The Whimsical Mama

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*Blog Tour* The Jewel by Amy Ewing August 31, 2014

 

The Jewel (The Lone City #1)

by Amy Ewing

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: September 2nd 2014

Rate: 4 stars

Synopsis:
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for. 

The first thing that caught my attention for The Jewel, was the cover. It’s GORGEOUS! I threw the don’t judge a book by its cover rule right out the window on this one. Not even knowing the summary, I knew I wanted to give this book a read. Once I knew it was a dystopian? It became a MUST read.

Violet was a fantastic main character. She was instantly intriguing and I would love to know more how these mysterious powers are passed along through families. Especially why only the females have the gene. I understand why the royalty brought in surrogates for a while, but after a while, I don’t understand why the practice wasn’t thrown out. But if it had been, there wouldn’t be a story!
The main thing I loved about Violet was that she’s a musician. As a fellow musician, I loved the emphasis on her talents. I contemplated digging through my classical cds to add them to my ipod to listen to while I read. I never did because that would’ve cut into reading time. I blew through it quickly as it was, so I didn’t want any distractions from reading! The Jewel screams to have music added to the audiobook in the style of If I Stay/Where She Went (IMHO!)
Other than the unexpected romance twist, the BIGGEST problem I had was the lack of historical explanation. I wanted to know what happened to create this government. In most cases it’s been war, but nothing is said. It’s kind of explained how this government formed, but not the situations that made it necessary. As this is a trilogy, I’m hoping it will be explained in the future!
This was totally capable of being a full 5 star rating, but I didn’t care for the eventual romance. In a way, I was hoping it wouldn’t be a factor in the book at all (I am firmly in the a book doesn’t HAVE to have romance to be a good book camp). I was also figuring the romance would be with someone else. Since I was expecting it to be with an entirely different character, I was a bit disappointed with how things panned out.
Along side Violet, there is an incredible cast of characters that gives such depth to The Jewel. I had a love-hate relationship with the Duchess. I want to know what’s happening to Raven. Lucian is totally a new Cinna and I love it. I’m most intrigued by Garnet. I want him front and centre in book 2!
Just when you think you have things figured out, Amy takes things in another direction. I’m so interested and excited to see where things go from here. The cliffhanger at the end is BRUTAL. That’s one of the downfalls of reading ARCs or starting a new series that isn’t completed. The wait is going to be a tough one! I need book 2 NOW.
I definitely recommend The Jewel to dystopian fantasy readers. It’s an intriguing and quick read. It definitely keeps you on your toes and guessing what could be coming next. I plan on continuing this trilogy and definitely plan on purchasing a finished copy! The cover is beautiful and will make a gorgeous addition to my shelves.

 

 










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Follow the FFBC The Jewel Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
Amy Ewing is the young adult author of THE JEWEL, the first in a trilogy from HarperTeen, coming out September 2014.
She grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.
Win (1) of (3) copies of The Jewel (Us Only)

 

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Please Be Kind, Rewind: 11 – 30 August 2014 August 30, 2014

After a super long break that was completely unintended, I’m back and ready to go! Despite having a schedule on paper, it just didn’t translate from paper to web. Sorry to all of those who have had to see my incomplete Hello, Goodbye post. Life just happened and I haven’t been up to staying on top of my blog. After a break, I’m ready to get going again. I’ll be contacting the winners of a few giveaways in the next few days. Sorry that it’s taken so long! On top of failing as a blogger, I’ve also failed as a reader. I’ve been in a MAJOR reading slump. It’s been baaaaaaaad. I just recently got The Young Elites in the mail and I’m hoping that will bail me out of the slump! Especially after an awful DNF encounter! I’d been so excited about it, but ugh, I just couldn’t do it. Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m also in the mood for some fairytales/fairy tale retellings. I recently started binge watching Once Upon a Time and I’m hooked. OH MAN. So. I’m thinking I’ll read some retellings and read the originals with the kiddos. Bug was particularly interested in the princesses in a few episodes of OUAT. Any retelling suggestions? I’ve already read The Lunar Chronicles and Cruel Beauty.

Completed:

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Don’t Touch by Rachel Wilson (DNF 19%)

 

Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (ARC)

 

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean & Eric Litwin

The Octonauts and the Great Ghost Reef by Meomi

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

 
New to my shelf:

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

Talon by Julie Kagawa

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (ARC from Mary AND a finished copy from my AWESOME OTSP Secret Sister!)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (One of my mom’s friends went to ComicCon and scored an ARC for me AND got it signed! HE’S THE BEST!)

 

 

Flashback Friday #4: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare August 29, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 5 April 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book four of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The first book of the second trilogy of The Mortal Instruments series feels a bit off par to the first three books. It picks up shortly after the events of City of Glass. Jace and Clary are happily together though Jace is having some issues. Simon is struggling dating Isabelle and Maia and fails to see how that’s a bad idea.

