Book Review : Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

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Preview
Product Details
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847386741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847386748


Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Leviathan is a young adult fiction set in an alternate history World War I with Steampunk elements, wherein the Clankers are characterized by their use of mechanized war machines, while the Darwinists are characterized by their use of living creatures evolved specifically for war. The main characters in this story are the teenage son of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Prince Aleksander of Hohenburg and Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service.

The story is written from two different perspectives --- Alek and Deryn's. Both of them really are great characters. Alek learns the way of survival the hard way when both his parents are assassinated and he must flee Austria or he too risks being murdered. Deryn is a spunky, intelligent and brilliant airman. However, her secret of being a girl is in constant danger of being discovered.

I think Scott Westerfeld has done a good job in presenting the characters in this story, and his rich description of the mechanical robots, fabricated animals and the "gigantic flying whale" --- Leviathan, which is actually made up of lots of different living creatures really captivates me. The story itself is full of adventures, twists and turns, political intrigues and various scientific creations. However, I think the ending of the story seems a little abrupt, with Dr. Barlow (Darwin's granddaughter) fostering three mysterious eggs, although I know that the author probably intends to explain more about that in the sequel.

The illustrations by Keith Thompson are plain gorgeous! I love them! His drawings fit the story perfectly.
http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/chapter4a1.jpghttp://creteteens.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/leviathanill.jpg

I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy steampunk and science fiction, although I have a feeling that it is mainly oriented towards teenagers (both the main characters are 15 years old). Overall, Leviathan is an entertaining read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

Rating: 4.000

My deepest gratitude to Kathryn from Simon & Schuster UK Ltd for sending me a review copy of Leviathan! Thank you, Kathryn! :)

Other versions:

leviathan-coverLeviathan

Purchase Leviathan at
Simon & Schuster UK
/ Amazon / Barnes & Noble



http://assets3.simonandschuster.net/images/authors/20869842.jpg
Scott Westerfeld was born in Texas, and received a BA in philosophy from Vassar in 1985. He splits his time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Midnighters, Uglies, So Yesterday and Peeps. You can visit Scott Westerfeld's website to know more about him.

Watch the book trailer:

In My Mailbox {3}

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I got lots of goodies today! Thank you, Mr. Postman! :)

Won from Giveaways:

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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BHzIzdrLSy0/Spq6bTsXcFI/AAAAAAAAB-U/E9bfzMyYaLE/s400/REV-ForgiveMyFins.jpg
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

For Review:

Leviathan
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

UgliesPrettiesSpecials
Uglies, Pretties & Specials by Scott Westerfeld

I'd like to thank Kathryn from Simon & Schuster UK for sending me all these books! Love ya! :)

Others:


From Marlene @ Country Soaps by Marlene

Endless Love  Type Shower Gel SPECIAL
Endless Love Type Shower Gel SPECIAL $8.00 USD
>> Now available for $6.00 USD!!!

White Cherry  Blossom Hand and Body Lotion
White Cherry Blossom Hand and Body Lotion $3.00 USD

Old Fashion  Lilac Goats Milk Soap
Old Fashion Lilac Goats Milk Soap $4.00 USD

Patchouli  Goats Milk Soap
1 oz Patchouli Goats Milk Soap Sample - Free gift for me!

I will be writing a review for all these items on Friends & Family later, after I've tried them. Thanks for sending me this wonderful package, Marlene!

That's all for today!
À Bientôt! :)

Book Review : Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken

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http://www.meredithefken.com/images/Lucky_Baby_largecover.jpg
Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken

Product Details:
  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416595503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416595502


All Meg Lindsay wants is to give a child the love and acceptance she wished she’d been given. When she talks her reluctant husband into adopting a Chinese orphan, she expects her dream to come true. But becoming a parent has a way of opening up painful doors from the past, and it’s all Meg can do to hold her new little family together. What started as a good intention could destroy her marriage and her family, especially if the daughter they’ve grown to love abandons them, too.

