The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Character Reveal: Wilhelmina Korte from The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows March 2, 2015

OQ-tour2

Today, I am SO excited to be a part of the Character Reveal part of The Orphan Queen blog tour! I absolutely love Jodi and her books! As much as I loved her Newsoul trilogy, I love The Orphan Queen THAT MUCH MORE!

Now, before I introduce you to my girl, Wil, I want to show you the beautiful cover (I mean really, I want to frame it for my office when I remodel this spring!) and the summary!

18081228(Gorgeous, right?!) The Orphan Queen

Pub date: 10 March 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, HarperTeen
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Status: Book one of The Orphan Queen duology

 

FIND IT: GOODREADS || AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || INDIEBOUND || BOOK DEPOSITORY

Summary:

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others,

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

 

oq-wil-fact1

I am here to introduce to you the incredible Wilhelmina “Wil” Korte! Here’s the full fact that I’m sharing with you today:

Almost ten years ago, Wilhelmina and the Ospreys were kidnapped to the kingdom that conquered their homeland. They stayed in an orphanage for a year until they orchestrated a breakout, then took over an old, abandoned castle in the mountains. Wil and the other older Ospreys raised the younger ones, hiring tutors to further their education and combat training. 

Now, I’ve already had the chance to jump into this strange new world Jodi has created, but just for fun, I’m going to play along that I haven’t!

I can’t even imagine being kidnapped from my homeland to the kingdom that conquered mine. I could draw parallels with a certain group kidnapping Americans, but I’m not getting into that. Not drawing the focus away from Wil & the Ospreys!

Why were the Ospreys kidnapped in the first place? With magic being such an important part of Wil’s world, it leads to a lot of strain between nations. I think that magic plays a big part in the Ospreys being kidnapped. (Obviously, I’m not going to TELL you why, just some thoughts I had before I read.)

How do they get the nickname Ospreys? Again, this is a big spoiler, but I find the backstory fascinating! There isn’t a detail too small for Jodi to flesh out and leave to chance.

I think it speaks volumes of the character of Wil and the other Ospreys to take the younger kids under their wings and make sure they get a full education. (Plus some combat training, cause you know a battle is going to go down!) When I was Wil’s age, I  was concerned with MY education. I wasn’t concerned with anyone else. The older Ospreys are basically parents to the younger kids. That’s A LOT of pressure on this group as it is.

What kind of education do you think these orphans are getting? One thing Wil learns is calligraphy! I think it’s amazing that to fully understand Wil, Jodi learned calligraphy herself. Check out her Instagram (unicornwarlord) to see just how talented she is! She was doing an awesome pre-order gift, but I’m not sure if you can still get that or not. Either way, you should pre-order and then ask if Jodi is still doing the calligraphy cards!

If you could pick one combat skill to learn with the Ospreys, what would you want to learn? I definitely would want to learn some hand to hand fighting and maybe even some dagger skills.

This is just a small glimpse into Wil and not even really scratching the surface on the Ospreys. For more character reveal information, make sure you check out the character tour leading up to release day week! The stops are as follows:

3/2 – The Whimsical Mama

3/3 – Aphonic Book Reviews

3/4 – Adventures in Reading

3/5 – Step Into Fiction

3/6 – Read Write Love 28

3/9 – Just a Broke Bookworm

3/10 – Love is Not a Triangle

3/11 – Jenuine Cupcakes

3/12 – The YA Book Traveler

3/13 – Katie’s Book Blog

Keep an eye out for my review on release day too! Now the mastermind behind Wil & The Orphan Queen! Jodi Meadows herself!

11Meadows-0051-240x300

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

*A Kippy is a cat.

FIND JODI AT: WEBSITE || TWITTER || GOODREADS || TUMBLR || FACEBOOK

Advertisements
 

*ARC Review* Infinite by Jodi Meadows March 20, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotations may change between ARC and publication. Many thanks to Jodi and HarperCollins!***

Rating:5 stars
Pub date: 28 January 2014
Publisher:Katherine Tegen Books a HarperCollins Imprint
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format:ARC via author & publisher
Status:Book three of the Incarnate/Newsoul series

Summary:

DESTRUCTION
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

FLIGHT
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

CHOICE
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

My thoughts:

Honesty moment. I read this ARC in November. I was so overwhelmed by its perfection and beauty that I was incapable of writing my review then. Since I was passing it along to Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) and Alex (Peace, Love, and Fangirl), I just wrote down a synopsis in the format I wanted for my review. I even went ahead and scheduled it for January, closer to the release day. I knew I would have it done by then. Life happened and along comes January and my most embarrassing blogger moment. My notes went up. I’d never completed my review. OOPS! Thankfully, before too many people saw it, Jodi let me know when she checked out my “review” Oh, I was MORTIFIED. Thank you, Jodi, for not going postal on me! (:

I was so surprised when Jodi handed me the coveted Infinite ARC at the end of October when we met up for lunch. I was already losing it that I was getting to have lunch and hang out with one of my favourite authors. I really don’t know how I held myself together! Jodi is a super awesome person and if you ever have the chance to go to an event, DO NOT hesitate!

