Nov 29, 2012

Flora Segunda

Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
Published: 1-1-2007 by Harcourt

Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall--the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler--and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever.

Flora Segunda is a magical book, a little confusing sometimes, but very entertaining and charming. Flora is thirteen going on fourteen, and she's not the least bit afraid of adventure. This is definitely a trait I enjoy in a main character.

  • Flora - Flora is a spitfire. She's seriously awesome and a little bit (ok, very) disobedient. She's fourteen but she's out to kick butt and be a ranger, which is basically a spy, just like her idol, Nini Mo. She doesn't spend a lot of time planning things, but she manages to get things done her way.
  • plot - Everything is pretty much against Flora - even some of the people she thought were on her side. Despite this, Flora does what she believes is right, and she does so with no hesitation. It's adventurous the whole way through. It's more fantasy than paranormal and I think we need more of that in general.
  • magic - I'm not completely sure I understand what Flora's magic is, but the magical atmosphere of this book is great. Flora's house has an elevator that goes wherever it pleases, eleven thousand rooms, and a strange purple guy she never knew existed.

  • capitalization - There were Dainty Pirates who were also known by other names, there were monster-birds who came out of nowhere and were really creepy, and there were mansions with capitalized names that also had nonhuman creatures who were either living inside the houses or were the houses - I'm not exactly sure. One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is the capitalization of regular words. House. Butler. Elevator. It makes me confused and my brain stumbles for a second. I just don't understand the need for it. 
  • Valefor - I would hope that if you live in a somewhat magical house and find a magical butler, that he would be nice. Valefor is a manipulative jerk. He takes advantage of Flora and this puts here in great danger. He's also extremely selfish. And purple. Although I guess being purple isn't a bad thing.

  • But the stupid Elevator did not let me off at the Hallway of Laborious Desire. No, the stupid Elevator had slowly and silently borne me upward, gently floating as on a summer swell, and though I banged and shouted, the Elevator did not slow or stop. Past the second floor it went, past a third floor - we'd never had a third floor before - upward and upward it went, smooth and steady, until with a grinding whine, it stopped. The golden outer doors opened to a thick darkness.          - pg. 18-19
  • He wiggled a little wave in my direction and dissolved into a froth of purple. Well, he could pout all he wanted; my plan did not hinge on him, anyway, though I had hoped to get him to help Udo and me with our disguises, and maybe whip us up a nice snack before we went to tackle the Warlord.            - I don't know the pg. #....oops
3 robots
A book with a brave and adventurous heroine, great writing, and unnecessary capitalizing

Acquired: swapped for on

Nov 23, 2012

Darth Paper Strikes Back

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving (in the USA it was yesterday). If you are Black Friday shopping today (eek!) be safe and don't be a jerk! Shopping online is much more enjoyable and less bloody. Plus you can be around your family and eat leftovers while you shop. Anyways, review time.

Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger
Published: 8-23-11 by Amulet Books


Something amazing happened. A weird kid named Dwight made an origami finger puppet of Yoda. (That wasn't the amazing thing--just typical Dwight weirdness.) the amazing thing was that Origami Yoda gave great advice. He could predict the date of a pop quiz, tell a guy if a girl likes him or not, and keep kids from embarrassing themselves in a dozen different ways. Most of the sixth graders were convinced he was using the Force. 

But now, a year later, it's a dark time at McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight has been suspended and may be expelled, which means no more Origami Yoda. Even worse, Darth Paper, a puppet created by Dwight's nemesis, Harvey, has taken Yoda's place. He spews insults and evil and just may be responsible for getting Dwight kicked out in the first place. Now the kids of McQuarrie are trying to build a case to save Dwight. This is their case file.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was cute and funny (see review here), and I am very excited that it is now part of a series! There is a more defined plot in this book, and also more origami, which makes Star Wars nerds like me very happy. Well, it makes me happy - I'm just assuming other people are happy about it. 
Here are my Yoda and Darth Vader origamis! (Is that the plural of origami?)

