Title: Shadows on the Moon Author: Zoë Marriott Publisher: Walker Books Ltd. Genre: YA, Fairy Tales Rating: 4.5/5
Synopsis:"On my fourteenth
birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We
saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how
to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before."
is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk
unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she
wants to be. Except herself.
Suzume died officially the day
the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no
longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth
living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A
lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or
Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?
knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows
that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.
And nothing will stop her. Not even love.
Review: I love it when a book surprises me in such a positive way that, although I don't expect it, I fall in love and hate when the story ends. This was exactly what happened with "Shadows on the Moon."
The story is apparently a re-telling of the classic Cinderella story, set in an imagined interpretation of feudal Japan. I use the word "apparently," because I really had no clue, while I was reading it, that this was a re-telling until I saw another blogger mention it. The story is so unique and nontraditional, that the parallels of Marriott's tale and Cinderella are only there if you really dig for them. 'Shadows on the Moon" itself is completely stand-alone and has an ability to keep you guessing.
The story focuses on Suzume, a young girl with a very special talent called "shadow weaving." This talent enables her to "weave" illusions over herself - cloaks of night and darkness, serene facial expressions, and other physical perceptions. Her skill comes in handy the day men come to kill her father. Without knowing what is happening, Suzume uses her gift to escape a grim fate and ends up haunted with the knowledge that she survived when she shouldn't have.
Her new life becomes one big illusion, and her need for revenge becomes her one ultimate goal. It is out of this need that Suzume encounters twists and turns, all of which paint a thoroughly imagined and engrossing story. I'm not going to lie - there are points in the book that are dark, and the themes dealt within are controversial and more contemporary. Marriott writes these so well into a book that is historical in nature, without making them feel out of place. Vivid, and engaging, the story is really one that transports you into a different world - a world of exotic strangers, kimono-clad ladies, and blooming cherry blossoms. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters alike and would strongly recommend this book to anyone - not just lovers of fairy tale re-tellings.
I don't know what came over me the last few days but I have been on a book buying frenzy. This includes pre-orders, which I basically never do! Although it's not an IMM post, I did want to share to awesomeness that I purchased, including some trailers that made me totally unable to resist.
As far as "The Immortal Rules," I kept seeing this book cover EVERYWHERE and really had no idea what it was about. Then I read the synopsis...and I saw the trailer. I was hooked...HOOKED, I tell ya!
Lastly, please continue to enter into my 100 follower giveaway!!! We're so close! :D
Title: The Book of Blood and Shadow Author: Robin Wasserman Publisher: Random House Genre: YA, thriller/suspense, mystery Rating: 3/5
Synopsis:It was like a nightmare,
but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best
friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended,
she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that
stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in
the merciful dark.
But the next morning, it was all still true:
Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was
catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming,
was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents,
according to everyone—a murderer.
Desperate to prove his
innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It
ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is
drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all
driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist.
For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate
knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls
the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds
the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one
piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may
be the only way she can save her own life.
Review:Whoooo...okay. I've been dreading writing this review because I know it's going to be really scattered and mostly because I'm really unsure of how I feel about this book. You see, the parts I loved, I really loved...and the parts I didn't...well, they made the book almost unbearable to finish. It was so difficult for me to really get into and thus, took me almost three weeks to read.
"The Book of Blood and Shadow" is being described as a YA Da Vinci Code, and that's exactly how I felt when I started reading it. Conspiracy theories, religion, history? Sign me up! I devoured the first few chapters of this book excited to get to the meaty mystery that was promised to come. Unfortunately, when I put the book down, it was very hard for me to pick it back up again. First though, let me get into the things I just loved about this book.
I absolutely loved the writing. The premise was highly interesting, and written so well. I read this on my Kindle and I found myself constantly highlighting passages, especially at the beginning. I've always been a sucker for first lines and starting paragraphs, so naturally when I read the beginning (which you can find in my Teaser Tuesday post), I was hooked.
Um yeah! AMAZING. And Ms. Wasserman does not disappoint as the book continues. I liked how it was written for YA but at the older end of the YA spectrum, and although there is a romantic plot line woven into the overall story, it's not a focal point.
I really enjoyed the characters, also. Nora, our heroine, was absolutely realistic and although she gave off a very apathetic vibe, it was hard to dislike her. Maybe I'm just a sucker for smart chicks and she definitely fits the bill. The supporting cast was also well written and very well realized. Wasserman revealed the personalities of her characters at a great pace and even at the end, added new developments to them that didn't at all seem forced or out of left-field.
But speaking of pacing...I could absolutely not deal with the pacing of this book. Parts that offered some background were given entirely too much page time and thus I found myself skimming points of the book. It was so hard to go from "Ok! Yes! fast-paced! I want to know more!!" to essentially not even caring about what's going on a few pages later. It was all too scattered and I really feel this book would have greatly benefited from more edits, especially when it came to the epistolary side story about Elizabeth Weston.
Overall, there was just too much "stuff" clogging up that story that I cared about - to the point where I let the book sit and sit until I picked it up again, out of guilt. I do think that Robin Wasserman is an excellent writer, and the story itself has a fantastic premise, but I'd be reluctant to recommend this book to my friends. I would, though, be more than willing to read more by the author!
I just REALLY had to share two awesome books that I won in the past week that both made me super giddy.
First up, from the lovely people at BookTrib.com, and Random House, I won the special 20th anniversary edition of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have yet to read this book but it's basically recommended to me by every person with similar reading tastes to me. Also, it's got over 2,000 reviews at Amazon and holds a 4 and 1/2 star rating! Umm...yeah!
I just had to take pictures because the book itself is so gorgeous and shiny - the picture on Amazon just does not do it justice.
Secondly, I was also happy to win an autographed copy of "The Revenge of Lord Eberlin," by Julia London. I haven't read the series but have heard great things! I already purchased the first book on Amazon (only $5.99!). This one was a win from the Shelf Awareness newsletters, which have been good to me so far AND have authors offering books up as prizes in their weekly emails. I thought it was very nice of Miss London to autograph the book for me AND include an autographed postcard. Seriously, I geek out like whoah over book goodies. :P
I will (::gasp::) be having a review up here later today! And please, please enter my 100 followers giveaway - if you have not done so already. We're about 75% of the way there!
I promise I'm still here...it's just taking me a lot longer than I anticipated to read the book I'm reading. I guess it's put me in a kind of funk - and not because it's bad either. Ack! I'll go into it more within my review, which should be up in the next day or two.
In the meantime, have y'all seen the trailer for the new season of "True Blood?" I'm entirely too giddy to watch it! Part of me really wants to reread the books, but I barely have the time to read the books I have to, now. Maybe over the summer?
Check out the trailer:
Also,a quick contest update - we're more than halfway there!! Only 44 more followers and a winner will be announced. I've revealed that the gift box will contain "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer, and a signed posted by Ally Condie. Stay tuned until another prize is revealed in the next few days!