DNF Reviews – THE WALLED CITY and THE NIGHT ITSELF

730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.
18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

My inability to finish The Walled City is completely, 100% my fault. I heard that the latest from Ryan Graudin would feature a walled city, a girl disguised as a boy, and an entirely Asian cast, and I stopped listening. I didn’t think I needed to know anything else.

The beginning of the book was fantastic. Jin, the aforementioned disguised female, is quick both in mind and in movement. She’s a sleek mouse scurrying among the maze of the Walled City, avoiding the criminals that inhabit its streets. She survives by stealing and running and does her best to stay below the radar of the city’s most notorious gangs. In contrast with Jin, Dai is a rich boy banished into the city by his father, and he’s determined to use Jin to get himself out. From the few pages I read, I was already anticipating the dynamics between the two characters.

My hiccup was the treatment of women in the City. There was some very blatant and graphic misogyny exercised by the men of the City in the first chapter. I didn’t like it, but I kept reading until I came to Mei’s point of view. I completely forgot a full third of the book was going to come from a sex slave. I can’t handle that in my reading, guys, I just can’t.

I enjoyed the writing, the characters, and the plot for what little I read, but I refuse to subject myself to a story that will make me dread reading.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana – an ancestral Japanese sword – out of its hiding place in her parent’s attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend’s party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.

The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.

Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it’s already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.

With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru – and the devoted protection of the betwitchingly familiar Shinobu – Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn’t learn how to control the katana’s incredible powers, she’s in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can’t keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she’ll lose not only her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

Augh! Book! You had to do so little to keep me engaged. Japanese girl with a samurai sword battles ancient evils in modern London with a warrior boy. Bam. Fantastic hook. I was ready for you, book!

What I was not ready for was drunk 15-year-olds at a rager of a party. Or horny lesbians. Or instalove. It was a blam, blam, BLAM trifecta of anti-Shaeness. To be fair, the instalove was only alluded to that early on in the book, but I could feel it coming, and peeks at others’ reviews proved my suspicions to be correct. No way in the world was I sticking around for that, nosirreebob.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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Miami Book Fair International

A month or two back, Robin LaFevers (the author I assist and also fangirl over on a regular basis) told me that her publishing company was sending her to Florida for the Miami Book Fair. Despite living in Florida my entire life, I’ve only been to Miami maybe twice and never to the fair, and Ms. Robin has never been only a few hours’ drive from me. I immediately began to plan.

This weekend, my sister Summer, my friend Charlee, and I piled into a car early Saturday morning and drove down to Miami. The road signage was illogical, the traffic was insane, and the weather was bleakly overcast, but we didn’t mind (too much). We’d made it!

We took a quick glance around but then hurried to the little room where the first YA session (Robin LaFevers and Kami Garcia) was about to start. The panel got started a bit late because Ms. Kami was nowhere to be found, so Ms. Robin (His Fair Assassin) got the ball rolling by describing her three books for any new fans in the room before digging into what inspired the series. [I tried to take notes in all the sessions I went to, but please understand that anything I write is a paraphrase of what actually was said.] Continue Reading →

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Review: THE PERFECT PLACE by Teresa E. Harris

Treasure’s dad has disappeared and her mom sets out to track him down, leaving twelve-year-old Treasure and her little sister, Tiffany, in small-town Virginia with their eccentric, dictatorial Great-Aunt Grace. GAG (as the girls refer to her) is a terrible cook, she sets off Treasure’s asthma with her cat and her chain smoking, and her neighbors suspect her in the recent jewel thefts.

Convincing, fully realized characters, a snarky narrative voice, and laugh-aloud funny dialogue make The Perfect Place a standout among stories of adjustment and reconfigured families.

Confession: I cut out nearly a full paragraph of the description above, because otherwise it basically gives away the entire book. Not that The Perfect Place is a particularly twisty or surprising book, but the ride is such a lovely one that I’d hate to ruin your enjoyment unnecessarily. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (72)

Rewind & Review

 

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Yay for good sequels, both read and unread! And yes, the Blogging Unicorn post series has FINALLY returned.

Stuff I Received

  • Omega City by Diana Peterfreund
  • Endangered by Lamar Giles (from HC via EW)

Thanks, HarperCollins!