  • plot - Dwight / Origami Yoda's advice is mistaken for a threat and he gets suspended, so Tommy and his friends make another case file to get the school board to let Dwight come back to school. And despite the fact that there are more things going on in this book, it's still filled with random Yoda awesomeness!
  • Darth Paper - While Harvey's kind of mean and is definitely mean to Dwight, Darth Paper is entertaining. Well, actually, Darth Paper is mean because he's just Harvey, but the fact that Darth Paper exists is entertaining to me. I found the arguments between Darth and Yoda very funny.
  • stories - Again, Origami Yoda finds unique ways to solve problems in seventh grade daily life. There are exploding pizza bagels and silly school rules, and it's all pretty cool.

  • another school? - What happens if Dwight goes to a different school than Tommy and everyone else? They are in desperate need of Jedi knowledge! What happens in the 3rd book? Where does the wookiee come from? (Yes, that is how you spell wookiee)

  • So you've already heard about how Dwight got sent home after the whole "Prepare to meet your Doom" thing. Well, here's what happened right after it: DOOM! It was like the minute Dwight and Yoda were gone, everything they had helped us achieve did a nosedive into the sarlacc pit.            - Tommy pg. 97
  • "If you strike down Dwight, he will grow more powerful than you can possibly imagine!" said Origami Yoda.         - pg. 130
4 robots
The Force is strong with this one

Acquired: swapped for on

Nov 15, 2012

The Iron Knight

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Published: 10-26-11 by Harlequin Teen

"My name--my True Name--is Ashallayn' darkmyr Tallyn. I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl..."To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase--a half human, half fey slip of a girl--smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end--a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.

To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Here is my review of The Iron Queen (It was my 1st review ever!)

I really loved the first 3 books in this series, but this one was just ok. If you've read the summary then you know that this book focuses on Ash and Puck. I was looking forward to that since they are like oil and water and throwing them together for an entire book sounded awesome. But as much as I like them, they can't make up for the absence of Meghan, who is one of my favorite butt-kicking heroines.

  • emotional roller coaster - It's been clear since the start of the series that Julie Kagawa knows how to mess with our emotions. It hurts a lot at times, but I still love the fact that I'm overly emotionally invested in what happens to these characters.
  • Puck and Ash - It's always entertaining when these two are together, whether they're facing off or working together. It's a lot less lighthearted than what I remember from the other books, but just them being together constantly and the possibility of conflict there is exciting. It's the main thing that made me read this book. 
  • journey - The entire journey to get Ash to Meghan is, of course, filled with insane obstacles. The creatures and the horrors that inhabit the NeverNever are so clever and challenging. I really enjoy seeing what crazy kind of thing will pop up next.

THIS IS WHERE THE SPOILERS ARE! Seriously, if you plan to read this book then skip this entire section and go look at the quotes!

  • flashback - There's a long flashback to when Ash wasn't just a moody bad boy, but a truly heartless ice prince playing games with the hearts of mortals. It was horrible to read through and that chapter felt so much longer than the others. Maybe it was needed to drive home the point of how awful Ash used to be, but I hated reading about it.
  • flash forward - This was something that bothered me possibly even more than Ariella. There is an agonizingly long 2 chapters where Ash and Meghan have a perfect life together. They even have a son. But reading it was like waiting for pinata to burst. I couldn't concentrate on what was going on with Ash's struggle of being mortal while Meghan never aged. My brain was too distracted with poking my emotions with a giant this-can't-be-real stick. I accept that it was necessary in order to show Ash what his mortality would be like, but it hurt my brain and my heart.
  • reunited - Meghan and Ash are only actually together for the teasingly short epilogue that lasts all of about 5 pages. Plus, Ash still has some fey magic in him - which he suggests might be enough to keep him from getting old. Now don't get me wrong here, I'm glad they have a happy ending. I nearly cried at the end of the Iron Queen. But if Ash still has fey magic in him, then what sacrifice is he making? He won't have to accept his weakened mortal body. He may not have to get old and die while his queen remains forever young. He's basically the same except that he gets to be with Meghan in the Iron Realm, and that feels like a cop-out to me.
  • Ariella - There's already a very significant love triangle going on between Puck, Meghan, and Ash. Resurrecting the love of the past is gonna complicate things quite a bit. So as Ash fights to get back to Meghan, now he has to struggle with Ariella suddenly being all "just kidding guys I was never dead!" Plus the fact that Puck was also in love with her. Geez - what is with these guys? Aren't there enough women in the NeverNever for each of them to have a girlfriend? Poor Puck can never catch a break with the ladies. Even the ones you thought were dead and now aren't dead still prefer ice-boy. I would have preferred if Ariella wasn't a "necessary" part of Ash's quest. All of his internal struggling with Meghan vs. Ariella seemed pointless to me. Obviously, he was going to choose Meghan.

