered; Sirius, James and Wormtail roared with laughter.

-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This was the first realization that Harry's father wasn't the perfect hero that Harry thought he was. I remember being so shocked when I read this. J. K. Rowling likes to do this though: she likes to take a character that the reader thinks they know very well and then showcase a completely new and opposing aspect of that character's personality. She did this not only with James Potter, but also Dumbledore and Snape. And then she blends in this new personality aspect seamlessly into the character until it seems like they were never any different. I guess what I'm saying is that J. K. Rowling's got skillz, yo.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren (and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie) to showcase any books that I have received for review, bought, borrowed, or won to read.

I haven't taken part in this meme for awhile because I really have tons to read already on my bookshelf. But I did get a few books for review or in giveaways the past few weeks, so lets get to it:

by Courtney Allison Moulton
Received for review from NetGalley and HarperTeen

Thank you NetGalley and HarperTeen!
This will probably be the first book I read after I finish the Wicked Lovely Series because it's coming out pretty soon: February 15th, 2011. I haven't had the best experience with angel books in the past but I'm holding out hope that this one is good!

by Elizabeth Woods
Received for review in a promotional contest from Simon and Schuster Canada

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada!
I was a bit surprised to receive this one in the mail because I had been under the impression that this was more of a "1 in 100 chance" giveaway hosted by Simon and Schuster Canada. But apparently not because all I did was give them my address and a couple days later, the book came in the mail. Looking forward to this creeptastic read!

Fragile Eternity and Radiant Shadows (not pictured)
by Melissa Marr
Borrowed from the library

And the Wicked Lovely Series readathon continues! I'm only about halfway through Fragile Eternity (Book #3) because I've been so busy with school (even though it's only two weeks into the start of the semester!). So far, Fragile Eternity has been a bit slow... I'm hoping it'll pick up in the second half! I'm also really looking forward to reading the conclusion to this series.

The Monstrumologist and The Curse of the Wendigo (not pictured)
by Rick Yancey
Won from Melissa of YA Book Shelf and Simon and Schuster

Thank you Melissa and Simon and Schuster!
These are the first two books in a series where the monsters are scary, not loveable. I'm really looking forward to reading these as part of the YA Series Challenge. Rarely do I read books that could be classified as horror. The third book in this series, The Isle of Blood, comes out this September.

A-Z Reading Challenge


I've decided to take part in the A-Z Reading Challenge hosted by Steph of The Thoughts of a Book Junky! The idea seemed just so fun and easy to incorporate into my other challenges and the books I'm planning on reading this year already. Also, my "Review Archive" page is looking awfully bare so it would be cool if I could have at least one entry for every letter. If you would like to learn more about this challenge and the prizes involved, check out the A-Z Reading Challenge Sign-Up Page.

Here is a tentative list of books I'm planning on reading for this challenge. If you know of any books that would fit the blanks, let me know in the comments!

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Giver, The by Lois Lowry
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Knife of Never Letting Go, The by Patrick Ness
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Matched by Ally Condie
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Old Habits by Melissa Marr
Possession by Elana Johnson
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Summoning, The by Kelley Armstrong
Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Vespertine, The by Saundra Mitchell
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
XVI by Julia Karr
Zombies Vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and others

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Darkest Mercy ARC Giveaway

I was fortunate enough to win a Darkest Mercy ARC a couple months ago from HarperTeen. Darkest Mercy is the 5th and final book in the Wicked Lovely Series by Melissa Marr, which I am currently reading. Wicked Lovely is a fun, edgy series about faeries. I would recommend giving the series a try if you haven't yet!

I would love to pass this ARC on to someone else to read and review once I'm finished with it! Darkest Mercy will be released February 22, 2011.

1. International
2. Ends February 3, 2011 at Midnight EST
3. You must be 13 years or older to enter
4. The winner will be announced on the blog and will have 48 hours to respond.

To enter, please fill out this FORM.

Good luck!

The Banner

Well, I finally did it. This took so long to make, I can't even tell you. It's far from perfect but it's good enough. I'm not quite done everything I need to do to make my blog design complete but this was the major step.

I got the concept for the "Potterpuffs" from Naomi, who was the originator of the idea. Unfortunately, you can no longer see her original work on her site anymore.

To make the banner, I used Paintbrush (the Mac equivalent for MS Paint). I was way too lazy to figure out anything more complex that this.

To make the Potterpuffs, I used this tutorial and this tutorial.

Love it or hate it?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2) by Melissa Marr

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: May 1, 2008
Pages: 325
Source: Library
Rating: 4 Stars - I Loved It!
Description: Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance between the Faerie Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly-vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
17-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.
The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind that Leslie had dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faerie world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils.

In short: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr is darker and edgier than Wicked Lovely but just as engaging. I still hate Keenan.

After reading Wicked Lovely, I was really looking forward to reading more about Aislinn and Seth's story so I was a bit bummed that they were only secondary characters in Ink Exchange. Instead, Ink Exchange focuses on three different characters who were minor in Wicked Lovely. The story rifts off of a two second scene in Wicked Lovely where Aislinn runs into her friend Leslie and a dark faery in a tattoo parlour.

