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text 2016-07-07 15:00
Cover Crush: The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard

Cover Crush is a feature originally thought up by Erin at Flashlight Commentary.  Every Thursday, she publishes a post featuring a book jacket/book cover that she really likes with a short commentary about it.  I discovered this weekly feature via It's a Mad Mad World  and decided to join in the fun!

Judge a book by it's cover?  Absolutely!




Here is another A.G. Howard book with a cover illustration that is bold and beautiful, and that I could just sit here and stare at all day long.  I don't know what it is about young adult books (probably that they are in the market at present), but some of them have very eye-catching cover illustrations that just draw your attention even if you're not really looking for anything new to read in particular at that time.

And The Architect of Song certainly has a very attention-grabbing illustration.  I like the bold red of the girl's dress.  I like the Gothic feel of the tombstone in the back.  I love the nighttime setting of a cloudy dark night.  I love the torn shreds of paper floating through the air.  And I love the unfocused, yet hard to ignore roses just settled there on the side.

The Architect of Song is actually categorized as a new adult story--an historical, paranormal romance, and the first in A.G. Howard's newest series Haunted Hearts Legacy.  It will be published on August 15, 2016.

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/cover-crush-architect-of-song-by-ag.html
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text 2016-04-21 11:00
Cover Crush: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Cover Crush is a feature originally thought up by Erin at Flashlight Commentary.  Every Thursday, she publishes a post featuring a book jacket/book cover that she really likes with a short commentary about it.  I discovered this weekly feature via It's a Mad Mad World  and decided to join in the fun!
Judge a book by it's cover?  Absolutely!




The books for A.G. Howard's Splintered series had always been a personal favorite--they all had a very horror/gothic feel with a creepy twist and made it hard to look away.  While I was browsing my TBR on Goodreads, I came across this little gem that I had never seen before--there must have been a cover reveal I missed these past couple weeks or something.

The cover illustration for RoseBlood is very similar to the ones for the Splintered series, with the huge, eerily eye-catching head shot.  But I can certainly say that I kind of like this on more so than the ones from the Splintered series.

And I can't quite pinpoint why.

RoseBlood will be a retelling based on The Phantom of the Opera.  I have never actually seen the movie or anything similar before, but this still intrigues me.  For a blurb of the retelling by A.G. Howard, head over to Goodreads (the cover links to the bookpage).

RoseBlood will be published on January 10, 2017.

Here are the Splintered covers, if anyone cares to do a comparison:


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/04/cover-crush-roseblood-by-ag-howard.html
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review 2016-01-26 02:04
Review: Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard
Splintered - A.G. Howard

Initial reaction: Oh man, this was a book I was very much looking forward to reading, and the imagery and dark qualities of the story really drew me in for a time, but unfortunately it became very difficult for me to read after a time because of familiar cliche elements and stuff that just didn't mesh right. I'll have a comprehensive review on my thoughts about this after I give myself time to meditate over it, but this adaptation of Alice left me on the fence, and I'm not sure if I'm going to rate this between 2 - 3 stars.

Full review:

I'll first say that it's been my full intention to read the rest of this series to its completion, I just haven't had the time, and it's been a while since I've read the first book "Splintered." I'm hoping to change that in 2016 to see where this series goes ultimately.

But ye Gods, the moment I first saw this book, I fell in love with the cover. Also, having the promise of recounting a twisted version of Wonderland? Completely sold me. I've read my fair share of YA interpretations of Alice in Wonderland ("The Looking Glass Wars", "Queen of Hearts", etc.") and am mostly fascinated by the ways people choose to tell the tale.

Unfortunately, this interpretation has its share of strong moments as well as cringeworthy ones. The strong moments include the imagery of the world, puzzles, and creatures within Wonderland, the history of Alice Liddell and the impact is has on the protagonist's family (including the mom, Allison, who was locked up in a mental institution and almost tried to kill her own daughter at one point). I mean, it would seem that this book could've taken a really dark turn and could've had some meaningful twists in the spectrum of the story.

