Sunday, January 30, 2011

Julie Kagawa's The Queen Is Coming: Contest and Giveaway

Here's my entry for the amazing Julie Kagawa's Iron Queen contest! Details and rules are HERE, so if you're interested, go ahead and check it out! 

The grand prize is a copy of each book from the Iron Fey trilogy, each with a cute and adorable hand-drawn chibi version of our favourite characters! So get creative and share your entry with the world!

I wrote this small fanfic with my BFF Melinda, and although we are most definitely Team Ash (because the winter prince is undoubtedly the best!), we wrote this solely for Puck. It takes place somewhere after when Puck first gets assigned by Oberon to watch Meghan yet before the events in the Iron King. It focuses on the moment Puck realizes that he's in love with her.

We cut the deadline a little close, but hopefully finished in time. Good luck to everyone else that entered! Our competition is really amazing! ;)

Here's the link: 

Hope you like it! :)

-Kaylee & Melinda

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent

She doesn't see dead people, but...
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

Oh. My. GOSH.

I can't even express how much I loved this series!! Seriously. I started the first book (My Soul to Take) last weekend, and seven days later and only a few days before my final exams at school, I've finished the latest one (My Soul to Steal) and I they're all I can think about.

At first, I was a little reluctant to start. Not because the synopsis was bland and uninteresting (because it's really anything but), but because I found it kind of weird to read about a girl who has the same first name as me, when I've gone fourteen years and seven different schools without meeting anyone who shares it.

But now I regret not picking it up sooner.

First, I give this book a 5. It's just the kind of book that I love to read. The kind that keeps you up for hours thinking about it; the kind makes you question the little things in your life and compare.

Kaylee is an extremely likable character (Wow, it felt weird writing that.). I felt myself connected to her from page one. She's selfless, but not in a way that's cheesy, and has this sort of bravery about her that is really admirable. Even though she had spent most of her life kept in the dark about her bean sidhe (pronounced banshee) heritage, she thinks quick and comes up with clever plans that I hardly catch until she explains them.

Just like it's implied in the books, I find it really hard to dislike her.

Then there's Nash. Oh, glorious Nash. He's every girl's dream guy, hot and intensely protective, and understands Kaylee in a way that is heartwarming, added to the fact that he's a bean sidhe, like she is. Their conversations are so smartass that I crack up even in the most serious parts of the books, and I sigh in longing every time they touch, almost feeling exactly what my nameshare does.

They're so perfect for each other.

Maybe that's why I hated Sabine.

The mara--a living personification of a nightmare--made her first appearance in book 4, My Soul to Steal. She annoyed the heck out of me. At the end of the previous book (My Soul to Keep), I had been fresh in tears, so when Sabine entered and disturbed every chance of them getting back together, my frustration was dominant. And the fact that envy was the prime inhuman focus in that book made me stress even further.

Here's the thing though: I hated Sabine's role as a blockade and suspect, but not the person she was. It would've been easier if Rachel Vincent had made her a hate-worthy character. But she wasn't. She was infuriating and straightforward, but also brutally honest in a way that made it hard to hate her.

Believe me, I tried. I wanted to hate her as much as Kaylee wanted to, and failed just as much. Because despite her wicked persona, Sabine really did love Nash. And I believe that being a mara and feeding on given fear was really just her way of survival. She didn't want to be. She wanted to have friends just like everyone else.

And she was there for Nash when Kaylee didn't trust herself to be. That earned Sabine a few points, even though I wanted nothing more than to yell at Kay for pushing him away in the first place.

Not that I can talk like I know how she felt. After what Nash made her do, she has the right to feel betrayed.

That didn't stop me for vying for her to trust him the entire book, though.

But as much as I adore Kaylee, not hate Sabine, and think Nash is hotter than the sun (even with his flaws), I love Tod. Nash's dead, older brother Tod. Tod, who is a reaper with a sense of humor. Tod, who never fails to make me laugh. If there were teams, I would definitely have the three letters T-O-D printed all over my clothes.

Please don't kill me, Team Nash. 

He's just so damn funny! Tod always shows up at the worst times, says the most provoking things, and his sarcastic comments are the things I honestly love the most. He pisses off his younger (wait, older?) brother constantly with his selective corporeality, and the way he acts as a white knight to Kaylee when she needs him most. If anyone says that they've never cracked up laughing at something he said, I know that it's a lie.