What I Read

  • In the Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce audiobook – Still chugging away and LOVING it.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – Heehee, this was the secret thing I started last week! I finished it, and you can read my thoughts here.
  • Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas – Ridiculously cute and fun. Review to come.
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay – Still reading so my opinions are not concrete yet, but I like how things have been twisted.

Event of the Week

Yesterday, I went down to Miami to attend the Miami Book Fair International. It was AMAZING. No pictures or other details yet, though, because I want to talk about what fun I had later this week. Keep your eyes on this blog on Wednesday!

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Sisterhood of the World Book Blogging Tag

I was tagged by Lili from Lili’s Reflections. Thanks, Lili. :) These tags are a bit chain-email-in-middle-school-esque, but that’s part of the fun! I like talking about myself and learning about you all.

THE RULES:

1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their website.
2. Post the award’s logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions you have been asked.
4. Nominator ten other bloggers and ask them ten other questions.

THE QUESTIONS:

Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #81

CoverLove1

 

The story of Medraut – strong, skilled, daring, and never to be king…

Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, high king of Britain; and, but for an accident of birth, would-be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, is chosen to be prince of Britain. Lleu is fragile, often ill, unskilled in weaponry and statesmanship, and childishly afraid of the dark. Even Lleu’s twin sister, Goewin, seems more suited to rule the kingdom.

Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped his birthright and his father’s favor. Torn and bitter, haunted by jealousy, self-doubt, and thwarted ambition, he joins Morgause, the high king’s treacherous sister, in a plot to force Artos to forfeit his power and kingdom in exchange for Lleu’s life. But this plot soon proves to be much more – a battlefield on which Medraut is forced to decide, for good or evil, where his own allegiance truly lies…

I love this cover, you guys. The longer I stare at it, the more I love it. Before I read this book, I thought it was a cool cover. Two people of indeterminate gender staring each other down over a sword. Cool beans. I can dig it. But NOW I stare at this cover and my heart twists. On the left we have Lleu, heir to the throne of Britain with his circlet and finery. On the right is Medraut, our narrator, with his white hair and robes. He’s clearly the older of the two. He and Lleu stand eye to eye but are separated by the naked blade, which Medraut grasps with his bare hand. OH OH OH. The things I could read into that. My heart, it shrivels in pain. That the entire cover is done in the style of a medieval painting is even better.

Have you read this book? If you haven’t, what do you think? And if you have, does knowing the story change how you see the cover?

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The Blogging Unicorn and the Goblet of Fire: A Harry Potter Newbie Visits Hogwarts

HPU1 copy

For those that don’t know, I am one of the rare YA/MG aficionados who has never read the Harry Potter series. We do exist, but like unicorns, we are elusive and almost extinct. Last year, I started reading the series and chronicling my thoughts here on the blog. You can catch the entire post series thus far here:

I Am A Blogging Unicorn |What I Already Know (Thanks, Tumblr) |The Sorcerer’s Stone |The Chamber of Secrets |The Prisoner of Azkaban 

I read PoA in April, and ever since then, certain people have been pushing me to continue my reading. Being the slightly diabolical person that I am, I did, but kept it a secret! Bwahahaha. I don’t dare review such a widely beloved series, but I can provide a sort of stream-of-consciousness monologue of what I thought as I read. This book is HUGE, which means this post is going to be rather lengthy. Brace yourselves.

You are about to enter my stream of consciousness in three… two… one…

Continue Reading →

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Review: DANGEROUS DECEPTIONS by Sarah Zettel

As a lady in waiting in King George’s London court, Peggy has survived a forced betrothal, royal scandals, and an attempt or two on her life. And now she has a new problem: her horrible fiancé has returned to claim her! To save her neck, or at least her hand in marriage, Peggy joins forces with her cousin Olivia and her sweetheart, Matthew. But if she doesn’t play her cards right, her career as courtier and spy might come to an end at the bottom of the river Thames . . .

2014 has been SLAYING it when it comes to sequels, and I’m happy to say that Dangerous Deceptions continues the trend. Our daring Peggy is back in the court of King George, now only as herself, her charade as the slain Francesca having been laid to rest in the last book. Now Peggy seems to have more trouble than she can handle with friends who feel betrayed, another possible Jacobite plot, an insistent betrothed, trouble in the royal marriage, and her Uncle Pierpont’s mysterious behavior. Continue Reading →

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