Monday, December 31, 2012

NINJA GIRL'S BEST OF 2012

Happy (almost) New Year everyone!!   Here's my list of the best books/authors I discovered in 2012.  Yes, I was a little late to the party on some.  But they still kicked major a** :-)
 
BEST YA CONTEMPORARY:
 
 
BEST YA PARANORMAL/FANTASY:
 
 
BEST ROMANCE:
 
 
BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE:
 
 
BEST NEW YA SERIES:
 
 
BEST ADULT SERIES:
 
 
BEST NEW AUTHORS:
 
1) Ilona Andrews (I devoured the Kate Daniels series)
2) Stephanie Perkins (will read anything by her after AatFK)
3) Courtney Milan (the woman knows romance <3)
 
BEST HERO:
 
Three-way tie: Lucas (Easy) and Ash Turner (Unvelied) and Gavriel (Grave Mercy).
 
 
BEST HEROINE:
 
Kate Daniels (aka the most kick-ass chick you'll ever meet :p)
 
 
Hope everyone has an awesome New Year's!!
 
Ninja Girl



Friday, December 28, 2012

BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE!

Hi all!  This was my first Christmas spent away from home.  Me and the fam all went to Ninja Aunt C's this year--and it snowed!  Of course, it didn't stick but STILL!  Snow on Christmas *___*  It was great you guys.  I got entirely too much again, and I gave some things I really loved.

 
These are all the books I gave this year!!  Some of my absolute favorites!
 
 
And b/c my family knows me far too well, I got a ton of great books!  I've already devoured one: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (it was mind-blowing!).
 
Ninja Aunt P got me these INCREDIBLE shoes!!  Did you ntice the "NINJA GIRL" personalization?!? Crazy cool!
 
 
Ninja Aunt C made me smile immediately with this Monsters Inc. ornament.  Ahhhhh Boo!
 
 
Annnnnnnd awesome Asian dramas--which I'm currently watching ;)
 
Like I said, way, way too much, but I'm so grateful for everything.  So, how was your Christmas?  Did you do anything interesting?  Receive or give any great gifts?  I'd love to hear about your holiday!
 
Have a great one,
 
Ninja Girl


Sunday, December 23, 2012

THAT'S WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT

Hi there,

Here's my happy holidays post!!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.  There's just something about this time of year...*sigh*  I've included a few vids that always make me smile, and I hope they make you happy, too :D.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Ninja Girl





Friday, December 21, 2012

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hi there!  Hope everyone's enjoying this week leading up to Christmas :D.  My highlight was watching A Charlie Brown Christmas since I missed it last year, and it's a family tradition.  Goodreads says I've read 91 books (I hope to add a couple before the year ends lol).  But today I wanted to spread some cover love.

This post is for my favorite cover of 2012!  Here are my top 2:


It was impossible to choose one.  They're both so beautiful (and the stories were awesome as well!).  Great books with great covers?  To quote my dear friend Linus: That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown ;). Well, not really, but I am giving a whole bunch of great books as gifts!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ninja Girl

Monday, December 17, 2012

POW (Page One Wow): BITTERBLUE

 
Things to ask yourself when looking for POW: Does the book draw me in from the first page? Does it have that certain something that makes it unputdownable? Does it make me pay attention?

I'm going to post a few lines from the first page of a book (current or past read), and say whether or not I think it has Page One Wow. As always, feel free to chime in!

My current read: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

 
Prologue
 
"When he grabs Mama's wrist and yanks her toward the wallhanging like that, it must hurt.  Mama doesn't cry out.  She tries to hide her pain from him, but she looks back at me, and in her face, she shows me everything she feels.  If Father knows she's in pain and is showing me, Father will take Mama's pain away and replace it with something else.
 
