Thursday, March 31, 2011

Site Update: March 2011

Hello all!

So, this blog has only been up and running for about 2 weeks, but it has been nothing but a blast! I really appreciate all of the support, suggestions, and comments!

I plan on doing a Site Update every month to take a look back at blog improvements or changes I've made that month as well as lay out what I would like to accomplish over the next month. It's more for me than you guys I think. I have a ridiculous to-read list on goodreads, but feel free to suggest any books you'd like to see reviewed or think I might enjoy.

Improvements this Month (besides starting the blog itself):
  • Book Clubs section: These clubs are great and I can't wait to start reading their selections and having discussions! You can find these in the left sidebar.
  • I have a twitter account specifically for this blog now. Be sure to follow me @InklingsRead
Coming in April (Hopefully):
  • Reviews:

  • 100-Follower Giveaway: Iron Fey Series, Books #1-3. If and when I reach 100 followers. Help me out? I really want to do this!! Spread the word.
  • Link button

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope your March was as good as mine. See you tomorrow for another "Front-Cover Friday." It sure was a hard decision with all those beautiful covers out there!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    To-Read Tuesday: Where She Went

    Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)
    by Gayle Forman
    Genre: YA

    It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

    Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

    Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

    via goodreads

    Why do I want to read this?

    The first book in the series, If I Stay, initially caught my eye but I wasn't sold on it. I have not read If I Stay  and I don't know if I ever will. What made Where She Went stand out in my mind, is the fact that it is written from Adam's point of view. It looks like this will be an emotional rollercoaster of a read according to the reviews! I'm really looking forward to this one. Let me know your opinions if you guys have read it.

    Review excerpts from goodreads:

    "The writing is raw and powerful and my emotions were on high alert right alongside Adam’s the entire time. Gayle Forman’s powerful prose explores grief, pain, and the possibility of rekindling a spark surrounded by chaos." - Arlene

    "This review was difficult to write. I didn't even know where to start. All I wanted to do was pick up the book and reread it. Because it was amazing, heartbreaking, and beautiful." - Alexa

    "Note: My review is not going to do this book justice. I don't think I can possibly express how awesome Where She Went is." - Nic

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Review: The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale

    The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale
    by Christine Bell
    Carina Press
    Advance uncorrected proof received from NetGalley
    Genre: Historical Romance, Time Travel

    I'm a time pirate-born in 1810, now a 21st-century woman. I travel through time trying to right wrongs without disrupting the fragile balance between what is and what can never be.

    That's why it's vital that I go to 1836 and find the man who conned my brother out of his Time Travel Mechanism as quickly as possible. If the technology falls into the wrong hands, it could change the world as we know it. The notorious Duke of Leister definitely qualifies as the wrong hands. An amateur scientist of the slightly mad variety, he's bound to figure out how to use the TTM sooner rather than later.

    I knew this wouldn't be easy. But I wasn't counting on him being as sexy as hell. Or winding up chained to his bed...

    What I Loved
    • Original plot
    • Saucy and tough female protagonist
    • Quick and mildly entertaining read
    • Time travel elements

    What I Didn't Like
    • This book was quite short, and a bit too slow for my liking. There was always something going on, but I just couldn't get into it.
    • The characters just seemed very shallow to me. Perhaps this is because there was not enough time to really get to know them.

    Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆


    I think this story would be best for someone looking for a quick read. I was looking for something with a bit more substance. I personally felt that the plot was rather simple and shallow, though it does get a bit more interesting later in the book. Characters could have been somewhat more developed as well. I finished this book feeling as if I had not really accomplished anything by reading it. It always felt like it was missing something. As I said earlier, I recommend this for someone who is looking for a quick, mildly entertaining read (airplane ride perhaps?).

    News: Upcoming 100 Follower Giveaway

    Hello My Inklings,

    I hope you are enjoying my blog! Let me know if there is anything I can improve on. I wanted to make an announcement. I will be hosting my first ever giveaway when I reach 100 followers on google! It will be for the Iron Fey series, books #1-#3, by Julie Kagawa.

    If you are interested please share my blog with others as well as follow me on twitter for notification of when the giveaway will happen.

    Thank you for your support!