Unfortunately - what ruined this book for me was the portrayal of the romance(s). Jeb is a jerk - I'm sorry, that's probably the book's Achilles Heel right there. I honestly didn't see why Alyssa pined over him and his controlling attitude made Patch from "Hush, Hush" look like a saint in comparison in places. Ugh. Morpheus is interesting enough to keep me reading through the series, but I remember having problems with his character as well. (Forgive me, it's been years since I've read "Splintered", though I imagine I'll do a thorough re-read before tacking the rest of the series.)

I'm intrigued enough by Howard's imaging of the world and conflict in this book to continue with the series, but didn't like the way romance was portrayed and the convoluted turns of the plot that were towards the end. Granted, I'm hoping these issues are less in the forthcoming series, but we'll see.

Overall score: 2/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Amulet Books/ABRAMS.

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text 2014-12-02 13:30
Top Ten Tuesdays: Books For 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays is an original and weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  




This is a pretty straight forward list, though I'm afraid I actually have fewer selections to choose from than I thought I'd have.  I usually use star-shaped post-its to hang on my desk as a reminder of book releases for books I'm looking forward to reading.  Unfortunately, there aren't very many yet, and not all of the books I post-it are exactly those "edge of my seat, desperately need this now" books--well, not all of them are, but there are one or two.


My reading list this year has been focused more on books I already own and books readily available from the library... etc.... that I have easy access to obtaining.  My reading list has also been more focused on reading fully completed series wherein I have little waiting to do for the next book.


So over the year, upon seeing a 2015 release that looks interesting, I simply file it away for later and come back to it, either by the end of the year (usually mid-December), or start looking into it at the beginning of the year.


So this is just a tentative list of books that I'm really looking forward to reading, that have caught my eye, or just made me squeal in excitement (Yes, the first book on this list).


(And... there are some duplicates here from the previous lists too since, as vast as my reading list is, only certain specific books keep standing out for me.)



Top Ten Books I am Looking Forward to in 2015




1.  the 4th and final book of The Raven Cycle quartet

-- Written by Maggie Stiefvater

There is no need to talk about this series or this book any more as I've already mentioned over and over again how much I love it... repeatedly.  And so there is no doubt that I'm looking forward to the conclusion of The Raven Cycle... while at the same time I am in fear of how the story will finally end.


The ending of The Raven Cycle quartet promises to be heartbreaking... of that much I am certain.



2.  Suddenly One Summer

-- Written by Julie James

Julie James' newest book will feature the snarky investigative reporter introduces from Love Irreisistibly.  Ford Dixon was Love Irresistibly Brooke Parker's best friend, proven to be simply a platonic relationship bordering on a sibling-likeness, but a bit more intimate.  I particularly loved that we could get a platonic relationship portrayed between a man and a woman at that level of closeness without romance even being an issue whatsoever.  It was great.


I already like Ford.  So I'm definitely looking forward to more of James' subtle wit and sarcasm as well as how she will feature her newest main female character--typically the strong and independent type.  I'm not excited that James has taken up a repetitively formulaic Contemporary outline for her stories, but at least I'll never get enough of her characters and the humor embedded in all of her books.



3.  The Fill-In Boyfriend

-- Written by Kasie west

Kasie West's most recent book, On the Fence, is admittedly not her best work, in my opinion.  I never got around to reviewing it, but I definitely missed the typical Kasie West sarcasm and snarky humor she manages to portray whether or not her characters have that particular personality.  While I really liked it, On the Fence felt like it was missing something that made it less enjoyable than her previous works (the Pivot Point duology and The Distance Between Us).


However, one bad apple doesn't negate my love for her.  I'm still resigned to read anything she writes in hopes that the same Kasie West sarcasm and heart will return with her newest YA Contemporary.



4.  Six of Crows (Book 1 of The Dregs)

-- Written by Leigh Bardugo

Three words:  The Grisha Trilogy.  I know a lot of people had been disappointed with the concluding installment of Bardugo's debut series, but I honestly am very content with the way it ended, despite not being the epic-ness of epic epics I had been expecting.  Nonetheless, if anyone else has read and loved her Grisha Trilogy as much as I did, then there is no doubt as to why I am looking forward to her next book/series.