He will say to Mama, "Darling, nothing's wrong.  It doesn't hurt, you're not frightened," and in Mama's face I'll see her doubt, the beginnings of her confusion.  He'll say, "Look at our beautiful child.  Look at this beautiful room.  How happy we are.  Nothing is wrong.  Come with me, darling."  Mama will stare back at him, puzzled, and then she'll look at me, her beautiful child in this beautiful room, and her eyes will go smooth and empty, and she'll smile at how happy we are.  I'll smile, too, because my mind is no stronger than Mama's."--page 1, Bitterblue
 
So, does it have POW?  I'd say yes.  *Shivers* I've been a fan of Cashore's writing since Graceling.  This first excerpt is so creepy, so wrong.  That sense of wrongness reminds me exactly why the power of persuasion is so dangerous and why King Leck was such a formidable foe.  If you haven't read Graceling, I'd recommend you do so immediately :D
 
Any thoughts?
 
Hope eveyone has a wonderful week!
 
Ninja Girl

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY

Hey there, "Waiting on Wednesday" is a meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine, featuring those books that are just too good, the ones you wish were out. Right. This. Second.

This week I saw that one of the titles I've been dying for FINALLY has a cover!!  Probably been out for weeks, but it's new to me.  Emily is definitely rockin' it in this photo!

 
Goodreads Summary:
 
Finley Jayne, Griffin and their crew are stunned when one of their own is kidnapped. Emily has a way with machines—she can literally talk to them. But the automatons who abducted her aren’t ordinary machines. They’re almost human—and they want Emily to do something as horrifying as it seems possible.

To save Emily, Finley must contact the highly unsettling Jack Dandy and face her feelings for two vastly different men, even as Griffin’s nightmares threaten to turn into a reality that might just end them all.
 
Ahhhhhh, Jack, Jack, Jack!!!  Mr. Dandy is back, and I am so looking forward to his return :D  *Takes a deep breath*  I am seriously desperate for book 3.  This is one of my favorite YA series.  And can I just say, great title?

Can't wait to check out everyone else's WOW picks,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TUNE IN TUESDAY: YOU INSTEAD

 
Hi all! Tune in Tuesday is a GReads meme currently being hosted over at Kate's Tales of Books and Bands.  Found this totally sweet movie on iTunes called "You Instead." The title track was my favorite (acoustic version, of course).  Plus, you gotta love Luke Treadaway :)  Enjoy!

 
Hope you have an awesome Tuesday!
 
Ninja Girl

Monday, December 10, 2012

CINDER by Marissa Meyer


Let's appreciate that beautiful cover.  Goodness.  I can't imagine a prettier, more eye-catching stiletto/cyborg leg if I tried LOL.  The curling-silver font is perfection as well.  Good job designers!  This one's a winner :-).

Cinder is Marissa Meyer's take on Cinderella.  Now, I'm not much for retellings.  Lots of bloggers are all about them, but whenever one comes out, I'm like, "Meh.  I already know the basic story.  How good can it be?"

The answer in this case, folks, is pretty darn good.

I was pleasantly surprised by my first foray into retellings.  This is Cinderella with an edge, a spark if you will (pun intended since Cinder herself is both a mechanic and part-cyborg).  The kick a** heroine and her steampunk-y goodness made this a must-read for me.  But I had no idea I'd like it as much as I did.

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing.  But she's also cyborg, 36.28% not human to be exact, which makes her life not as valuable as that of the other citizens.  When Prince Kai shows up at her market stall, asking her to fix an important android, Cinder does her best to shield her metal parts and her heart.  But Kai's charismatic and charming personality don't make it easy.

Here's a little excerpt that I loved from their first meeting:

"Instead of answering, the prince bent down, craning his neck so that she had no choice but to meet his eyes, and dashed a grin at her.  Her heart winced."--page 8

Wow.  Cinder's heart "winced"?  I could imagine exactly how that felt.  Kudos to Meyer because I've never heard it described quite like that.  Loved the word choice and all the subsequent meetings with Kai.  The chemistry was undeniable.  Cinder was fierce, smart, brave, and loyal to her loved ones (both human and not).

And if I wasn't already sold, Cinder's backstory--which she knew nothing about--sealed the deal.
 