Meg’s journey is a magical one as East meets West and imagination aligns with reality. Lucky Baby takes the reader on a realistic yet mystical journey into the complexities of family life.

I had no idea how I'd love this book before I'd started reading it. The story was told from three different perspectives, mainly Meg Lindsay, Wen Ming and Eva Zhen An. I was deeply captivated by Meredith's wonderful literary prose. I felt as if there was a power in her writing that deeply affects the reader, be it happiness, joy, grief and sadness.

Growing up under the pressure and disapproval of her mother, Meg Lindsay was determined to be a mother who was able to shower selfless, unconditional love onto her adopted daughter, Eva. However, she sometimes wondered if her decision of adopting Eva was right, because her daughter seemed to hate America and was unhappy while living under the same roof with her. Eva constantly hurt her mother by telling everyone that Meg was not her birth mother and that she wanted to go back to China. But her love towards Eva had taken its roots in her heart and she always forgave Eva's defiance and harsh words.

I ran to her. I wrapped my arms around her and rocked her like a baby. She was getting so big, but still --- I needed to hold all of her at once. I pressed my face into her hair, the sweaty dampness like perfume to me. "I love you! You can hate me. You can tell the whole world I'm not your mom, but I still love you. I will always love you. I will not leave you. I'm staying. I'm staying. I'm staying." --- pg 217

Son of the famous physicist Naomi Ricci --- Lewis Lindsay, who was also Meg's husband, had spent his whole life experimenting to find the Higgs just because he wanted to earn his mother's love back again. He was abandoned by his mother when he was very young and suffered because he was deprived of his mother's love. Before his mother left, she told him to find the Higgs first if he wanted her back. He was at first afraid of the thought of adopting a child because he feared that he would do the same thing as his mother had done to him --- neglect and abandon his child. However, he proved himself wrong at last and that he was capable of caring and loving his child after all.

Wen Ming was an orphan with eye-sight problems. She was a very good friend of Eva, but she turned her love towards her mei mei (little sister) into a kind of possessiveness. Eventually, she learned that loving someone means letting go. An elusive woman taught her this.

"In a family, love doesn't depend on physical location. Love can travel the world in a single heartbeat. Love lets fo. and then bridges the distance. You would put those you love in a cage, but that's not love. Love sets free." --- pg 278

Meredith uses a literary technique called magical realism in writing this story, which includes some elements of fantasy in a realistic world. I don't find this type of writing easy to take in, but it does successfully connect Meg Lindsay's and Wen Ming's worlds together.

In a nutshell, Lucky Baby is a powerful and emotional read. It shows us that being a mother is not an easy task. The author also shows us the incredible influence a mother's love has on the life and development of her child and also her own inner growth. The special bond between a mother and her child is unbreakable and everlasting, even though it may endure various obstacles and heartbreaks. Readers are bound to love this book.

Rating: 5

I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Meredith Efken, the author of Lucky Baby for sending me an ARC of Lucky Baby for this review. Thank you, Meredith!


Meredith Efken
MEREDITH EFKEN is the author of the critically acclaimed SAHM I Am series that traces the friendship of a group of stay-at-home mothers through their emails to each other. She is also owner of the Fiction Fix-It Shop, which offers freelance fiction editing and writing coaching, with the mission of encouraging other writers to reach their full potential. She serves on the steering team of her local writers’ group and volunteers as an online teacher for American Christian Fiction Writers.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Blog

Get Lucky Baby Online

Audiobook
Amazon $26.29
Barnes & Noble $25.19
Books Christian $25.50
Oasis $34.49

E-book
Barnes & Noble $9.99
Whitcoulls $13.39

Paperback
Amazon $11.19
Barnes & Noble $10.07
Simon & Schuster $13.99

* The prices above are based on respective websites. Shipping fees and tax charges are not included. Please visit the specific site(s) for more details.

Contest Winner!

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[sophia]

There's a total of 213 entries, and the winner of the signed paperback copy of Sophia's Secret by Susanna Kearsley is...

Here are your random numbers:

200

Timestamp: 2010-06-19 05:28:01 UTC


Sarah E!