  • "I'm going to kill you," I said softly, and Puck's eyebrows rose. "Not tonight. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon. Our past is catching up to us, Goodfellow, and this feud has gone on long enough."       - Ash  pg. 103
  • More strange objects floated by us: love letters and wristwatches, stuffed animals and limp balloons. Once, Puck reached down and snatched up a faded copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream, grinned like an idiot and tossed it back into the river.    - pg. 103

3 robots
Puck and Ash are on an amazing quest, but it's not as entertaining as I had hoped and was weighed down by flashing back and forward in time

Acquired: swapped for on

Nov 8, 2012

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Published: 10-12-10 by Henry Holt and Co.

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else. 

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

I loved this book! It's about a college-aged protagonist and it doesn't center around a romance, which is something that's way harder to find than I ever thought it would be. This book has it all: some paranormal, some romance (well...I'm not sure if romance is the right word), tons of action, and it's filled with comedy. 

  • Sam - A sarcastic college dropout with a crappy minimum wage job and a smart mouth, Sam is awesome. He's funny even in the strangest of circumstances and all of his reactions to what's going on feel realistic.
  • humor - Even beheadings are hilarious happenings in this book! Seriously, funny beheadings. Usually paranormal YA books take themselves pretty seriously and everything that happens is pretty dramatic. In this book, dramatic crazy things happen, but the mood is ridiculously lighthearted (in a good way). There are funny comments constantly.
  • Ashley - Ashley is actually a pretty big reason I read this book out of all the books on my TBR list. I read the free ebook, Necromancer, which includes an excerpt from the book and the story Death and Waffles, which is about Ashley. I love waffles and this story has waffles and a dead girl with a serious hankering for them. She's the one who guides souls to wherever they go after death and she pops in and out of Sam's life and helps him out with a side a snark. 
  • Sam's friends - When Sam disappears, his friends don't just freak out - they freak out and find ways to help rescue him, even though they are just normal people who either work in fast food, or were recently separated from their body. That's how awesome they are. Their freaking out is very entertaining and realistic, which makes me happy.
  • butt-kicking - I love reading about action, but I'm not a fan of nonstop confusing action. This book has the perfect amount of butt-kicking, which is awesome, but still manages to be funny. It's action-filled and involves vicious lawn gnomes and skateboards used as weapons.

  • basement - The only part of this book I wasn't a huge fan of was when Sam was trapped, for a large part of the book, in a basement. Of course, even then there were extremely entertaining situations, but I found that Sam was funnier when not confined to one place.

  • "You don't have Hitler in your basement or anything, do you? Tabloids are always claiming he's still alive. Him and Elvis. Because I can't condone that sort of thing. The Hitler thing, not Elvis. I've got nothing against the King."       - Sam   pg. 101 (ebook)
  • Ashley looked quickly about the room before she ran over to me. Despite her experience, I think my ability to get into new and life-threatening situations shocked her. Personally, I was hoping it was a phase that I would grow out of.       - pg. 287 (ebook)

5 robots
Extremely entertaining and hilarious story, highly recommended for fans of anything paranormal

Acquired: bought (ebook version)

Nov 7, 2012

Zompacolypse 2012 Winner!

Hey guys!

Thank you to everybody who entered the Zompacolypse 2012 giveaway! And a special thank you to everyone who downloaded Neil Gaiman's story from - we helped them donate over $30 to education just by doing that :) 

The winner was DeeDee!
She chose to receive Enshadowed (sequel to Nevermore) and it's currently on its way to her.

In book reviewing news, I'm working on typing up some reviews, and then I'm going to go back and do some 1 sentence reviews on books I read awhile ago and forgot the details of. This is an idea I'm stealing from Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl, which is a blog that you should go check out by clicking on her name! (And when I say stealing I mean doing something similar and giving her credit for her awesomeness)