There were several mysteries in this book, and I think I figured most of them out before the big reveal.  BUT that didn't really matter because, back in the day, I was a huge Sailor Moon fan J
 

If someone would've told me this was a retelling of Serena and her lunarly ways, I would've been down even sooner.  Awesome!
 
Two main evil forces threaten the lives of everyone in New Beijing: Letumosis (the plague) and the Lunars. Once one contracts Letumosis, they'll be dead in days. This plague has killed thousands--and yet there's still no cure. The Lunars are another race that hails from the moon and can manipulate anyone into seeing, feeling, or doing whatever they want. Someone who can take away your free will? If that's not scary, I don't know what is. *Shivers* And the Queen of the Lunars has her eye on Prince Kai.

Cinder was a great read.   The only thing that could've made it better imo was if it was a standalone.  Things I loved: Cinder, the gutsy heroine/cyborg, Iko, Cinder's android best friend who had a thing for fashion, Prince Kai, the guy who won our heroine's heart and mine, Peony, Cinder's younger step-sister and only human friend.  A great steampunk story made even better by the Sailor Moon slant.  Looking forward to Book 2!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

POW (Page One Wow): THE HUNGER GAMES

 
Things to ask yourself when looking for POW: Does the book draw me in from the first page?  Does it have that certain something that makes it unputdownable?  Does it make me pay attention?

I'm going to post a few lines from the first page of a book (current or past read), and say whether or not I think it has Page One Wow.  As always, feel free to chime in!  Today's pick is a great test of my theory.

 
"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.  My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress.  She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother.  Of course, she did.  This is the day of the reaping.
 
I prop myself up on one elbow.  There's enough light in the bedroom to see them.  My little sister, Prim, curled up on her side, cocooned in my mother's body, their cheeks pressed together.  In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down.  Prim's face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named.  My mother was very beautiful once, too.  Or so they tell me."
 
So, does it have POW?  Heck. Yes.  And I'll take it a step farther: this one has wow in the first paragraph.  If you're a writer or a reader, you've probably heard about "voice."  I think The Hunger Games is an excellent example of an undeniable character voice.  We're automatically in Katniss's head, her world.  She's real.  We, as readers, can relate to her and want to know more about her and this ominous event referred to as "the reaping."  Notice Collins doesn't give us any more details.  It's enough to know that it's giving poor Prim nightmares.  We're there with Katniss and can feel the affection she has for her sister, and in contrast, the distance she keeps from her mother.
 
It's straightforward.  It's emotionally honest.  It tells you without telling you that the MC is protective of her sister.  The first page is Katniss, and that's why I love it so much.
 
What are your thoughts?  I'd love to hear them!
 
Ninja Girl

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TUNE IN TUESDAY: THE KILLERS

Hi all! Tune in Tuesday is a GReads meme currently being hosted over at Kate's Tales of Books and Bands.  I'm loving the latest Killers album!  The songs I like best are giving me a serious Springsteen vibe.  In my book, sounding like The Boss is never a bad thing ;).  Songs featured are:

1) Runaways

 
2) Miss Atomic Bomb
 
 
3) And because I couldn't resist...a little Bruce :)
 
 
Enjoy!  Hope everyone has a great week!
 
Ninja Girl


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DEITY by Jennifer L. Armentrout


I finished Deity on Sunday, and I'm still a little devastated. 0_0

Loved the book/story as usual.  Seriously, LOVED IT!  But the events that took place, the total change of character (one character in particular), and just the overall outcome…  My ninja mind just can't take it in.

*If I knew how to put in a gif, this would be where the person is crying, bashing their head against the wall, crying out "WHYYYYYYYYY" at the top of their lungs*

Anyone reading Deity--the third book in the Covenant series--most likely knows anything I'd reveal as a spoiler from previous books.  Plus, I don't know how to talk about the things I want to talk about without including at least some spoilers.  With that in mind, here are my thoughts.

First off, let's list the things I loved: Alex and Aiden's relationship, Alex's Uncle Marcus (I knew I liked you, sir!), the fast pace of the book, the writing, the Underworld scene, LEON!!!