You have 3 days to respond to my e-mail. Thanks for entering, everyone!

In My Mailbox {2}

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Mr. Postman arrived today with a sack of goodies! Thank you!

For Review:
Front Cover
Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken

Thank you, Meredith!


Books I won from various giveaways:
Sent to me by Rebecca

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Tangled

http://www.thisispoint.com/A5_large_253x380/WhereverNinaLies.jpg
Wherever Nina Lies

http://www.iowa-city.k12.ia.us/schools/city/lmc/catching-fire.jpg
Catching Fire

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Radiant Shadows

http://relliott4.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/sts.jpg
My Soul To Save

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ewZeDDX-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg
Your Life, But Better

http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n39/n195322.jpg
Hand Me Down

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wB7kpVkEno4/S69QoWnTSVI/AAAAAAAAAfg/8AUwNx3LRCQ/s1600/tokenofdarkness.jpg
Token of Darkness

Thank you, Rebecca!

Lucky Me!

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smile.jpg SMILE image by Regina_55

I'm quite lucky this week, considering the fact that I didn't win many giveaways in the last few weeks. I'm quite surprised that I won so many things this week. Lucky me!

Items Won This Week:

For my friend, Becky
6/15 The Lady's Slipper

For my friend, Rebecca
6/13 Angel Slayer by Michele Hauf
6/13 Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
6/14 MJ Rose Pin
6/15 101 Things I Learned in Film School

For Me!
6/14 $15 to countrysoapsbymarlene
6/14 $15 to eylan arts
6/15 Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

I want to read them, but I'm not sure whether for US/International:
6/15 The Mosts by Melissa Senate
6/15 I won the first place @ Black and Blue Ink
  • Strange Angels (Strange Angels, Book 1) by Lili St. Crow
  • Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
  • Night World No. 1 by L.J. Smith
  • The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

TBR List + Reviews by Title

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To Be Read (and Reviewed) List:

November:
Afterlight by Elle Jasper

Guidelines:
Italics: Not yet received
Normal: Received

Note:
Authors and publishers, please contact me if you would like me to review your book(s). I accept paperbacks, hardcovers and ARC's. No e-books, please. I will make a schedule and post the review on time. I'm based in Malaysia, so the shipping might be quite expensive. Please note that I will not be responsible for shipping charges. Thank you!

E-mail me : aikychien@yahoo.com

**************************************************************
Books Read / Reviews By Title:

- Numbers -

3 a.m by Dallas Woodburn

- A -
Arson by Estevan Vega

- B -
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby
Blood Coven Vampires (#1 - #3) by Mari Mancusi
Boyfriends, Burritos, and an Ocean of Trouble by Nancy Rue

- C -
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
City of The Dead by T. L. Higley
Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
Constantine by John Shirley

- D -
Dark Time by Dakota Banks
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee
Devoured - E -
E-Buku Karangan 2009
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

- F -
Firespell by Chloe Neill
First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

- G -

- H -
Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
His Last Duchess by Gabrielle Kimm
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

- I -
I Like It Like That by Cecily von Ziegesar
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Indigo Awakening by Dr. Janine Talty

- J -

- K -

- L -
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken

- M -
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


- N -
Need by Carrie Jones
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Never Ceese by Sue Dent

- O -
Ondine, #1 - The Summer of Shambles by Ebony McKenna

- P -
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Peony In Love by Lisa See
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Pokemon - Bye Bye Butterfree by Diane Muldrow [Reviewed by Johnny]

- Q -

- R -

- S -
Sacrifice by Dakota Banks
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison
Sophia's Secret by Susanna Kearsley
Specials by Scott Westerfeld

- T -
Tagged by Mara Purnhagen
Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison
The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Complete Horowitz's Horror by Anthony Horowitz
The Emperor's New Clothes [Reviewed by Johnny]
The Faces of Evil (Invisible Detective) by Justin Richards
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby
The Last Exit To Normal by Michael Harmon
The Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen
Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