    Sarah @InklingsRead

    Review: Hunger Games

    The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
    by Suzanne Collins
    Scholastic, Inc
    Genre: YA Dystopian

    In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.- goodreads

    What I Loved
    • The descriptive writing skills of Suzanne Collins.
    • The added humor to a grim storyline:
    "It's lovely. If only you could frost someone to death," I say. "Don't be so superior. You can never tell what you'll find in the arena. Say it's actually a gigantic cake -- " begins Peeta.
    • That the violence was not camouflaged to protect readers like some other books.
    • Katniss' firey personality!
    • Several unexpected twists that keep you guessing.

    What I Didn't Like
    •  This book was a bit slow in the beginning, but looking back I could see that it was all necessary. It was still a joy to read despite this! Note: The games themselves don't even start until about a third of the way in.

    Overall Rating: ★★★★★


    In the beginning you are introduced to the strong protagonist, 16 year-old Katniss Everdeen. She certainly is a survivor: hunting, gathering, and providing for her mother and 12-year old sister, in a world where hunting outside town borders is prohibited. Her sister, Prim, is elected for the Hunger Games and Katniss volunteers to take her place not wanting to think about losing her little sister. This is where the real story begins. I do not want to give too much away!

    I found Katniss to be a very likeable character. She is smart, clever, and a great hunter. She is a survivor. She can come off as harsh at times, but this only makes her character more believable.

    Suzanne Collins' writing is raw and descriptive. She does not hold anything back. This is exactly what made me love this book so much. The picture she paints in my mind is of a future government that is oppressive, controlling, and merciless. Panem is world where only the strong or rich survive. Her characters are deep, believable, and relatable. The plot is raw, unheard of, and original. Her settings are extremely rich and descriptive. This book will become a classic read, no doubt. I would not be surprised to see this as a common read in schools in the future.

    There is romance, action, heartbreak, sorrow, happiness, and rebellion all stuffed into the 374 pages of this excellent read. Expect a few unexpected plot twists as well! I did not think I would like this book as much as I did. I cannot recommend it enough and I will be starting the next book ASAP!

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Kindle Tips: Calibre E-book Management

    My problem: Ebook conversion. I love my kindle but, as many of you know, it can be very limiting on file types and such.

    I recently found a solution to this problem: Calibre. This application provides ebook conversion with a whole slew of other uses.

    Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. It has a cornucopia of features divided into the following main categories:
    • Library Management
    • E-book conversion
    • Syncing to e-book reader devices
    • Downloading news from the web and converting it into e-book form
    • Comprehensive e-book viewer
    • Content server for online access to your book collection

    How Do I Use Calibre?
    • E-book Conversion
    • E-book Backup
    • To get those .pdf galleys on my kindle quick and simple (if they are not available for download to my kindle)
    • To remove DRM on my PURCHASED books. For how to do this check out this article: Ebook Formats, DRM and You — A Guide for the Perplexed Please note that I in no way condone piracy of books, nor do I use this application for such.
    • To sync my Kindle with books downloaded directly to my computer.
    • To manage any other documents I may have on my Kindle.
    • To simplify the document process.

    Final Thoughts

    This application is a godsend. I cannot say enough good things about it... It has a really great, easy-to-use interface! Another great feature is that it is customizable with plugins. Not to mention: IT'S FREE! Head over to Calibre to download this application and see how great it is yourself.

      Friday, March 25, 2011

      Front-Cover Friday: Wrapped

      Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

      I'm in love with this cover! It has a great cartoon quality to it, but still looks very classy. My favorite feature is definitely the beautiful, muted color scheme... And on another note: I'm pretty sure I want that dress! What do you guys think?

      I searched reasonably hard for the artist who did this, but I was unable to find any info... I felt that even without the artist's name, this was still worth mentioning.

      This YA book is set for release in May 2011. For more info on this book visit goodreads.

      Wednesday, March 23, 2011

      Review: The Iron Queen

      The Iron QueenThe Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3) by Julie Kagawa
      Publisher: Harlequin Teen
      Format: Kindle eBook
      Pages: 368
      Buy It: Paperback | Kindle

      My name is Meghan Chase.
      I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

      This time, there will be no turning back.
      What I Loved
      • How attached I became to all of the characters.
      • The action- MUCH more than the rest of the series.
      • The romance- Meghan's relationship with Ash is definitely solidified in this book.
      • The unpredictable, open, but satisfying ending. Have kleenex handy!
      • Lastly, RAZOR the gremlin. What a great character. Very well written.
      What I Didn't Like
      • The crazy feeling of loss and sadness knowing I have to wait until the fall for book #4 in the series..
      • The standard this sets for YA fantasy books... Will I ever find a series that compares??