Sometimes I just wish that Kaylee would drop her bigger-than-a-crush love on Nash and stick with the hilarious reaper. If that actually happened, I would squeal with joy and shower the author with a million boxes of chocolates (No,  this is not a bribe. *cough, cough*). Even though it probably won't. That doesn't stop my fangirl self from wishing.

And with the hints dropped throughout the books that there's even a slight chance at a possibility of Kay-Tod... ;D 

But the thing that  irks me the most is that, at times, I actually believe that Sabine does deserve Nash. Belongs with him. Like Tod said, two halves make a whole, and with Nash and Kaylee, it would be one and a half.

So I'm Team Tod forever (no pun intended).

But that's not the only thing that keeps me loving these books. Not just the characters, who I love, or the two hot brothers, who I love more. It's how there's a strict balance between life and death that shouldn't  be disturbed, and how there's an exact time and date stamped on everyone's lifelines, and only by sacrificing someone else can they change it. The sense of reapers and bean sidhes and hellions other Netherworld creatures... It's surreal.

And enticing.

The storyline is original and the characters are perfect, yet still humanly (or inhumanly?) flawed. The sacrifices and deaths are saddening. The cleverness and actions make it impossible to put the books down. The danger is real and Kaylee is smarter in those situations than I could ever be.

I love Alec. And Kay's dad.

I hate Sophie, but I hate Avari and the hellions even more.

It keeps you guessing to the very end, and is anything but predictable. I cried and laughed and nearly pulled at my hair in frustration and suspense, but I loved it a lot and can't wait for the next book, If I Die, to come out!

To chalk it up, if you haven't read the Soul Screamers series yet, do it! I promise you won't regret it! :)

-Kaylee (Magic, not Cavanaugh :P)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mortal Instruments movie dream cast!!

I decided to take a little break with the R&R-ing -- not that I've been getting very far anyways haha -- and get to something that I just couldn't resist making:

A Mortal Instruments movie dream cast! 

We all know that there's going to be a movie scheduled to be released hopefully next year, so I've decided to feed the buzz and make up the cast I believe will best fit! :D


As of this moment, Lily Collins (The Blind Side) is the only already chosen actress for the movie, but I couldn't agree more! She's so pretty and an amazing actress, so if they just dye her hair red then she would make the perfect Clary! (Although I have to admit that I would love to play the role instead -- just for Jace!)

I know, I know, he's not blond like Jace is supposed to be, but hey! He's HOT! Just dye his hair, give him green contacts and I think that Landon Liboiron (Degrassi: The Next Generation) would be perfect for our fave hunk. No offense, but I just don't like Alex Pettyfer. He's alright, but if anything, Landon is much better for Jace :)

I love Alec!! But, more than anything, I love Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)! He's an amazing actor and he's super duper hottttt. With his dark hair and blue eyes, he's perfect to play Alec (though I think I may be insulting him to cast him as this character LOL)! And see him with that tattoo? He would definitely rock the runes! ;)

I have two choices for her, because I just couldn't decide! CHOICE 1:
Here's Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)! Isn't she gorgeous? And she has the looks (besides the eyes, but let's not get technical) and attitude that I find necessary for Isabelle! :P 

Yes, it's Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place)! Despite what most people think of her, Selena is one of my most favourite actors and has always been Isabelle for me (except without Shadowhunter gear!). She's super spunky and an excellent actress, and if you've watched Wizards then you know she can act with attitude. I'd say she's the perfect Isabelle! 

To be completely honest, I'm not exactly sure who should play Simon. There's really just no one who fits the the bill for me. But Kristopher Turner (Instant Star) was the first to pop into my head. He's hot, can be sarcastic, and could definitely pull off the rocker thing, so why not? ;)

I know that Max isn't really in City of Bones, but I couldn't help it! He's just so darn cute, and if there going to make movies for the other books in the series as well, then there can't be any harm in choosing Chandler Canterbury (Knowing) to play the part! He's a cutie, just like I imagined him to be :)

Kate Beckinsale (Click) for Jocelyn Fray! Wouldn't she be perfect? She could definitely pull off the young mother character, and to top it off, she looks a lot like Lily! :) 

I don't know why, but Brian Krause (Charmed) seems like a Luke to me. He has this sort of thing about him where you could see him as the kind uncle type, yet I wouldn't doubt it if he were a vicious werewolf. And besides, when I watched him in Charmed as a little girl,  he reminded me so much of my father! x) 

That's not exactly the full cast, but it's all I've got so far! If I have any more ideas then I'll post 'em, but that's it for now! :) 

What do you think of my choices? Do you have your own? 