- U -
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

- V -
Valiant Bride by Jane Peart
Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley

- W -

- X -

- Y -

- Z -

Book Review : 3 a.m by Dallas Woodburn

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Preview
3 a.m.: a collection of short stories by Dallas Woodburn
Get 3 a.m. on Amazon

Product Details
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (June 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595357865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595357864

At first, I thought 3 a.m. was one of those books which are full of teenage angst, puppy love and school dramas, but I was wrong. Dallas writes stories about people, love and life that are highly-entertaining, inspiring and, sometimes, thought-provoking. She cleverly inserts an appropriate amount of humour in her stories, making them more lively and enjoyable. These stories proved Dallas' gift and prowess in writing. My favourite story in this book is "The 74-Year-Old Rookie", from which I learned that win or lose is not the most important thing while playing a game, but rather the pure enjoyment of playing itself. Do pick up this book if you haven't done so, because this book is awesome!

Rating:
5


Get 3 a.m. on Amazon!



http://writeon.zest.net/images/DallasMug.jpgDallasWoodburn
(Both pictures are equally beautiful, so I decided to put both!)
Dallas Woodburn, 18, has been published in several Chicke n Soup for the Soul books, as well as national magazines including Writer’s Digest and Justine. A Creative Writing major at the University of Southern California, she also writers a regular “Teen Talk” column for Family Circle magazine. Dallas’s foundation “Write On!” (www.zest.net/writeon) encourages kids to read and write through book drives and essay contests.

Dallas' Online Connections
Blog :: Twitter :: Facebook :: Write On

Book Review : Firespell by Chloe Neill

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Now Reading
Firespell by Chloe Neill


Product Details
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451228863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451228864
Synopsis
Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens. They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...

Review:
First impression: I enjoyed it fairly well. It started off with Lily's parents telling her that they had to go on a sabbatical in Germany for two years, and Lily will be sent to St. Sophia's boarding school. Lily wasn't that happy about it, but she went there, anyway.

My thoughts: Firespell will surely appeal to readers who enjoy the young adult genre. It is full of mysteries. I really doubted the fact that Lily's parents were on an academic sabbatical. I thought hard about Lily's real identity, when she discovered that she, too, had something unique that differentiates her from the ordinary humans. And I really wanted to know more about Sebastian, who has a dark and mysterious character.

The characters in this novel are well-developed, and I'm sure readers will remember them easily. Lily is clever, but her curiosity sometimes bring disaster to herself. Although Lily is the main character of this novel, I think that her best friend Scout seems to grab the limelight. I like that she is independent, brave and full of energy. It is because of her that Lily finally discovers her hidden potential. I admire the friendship between Lily and Scout. They are willing to protect and save each other from danger, no matter what it costs. I also think it is nice that Chloe do not forget to give our heroine a cute, handsome hero by the name Jason, who turns out to be less human and more of something else.

The brat-pack, which consists of Veronica (the leader), Mary Katherine (sidekick) and Amie (also sidekick) really gets on my nerves with their nonsensical ways. I've read lots about these "I'm-glamourous-and-you're-a-loser" type of girls in other chick-lit novels, so this does not catch my attention for too long. However, I still hate them because of their attitudes.

In a nutshell : This novel is exciting and suspenseful, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel! Highly recommended to teenagers who love magic and related items. Fans of The Morganville Vampires series will most likely love to read Firespell.

Rating: 4.000

I'd like to thank Chloe for sending me a copy of this book, which I won from Liyana Land. THANK YOU, Chloe!


Chloe Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest, just close enough to Cadogan House to keep an eye on the vampires. When not transcribing Merit’s adventures, she bakes, watches entirely too much television, roots for her favorite college football team, plays with her dog, Baxter.

Visit Chloe Neill's Website HERE
Available now:
FIRESPELL
A Novel of the Dark Elite: Book One
Pre-order UK Edition:
Waterstones | Book Depository | Amazon
COMING SOON!
January 2011

Hexbound
Novel of the Dark Elite:
Book Two