      This series will forever hold a special place in my heart and bookshelf (Uh, I space), particularly this book. For me, this was the best in the series so far. It had everything I wanted more of from the other books, specifically action and romance. I wanted to see Meghan and Ash's relationship fleshed out. Here that definitely happens.

      Ahh the romance... Who doesn't love romance? The difference between the romance in this book and the romance in the other two books is exactly this: Here the romance makes sense. In the other books it seemed too "Twilighty" to me. You don't just instantly become infatuated with a person! In "The Iron Queen" Meghan and Ash have a background and have been through many hard times. This makes their love far more believable and understandable. The thing that I like about Julie's writing in this book is that the romance was not overdone nor underdone. In my opinion, it was very balanced. If you've been waiting for more romance between Meghan and Ash, this is the book!

      Here we see Meghan become stronger and more passionate about her mission. We see her grow as a character. She is no longer the self conscious girl from the first book. She has faith in her abilities and more importantly knows what needs to be done. I love this... It was strangely inspirational looking back at her from the first book. At first I thought the ending was terrible, but I didn't know then that there was another book on the way. I was like "WHAT!? HOW CAN YOU END THE SERIES LIKE THIS!?" I cannot explain my relief when I discovered that the next book is set for release this fall.

      Overall, every second of this book was a joy to read. I would have given it more stars if possible! Warning though: Be prepared for some tears. I was sick with the stomach flu and exhausted but I just could not put this down. I ended up passing out with it the first night. Took me two days to finish.. Do not pass this series up!

      Post. Amazing. Book. Depression.
       Click the banner for more info

      Tuesday, March 22, 2011

      To-Read Tuesday: The Hunger Games

      The Hunger Games
      by Suzanne Collins

      In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

      Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

      So why do I want to read this so bad?

      It isn't because it is being raved about by everyone around me. It isn't because it has a 4 1/2 star rating on goodreads, or that 'The Hunger Games" movie is in the works. I want to read this so I can breach out from my usual YA fantasy books. I figured this would be a great start!

      It falls within the YA genre, like most of my books, which means I will post a review here whenever I get around to reading it. I like the fact that it is considered YA dysotopian fiction: A genre I don't think I have ever read a book from. I will be blazing trails in new genres from now on!

      Monday, March 21, 2011

      First Impressions: The Iron Queen

      The first chapter is really focused on the relationship between Ash and Meghan. It is filled with Romance but jumps right back into the action :) I can't wait to see where this goes.

      Review: The Iron Daughter

      The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, #2) by Julie Kagawa
      Publisher: Harlequin Teen
      Format: Kindle eBook
      Pages: 304
      Buy It: Paperback | Kindle
      Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
      Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.
      What I Loved
      • Almost everything!
      • Meghan and Ash's forbidden romance.
      • The open, but very strong ending.
      • When I realized how much Grimalkin actually runs things.
      • The believable, strong, and very consistent characters.
      • The great plot twists that keep you on your toes.
      What I Didn't Like
      • The ups and downs of Meghan's relationship with Ash can be a bit tiring at times (similar to the Twilight series to me). She doesn't really know much about him, yet she is infatuated? Don't get me wrong I absolutely love Ash's character, but it would have been great to see the relationship fleshed out a bit more before they were so head over heels for eachother.
      I usually HATE all faery-themed books. The only reason I went out on a limb and tried this series is because someone else, who also hates faery-themed books, said not to pass this series by.  It has been really hard for me to find a series that constantly improves.. Usually you have authors who write the first book and its great, but then the sequel is a horrible letdown. The Iron Fey series is perfect in this regard.

      There is a great story to be found here. I loved all of the characters and I found myself getting really attached to them... not wanting the book to end. The world that Julie Kagawa has created is nothing short of magnificent. Can I live there? Please? It was so fleshed out and wonderful. Kagawa most certainly outdid herself here. This book has left me wanting, no...NEEDING, more of Meghan Chase's story! I can't wait to see where the rest of this series goes!

