Friday, July 18, 2014

A new design!

I feel like I just barely switched my design around, and yet here I am doing it again! I loved my old design, but it was just that: old. I was getting bored with it, and it was kind of young and unprofessional—not that I have anything wrong with either of those every so often—and I want to (hopefully) take this blog in a new direction!

I personally am very proud of my lovely little tagline. I even considered just doing away with Debz Bookshelf in favor of And She Blogged Happily Ever After… but then I realized it would be really long.

So, what do you think? Please leave honest feedback. Love it? Hate it? I'm open to any constructive criticism you have to offer!

And yes, this does mean I'm going to start doing designs again soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hello, world! I just got back from a week of church camp, and while it was fun (with a super cute theme!) I am exhausted. On top of that, my sister accidentally broke my laptop screen while I was gone (how many times is that, now?)

I will hopefully be popping in occasionally over the next little while, but I make no promises. Once I am back for sure, prepare for an overabundance of posts!

Monday, July 7, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: Wild by Alex Mallory

wild  
Wild
 
 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Genre: Contemporary YA Retelling
Source: eARC for Blog Tour
Find it: Amazon  | Goodreads

The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving— that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger…

Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy— he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion.

Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it.

As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?

Growing up, Disney's Tarzan was one of my favorite movies. Possibly because by nature, I'm very proper and reserved, and it let me discover my wild side; maybe because Jane was actually a highly intelligent and strong female lead character; or maybe Tantor was just too darn cute! For whatever reason, the mystery behind this man has always fascinated me, and Alex Mallory's Wild gives readers a fresh new look into Tarzan's tale.

The world Mallory introduces us to is a bizarre combination of the beauty and simplicity of nature, and the terror of the thought of what may lie in the unknown. Cade has grown up hiding deep in the woods, with the warning from his parents that there's nothing left beyond, that humans are contaminated. And so he hides, and takes care of himself, until he sees others.

I know that sounds sort of dystopian/apocalyptic, but through Cade's eyes, it is. Cade's perspective was so interesting. He was very intelligent and intense, yet so naive about all the things we take for granted. There was so much depth to his character that something so impossible to imagine as an uncivilized person in a hyper-civilized world still seemed believable.

Dara, though, I struggled with as a character. She was so smart, and so compassionate towards Cade, but something just didn't click with her. I think some of that may be the love-triangle she created for herself between Cade and her long-time boyfriend, Jake. I understood her struggle, but I felt bad for both of the boys while she was choosing. Still, I admired her as a character and the depth she had.

I loved Mallory's writing style, and it was evident that she had put so much research and effort into this novel. The result, Wild, is an intense and fiercely creative reimagining of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic story that will not soon be forgotten.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

DETAILS:

A Wild Prize Pack Featuring: a signed, finished copy of WILD, a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs' TARZAN OF THE APES, a DVD (region 1) of Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan of the Apes, bookmarks, and a stuffed plush flu microbe. (US Only)

SPECIFICS:

- US only
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- Giveaway starts July 1st to July 9th
- All entries are double-checked and false entries will be disqualified
- Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
- Your personal information won't be used or be seen unless you're the winner of the giveaway. We won't sell it nor use it in a bad way.
- Tour Hosts are not responsible for any lost or stolen items

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alex Mallory is a pen name for YA author Saundra Mitchell. She’s a big fan of reading, history, camping and competitive M&M sorting.

She once crossed a dilapidated train trestle in the middle of the night, 200 feet above the Wabash River, in a futile attempt to prove her love to someone who had no idea she existed.

1) She lived to tell about it. 2) It didn’t work. 3) She doesn’t recommend it.

Find her here:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Thank you to the amazing team at FFBC for planning this tour! Follow the tour below!

FFBC FOLLOW TOUR

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

  
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)
 
 
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Release Date: 4 March 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: ARC for Review
Find it: Amazon | Goodreads

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I feel like this quote from John Green's TFiOS perfectly describes my feelings towards this book: "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." I was just dipping my toes in, and then very slowly was pulled in until I closed the book and realized how in love I was with this book.

First off, I must talk about the world building in this story. The depth of this world is inconceivable. There was so much richness to it that it literally felt like I was walking through Valoria. It was very evident that Rutkoski was inspired by a variety of cultures (especially Roman) and she did her research, while leaving herself plenty of room for creating a highly impressive world of her own.

Kestrel was an awesome main character. She is so strong and independent, but still comes across as likeable. She challenges the expectations placed on her, with courage and confidence. In a lot of ways she seemed like she could've been an old friend with her nature.

Arin was both the complete equivalent and opposite of Kestrel. He's dark and mysterious, but inside there's so much. I almost with this book had been entirely from his perspective. The way it was written, we got to see quite a bit from him, but I think there's so much more to see from him.