And now, what made me so, so sad.

Team Seth took a major hit.  We're all still lying on the floor in our own tears, trying to recover from the Seth-bomb that exploded in our faces.  JLA completely flipped the script on us.  If you go into this expecting the same Seth from Pure, you're going to be disappointed (or, if you're like me, totally devastated).

I can't say I didn't see it coming.  Whenever there's a love triangle, especially in YA, the story usually takes one of two routes: 1) Make us hate one of the guys, or 2) Make one guy dull as dirt, so that no one in their right mind would choose him over the other guy.  As we know, Seth would never fit into category 2.  So, we're left with the hate option.  Why not just make the two guys different, each an equally viable love interest, and then have the girl choose?

Seth did some awful things in this book, but the one that really got me was how he mistreated Alex.  He was literally abusive to her (locking her in her room, not letting her leave, draining her life energy ON PURPOSE).  I couldn't believe it--until I remembered the Hate Rule.

In Pure, Seth was cocky and conceited (and already under the influence of Lucian and his evil ways).  But he was NOT a soiciopathic megalomaniac bent on getting power at the cost of the one girl he truly cared about.  Alex was his friend, if not the girl he was in love with.  I never got a clear answer on why he made that leap to the Dark Side.

Though I got plenty of reasons/answers for Aiden's actions.

*Sigh*  That's another thing that bugs me about love triangles.  Even when the narrator discovers that one guy did basically the same things as the other guy, the girl always sees one as the knight in shining armor and the other as doggy poo.

Or in Seth's case, a calculated, psychotic evil dude.

I'll just say this (***MAJOR SPOILER WARNING HERE***): If Aiden had had more time, he would've hunted Minister Telly down just like he did that daimon guy Eric--which, of course, we don't see on the page.  No doubt in my mind.  And Alex would've probably kissed him for it.

In short, LOVED the book.  HATED what was done to Seth's character.  Can't wait to read Apollyon in hopes that Seth will redeem himself.  Though at this point, he'll probably have to die in some incredibly brave way to do it L.

Happy Reading,

Ninja Girl

Monday, November 26, 2012

POW (Page One Wow): CINDER by Marissa Meyer

 
Hi there!  I'd been trying to think of something I could post on a weekly basis (besides reviews, of course).  And there are so many great meme's out there--which I love participating in--but I kinda wanted to do something different.  Something ninja-based.  Something with a kick.

Thus, POW (Page One Wow) was born :-).

Books I love usually draw me in from the first page.  Not always, but 95% of the time.  They kick me in the teeth.  They grab me by the shirt collar.  They make me swoon, laugh, hold my breath.  The books I love make me pay attention.  I think POW is perfect for me as a reader (plus, it has a snappy ring to it lol!)  So, I'm going to post a few lines from the first page of a book (current or past read), and say whether or not I think it has POW.  Feel free to chime in!

First up: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.



"The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.  Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another.  By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean.
 
Tossing the screwdriver onto the table, Cinder gripped her heel and yanked the foot from its socket.  A spark singed her fingertips and she jerked away, leaving the foot to dangle from a tangle of red and yellow wires."--page 1, Cinder
 
So, does it have POW?  My answer would be a great, big YES!  I was immediately pulled in.  Loved the visual of her unscrewing and then yanking off her own foot.  I was curious.  I wanted to know more.  And I hope the rest of the book packs as much oomph :).

What did you think?

Hope everyone had a great holiday,

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!
 
I have so much to be thankful for: family and loved ones, my good health and theirs, Ninja Aunt P's Thanksgiving meal (it's A-mazing!), my support system (Agent T is the best agent a girl could ask for, and my family's belief in my books never fails to inspire me).  The love and passion I have for writing.  The fulfillment I find in my job.  My awesome students, who make that job worth going to every day.  My fantastic followers.  Great music, great reads.  Speaking of...
 