Leslie comes from a broken home. Her mother abandoned her. Her father is an alcoholic. Her brother is a drug addict who abuses her. And one time, her brother let his drug dealer rape her. Definitely much darker than Wicked Lovely. Like an episode of Degrassi on crack.

Still, I found I could admire Leslie's strength to overcome what has happened to her in the past. There was something very powerful about her decision to get a tattoo, reclaiming her body as her own after the rape, making herself whole again. It's this quality that in her that makes her an ideal candidate for an ink exchange with the Dark King which would bind them together and allow the Dark King to feed on mortal emotions through her.

Thankfully, Keenan, the Summer King, was in this one a lot less than in Wicked Lovely. Unfortunately, he's still a dick. He purposely puts Leslie in danger and he manipulates his friend and Leslie's love interest, Niall, to get what he wants. I'm wondering if I'll ever come to like him.

We get to learn more about faery mythology in Ink Exchange, specifically the Dark Court. Still, I wish we got a little more background information during some of the scenes. Some scenes were a bit confusing and I had to read them twice to figure out what was going on.

Overall, Ink Exchange wasn't as fun as Wicked Lovely with its serious subject matter, but I still found myself taken into the story of Leslie as she struggles to reclaim herself. This book was largely about the importance of making your choices your own and the ending of Leslie's story was very satisfying in this respect.

Previously, My Review for Wicked Lovely

Other Reviews:
i swim for oceans
Musings of a Reader Happy
Novels On The Run

Stalk the Author (not for serious):

*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge
*Qualifies for the Into the Old World Reading Challenge

*The Letter I in the A-Z Reading Challenge

Monday, January 10, 2011


It's time to announce the winner of my first ever giveaway! The winner of this giveaway wins 13 To Life by Shannon Delaney and Wildwing by Emily Whitman.

And the winner, according to Random.org, is...

Congrats! I hope you enjoy these books! ... and if not, then I hope you enjoy tearing them apart! Not literally, of course, I mean if you choose to review them :D. Please email me with your address within the next 48 hours at ayleejaine(at)gmail(dot)com.

Muggle Monday (6)

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I post a quote, a video, or a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this meme: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

This week, a newly uncovered early interview with J. K. Rowling. In the video (I would guess shot in 1997 or 1998), she chats in a coffee shop about her success of selling 30,000 copies of Philosopher's Stone in the UK (a mere 0.0075% of her books sold today), her fears when writing Chamber of Secrets, and the potential for a movie.

Of note:
-her red hair
-she's writing Prisoner of Azkaban in the video.
-she mentions that her parents settled in the Forest of Dean, which you may recognize as the place where the trio destroy the locket in Deathly Hallows.
-she is just so normal and unfamous. Weird.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Review: Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1) by Melissa Marr

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: June 12, 2007
Pages: 328
Source: Library
Rating: 4 Stars - I Loved It!
DescriptionAll teenagers have problems, but few of them can match those of Aislinn, who has the power to see faeries. Quite understandably, she wishes that she could share her friends' obliviousness and tries hard to avoid these invisible intruders. But one faery in particular refuses to leave her alone. Keenan the Summer King is convinced beyond all reasoning that Aislinn is the queen he has been seeking for nine centuries. What's a 21st-century girl to do when she's stalked by a suitor nobody else can see?

In short: I loved Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr but hated Keenan, the Summer King.

Well, this was a fun read. This was the first faery book I'd ever read so I didn't really know what to expect. In Wicked Lovely, the Winter Queen has bound the Summer King's powers, freezing the earth steadily for nine centuries. The only way for the Summer King can overcome the Winter Queen's powers is to find his Summer Queen. Okay, so not realistic at all. But still an interesting concept.

It's been awhile since I've read a book told in third person. I've almost forgotten how much I love being able to switch character perspectives when reading and with Wicked Lovely, you get to view the story through the eyes of three different characters. And what you see are utterly fascinating and bizarre creatures. Each faery had its own unique description and look, and all of them were mighty odd. Metallic hair, blue lips, lion's manes, vines for veins. Very creative.

I liked Aislinn; she was a strong protagonist. Not perfect, but not totally helpless. Her best friend and love interest Seth was totally loveable and just as a best friend should be: very supportive of Aislinn even when she tells him her crazy secret that faeries are stalking her.

Aislinn's other potential love interest is of course Keenan, the Summer King. I hope I'm not alone in saying that I completely loathed Keenan. I do not see the appeal. Everything about him seemed fake. His feelings toward Aislinn seemed fake and in return, Aislinn's feelings toward him were only a product of faery magic. Keenan only needed someone to become his Queen so that he could gain back his powers.

I wasn't fond of the ending. It seemed way too rushed and abrupt. But at least there was no cliffhanger! And I would have liked the faery mythology to be more fleshed out, but in this case I assume we'll learn more over the course of the next few books in the series. I have tons that needs to be answered.