It’s such a bittersweet moment when you’re faced with reading the conclusion to a beloved series. I left Infinite in my TBR pile for a few weeks because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Then the time came. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but I was ready to read. And after reading, I was ready to fangirl EVERYWHERE. Now it’s time to fangirl and give my final review of the Incarnate/New Soul series.

Infinite was hands down my favourite of the trilogy. It was simply superb. Jodi time and again ripped out my heart and stitched it back together. Bringing back Cris? *dies* Sam and Ana drama? *dies* Sam and Ana makeouts? *dies* The feels. Oh, the feels. I can’t even begin to talk about the feels!

Right from the beginning, Ana & Sam are in danger. That’s to be expected with the way things ended in Asunder. Ana’s been exiled and Sam is going with her. An earthquake strikes as soon as the Year of Souls begins. Sam is hurt (of course, he can’t escape chapter one before Jodi starts being mean!) and Ana helps bandage up his hand.

“It’s probably smart to get away from Range. I’m glad you’re coming with me.”

“I’ll always go anywhere with you.”

Ana and Sam, pg 11

Um. OMG. ❤

The danger increases from the beginning. Jodi does such a fantastic job with everything. The thing she does the best, as she has in the previous books, is develop Ana and Sam’s relationship. From their chance encounter in the woods in Incarnate until the epilogue at the end of Infinite, Jodi continues to add layer after layer of depth to their relationship. Not only are they eventually a couple, but they are great friends. A good relationship needs love and friendship and Jodi gets Ana and Sam spot on! Not only are they talented musical duo, they also prove that they can be accomplished burglars in Infinite.

“So I take it you’ve broken into a lot of private archive rooms?”

Snow quieted his reply, keeping it from carrying. “I admit to nothing except that Stef is a bad influence.”

I snorted. “You can’t fool me. I know better than to assume it’s all Stef corrupting you.”

“But you know her well enough to realise that most of the trouble I’ve gotten into is her fault, right?” He flashed me a look of boyish innocence.

– Ana & Sam, pg 62

Oh, Stef. Always a bad influence!

Another relationship Jodi does well is Stef and Sam. They are the best of friends and it’s an easy friendship, but also a friendship that continues to build. I loved getting to see how their friendship began in Phoenix Overture and it adds so much more insight into the relationship in the rest of the trilogy. Stef also is a great friend and ally to Ana and that relationship continues to build too. I love Stef. Jodi also throws in a bit of humour at Stef’s expense by showing that her technology is not infallible.

“Can’t you take back control?” Whit asked.

If I had more time, and a data console. My SED just isn’t powerful enough.”

“Stef’s Everything Device isn’t everything after all?” Whit teased.

Stef glared, and no one laughed.

– Whit and Stef, pg 98

Don’t mess with Stef’s ego!

While the group is searching for a way to destroy Janan, they run into trouble and in the nick of time the sylph come to the rescue led by Cris. YAY CRIS! Oh, I love Cris. I still wish he would ‘fess up his story to Jodi. I need more Cris! I really loved getting to learn the back story of the sylph. My heart really went out to them. I wanted to cuddle with them (but not get burned, thanks) and tell them it would be okay. Fine, you caught me, I really only want to cuddle with Cris, but you catch my drift. Sylph = screwed unless Ana helps to redeem them. (No extra pressure on Ana, right?)

I was really excited to finally discover why the dragons hate Sam and are always bent on killing him in every other life. Jodi did a great job with the dragons. (: It would’ve been nice to see more banter between them and Ana! Oh, Acid Breath! I also really enjoyed the role the dragons played in the great battle.

Speaking of battle… there’s an epic battle at the end. Of course, right? We KNEW this is where we were heading. How could it not? Battle = death. Death = what Jodi does best by torturing her characters and readers. Amirite? Things hit the fan. Big time. Loved characters die (I cried, a lot), options are offered, and choices are made. Jodi is definitely evil and a true artist at her craft. You’ll have to read it to see just how evil she is and how it all comes together in the end. Does everyone get a Happily Ever After? Does Acid Breath eat Sam? Do Ana and Sam finally, you know? (;

For me, Infinite was the perfect ending to this glorious trilogy. I am so sad that it’s over, but I am happy to have been a part of this ride. I highly HIGHLY recommend this incredible series. Jodi is forever and always on my read ANYTHING she writes list. PS Be sure to check out her brand spanking new series Orphan Queen when it comes out in 2015. You better believe I will pimp it out just like I do Incarnate!