The writing was spectacular. Beyond the outstanding world building, Rutkoski managed to convey emotions in such a beautiful way through her words. I could feel what Kestrel and Arin felt, and their dialogue brought the story to life with even more depth.

There are rumors that there's a trilogy in the works, and I must say I will certainly be an avid fan!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Write On Review-a-Thon {5}

Write On Review-a-Thon

 

The Write On review-a-thon is a monthly event created and hosted by Brianna at The Book Vixen. It’s 2 days dedicated to getting reviews done, whether you have one review to write or 30+. This edition of the review-a-thon takes place all day Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th. Let’s get those reviews done!

I missed the last review-a-thon because life got in the way, but here I am now, ready to review my heart out! My goal is to review eight books from the dozens I have on my list of books-that-haven't-been-reviewed-for-months. I'm feeling highly motivated right now, so hopefully I can get through these quickly!

Anybody else review-a-thoning this weekend?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bite Sized Reviews: Golden by Cameron Dokey & The Crimson THread by Suzanne Weyn

   Bite Sized Reviews at Debz BookshelfI think it only fitting that we have two such SWEET bite-sized reviews today!

Golden (Once Upon A Time Faitytales)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 1st, 2006
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Purchased
Find it: Amazon | Goodreads

"Once upon a Time" is Timeless...

Before Rapunzel's birth, her mother made a dangerous deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald and without hope of ever growing hair, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future.

After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard years ago and needs Rapunzel's help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely "two nights and the day that falls between" to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed... forever.

Golden takes the classic fairytale of Rapunzel, full of romantic imagery, and takes away it's most iconic element--the Hair. That is the first thing you think of when you hear Rapunzel, as it is so engrained in our culture. How could this story succeed, then, with no hair? Absolutely beautifully.

Dokey wrote a wonderfully deep story that maintains many traditional elements, while making it very much its own. The writing was rich and lyrical, and the characters had surprising depth for such a small book.

Out of all the books I've read so far in this Once Upon a Time series, Golden is by far my favorite for interpreting a personal favorite with such freshness and creativity.

  
 
 
The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 17th, 2008
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Library
Find it: Amazon | Goodreads

"ONCE UPON A TIME" IS TIMELESS

The year is 1880, and Bertie, having just arrived in New York with her family, is grateful to be given work as a seamstress in the home of textile tycoon J. P. Wellington. When the Wellington family fortune is threatened, Bertie's father boasts that Bertie will save the business, that she is so skillful she can "practically spin straw into gold."

Amazingly, in the course of one night, Bertie creates exquisite evening gowns--with the help of Ray Stalls, a man from her tenement who uses an old spinning wheel to create dresses that are woven with crimson thread and look as though they are spun with real gold. Indebted to Ray, Bertie asks how she can repay him. When Ray asks for her firstborn child, Bertie agrees, never dreaming that he is serious...

My favorite thing about this Once Upon a Time series is the fact that it takes these fantastical stories, and sets them in an real place and time, usually with historical significance. The Crimson Thread takes Rumpelstiltskin and places it in the completely unexpected setting of 1880's New York.

The plot followed the structure of Rumpelstiltskin, but added so much more. You wouldn't think it would work, but now I can't imagine a better setting for the Miller's Daughter's story. Still, there were new elements that had me on the edge of my seat.

I was so surprised by the depth of the characters. I felt like I knew all the characters well, and in such a short book (under 200 pages) that is a huge accomplishment.

I haven't enjoyed some of Weyn's other retellings, but The Crimson Thread has shown me I certainly shouldn't discredit her as a seriously brilliant spinner of stories.

Monday, June 16, 2014

{Fairy Tales Retold Challenge} June Review Link Up + Giveaway

2014 Fairy Tales Retold Challenge

I deeply apologize for taking so long to realize that it is in fact June and time for another link-up and giveaway! I've been sort of out of it the past little while, but I have great plans (it'll just take a while to get those in action!) Hopefully, since the year is almost halfway over (I can't believe it), you're almost halfway done with the challenge. If that is the case, congratulations! If you're falling behind a bit, never fear! A read-a-thon is in the works!

And now to copy and paste the instructions from March:

There is a Linky directly below, where you can link-up any reviews which qualify for the 2014 Fairy Tales Retold Challenge (any retelling which you’ve read in 2014). Ideally have them formatted as such: Debz Bookshelf: Cruel Beauty. Blog name and book title. Easy peasy, right? The Linky will be open through July 15th, in order to give you time to catch up on your reviews.

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And now on to the fun stuff! I’m offering a giveaway of ONE of the five following books: A TALE DARK AND GRIMM by Adam Gidwitz, ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine, THE PRINCESS CURSE by Merrie Haskell, THE LAND OF STORIES: THE WISHING SPELL by Chris Colfer, and RUMP: THE TRUE STORY OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN by Liesl Shurtliff to US residents, or a $10 Gift Card to International entrants!

RULES:

  • Must be 13 or older, or have a parent’s permission
  • Must be a US resident, or be able to accept an Amazon gift card if International.
  • Must be an official participant of the 2014 Fairy Tales Retold Reading Challenge.
  • Giveaway will run from June 16th @ 12:01am to July 15th @ 11:59pm.
  • ONE winner will receive ONE book of their choice from the options presented, OR a $10 Amazon Gift Card if the winner is an international participant. (If you already own all three choices, then we can work something else out (: )

The mandatory entries are Join the 2014 Fairy Tales Retold Challenge (which hopefully you did back in December!) and to Link Up a Review. You can earn additional entries for each additional review you link-up (up to 5 reviews). You CANNOT link up reviews previously linked-up. Only reviews since then are eligible. Anybody who disregards this will be ineligible for the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions, please email, tweet, or comment.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review: RUMP: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

  
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Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf BFYR
Release Date: April 9th, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade Fairy Tale
Source: Library
Challenges: Audiobook, Fairy Tales, Quick Fix
Find it: Amazon | Goodreads

Rump has never known his full name—his mother died before she could tell him. So all his life he's been teased for his half-a-name. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. For Rump discovers he can spin straw into gold. Magical gold.

His best friend Red Riding Hood warns him that magic is dangerous—and she's right! That gold is worth its weight in trouble. And with each thread he spins, Rump weaves himself deeper into a curse.

There's only one way to break the spell: Rump must go on a quest to find his true name, along the way defending himself against pixies, trolls, poison apples, and one beautiful but vile-mannered queen. The odds aren't great for a small boy in a land full of fairytale bullies, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—Rump just might triumph in the end.

Rump by Liesl Shurtliff was exceptional in every way. It was the perfect blend of everything I love in a book: witty narration, memorable characters, surprising plot twists, and an irresistable fairy tale setting.

Rump is a dejected, lonely boy who has a pretty dismal-looking fate lying ahead of him, all thanks to his less than flattering name. Yet, as he embarks on a journey through a somewhat...familiar tale he discovers there may be more to his fate than he first believed.

I love seeing my favorite stories from new perspectives (I STILL haven't seen Maleficent!!!) and this book was especially impressive in that aspect. I've always had a soft spot for Rumpelstiltskin, but this book presented him as a sympathetic character who genuinely wishes no ill on anybody (except for maybe a certain Miller...) and I loved that.

Every single character was so full of life. They had distinguishing characteristics that brought them to life in a whole new way! I was so impressed with the development behind each of them, making both old and new seem like old friends (or nemesises).

The writing was spectacular. Liesl Shurtliff has so much talent for a debut author. So many times I found myself laughing out loud, or uttering exclamations in response to the brilliant dialogue and narrative presented.

On a deeper/cheesier level, I loved the message that we are all of value, and we can all take control of our destinies. Any book that manages to be inspiring on top of hilarious and clever is one that will wind its way into my deep, cheesy, book-loving heart.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A BLOG SURVEY!

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Hello amazing people! I know I haven't been great so far, but luckily there's plenty of Summer ahead to make up for my less than wonderful behavior. I have big plans for this blog, but before I go ahead and (almost literally) turn this blog on his head, I figured I would consult with you faithful and immensely helpful blog readers, by way of a survey!

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Just click that beautiful button to be taken away to a randomly random survey that will hopefully help to build my blog into something even cooler than it already is!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Library Books Read-a-THon!

 photo LibraryReadathon2014_zps1ebc4cdf.jpg

Hello world! I feel bad for promising to get back into blogging, and then real life gets in the way. Oh well. I may have missed the first day of Rachael's Library Read-a-thon, but I will do my best not the miss the rest of it!

My goal is to read five books, including but not limited to:

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Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
Enders by Lissa Price
The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Prodigy by Marie Lu

I've been on a rollercoaster of a reading schedule lately, reading two books in one day, then none for another week. Hopefully this read-a-thon will even out my reading habits.

Thanks to Rachael for hosting this awesome read-a-thon!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag


A weekly meme hosted by the
Broke and the Bookish

Well, maybe not beach bag, since I'm not at all a beach-goer and I no longer live by the beach, but for sure my wandering the woods and road-tripping to [somewhere in the Midwest] bags!Top Ten Tuesday 
The One by Kiera Cass

This series is full of fluff and drama, but I love it anyway. I can't wait to get around to finishing!

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria

This has been sitting on my review pile for months and it looks amazing! Hope I can read it soon!

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Out of all the upcoming retellings coming out, this is the one I'm most excited about! I doesn't come out just yet, but Hyperion and NetGalley are awfully friendly (:

Paper Towns by John Green

I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for The Fault in Our Stars, and how better to do that than a John Green read-a-thon (actually, that sounds like a bad idea—too many tears!)

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

This book sounds like a great mix of fun stuff and more serious stuff so I'm excited to get into it.

Wild by Alex Mallory

A modern Tarzan? It sounds like it shouldn't work, but I've actually already started it, and I'm impressed!

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Again, this has been on my review pile for months and I just haven't read it! I swear that will change—it's Shannon Freakin' Hale for Pete's sake!

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

I've heard so many great things about this book, including that it includes the kind of fluffy romance that's perfect for Summer!

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I've heard so many mixed things about this book, so I have to see for myself! The premise is amazing, and I'm ready to dive in!

Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Doon is literally a dream-come-true of a book for me. It's so perfectly awesome, and I cannot wait for the sequel, which you can bet I'll be reading the moment I can get my hands on it!

What books are you packing in your beach bag?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm back!

Due to some miracle, I was able to get my laptop fixed last night! What this means is I'll be joining the remainder of Armchair BEA, and then I'm going to try my best at being a SUPER BLOGGER!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

HIATUS :(

Unfortunately my laptop is having some serious issues right now, and the soonest it can be fixed is next Saturday. I'm super sad because that means I'm going to miss out on Armchair BEA (this sounds familiar...) Hopefully once it's fixed I'll be some sort of super-blogger! I have a ton of fun plans for the summer!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I'm still here!

I haven't forgotten you! I feel so bad for being so neglectful of this blog the past two weeks! I'd forgotten how crazy busy life gets when you have rehearsals all day everyday, but now the show is done and I suddenly have some time to spare, which I'm hoping to devote to catching up on both reading and blogging.

How do you keep up with blogging?
Are you looking forward to Summer?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: April

This month has been crazy, but in a good way. My blog has been overwhelmed with fairy tale fun, and in the real world it's finally getting warm! I've missed the sun these past few months, and now it's here. The school year is almost over, and then there's an entire summer to (hopefully) sit back and relax.

      Received This Month

      Library

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      4195797769406

      Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
      Popular by Maya Van Wagenen
      Poison by Bridget Zinn
      Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce
      Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
      Stephen Sondheim: A Life by Meryle Secrest
      Finishing the Hat by Stephen Sondheim
      (I'm on a Sondheim kick…)

I really love my library. I'll put a hold on something the day it comes out, the nearest copy at a branch 20 miles away, and it just shows up on the shelf the next day!

      For Review

      979189217428643cover38757-medium

      Unremembered by Jessica Brody
      The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
      The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

The AMAZING people at Macmillan sent me Unremembered after I heard the awesome movie news, and I heard about both The Beast Within and The Girls at Kingfisher Club during Fairy Tale Fortnight, and the publishers delivered generously through NetGalley.

      Won

      15789443

      Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Inky of Book Haven Extraordinare featured a really great guest post from Heather, including a giveaway, and voila: this book is in my possession! Thanks Inky and Macmillan!

      Purchased

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I didn't buy any book books, but I found the most amazing music store in the entire world. It looks like a little abandoned shack, but inside are shelves and shelves of ridiculously cheap music. Just a handful of the things I got: Frozen, Harry Potter, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, Pocahontas, Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray, West Side Story, and a ton of those "best of" collections. My fingers and vocal cords are probably going to die as I attempt to master it all, but I'll have fun with it anyway!

      Blogged This Month

It was FAIRY TALE FORTNIGHT! My favorite time of year! There are still a few days left to it, and in an effort to save space (it's not laziness…) I'll just link you to my MASTER SCHEDULE. And there are a few days left to win either Cruel Beauty, Second Star, or Scarlet (It's SIGNED and may come with swag!) in ARC form. I also joined The Book Monsters Summer Library Challenge and Katie's Book Blog's Summer Reading Program, so I'm ready to jump into Summer! Oh, and I forgot my blogoversary.

Read This Month

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The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Grimmtastic Girls: Cinderella Stays Late
Grimmtastic Girls: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost
Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman
The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Rose by Holly Webb
Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

To Read Next Month

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Poison by Bridget Zinn
Popular by Maya Van Wagenen
Grim, edited by Christine Johnson
Second by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente
Love Letters to the Dead by by Ava Dellaira
Something Real by Heather Demetrios

How was your month? Leave links in the comments below!

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