Overall, Wicked Lovely was an entertaining read. I was able to overlook certain flaws because I was enjoying myself reading it. Next up to read is Ink Exchange, which from what I understand, isn't really a sequel so much as like a book #1.5 between Wicked Lovely and Fragile Eternity with a new set of characters.

Other Reviews:
Unputdownable Books
Musings of a Reader Happy
Novels of the Run

Stalk the Author (not for serious):

And to the person who checked this library book out before me and tore out 15 pages near the end of the book: Screw you. Seriously, who does that? So inconsiderate. No respect whatsoever.

*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge
*Qualifies for the Into the Old World Reading Challenge
*The Letter W in the A-Z Reading Challenge

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (6)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine in which an upcoming, eagerly anticipated release is highlighted on the blog. This week Possession by Elana Johnson, coming out June 7, 2011 from Simon and Schuster:
Description: Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even thinkabout kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn. 
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Another Waiting On Wednesday, another dystopian. And if you've read the description, this one sounds very familiar. I would like to read Possession because I'm interested to see how it will compare to Matched and Delirium. I'm interested to find out if it can sufficiently set itself apart from those reads and bring something unique to the table, beyond this familiar sounding description.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: Feb. 1, 2011
Pages: 305
Source: For Review from NetGalley (Thank You!)
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars - Super Crazy Awesome!
Description: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

In short: I loved Delirium by Lauren Oliver so much I'm afraid the regulators are going to find me and hand me in to be cured.
Oh, wow, did I love this book. Lauren Oliver has created a superb and horrifying dystopian world in Delirium. Lena is a shy, "in-between" seventeen year old girl who always does as she's told and never lies. She's afraid of everyone and everything ("I'm right to be scared," she says). She looks forward to receiving the cure to amor deliria nervosa on her eighteenth birthday. She believes she will be reborn, healed, and perfect with the cure. She views her mother, who was unable to be cured, as "freakish."

But there's a stubborn part to Lena that keeps nagging at her; a part that tells the examiners that her favourite colour is grey (instead of the more accepted blue or green). Then she meets Alex, a fun-loving older boy, and a sequence of events unfolds that leads to her disobeying and lying to her aunt for the first time. She finds that even the smallest disobedience thrills her. She is able to find courage within herself that she never knew she had. Lena's character development was excellent. I really enjoyed being able to see her grow as the novel progressed. I look forward to getting to know her even better in the sequel.

This was my first experience with Oliver's writing and I can't say enough good things about it. The writing flowed so nicely; I read without pause or distraction. The imagery used was powerful.  I definitely plan on checking out Oliver's debut novel, Before I Fall. Each chapter was prefaced with a quote from a piece of literature from the dystopian society. These were essentially propaganda, brainwashing the readers into believing that love is a disease that needs to be cured. They set the tone perfectly for the novel, showcasing a creepy and appalling world.

My only complaint is that cliffhanger ending! And now we have to wait until 2012 for the sequel, Pandemonium. I will definitely be buying this book when it comes out on February 1st and I highly recommend that you do, too!

Other Reviews:
Brush Up On Your Reading
Call Me Crazy
The Slowest Bookworm

Stalk the Author (not for serious):

There was one thing that I noticed while reading Delirium that I feel like I need to bring up, as silly as it is, because I'm weird like that. There were four separate times that Oliver used the imagery of buildings looking like teeth. What is the significance of this? Probably nothing. Just something I noticed...

"a string of bright white buildings, glistening like teeth over the slurping mouth of the ocean." -p. 18
"Beyond those is the familiar string of white square buildings, like giant teeth." -p. 48
"Across the fields I see low, dark silhouettes of barns and silos, some of them brand-new, some barely standing, clinging to the earth like teeth digging into something." -p. 91

 "...all the buildings cut sharply against the sky like a series of metal teeth." -p. 129

This is pretty much the only advantage of being such a slow reader. I notice things like this that no one else cares about. Yay me.

*The Letter D in the A-Z Reading Challenge

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Resolutions

Happy New Year! I wanted to make a separate post for my 2011 Resolutions even though I already posted my blogging resolutions in the latest Friday Blog Hop. 

I've also included here my 2011 Resolutions that have nothing to do with books. I figure if I put them out to the world, I'll be more likely to put effort into accomplishing them because you all can hold me accountable!

I plan on doing a quarterly follow up on my progress for these resolutions. So every 3 months I'll update everyone on how I'm doing, if I've been sticking to my goals.

Book Related Resolutions:
1. Read at least one book a week (barring any blog hiatuses that I need to take). That would make my aim for the year to read 50 books.
2. Review at least one book a week (barring any blog hiatuses that I need to take). That would mean essentially that I plan to review every book I read
3. Design my blog. Most importantly a blog banner but I would also like to make a blog button and tabs. This means I need to improve my html skills.

Non Book Related Resolutions:
1. Stop using the word "like" excessively. I am no longer a teenager so I would like to stop talking like one.
2. Use less water. In Canada and the US we use 1,400 to 1,800 TIMES more water than we need to.
3. Exercise more. I don't need to lose any weight but dang am I out of shape!