Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Author: Tina Connolly
Series: Ironskin #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 2nd 2012
My Rating:  3 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. 

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin. 

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help. 

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey. 

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far  she will go to become whole again.

As you all probably know, I'm a girl that's easily impressed by a pretty cover. Don't know why, I just love a cover that catches my eye and makes me want to read the book without even checking the blurb. So it shouldn't surprise you that the moment I saw the cover for Ironskin I wanted to read that book right away.  There was someone that pointed out the fact that the cover model looks like Natalie Portman. I can see the resemblance, can you?

Anyway, back to the book. The first thing I noticed was that in Ironskin fey are bad, evil creatures. I liked that. It is certainly fresh and untouched territory. Or at least it is for me. Of course, I read fey and my mind processes fairies. Bad fairies sound interesting. Bad fey attracted to anything beautiful are even more interesting. I enjoyed reading about that, but I wanted to know more. Where do the fey come from? Why are they evil and how did they get in touch with humans? I wanted to know their history and their reasons for being bad. Yes, we get some details in the end, but I felt like it wasn't enough.

The pacing was a little bit too slow for my taste. Now, I know a lot of people said that Ironskin is sort of a retelling of Jane Eyre. I might have told you that I hate classic literature, so I didn't read Jane Eyre. Sorry to disappoint. I'm used to fast pacing books. Yes, I might enjoy some slow motion from time to time, but I kind of felt that the supernatural theme of Ironskin, the fey, needed a more faster pacing.

The characters were interesting. I can see why Jane would be attracted to Mr. Rochart, what with her being an outcast because of her curse and all that. There were moments where both pissed me off a little bit, but I can't mention them or else I'd be giving away spoilers. And I hate spoilers.

I wanted to like this book more, I really did. It wasn't that bad, you know, the kind of bad that makes you want to put this book in the DNF pile. But I can't say that I fell off my chair I liked it so much. It was a good read, but I felt it could've been better.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm alive

Hey guys! So sorry I've been missing the last 2 weeks. I've had the worst flu in my entire life. No fever, thank God, but I had it bad. Still do, actually. It doesn't help that my mom also has the flu, so we're sort of exchanging viruses *pout*. Also, the weather is wacky around here and it helps maintaining the flu and it makes beating it a lot harder. I've also started studying because I've decided to change my degree (I still have time to do that) and apparently I have to study a bunch of stuff I knew back in high school. With any luck, this time next year I'll be a freshman in medical school *fingers crossed* Anyway, I promise I'll post normally starting tomorrow.

And if you sent me any email during these past two weeks, I promise I'll get back to you. Like I said, baaad, bad flu and headaches and sore throat and coughing like hell made it impossible for me to feel sane enough to do anything but do a Supernatural marathon :P

Hope you all are feeling better. Until tomorrow, happy reading!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover Love (27)

Rabid Reads - Cover Love

This feature is hosted by Carmel @ Rabid Reads. The rules are very simple. Choose a cover (or two, or three), preferably new-ish, and share what you like about it. Grab the graphic or don't just so long as you link back.

My pick this week:

You know, I could just stare at this cover for hours and hours and not get bored. There's just something...calming and comforting about it. Maybe the open jar, maybe the blurry women or maybe it's the fireflies. I don't know. I just love it.

Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah

What's your pick this week?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blog Tour Blog Post: Suzy Duffy

Please welcome Suzy Duffy, author of Wellesley Wives. Suzy stopped by today at Ruby's Books to talk about book tours and Ireland.


Hi Ruby, Thanks for welcoming me onto your blog. This is my first Blog tour and it’s been an amazing experience. A lifetime ago (about ten years!) I did a book tour in Ireland when I lived there. It was altogether different as Ireland is tiny. Of course, we Irish think it’s very big and we’ve managed to convince the rest of the world that we’re massive, but in truth we’re about the size of Massachusetts. To put it into perspective, if California was a loaf of bread, Ireland would be one slice. But we’re premium loaf - multigrain! So back to my book tour, a decade ago. This was in the days before E Books when a book tour meant going to visit shops and sign actual paperbacks.

There was something so nice about going into the stores and meeting the people who worked there. We shook hands, we drank tea. I admired their book displays and window d├ęcor. They were kind to me about my books. It was a lovely part of my working year because it was real and tangible. There was almost always a lovely lunch involved in towns like Kilkenny or Cork. I still remember an amazing tomato soup in Sligo! Usually we dined with the book sellers and had a great chat – not even necessarily about books.

Not only did I get to meet the book sellers, I also got to meet readers. That was the icing on the cake. Fans who come to a book signing are so gracious. I guess the folks who don’t like your genre don’t come near so you only meet nice people – a pretty cool arrangement. Again it’s lovely to shake hands and sign their books with a personal message. These are the memories we novelists take away from a book tour and savor while we’re locked away in our studies, producing the next book. I feel a bit like a blue whale that only comes up for air every few months! It’s so nice to get up and out but I gotta go back down to write again soon or there won’t be another book.