The plot is exciting and the twist at the end is mind blowing. I honestly don’t know why this feels lacking compared to the others. Maybe because things felt like they were pretty neatly tied up and now a new series of events are stirring up. I also like Valentine as a villain much better than Sebastian – or Lilith.

I did like that we have a bit of perspective toss up. It’s a progressive adjustment from the beginning of the series and I think it works nicely. I especially love the Malec scenes. They’re my favourite couple.

My favourite non couple pairing for scenes was Simon and Jace. I love the bickering. It’s the best. It’s even better when Kyle is thrown in.

I liked getting to see the background between Jordan Kyle and Maia. It’s a very tragic story but great that they’re going to have a chance to work through things.

My first read of The Mortal Instruments after reading The Infernal Devices, I was super excited to see Brother Zachariah. I wish there’d been more of him in it.

I still recommend this series, I just recommend the first trilogy half more strongly than I recommend the second set. This could change once I read City of Heavenly Fire. I do love City of Lost Souls as well. I’m just less than thrilled with City of Fallen Angels. As great as the first three are, I feel all this one does is set up the next trilogy.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Top Ten Tuesday #48: Books I’m Not Sure I Want to Read August 12, 2014

 

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want to Read

 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. For real. I’m so torn on this book. I’ve heard great things, but it covers a subject much too close to home. My Gran was diagnosed with leukemia last year, and I just don’t think I can handle it.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I know, I know. I did want to read it, but I started the audiobook and just couldn’t get into it. I listened to like 10 min and I really don’t think I want to read it.

A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin. I really think I won’t read anymore or reread this series until the whole flipping series is complete. Then I’m getting a paperback set and dismantling it to read it by character. Jumping around so much bothers me! O.o

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Mary has highly recommended this series to me, I just don’t know if I want to make time for it. /:

The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith. I’ve read the first book and just dunno. They’re good, but I’m too attached to the show and they are too different.

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Nope. I’m a big fantasy reader and hubby has tried to spark my interest, but it’s too big of a commitment even for me!

All the free books I stupidly downloaded for my kindle back when I was obsessive about scoping out free book giveaways on Facebook. I’ll never get to them and half of them aren’t even that interesting. 

Requiem by Lauren Oliver. Good heavens this audiobook was KILLING ME. Plus I saw a certain twist coming a mile away and the love triangle is so forced it’s ridiculous. Just not interested in knowing how things end.

Until the Beginning by Amy Plum. I was so underwhelmed by After the End that I am not interested in knowing how things play out.

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 27 July – 10 August 2014 August 10, 2014

Sooooo…. I haven’t posted in ages and I kinda explained in my last Tot Time Thursday why that’s been the case. I’m spending today getting this week’s posts up and ready at the same time prepping for our first week of home preschool. I intended to start last week, but printer mishaps didn’t let that happen. So, instead of being a week ahead of our school system, we’ll be roughly on the same page with them. I think they start Wednesday, but we’ll be starting tomorrow. Needless to say, it’s been super busy around the house in the last few weeks with me deciding to buckle down and get things organised. Punk’s shown an increase in wanting to read and asking to learn to read. So, we’re giving home preschooling a go! I’ve also been super busy with reading. While working on ALL THE THINGS, I’ve also been listening to audiobooks. I figured why not kill two birds with one stone? I’ve been sitting at the computer lining things up and instead of music, I listened to audiobooks. Hopefully things will be going much more smoothly now or at least soon once we get in a rhythm for working throughout the day. I’ve also decided since I haven’t stayed on top of watching entries and revealing prizes, I’m going to extend my blogoversary giveaway by two weeks so the word has time to get around about the new prizes. Of course, I’m upstairs while I’m working on this and my prize list is written downstairs, so, I’ll add that ASAP later today. So, check back after around 2PM EST to see the list. I’m aiming to have it up after church around the kiddos’ naptime! (: Before I give the lowdown on what we’ve been reading, tell me, how have YOU been? I feel like I haven’t really talked to anyone lately! What are some great things you’ve read lately? What are you looking forward to? (Yes, I will have my Hello, Goodbye post fixed this week as well.) Time, I need more of it!

 

Completed:

The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner (audiobook)

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (OMG THIS BOOK!)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (audiobook)

Where She Went by Gayle Forman (audiobook, not as good as I hoped)

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan (audiobook, also not as good as I hoped)

 

Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audiobook)

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Read to Tiger by S.J. Fore

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean & Eric Litwin

The Octonauts and the Great Ghost Reef by Meomi (Punk squealed with joy when I found this in the new books!)

 


New to my shelf:

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

Something Strange and Deadly and A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry *swoons*

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (audiobook)

A TON of books for the kiddos!

 

 
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