I'm super thankful for whoever delivered BAM's latest book shipment!  Tonight, I'm starting Deity-- and if tradition holds, I'll be reading into the early morning hours.  Is there a better way to ring in Turkey Day than with a great book? ;)
 
Ninja Girl out!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

JACK FROST IS A...SLYTHERIN?!?

Okay, so this is where I let my geek flag fly lol.  I recently saw the trailer for the movie Rise of the Guardians, and imagine my surprise when I spotted a familiar face.



You've gotta admit...there's a definite resemblance.  And if that wasn't enough, Jack even has a wand.



I'm onto you Dreamworks.  White blond hair, fair skin, moody expression.   Just smack a slytherin tie on that kid, and we could call him a Malfoy.    Draco is not amused.


Thought this was funny (but it's probably just me).  Hope everyone has a great week!

Ninja Girl a.k.a. Harry Potter nerd for life :-)

Monday, November 19, 2012

GRAVE MEMORY by Kalayna Price

 
One of my first reviews when I started the blog (2 years ago this coming February!) was of this series.  I loved it then, and I love it now.  Let me 'splain.

The Alex Craft Novels aren't as well-known as some other urban fantasies.  I can kind of understand b/c there are so many great UFs out there.  But as far as story goes, I'm not sure why it's not as popular.  I dig that, though, because it makes me feel like I'm part of some special, super-secret club.

Those of us who know Death vs. Those of us who don't.

Believe me, you want to know Death.
 
The hero in this series is irresistible.  First, he's Death with a capital "D," like the personification of death itself.  Second, he's a reaper ,and Alex is a grave witch (i.e. human who can raise shades and speak to the dead).  The reapers have all these rules--including this whole "no fraternizing with humans" rule--so if you want forbidden romance?  There you go.  Third, Death is a rule breaker.  This is probably my favorite reason to fall for Death.  He steps in to save Alex's life time and time again, sometimes in heart-stopping ways.  This book was no exception. 

Oh yeah, and he looks great in a pair of jeans, has a thing for coffee, and is willing to give up his immortality for Alex.  Death = Reaper rule-breaking heartthrob.  There is a lot of Death in this book, so yeah.  The romance was on point.  I laughed, swooned, held my breath.  Some might say there's a triangle, but I only see Alex and Death.  Hope to see more of their relationship in this series.  And thank you Kalayna Price for choosing the right guy for our girl!

Another great reason to read these books (and this one in particular) is PLOT.

I'll be honest.  This book didn't pick up for me until about page 100.  That's because, as with most series, authors feel the need to "catch everybody up."  The first hundred were basically a reintroduction to the world of Alex Craft.  I didn't need it--but hey, new readers might have.  For me, page 124 is where it really took off.  I'm about to reveal a bit of the plot, so if you don't want to read, skip down past the ***SPOILER*** labels.

***SPOILER***

"A queasy uneasiness reverberated through every cell in my body.  Three bodies couldn't be a coincidence.  Nekros had a serial killer.  Weapon of choice: suicide."--page 124

***END SPOILER***

That made the sleuth in me sit up and say, "Ooooh."  The plot itself was inventive and unique.  The part where Alex finally figured it out made me perk up, and I read the last 2/3 of the book a lot quicker.  And then, of course, Death played a key role in the last half of the book, which really made this one a winner in my eyes.

I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that Kalayna Price is my new best friend.  I'd make coffee for Death any day.  Caleb, Alex's fair-weather fae friend, is currently on my "you kinda suck" list.  Agent Falin needs to get his crap together.  Alex and Death forever.  And I can't wait to read book 4!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Sunday, November 18, 2012

DEBUT AUTHOR CHALLENGE 2013

 
Hi there, everyone!  I decided to do a challenge, and this one looks right up my alley :D.  I love discovering new voices in YA.  A lot of times debuts are my favorites.  I don't know if that's b/c the authors just seem fresh to me or b/c they put everything they had--soul, passion, creativity--into that first book, but it's true: Debuts rock!!

My goal for this challenge is to read and review 12 YA debuts.  See that new page up there?  The one labeled DAC 2013?  Yep, that's there to keep me honest lol!  That way I'll have a written record of my goal (along with this post, of course) to keep track and to remind me to read on.