I’m not just saying this, but book people are a particularly nice breed – those who sell them and those who read them. I don’t know why this is, but I’ve worked in a few industries at this stage; business, broadcasting and books. (Do I have a B fetish??) Anyway, the book business is without doubt the nicest. Bookish people tend to be full of humor. They’re thinkers and I know I’m generalizing here but to my experience, they tend to be generally all round nicer individuals. In broadcasting, people can be tough, sassy and highly competitive. I know, as novelists we have to compete too but somehow we pack a softer punch. Maybe it’s because it’s not quite so cut throat. As a DJ, there are only so many hours in the day. If I had the Saturday morning show (which I had) nobody else could have it. If somebody better came along, there was a good chance I could be axed. As a writer, however – if somebody likes romantic comedy, they’ll buy my book but they’ll buy Jennifer Wiener’s too. We’re not in direct competition. Readers read more than one book – thank God!! So now I’m on a virtual blog tour. Yesterday I spoke with a lovely lady based in Hong Kong and today it’s beautiful Italy. Wow, ciao, Ruby!

While I’m sentimental about my old days on the road, there are plusses to this new system too. I get the most amazing emails from people all over the world. I love that. I also love hearing about somebody in Milan or Melbourne reading my book, while I’m based in Boston. My little treasure; Wellesley Wives will probably travel further than I ever will but isn’t that every writer’s dream? Who knows if I sell enough books, maybe I’ll even get there in person someday. What kind of soups do they have where you live?? In the mean time do please stay in touch through face book or twitter. I hope you love Wellesley wives and remember … Readers make Writers happy

Lots of love, Suzy xx


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TV awesomeness: Grey's Anatomy

Attention: Spoilerish if you haven't watched the first three seasons

So I was bored out of my mind last week. Having to wait for my favorite TV shows to premiere will do that to me. Yes, I have Castle and NCIS and another 2 or 3 TV shows that are airing right now and that I've waited for the entire summer, but I wanted something new. So, just out of curiosity, I decided to watch the first Grey's Anatomy episode. I really wasn't expecting much, just something to distract me for another few days or weeks until the premieres, you know? I wasn't expecting to watch two full seasons in 5 days and now I'm halfway through Season 3. Crazy much?

Anyway, I love the show. How could I not love it? I bawled like a baby when Denny died. Like I was literally crying. That's rare for me. I also laughed my ass off a few times (ok, more than a few times. What can I say, I'm easy to amuse). I love Mark. I heard what happened with his character in the latest season *sniff*sniff* But he's so funny. And cute and sexy. Mostly sexy. I don't like Burke. At all. I was starting to like him, but then something happened. Right after Denny died, Mr. Preston Burke suffered a major personality shift. I hate how he treats Christina. It's like the idiot can't see she's not a touchy-feely, people person.

Oh. I was sad to hear we won't have any more Addison. I know there's the Private Practice show, but I wanted her on this show. I like her with Alex :D And, although she was a bitch at first, I like her.

So, it seems I'm very hooked on this show. Took me a while to decide to watch it, but I'm glad I did. Finally. Now Mom is encouraging me to see Dr. House. To give in or not to give in?

Waiting on Wednesday #11

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Anna Whitt promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a claim. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win, will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues that have formed between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?
There's no cover yet, but I'm sure it will be perfect. Anyway, I can't wait to see what's going to happen next with Anna and Kai and the other Neph.

What's your WOW this week?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: Temptation in a kilt by Victoria Roberts

Author: Victoria Roberts
Series: Bad Boys of the Highlands #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: September 4th 2012
My Rating: 4.5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):

She's On Her Way to Safety

It's a sign of Lady Rosalia Armstrong's desperation that she's seeking refuge in a place as rugged and challenging as the Scottish Highlands. She doesn't care about hardship and discomfort, if only she can become master of her own life. Laird Ciaran MacGregor, however, is completely beyond her control...

He Redefines Dangerous...

Ciaran MacGregor knows it's perilous to get embroiled with a fiery Lowland lass, especially one as headstrong as Rosalia. Having made a rash promise to escort her all the way to Glengarry, now he's stuck with her, even though she challenges his legendary prowess at every opportunity. When temptation reaches its peak, he'll be ready to show her how he really is...on and off the battlefield.
A guilty pleasure of mine as a reader (one of many) is historical romances set in the Highlands. There's just something about a sexy Scottish rogue, you know?

I loved Temptation in a kilt, I really did. Ciaran MacGregor is one sexy man, very considerate, sweet, charming, strong and I could thing of some other qualities. I liked his honor and sense of duty most of all. He was willing to give up on the thing he wanted most in order to keep a promise and that means something. He's also incredibly stubborn and that was sometimes a little infuriating, but in a good way.

Rosalia was such a sweetheart. I really liked her and at times, I wanted to go hit someone for the way her parents treated her. I was actually glad she managed to escape them. She's very considerate and she cares for the people around her. I really liked seeing her interact with Ciaran's family. I would've wanted her to get the chance to confront her mother, to really stand up for herself. Maybe in the next book that will happen. I think Rosalia really needs that chance, I truly do believe that.

