Sunday, November 4, 2012

In My Mailbox - Hurricane Sandy Edition

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren for us bloggers to show off what new books we received this week :)

This week I got two books:

I'd also just like to take a second to talk about Hurricane Sandy, a terrible storm that shook up the Tri-State Area this past week. I live in Staten Island, New York and luckily my family and house weathered the storm unscathed, but there were so many other families who were not so lucky. Several Staten Island neighborhoods, mainly those by the water, were completely destroyed. Several of my friends are now essentially homeless; many more families still do not have electricity or heat restored to their homes. It is sad to say, but we've barely seen help from FEMA and Red Cross. Thankfully our community has come together in amazing ways, with countless families such as my own volunteering our time and donating essential items (blankets, clothing, food, bottled water, toiletries) to those who lost everything.

(PS: clinking on any of the links in the above paragraph leads to relevant news articles with photos)

That being said, we still need more help. If you live in one of the areas affected by the hurricane, you can check your local news for areas accepting donations. If you live far away, but would still like to help, I am providing links to relief funds being raised by people I know to be used here on Staten Island. I am also providing a link to Red Cross and AmeriCares if you prefer to donate there, although I honestly believe it would be more fruitful to donate to one of the local funds. Every dollar helps! Thank you so much :)

Hurricane Sandy Relief: Giving Back From Far Away - this fund was started by New Yorkers who are currently away at college and cannot come home to personally help with the recovery efforts

Help Staten Island - Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund - this fund was established by one of my former high school classmates; there is more information on exactly where this money will be donated on the link page

AmeriCares Disaster Relief Fund /// American Red Cross - Disaster Relief

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Title: Rampant
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Source: Library; Hardcover 416 pages
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .
Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.
Or not.
Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.
However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.
My Rating: 4.5 stars ★★1/2
My Thoughts (mini-review):
After reading Peterfreund's short story, "Errant", in the Kiss Me Deadly anthology, I knew I wanted to read more about these "killer unicorns". One often thinks of unicorns as majestic, good-natured animals, but that is certainly not the case in Peterfreund's series. Contrarily, the unicorns in her world are blood-thirsty, violent beasts. It was really refreshing to see a new approach on a topic (unicorns) that isn't played out; this was actually the first book I've read that deals with unicorns as a major plot point. In addition to Peterfreund's avant-garde definition of unicorns, she employs lots vivid descriptions to bring these creatures to life in the reader's mind with astonishing clarity.

As far as the actual plot line goes, I found the story to be enjoyable. The story takes medieval aspects, such as the idea of unicorns and woman unicorn-hunters, and places them in a contemporary setting. With Astrid and her comrades we also get to see plenty of kick-butt heroines and fighting action scenes, which I always like. Overall, I would recommend the book; it's an interesting read.

Warnings: mild profanity, rape

Cover Musings: This cover has quite a lot of details, such as the unicorn in the reflection of the sword. I kept noticing new things with each glance. Really cool!

Next in Series: Ascendant

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Black Dagger Brotherhood Books 1&2

I've recently started reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward. Instead of doing a separate review for each book, I decided I'd do a group post with mini reviews for the both of them.
"In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race"
Each book in the series highlights one main character, a member of the Brotherhood...

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1) Title: Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1)
Source: Purchased; paperback 416 pages
Challenges: Vampires; 2011 Blogger Recommendation
The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams. 
My Rating: 4 stars
My Thoughts: Let me start off my saying these vampires are nothing like those of the Twilight Saga. Ward creates a interesting world that stands out from its competition thanks to details such as the Brotherhood, the Lessening Society, and The Scribe Virgin.

I liked this book, but I just didn't love it. As far as paranormal romance goes, I thought it was definitely worth the read. The plot line is intense, and super interesting, and the Brothers are just drool-worthy. The one thing that tended to bother me was the spelling of the Brothers' names: Phury, Rhage, Tohrment, Vishous, etc...

Title: Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood #2)
Source: Purchased; paperback 464 pages
Challenges: Vampires
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. 

Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage's protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone...
My Rating: 4 stars
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this second book exponentially more than the first book. I absolutely loved Mary and Rhage's character development and quickly found myself rooting for them to end up happily together! It was extremely interesting to learn all the details of Rhage's "inner dragon" that we only get a glimpse of in Dark Lover. I would definitely recommend this serious to lovers of PR, and I definitely see what all the hype is about now!

Warnings: adult books; mature content: sex & violence

Cover Musings: I don't think the covers are ah-mazing, but I like the monochromatic color scheme on each cover and the fact that they all go together well as a series

Next in Series: Lover Awakened

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A poem I wrote for my Italian class...

Tu ricordi
Le cose che mi hai detto?

Il modo in cui mi hai fatto sentire...
Il modo in cui ti ho fatto sentire

Tu ricordi
Quando tu e io eravamo noi?

Ricordo io
Il modo in cui tu sorridevi a me

Il brillo negli occhi tuoi
Quando mi vedevi.
Il suono della risata tua.

Tu ricordi
La tranquillità
Di essere in una stanza insieme?
Senza fare niente insieme,
Solo condividere lo stesso spazio.
Semplice, comodo, istintivo.

Come posso essere tale sconosciuta a te?
Come se non riconosci il mio viso
Come se non sai niente di me.

Ma tu mi conosci,
Tu sai così tanto di me.

Come io so così tanto di te.
Così tante piccole complessità
Penseresti che io avessi dimenticato,
Ma io ricordo ciascuna di esse.
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