I can't wait until the movie comes out! 


Monday, December 27, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


"Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

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.

I hate how hard it is to write this review. I hate how every time I try to type something explaining what I feel about this, the backspace button is automatically pushed and I have to start all over again. I hate how much I think about these books, day and night, dream and wake, the deeper message haunting my dreams ever since I first picked it up.

Because it's just that damn good.

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins was one of the special few series that make you think. They are anything but cliche, and maybe it's because this is set in a post-apocalyptic world and not some alternate universe that we've heard nothing about, but it seems so real. So true. So completely and utterly prophetic.

Katniss is a character that I had no choice but to admire because she is just so brave and strong and independent. It's hard not to look up to her. In the books, it is clearly shown that she has some natural power over people that draws them to her, so maybe that is why I like her character so much. Maybe it's the way she thinks -- selfish and unafraid to admit it. Sure, she makes stupid decisions sometimes but everyone does. Difference is, in The Hunger Games trilogy, I really didn't mind as much as I usually do.

 First thing's first, this series gets a straight 4.9999999999 out of 5 -- an almost perfect score! But why not exactly perfect? Well, let me tell you.

The first book, The Hunger Games, was amazing. I devoured it in a day, it was that good! Read all through the night -- with school waiting for me the next morning, but let's not get technical. When my BFF lent it to me, I won't lie and say I didn't question her taste.

"Will I like this? Is it good? It seems kind of weird. It's not like the books I usually read." Those were my questions.

But to whoever is reading this review and decide that maybe they won't check it out just because they think it's not any good --


Go to the bookstore! Make a library card! Borrow it from a friend or whatever, just don't dismiss these books as something you'll get to eventually, because they revolve around things that we have to think about now. About problems that are strikingly familiar to our own, about the selfishness in ourselves that may just one day be the end of us. The Hunger Games series dives deep into these pressing matters and more.

The Games are a cruel, cruel joke of a punishment. I hated every second of it, and by the way Katniss describes the events that had occurred in past Games, by the events that happened in her Games, I had learned to hate it even more. Forcing kids to fight to the death in a genetically altered area in front of national television just to prove that they can is just... There are really no words to explain it. Except there are.

Collins made it so.

Catching Fire was an amazing sequel. With the way that everything was progressing, it just had to be, and I found myself holding my breath (or trying to) for the most part, so intrigued with the riveting plot that my older sister had to literally rip the book from my hands to force me to go to the dinner table, and even then I kept it open on my lap, glancing down between mouthfuls.

The arena amazed me. It was so... well thought out? Complex? Again, I am at a loss for words for describing anything to do with this series, because even though Collins' writing still has room for improvement and at times I find her to be too vague, she has a special skill that sucks you in, hook, line, and sinker to the core of her book. This sequel didn't disappoint.

Then, to Mockingjay, the third and final book in the trilogy and the sole reason for this review. I had counted down the days in the summer until it came out, and was thrilled to finally receive a copy and and finished it within a day. I was just so excited to read it!

It started off a bit slow -- then again, the first two were also very specific in their introductions, and to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way. Although I usually re-read a book before moving onto the next one in a series, I always like it when there's a slight recap at the beginning to plunge you back into their fictional world before leading it astray.

But as the story progressed, I was a goner. Katniss was back with more spunk than ever. Gale -- whom I still prefer as her love interest against Peeta, because he was her best friend and hunting partner for too many years to just be abandoned -- played a major part in this third book, which always made me squeal. In the first two, he was only a minor character in the back of her mind. Mockingjay throws him right in the middle.

Which was perfect at fueling a fangirl's desires.

Maybe that was why I was a little disappointed with the ending. Don't get me wrong, the plot was still amazing and I felt regret and torment for almost every single character that died. And there were a lot of deaths, so many that I had started to think Collins was picking them off one by one just for the sake of killing.

But she has to be right. After all, in true war, most people do die.  

That just adds to the reality of it.

