Artwork! My first real photomanipulation! Yay! Made using these three images:
along with PicMonkey and Pixlr Editor.

I think this kind of captures the essence of my novel The Universe Quilt (look at the "Long Term Projects" page.) Is it good?
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pic from the Barnes and Noble page
WARNING: If you haven't read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW. There are spoilers.

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her - except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Wow. Oh my gosh. Oh my GOSH. Okay so you may remember a few months ago I did a review for The Girl of Fire and Thorns. (That's here: You may also recall that I said I would hunt down this, the next book. Well, I did. And OH MY GOODNESS it was just as amazing, if not better.

So Elisa is back and as kick-butt-AWESOME as ever. She's more confident, which is refreshing, and she is a great politician, it turns out :D But anyway, she's just the kind of girl you want to HUG sometimes, you know? I swear she is SUCH a good protagonist. OMG OMG OMG.

Um so I know that we're all still teary about Humberto's death. Yes. BUT... dun dun dun... he has a replacement! An amazing REPLACEMENT! Okay, so I thought it was kind of weird that Elisa was able to replace Humberto so quickly, but it wasn't a very progressed relationship, I guess. SO BEFORE YOU READ ON MAKE SURE YOU'RE OKAY WITH A TEEEEENNY SPOILER.

Or not so teeny.

The replacement is - Hector! I know, right?! And like the whole time I was like, "But how old is he?" Then it turns out he's only a little older than Elisa. Then through the whole book I was like, "KISS HER ALREADY!" You know that feeling? But anyway, he had so much more of a backstory and feelings and GOOOOSSSSSHHHHNESSSSS and when I finished, I decided that I like Hector better than Humberto. Just saying. (Does anyone else dislike the name Humberto?)

Now I have to gush about the setting of the whole series again. I mean, it's like, Spanish! And so richly cultural and *a moment of fangirling*.

The one thing that got me a little about this is that she kind of is losing her focus. What is her main goal? I thought it might be defeating the Inviernos and stuff but it's also about fulfilling her destiny so... but you know what? I'll just shut up.

I know this is a completely random, all-over-the-place review, but just read it, you know? Then you will get me. COMPLETELY.

One last thing: The next book is called The Bitter Kingdom. It's expected to come out on August 27, 2013. And just LOOK AT IT (not sure whether this is the final cover though):
pic from Goodreads
I just looove the covers for this whole series! Isn't it pertty? Anyhow, that's Starry signing off on this review. :)
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Why don't I make a list? These are my holds at the library, basically, because I want them. Now. With summaries, too, so that you can see what they're all about. :)

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

This is a sequel, to Cinder. I read Cinder a while back and posted a review on this blog. You can read that here:

So basically I loved Cinder and am coming back for more, I suppose. As you can tell, this one's based on Red Riding Hood. YAY.

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Another sequel. The first book is called Legend. I wrote a review for that as well: As you'll read in the review, it's based on Les Miserables. I watched the movie and I caught the bug baaaadddd. So yeah, which makes me appreciate this even more.

Still loving all these sequel covers. LAAAA. LA LA LA.

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Now, this is obviously the sequel to Divergent. And really, do I need to talk much about that at all?

It's just. So. Amazing. GAAAHHH.

So that's Starry, signing off for now.
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THE MYTH: Alice Liddell was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook.

THE TRUTH: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss's parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring young author, to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

Pretty good overall, considering that there aren't many re-imaginings of  Alice in Wonderland around, really. This book really takes liberties with some of the concepts in the classics, like the Millinery (an elite force of bodyguards, of which Hatter Madigan is a member) and the ranking families (there are four suit families: the Clubs, the Diamonds, the Hearts, and the Spades).

Throughout the book, I could kind of feel the effects of its moderate pacing. There was a little too much backstory, although as I read it seemed necessary enough. Even the fight scenes felt somewhat sluggish, which takes skill. I mean, who can write sluggish fight scenes?

Still, the premise was fascinating, and well-done for its genre. The characters varied - some were amazing, some were too stereotypical. Alyss, for example. She wasn't flawed enough to be likable, to me. She was too inherently good, and her full power was a little - no, okay, a lot - unfair. She could do anything that she imagined. What kind of advantage is that? Okay, so Redd can do the same, but it's obvious that Alyss is the more powerful one.

Dodge, on the other hand, was a very interesting guy. I needed to know how such a cheerful young boy had grown up into such a reserved, hateful man. And yet he still harbored that love for Alyss... I wanted to know what made him tick.

All in all, Wonderland has been transformed, and not too badly. The Looking Glass Wars turned it into a realistic world with realistic problems, which also brings to mind the transformation of Oz in Wicked (great book; you should read it). If you're looking for a fresh series - yes, the next book is called Seeing Redd - then by all means pick it up. I'm worried that my review sounded too disparaging... it's really not that bad. Just read the first few pages, I guess :D
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