 

About the author

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen). Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com

*A Kippy is a cat

I said I pimp out Incarnate, right? Well, that’s fortunate for you, dear reader, because I happen to have a SIGNED copy of Incarnate just waiting to be won and devoured. This giveaway is open to US only (Sorry international readers! I promise I will one day have giveaways for you too!) Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open March 20th 2014 (12am) through April 10th 2014 (12am). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

GIVEAWAY LINK!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*ARC Review* Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge March 16, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to HarperCollins!***

Rating:3 stars
Pub date:28 January 2014
Publisher:HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Fairytale, Mythology, Retelling
Format:eARC provided by the publisher
Status:Cruel Beauty Universe

Summary:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.


Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.


Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.


With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.


But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.


As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

My thoughts:

This review has been extremely difficult to write. The premise is a great one. The execution was fine. I cannot explain why I didn’t care for Cruel Beauty. I really can’t. I was very excited when I received autoapproval for Harper, because I really wanted to read this intriguing Beauty and the Beast retelling and now I had my chance.

I plowed through the first quarter or so and then it felt like I hit a brick wall. I was still interested. Each chapter kept me interested in the next part, but it wasn’t one of those I have to devour every single page immediately deals. It was so imaginative. Alternate history England? Yes, please! Demon who makes twisted deals? Yes, more, please! Mystery and intrigue? Yes! I seriously don’t know what went wrong for me.

Honestly, I really don’t know what kept me reading. I hit a lull for a few days and ended up doing something I very rarely do. I took a break and jumped into another book. I finished it and came back, hoping it had given me the boost I needed to get out of my funk Cruel Beauty got me in. Rosamund is a great writer. She has such a strong imagination and is a good wordsmith. The world she creates is incredible.

Maybe it’s the romance that killed it for me. I really had issues with the romance. We have a pretty twisted love triangle going on and I can’t stand love triangles. I liked Ignifex in a way. He’s witty even if sadistic. He proclaims that he hates what he has to do, but every time we see him in action, he revels in it. Nyx fixates on her hatred of him and then all of a sudden loves him. That… bothers me. It may not entirely be an insta-love type situation, but the sudden switch from hatred to love just doesn’t do it for me. I really didn’t get the romance with Shade. That really baffled me. Now as I’m writing and mulling it over, I guess it is the romance that killed it for me. It is my biggest issue with the book by far. The romance just didn’t seem genuine from any of the involved parties. Until the very end, but I have other issues with THAT.  


Or maybe it was how Nyx could be at times. She had such potential to be a great character, but her moodiness really got tiresome. She runs hot and cold constantly. She loves or hates wholeheartedly and with no room in between when she’s in a mood. It was a little hard to relate to her because of it. It was really irritating where her family was involved. She loved them. She hated and raved against them. Nyx was very smart and naive at the same time. She ranted against her sister’s naivety, but in reality, their educations made up two halves of a whole. Both girls received half the education they deserved.

Cruel Beauty is VERY heavy with Greek mythology. That might be a huge turn off for some readers. At times it got to be too much for me and I absolutely adore Greek mythology. If you’re not familiar with some of the myths, you’ll be lost, and I’m sure that can be very frustrating. Rosamund does a great job weaving in the mythology though, don’t let it being heavy on the mythology make you think it’s done poorly. Again. She does a fantastic job with the mythology.

A certain part about ¾ through would’ve been a perfect spot to end. It wasn’t a Happily Ever After, but it felt like a good spot to end. The last ¼ just didn’t fit in my opinion. THAT Happily Ever After really didn’t do it for me. I know Beauty and the Beast have a Happily Ever After, but after being so dark and gothic, I would’ve loved a more Grimm like ending.

In the end, I probably won’t invest in a finished copy unless it’s a killer deal. I’m fairly certain I won’t read it again. It may be a bit disappointing, but it’s an okay read. I do still plan on checking out the novella set in the same universe that comes out later this year. I do recommend Cruel Beauty! Just because I had some issues with it doesn’t mean that others won’t adore it. There are wide spread feelings on it according to reviews, so it’s really up to the reader to make a decision on making the plunge. 

About the author

I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel, CRUEL BEAUTY (a YA fairytale fantasy, where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast), is due out from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in Winter 2014.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: