Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Released: September 27th, 2011
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 out of 5

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I thought that Daughter of Smoke & Bone was absolutely unique and full of awesomeness.  It definitely had a really cool twist on the story of angels and demons.

In Karou's world, the demons are made up of different parts of animals. They could have a lion's head, a human's arms, a turtle's body, or a flamingo's legs.  The angels are a different story.  They are beautiful creatures, more like humans actually, with wings and gorgeous bodies, like Akiva (BTW, isn't Akiva such a cool name?).  I loved this unique aspect of the demon and angel world.  It still has the same concept that they're at war, but how they were described just seemed so vivid and amazing.

The characters were really awesome!  I loved Karou and her whimsicalness.  If she were a real person, I think she'd make a really cool friend to hang out with, although she has a tendency to lie, but still.  She's pretty amazing.  Her friend, Zusana, was SO cute!  She's described as this little, short 17(ish?) year old and full of cuteness, although she probably wouldn't want to be described as cute... But still!  Ohhh, and Akiva!  He's the gorgeous soldier of the book and Karou's love interest.  Ahhh, I think that basically sums Akiva up :)

The plot was really interesting in that it started with Karou and eventually snowballed into Karou finding out who she really is and why she and Akiva have this almost sort of instant chemistry between them.  It's definitely a starcrossed lover sort of story with both of them not meant for each other because of what they are, which makes their love for each other really sweet.  I loved how Taylor went back and forth in the second-halfish of the novel between Karou in the past and Karou in the present because it added so much more intrigue to the overall story.

Taylor's overall writing was absolutely beautiful.  With vivid descriptions of everything around Karou and the insight into her thoughts, it just really sucked me in.  Everything just flowed so well that it's almost hard to explain it.

A very whimsical book full of mystery, Daughter of Smoke & Bone was just absolutely perfect, blending the war between demons and angels with a modern-day setting of Prague and beautiful writing, giving it this cool vibe.  I'm totally going to read Taylor's other book, Lips Touch Three Times, and I'll definitely be on the look out for the second book, Days of Blood & Starlight!

Cover Review:
I LOVE this cover!  The light blue feathered mask in contrast with the white and black really makes it pop out.  I'm totally in love with the font for the title as well.  Can't wait to see what they'll do for the second book!

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from
**Review copy borrowed from the library.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Starstruck: LA Times Festival of Books!

On Saturday, I got the chance to go to the LA Times Festival of Books!!  Yeah!!  I was so excited in the morning (even though I was kind of sleep deprived).  But overall, I'm glad that I got to go because there were some fantastic authors out there on Saturday and I got to get 6 of my books signed :)

First, I went to the "YA Stage" for a panel called "To Be Continued..." which was basically about the authors and their series.  DJ MacHale was there (he's the author of the Pendragon series and Morpheous Road), as well as Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia of the Beautiful Creatures series.  Lauren Kate, who wrote the Fallen series was also there as well.  So, I got a ton of books signed (which really means I only got four books signed).  I would have brought my whole entire Pendragon series if I could, but that's a total of 10 books. 10 BOOKS!

Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl posing with my copy of
Beautiful Chaos :D
*sigh* Me smiling awkwardly with Lauren Kate :)
Next, I got to see Stephanie Perkins, who wrote Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, which are absolutely amazing books.  I was so excited to meet her and she was super duper nice.  I'm kind of socially awkward when it comes to meeting new people, especially authors, I tend to freeze up and just say, "Hi!" and "Thank you!" because I really never know what to say, but she was able to get a couple more words out of me :)  Gayle Forman and Nina LaCour were also there with her, but I already had If I Stay and Where She Went signed at last year's Festival of Books, so instead I got a "Team Adam" pin and a couple posters for The Disenchantments :)  Ahhh, I'm such a happy child right now :D

Stephanie Perkins (signing another person's book;
my mom took the picture ahead of me in line)
The posters.  Aren't they awesome??
My last signing was the John Green signing.  That one was kind of hectic in a way.  And definitely confusing.  At the booth, I guess if you wanted the "priority pass" you had to buy one of his books from their booth, but I had already read all of his books and didn't really want to buy them, so I was stuck in the "non priority line."  But, my friend Victoria, a Nerdfighter who came with her "Keep Calm and DFTBA" shirt and FTL (French the Llama) poster, came with me to that signing and we talked about what her reaction would be because she was nervous but definitely excited to get to meet John Green.