      Friday, March 18, 2011

      Front-Cover Friday: Towers of Midnight ebook

      "Towers of Midnight" by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

      Cover Art by: Raymond Swayland

      I love the style of this cover and the fact that it does not look like every other fantasy cover out there. It definitely stands out to me. It is a still picture, but I swear I can see the movement of the flames every time I look at it.

      I definitely suggest taking a look at Raymond's website and gallery. He is an amazing artist with a unique and recognizable style.

      There is a great article on about the development of this cover. It's a pretty interesting read and gives you a behind the scenes look at the making of this kick-ass cover. Check it out!

      Tuesday, March 15, 2011

      To-Read Tuesday: Dragon's Heart

      Let me give you some background info before I explain my choice here:

      Jane Yolen is solely responsible for me reading fantasy books. Had I not picked up the first book of the Pit Dragon series at my public library one summer as a child, my tastes could have greatly differed. As soon as I finished Dragon's Blood, the first in the series, I had to own them all. I think every reader has a book or series that drove their passion for reading. Dragon's Blood was that for me.

      Originally designed to be a Trilogy, the Pit Dragon Chronicles now has a new edition. 20 years after the last book was written. Dragon's Heart, volume 4 of the Pit Dragon Chronicles, was released February 2011:

      "Austar IV isn't the planet it once was, and when Jakkin and Akki finally return to the dragon nursery, their homecoming arouses mixed emotions. Together they've survived the insurmountable, and now they can weather the brutal conditions of Dark After and communicate with the dragons they love. But with this knowledge comes responsibility. What they've learned about survival could transform the planet--or, if entrusted to the wrong hands, bring about its destruction. Akki's insistence that she return to the Rokk to finish her training and begin new experiments drives a chasm between her and Jakkin. Suddenly she finds herself in the midst of a political battle that could claim her life. Only Jakkin can save her. If only he could reach her. . . ."
      Once this is released in e-book format I am going to be all over it. I hope you will take a moment to consider this wonderful series, or at least the first book: Dragon's Blood. Thanks for reading and watch out for another front-cover friday coming soon.

      Sunday, March 13, 2011

      New Challenge: 2011 E-Book Challenge

      What a great idea for a challenge! I love my Kindle and I really want to break it in this year. Participation in this challenge was a no-brainer for me :)

      I've decided to participate on the Addicted level, meaning my goal is to read 12 e-books this year. For my progress click here.

      Want to participate as well?

      New Challenge: Off The Shelf

      I'm very excited to start my first challenge!! I'm always buying books and forgetting what I still have to read yet. This is a terrible addiction with my Kindle... I'll be participating at the "Tempted" level, meaning my goal is to read 5 of those books. To see my progress visit here.

      Want to participate too?

      Friday, March 11, 2011

      Front-Cover Friday: River Marked

      River Marked by Patricia Briggs

      Cover Art by: Dan dos Santos

      I think the character, Mercy Thompson, just oozes strength and sexuality on this cover. I love it! What do you guys think?

      Site Update + News

      Hello again Inklings,

      I'm progressing well with the site layout. More content will be posted soon. I'm look forward to the first ever Inklings Read Front-Cover Friday later today. Yes, yes, I know... I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes they are far to beautiful to pass by. Front-Cover Friday will focus purely on those gorgeous covers and the wonderful artists who create them.

      Have you ever wanted to buy a book strictly for the cover art? I must say that being an avid Kindle reader (an electronic-inkling), I find that the cover art is the thing I miss the most. What do you think? Are any of you out there E-Inkers as well?

      On another note: It is so terrible what is currently going on in Japan and surrounding areas... One can only hope that the devestation will be limited. My thoughts go out to anyone who has family in Japan or lives there.

      Feel free to leave comments and suggestions for me regarding the new blog :)

      Until Next Time!

      Thursday, March 10, 2011

      Here's to new beginnings!

      Hello my inklings,

      Nice to meet all of you (probably meaning just myself for now). Let me tell you a bit about what I'm expecting out of this blog:

      I'm hoping for this blog to be a place of community. I want to meet and talk and converse. I want to see how ink on a page can bring people together and how it is possible that a simple line of words can evoke so much emotion. I want to investigate the impact of reading on the lives of others. I want to share this passion I have for books with others. And finally, I want suggestions! I'm always looking for a new, interesting read even if it isn't sci-fi, fantasy, or YA.

      I would like to extend my thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read this post. I hope you will return in the future! Feel free to share a link to your blog.

      Until next time,