Here's my list:

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
The Collector by Victoria Scott
Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
Reboot by Amy Tintera
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson
Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory
The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Sheperd
 
Looks pretty good, right?  Honestly, the books all sound amazing, so I don't think I'm going to have any trouble completing the challenge.  Not picking favorites or anything, but the one I'm looking forward to most...
 
 
Yeah, I'm not even going to front.  I've been dying to get my hands on this book since I found out Gail Carriger was trying her hand at YA.  The title, the description, that COVER!!  *faints*
 
Hope everyone has a great holiday,
 
Ninja Girl

Friday, November 16, 2012

THANKSGIVING READS AND FOLLOW FRIDAY

Hi there!  Here's what I'll be reading over the break :-)


Both books sound fantastic--and just look at those eye-candy covers *__*  I loved Cat Patrick's Forgotten, so I have high hopes for Revived.  I also have another book heading my way courtesy of Ninja Aunt P.  Hint: It may feature a hot/loveable apollyon and a fiesty half-blood.  Hopefully, it will arrive some time next week :).

 
It's been a while since I've done FF!!  Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, two awesome ladies with crazy good blogs.  Features for this week are Reach For the Stars and Bookworm8921.
 
Q: Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?
 
I'm not sure this would be a "great" book.  It might be awful.  Actually, it would probably be awful.  BUT it's the one that popped up in my head first, so...
 
 
Either that or...
 
 
So apparently, I just want to convert dance movies/musicals into books lol!  The reasons are pretty simple.  If someone could capture the passion of Dirty Dancing in book form, I think it'd be literary gold.  And I'd love to pick up a book and find Jack Kelly/Christian Bale as the male lead.  I mean, come on.  He's the Batman!
 
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!!
 
Ninja Girl


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TUNE IN TUESDAY: SCHOOL NIGHT

 
Hi all! Tune in Tuesday is a GReads meme currently being hosted over at Kate's Tales of Books and Bands.  Here's a great song I discovered this past weekend. It's called "School Night" by Ani Difranco.  Sad and desperate in tone--but aren't those always the best? ;-)  Lyrics are guaranteed to move you (and possibly make you cry like a baby).

 
*Sniffles* Hope everyone has a great week!

Ninja Girl

Friday, November 9, 2012

GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers


Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

At 549 pages, Grave Mercy is a monster of a book.  Robin LaFevers doesn't just introduce readers to her world, she immerses you in it.  Takes you by the hand and leads you into this dark, perilous world full of young women who've been sired by Death to do his handy work.

I fell in love with it immediately.

The length of the book actually felt like a gift because the story was so fully explored.  Some people dismiss the YA genre, making it seem as if it's somehow less than adult fiction.  (I don't associate with these people, of course, but I've heard talk)  Grave Mercy takes that short-sighted opinion, rips it to shreds, sets the shreds on fire and spits on the ashes.

I really enjoyed Ismae as an MC.  The opening pages tell us much about her life pre-assassin training.  The girl has obviously gone through hell.  She's about to be married off by her father (who's beaten Ismae her entire life) to Guillo (a disgusting, abusive drunk).  When Guillo tries to rape her on their wedding night and discovers the red scar that runs from her shoulder to her hip, marking her as a daughter of Death, he beats and locks her in the cellar.

I wanted to jump through the pages, kill the bastard and save Ismae.  But instead she saw escaping Guillo as a victory.  Loved her indomitable spirit throughout.

She's then taken to the convent of St. Mortain--where the handmaidens of Death are trained in the fine arts of becoming an assassin.  Poison (which Ismae learns she has a particular affinity for), hand-to-hand combat, weaponry, seduction, they have it all at their disposal.  And the young women learn to use their deadly talents with grave efficiency.

There was so much in this book to love.