5.  the third and final book of The Elemental Trilogy

-- Written by Sherry Thomas

To be honest, I've only read The Burning Sky and have yet to read The Perilous Sea.  Nor have I read any other work by Sherry Thomas.  But sometimes it takes just that one book with characters you love and a potentially awesome story adventure as well as anticipated story progression that makes you look forward to what will come next.  The Burning Sky wasn't the best high fantasy nor YA read I've indulged in this year, but it definitely sat on my radar with Titus and Iolanthe as a great, powerful potential couple to make me want to see how life works out for them when the final hour approaches.




6.  Shadow Study (Book 1 of Soulfinders; Book 4 of Study series)

-- Written by Maria V. Snyder

Despite the fact that the Study series wasn't the best series in the world, and to be honest, the books felt repetitive in  story concept, I still managed to fall for the characters of this world as well as the subtle charm that Maria V. Snyder exudes in her work.  On top of that, Valek is one of few male characters in YA-land I have come to love (it was a slow developing love, but love nonetheless).  While I'm not in fangirl mode over the release of new Study series books, I am still looking forward to reading what Ms. Snyder will be presenting for us next.




7.  Illuminae (Book 1 of the Illuminae Files)

-- Written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I've read Stormdancer and enjoyed it.  But that's pretty much it from these authors.  However, this book/series just seems like the type of book/series with the type of author partnership that feels like it should merit a lot of epic epic-ness with ample amounts of nervous anticipation... and maybe some random squealing.




8.  Winter (Book 4, final, of the Lunar Chronicles)

-- Written by Marissa Meyer

I've been looking forward to this book ever since I read Cinder and learned of the concept for the four Lunar Chronicle books.  I've been purposely waiting out the years just so I can space out my readings of Scarlet, Cress, and Winter without suffering too much emotional cliffhanger waiting periods.  However, starting in January, let the countdown begin as I dive into the rest of the series to build up my hype of Winter's release.


I even went and reread (listened to?) Cinder as an audio book to reorient myself with the world and the story line to prepare for this coming year's dive into the Lunar Chronicle's reading.  Considering the fact that the reread didn't turn me off, I'm fairly sure I'll continue to enjoy the rest of the books.




9.  Shadow Scale (Book 2 of Seraphina)

-- Written by Rachel Hartman

My reasons were already stated in previous posts:  Here and here.




10.  Ensnared (Book 3, final, of Splintered)

-- Written by A.G. Howard

I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy... but then again, I'm kind of meh about it.  Splintered was a good book, but I hadn't expected a trilogy and was quite content with the way it ended.  Continuing installments seem unnecessary, but I'm curious enough to want to see how the series ends.


This selection really just rounds off my list as the tenth book I will be looking forward to in 2015.







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review 2014-03-23 15:19
Review: Splintered by AG Howard
Splintered - A.G. Howard

Shit. Pretty much complete shit.


If you enjoy sexist bullcrap with an emphasis on over-bearing and aggressive romance coupled with a meandering, tissue-paper thin plot and populated with wisps of smoke on the breeze in place of supporting characters overseen by an unsettling puppet-master third-side of a hideous and oppressive triangle of love then by all means - be my guest and get ready to fall in love with Splintered by AG Howard. If, however, you are not a fan of fiction-for-the-insane and would prefer not to read a shoddy rehashing of Tim Burton's 2010 movie Alice mashed up with American McGee's awesome video game of the same name then this is really not the book for you.


Alyssa's family has a history of insanity, beginning it seems with Alyssa's great-great-great grandmother who was the inspiration behind Lewis Caroll's classic story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. With Alyssa's mother incarcerated in the most ridiculous asylum I have ever had the misfortune of reading about (if a nurse were to casually wander around with an unprescribed and loaded syringe of some unspecified sedative just chilling in her pocket, believe me she'd me struck off sharpish) Alyssa dives back down the rabbit hole to Wonderland to right the wrongs of the past and break the curse of madness her family appears to be struck with.


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