John Green! Signing another person's books (again).
Overall, it was SO fun, even though a majority of it was spent in lines and walking through hoards of people.  I've always enjoyed it and have been going to them since 2010, when I got back from China.  I never really go on both days because of homework and stuff, but it's always fun if you can go for at least one day.

The book festival definitely made up for missing Lauren Oliver and & Tahereh Mafi when they visited a bookstore literally like 5 miles away from my house.  

Ahhh!  Next year will be my last year unless I decide to stay in the LA area for college.  I'll definitely have to go next year and make it an all day event!  I'm already excited for next year.  I don't even know why.  

Cleo :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (40): We Don't Die

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, which is brought to you by Jill at Breaking the Spine! This meme is where you can post about what book(s) you're really look forward to.

This week, I absolutely can't wait for...

We Don't Die by Emmy Laybourne
June 5th, 2012
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you hurdle down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.  
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart. 
I'm not sure if this is called We Don't Die, or Monument 14, but this definitely sounds like it's right up my ally. I love stories like this, like the Gone series. Full of intensity and set in such an interesting environment, this totally seems like the book for me. I can't wait for it!

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Like Mandarin

Title: Like Mandarin
Author: Kristen Hubbard
Date Released: March 8th, 2011
Pages: 320
Rating: 3 out of 5

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. 

When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. 

Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

Like Mandarin is a sort of coming of age story where main character Grace Carpenter tries to find herself, but sort of in the wrong place.  She tries to find herself in Mandarin Ramney, the complete opposite of quiet and intelligent Grace.

Grace was a pageant child, you know, like Toddlers & Tiaras, except she was smart enough to quit, even though it cost her a close win, and a close relationship with her mother.   Now she's sort of like the outcast-- she basically has no friends, and seems to have this obsession with Mandarin that she keeps to herself.  When they're put together for a school project, they become close, and Grace tries changing into Mandarin, while it's slowly discovered that Mandarin isn't who she seems to be on the outside.

Like Mandarin was definitely about Grace trying to find herself.  It was a coming of age story where Grace tries to see where she fits in.  I think that because she was so lonely, she saw herself as being "like Mandarin" who was the complete opposite in personality and lifestyle.

I liked Like Mandarin and everything that was going on, from the ruined relationships to the unpredictable personality of Mandarin and making their plans to get out of boring Washokey.  I just couldn't feel the connection with the characters though.  Grace and Mandarin just seemed really far off to me, probably due to Grace being a bit too attached Mandarin and wanting to be exactly how she was.  I think that the one character that I liked was Grace's little sister, Taffeta (weird name, but still, she's adorable).

Plot wise, I liked seeing the development of the relationship between Grace and Mandarin.  It went from sweet and nice to a bit scary.  I was becoming a little terrified after a while at how unpredictable Mandarin could be.  Sometimes it could be a little slow, but the relationship developments between Grace and Mandarin, and even her mom as well, were what made Like Mandarin.

Overall, Like Mandarin was a good book.  I wasn't completely in love with it because I don't think that it was completely for me since I tend to like a bit of romance in my books and this one doesn't have any romance.  So, sometimes I felt that it dragged on a bit, but the whole novel overall was really intriguing with getting to explore the relationships that Grace has with others around her.  I'm definitely going to pick up Kristen Hubbard's next book, Wanderlove, though to give that a try since I've only heard great things about it.

Cover Review:
I think that the cover is an okay cover.  I like the orange and green colors along with the picture on the bottom half.  It doesn't really jump out at you though or convey anything significant, although I do love the attitude that the model is expressing.

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from
**Review copy borrowed from my local library.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Date Released: January 2nd, 2012
Pages: 256
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (Phew! That's a long title (I'm shortening it to THSPLFS)) is one of the cutest stories, right up there with Anna and the French Kiss. Why is it right up there with Anna and the French Kiss? Well, for starters, the male love interest is British. And then the book is set in England. Everything was just so darn cute!

Obviously, the book is pretty predictable (you can kind of tell by the cover), but it's everything in the middle that makes it so intriguing. The middle isn't just about Hadley realizing that she's in love with Oliver, but she also tries to come to terms with the fact that her father is remarrying... In a completely different country. There's also the longing that Hadley goes through of needing to see Oliver again. Her little adventure to go find him was really fun, too, since she was kind of exploring London at the same time, although in a bit of a rushed mode.