Still, I'll admit I was frustrated at first, how Katniss was just dismissed and sent back to District 12 after everything was done -- after everything she did -- without any rewards or recognition. How Gale just left her after everything they went through to work some fancy job in District 2; how Peeta was never actually cured and still had some visions caused by the poison that brought his mind to fight for belief in Katniss.

But after thinking it through, I realized that Suzanne Collins was just continuing to follow through her realistic statement. In real life, the face that started a rebellion then shot a president would not be rewarded greatly. In real life, all her problems and nightmares wouldn't just go away. In real life, Katniss would be one of the strongest girls alive because I could never imagine myself in her position, experiencing the horrifying things she did, and still managing to keep a straight head.

In real life, war doesn't go away without sacrifice. Maybe that's a lesson we have all yet to learn.

So the reason for the 0.0000000001 off of a perfect rating is merely this:

The omission of the grief and remorse for all of the loss throughout the books. Prim. Finnick. Boggs. Madge. Everyone. All the lives lost and friends forever gone that I feel Katniss didn't take the time to mourn for. It's a little unfair, seeing as she probably does think of them all the time and we're just not there in her head to hear of it, but I wish there could have been a little more closure in the books so the readers could have the time to get over the deaths as well. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that I had grown attached to most of the characters -- minor to major -- and was sad to see so many of them go.

The Hunger Games series was really amazing, and no one can deny it. Anyone who hasn't read this series should definitely start, because it is a trilogy that I guarantee will take your breath away.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Torment by Lauren Kate

"Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students -Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous. What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies."
Over the summer, I've read so many books (all amazing in their own special way), so I have a lot to catch up on in the review department. Torment by newcomer Lauren Kate -- who had her very first book nominated in the Teen Read Awards for the Best New Author category -- seems like a good place to start. 


If you haven't read the first book, Fallen, in this series, then I suggest you don't skim this review. This is the second book. Either it won't make sense, or this will spoil the entire thing -- proceed at your own risk. 

My rating? 3.5 stars out of 5. It was a well-paced plot with lots of twists and turns, but several times I had to slap myself to keep from slapping the book. I have to admit I was pleased with Luce's character development and her larger awareness of others around her. After all, she had just figured out the mysterious and aloof Daniel was a fallen angel -- her fallen angel, no less -- and dealt with it much better than many teens her age would've. 

Still, even though I was supremely proud of her for being her own person and making her own choices, so many of her decisions were poorly made. Luce was in love with Daniel; coming into the book, that was the only thing she was sure of. But as soon as she arrived at Shoreline, she doubted every move he made, every slip up he had ever exhibited in the past, and started to make herself believe that maybe they weren't right for each other. 

Which brings me to Miles. Oh, Miles. Is it wrong for me to say how much I hated him? Sure, he was sweet and kind and always there for Luce when she needed a shoulder -- or rebound -- but it was just absurd how fast she started to lean on him. Falling for Daniel so quick was natural; they'd been in love for centuries on end. Centuries that she seemed to peg as insignificant, even with all the love she felt for him in the present, given how quick she lost hope in their relationship.

Really, Luce! Have a little faith, will ya? No one expects him to be perfect.

In less than 18 days -- the time of the truce between Cam's side and Daniel's to protect Luce -- she was already developing feelings for Miles. Yes, it happens all the time. Yes, this is a fiction book. Don't hate on me; I'm just saying how much I don't like that there is always the one boy who has to 'be there' for the main girl character when times get rough, as though she can't depend on herself, do things for herself. 

It's ridiculous, really. 

And Cam, whom I adored from book 1 even with all his mischievousness and being the main antagonist of Fallen, was barely in here, only for a few times saving Luce and in the end battle, although he never got any appreciation. She always quickly dismissed him (which I hated), paid him no attention (which I hated even more), and for most of the book, she still had it rooted in her mind that Cam was the only one out to get her (which I hated most of all). 

But even with the lack of Cam and also Daniel (save for a few ill moments with Luce); even with characters I just didn't like such as Miles and Shelby, Torment was still a really good book. There were my fave characters from the first book that I loved seeing again (like Arriane, Roland, Gabbe and Molly), and new characters that I thought were awesome (like Jasmine, Dawn and, of course, Francesca and Steven). 

Overall, I enjoyed reading Torment and aside from my minor objections with the set-up, it was awesome! If you haven't read Fallen yet (or this super-fantastic sequel), I suggest you pick it up. You won't regret it. :)

Now I'm waiting for the next book, Passion, to come out!