The book is fast-paced and the characters are great. I especially liked Ciaran's sister-in-law. There were some predictable moments, but they didn't ruin the book for me. And I admit, that once in a while predictable is good. So if you like historical romance and bad boys in kilts, give this book a chance.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

September in Retrospect

Wow. This really was a full, long, productive month. I read more than I expected, which is a good thing. Here's what I read this month:

  1. Blade Song - J. C. Daniels
  2. The Brotherhood of Piaxia - Michael Drakich
  3. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
  4. The Iron King's Daughter - Julie Kagawa
  5. The Iron Queen - Julie Kagawa
  6. Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton - re-read
  7. Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella - re-read
  8. Spider's Bite - Jennifer Estep
I know it's not as much as last month, but it is something. September, just like March, are weird months for me. This whole "in between" seasons changes kill me. I'm either way too sleepy, too cold or too agitated and too hot to function like a normal human being. Weird, trust me. And energy-drainer *sigh*

Reviews I posted:

  1. Blade Song - J. C. Daniels
  2. The Brotherhood of Piaxia - Michael Drakich
  3. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
  4. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
  5. Frostbite - Richelle Mead
  6. Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton - re-read
  7. No Humans Involved - Kelley Armstrong
  8. Spider's Bite - Jennifer Estep
  9. Arise - Amber Garr
The big event of September is that I participated in my very first Bloggiesta. I'm happy I finally did it and I can't wait for the next one. Here's the wrap-up post for my Bloggiesta. 

Here is how my Reading Challenges goals look like:

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge - 22/20 DONE I just realized I finished this one *happy dance*
New Author Challenge 2012 - 37/25
100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2012 - 74/100 Well, it's getting closer and closer to the finish line *excited*

September was a good month. Three months left of this year. I hope I manage to finish the other Reading Challenges and read all the books I have planned :D

So, how was your month?

Bloggiesta Wrap-up


*phew* This weekend was full of blogging! I just wish I had more time. But, I did decide at the last possible moment to join, so it's completely my fault *sheepish* Anyway, I had a loooot of things planned. Here's how my To-Do list looked like when I joined in:

  • Catch up on writing reviews
  • Update the Reviews by Author page 
  • Update my Review Challenges pages
  • Publish reviews on Goodreads, Shelfari, Barn & Noble and the likes  
  • Finish designing the book badges 
  • Back up blog 
  • Update my Facebook page 
  • Design and upload the Social Media icons
  • Update the Copyright notice
  • Format all the upcoming posts for blog tours
  • Work on some banners for my features
Pretty long list, right? Here's what I actually managed to do:

  1. I published all my reviews on Shelfari. This took me a looot of time. I had no idea I published so many reviews *wide eyes* I also learned a pretty valuable lesson: publish a new review on all bookish websites I have an account on as soon as I publish said review on my blog. It takes less time and it's way easier than to do a bulk update at a later date.
  2. I updated my Facebook page. Again, the same lesson as seen above.
  3. I designed and uploaded the Social Media icons. I'm happy with how they turned out, actually.
  4. I updated the Reviews by Author page. It actually looks good right? Speaking of which, I have a big favor to ask. Please check the page out and tell me if it's easy to navigate or if it gives you errors and such, using the comment form on this post. I checked with a friend's laptop, but I want to make sure it works for everyone. Check if the anchors at the beginning of the page leads you to the respective letter in the post and things like that. Oh, and for "return to  top", you should check on the letter above the reviews. I hope that makes sense? Pretty please, with a cherry on top .
  5. I backed up my blog, not that it was that difficult :P
  6. I wrote some reviews. I'm still behind with that, so I can't exactly say it's finished *oops*
On a side note, I also updated my Challenge Policy and my Review Policy pages. I hope they're clearer now. 

Now, with the minichallenges. I have to admit, I didn't complete a lot of them *blush* Here's what I managed to do:

  • Made some templates and redid my blog schedule, thanks to Amanda from On a Book Bender. I had the templates saved into another old, now closed blog of mine, but turns out I was doing it wrong LOL. The idea to use the Notebook was great, so thanks for that!
  • Updated my review and giveaway policies using Donna's @ Girl Who Reads tips.
I didn't manage to do any new graphics, but, to be honest, I had zero inspiration this week. Maybe in the next few days. Also, did I ever mention how bad my drawing skills are? Well, they are. You'll probably bust a rib or something laughing when I finally use them. Then again, I am proud of them. They're actually pretty in a creepy, ugly-ish way :D

So this is what I managed to do. For a first time, late-in-deciding Bloggiesta, I'm actually very proud of myself. I can't wait for the next one, which I hear is going to be in March 29-31 2013. 

Now tell me, did you participate in this round of Bloggiesta? If yes, what did you manage to do this weekend? If no, I do hope you will join in next time. I had fun and I did learn a few new things :D
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