Oliver was SO cute. He makes me wish that I could meet a British gentleman (yes, he was very much a gentlemen) in an airport on the way to England. He was just incredibly kind to Hadley and super duper funny. I really liked Hadley, too. I guess in a way she could be stubborn and a bit of a brat with not wanting to meet her stepmother and all, but she was still cool. She had this sort of fragileness that made her fit with Oliver.

I totally wish that THSPLFS could have been a bit longer though. It's such a short book! I guess it's understandable as to why it's so short; it's about love at first sight after all. But still, I wanted to be stuck in this world of love at first sight for at least more than two days (the amount of days it took me to read it).

Overall, THSPLFS was an incredibly cute book. It was really sweet and adorable, and just the whole setting and the characters in general really sucked me into the novel. Definitely give it a shot if you're looking for a novel similar to Anna and the French Kiss, because it pretty much has that foreign country, English boy theme.  It doesn't quite beat Anna, but it's close ;)

Cover Review:
The cover is almost just as adorable as the book. I love the couple with the heart around them and how they're in a somewhat crowded airport sort of ignoring every thing around them. The font for the title absolutely adds to the cuteness factor of the cover. However, I'm not the biggest fan of the people in the background because it makes the cover seem sort of creepy in a way. Other than that, it's a cute cover :)

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from
**Review copy purchased.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Booklopedia Has a Facebook!

Hey everyone!

I FINALLY set up a Facebook page for Booklopedia that you can like! You can click the link here to go check it out. It hasn't got much yet, but I'll definitely be updating it all the time with posts and such, so if you can't follow via GFC or Networked Blogs, then you can now follow through Facebook :)

I've been wanting to do this for a while, but wasn't sure of how to, but I finally got it last night after investigating for a while. Hopefully next Twitter will be on the way?

Cleo :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All Things Asian Event!

So, this event actually started on Monday (April 2nd) and I really wanted to write a post about it, because not only am I interviewed and wrote a guest post, it's a pretty cool event overall celebrating all things Asian in young adult literature. The event is hosted by Julia at That Hapa Chick, Lucia at iLiveiLaughiLoveBooks, and Izzy from My Words Ate Me, so go check it out!! They're even having a really cool giveaway where you can win one of several books written by an Asian author or contains Asian characters! xD

Lucia from iLiveiLaughiLoveBooks wrote this little list of Asian stereotypes on her blog so I thought I'd share it with you because it's pretty clever... Although I don't follow half of those stereotypes so I guess I'm not really Asian ;) I'll bold the ones that I actually do follow.

Are you Asian? Are you not Asian, but think you should've been born Asian? If the majority of the following statements apply to you, then you're probably Asian! 
You wear glasses.You eat rice for most meals.You keep a straight-A report card. Anything else would result in disownment.You have your sights set on Harvard. Anything else would result in family dishonor.  You play piano. Or violin. Or both.You listen to k-pop.Sushi? Raw fish? BRING IT ON.Speed limits are trivial things.You tark Engrish rike this.You often say "Too expensive!!!" or "I'll wait until it is cheaper."Pokemon is your life.Chopsticks are basically extensions of your fingers.Your email address ends in an "8."You have anime marathons. (Sleep? What's that?)
I will say that the most astonishing thing is that I can't use chopsticks properly.  It's pretty embarrassing :/  And my parents aren't that hardcore about Harvard, but I guess it'd be nice hehe :D

I hope that you check out the event that the three lovely bloggers put together and check out my interview and guest post when they're published, which I think is on My Words Ate Me some day soon... So look out for that!

Cleo :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (39): Belles

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, which is brought to you by Jill at Breaking the Spine! This meme is where you can post about what book(s) you're really look forward to.

This week, I absolutely can't wait for...

Belles by Jen Calonita
April 10th, 2012

Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she's ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn't go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn't thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates' Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls' lives forever.
This one sounds really good and definitely different from what I normally like to read. I don't think that I've read many books set in the South either, so this one should be a fun read :) The cover is absolutely gorgeous as well though, and I love the light pink!

What are you waiting for today?

Cleo :)

*Description and cover from