I thought the "Death marques" were fantastic.  Only Ismae could see them, and they marked each person for death, appearing as a sort of black smudge on a certain body part, dictating how they would be killed (i.e. black ring around the neck for strangulation, black lips for poison etc.).  The pearls Ismae wore in her hair netting, each filled with a poison that could drop a man within minutes.  The beauty was in the deadly details, and LaFevers didn't hold back. 

My favorite part of the book was the romance.  Does anyone know where I can get a Team Gavriel button? J  It was impossible, IMPOSSIBLE not to fall for this guy.  His loyalty, his intelligence, the way he and Ismae seemed to both slowly fall for each other despite themselves.  I'm sucker for good romance, and this was one of the greats.  The big reveal of his backstory (you'll know it when you read it) cemented my feelings.  Gavriel Duval meet your number one fan.  This is the kind of man you wish existed in real life.

The side characters were awesome as well: Sybella, Annith, De Lornay, and Beast.  Oh, Beast and I were friends the moment he entered the story.  Aside from Ismae and Gavriel, he was the character I cared for (and worried about) the most.

Some writers seamlessly weave plot, intrigue, action and romance into one story.  LaFevers did and still managed to write a standalone historical YA.  Yes, you read right: Standalone.  The book is the first in a planned trilogy, but Ismae and Gavriel's story was completely, beautifully told without the cliffhanger ending.  I hope other writers take up this trend.

I'm anxiously awaiting Book 2, Dark Triumph, which will feature two of the characters introduced in Grave Mercy.  Two of my favorites J.  I.Cannot.Wait!!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

THE BOY WHO CAPTURED THE STARS


*Sigh*  Totally unrelated to books, but I just had to share this commercial :D  It always brings a smile to my face and honestly leaves me a little misty-eyed.  This reminds me of why I love to read (and write) YA contemporary.  To find all the Billy Pearces and see them get their Charlottes <3

Seriously makes me want to buy a Dell :)  Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Ninja Girl

Sunday, November 4, 2012

STACKING THE SHELVES (7)

 
Hi there!  Here's my haul for this and last week :).  Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.
 
List of Books: Revived by Cat Patrick
                        Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
                        Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
                        The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
                        The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst
                        The Wedding by Julie Garwood


List of eBooks: Moonlight and Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape

NetGalley and Carina Press were kind enough to provide the galley of Moonlight and Mechanicals which looks fantastic!  I've already devoured Grave Mercy (literally, I ran through it like water), review to come ;).  There are so many authors in my pile that I've never read before, and I'm so excited to be introduced to their writing!!  Did you find any great books this week?  I hope so :D.

Have a great week everyone,

Ninja Girl

Saturday, November 3, 2012

WILL YOU ROCK THE VOTE?


So, yeah, I voted today (early voting, gotta love it).  But here's the real news: The Goodreads Choice Awards 2012 are now underway!

I didn't have trouble with most categories.  Picking a winner out of the YA noms was simple for me.  I'm thinking John Green has that one pretty much locked, but I voted for Easy by Tammara Webber.  1) Because I loved it so much, and 2) Because I kinda want to see what'll happen if an originally self-pubbed New Adult book takes the YA category.  Will chaos erupt?  Will gumdrops and cupcakes fall from the sky?  Will I wake up to find a "New Adult" section in my local BAM?  Time will tell.

But the hard part came when I got to the Paranormal Fantasy category L

Briggs, Carriger, Estep, Evanovich, AND Andrews all in the same category?!?!?

Seriously, Goodreads, are you trying to kill me here?!?  They are all so, so good!  Ultimately, it came down to Patricia Briggs and Gail Carriger for me.  Those are two of my favorite authors.  It was tight--but I had to go with Timeless by Gail Carriger for the phenomenal finish to one of my favorite series ever.  But the unforgettable, kick-in-the-teeth ending to Fair Game made it tough.  Really tough.  I'm still going back and forth in my head.

Thank God, J.R. Ward and the Black Dagger Brotherhood was put in Romance.  That would've made the choice impossible, true? ;)  Hope everyone rocks the vote, and good luck picking the best.  It nearly broke this ninja's heart.

Ninja Girl