Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard (SARC)

5 MILLION STARS!!! more or less.

I don't know why it is that the books I love ~the very most~ are always the hardest for me to review. SPLINTERED is one of those books. Pardon me because all I REALLY want to do is gush, squeeeeeeee and fangirl about this book.... however, I'll resist the urge to do so right now.

One of my all time favorite stories is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and I LOVE a great retelling almost as much. Honestly, I may have to admit that I think I might actually love SPLINTERED ~more~ than the original. *gasp* I know, right?

Seriously. Everything about this book is fantastic. EVERYTHING.

If I start with the cover, we'll be here all night. My hardback copy came with the GORGEOUS cover/dust jacket. It's like 'ZOMG uber fantastic!!!'. (personally, I'd love it in billboard sized to cover an entire wall - though my husband might not like that idea as much as I do LOL)
Once you're reading the book, you'll come back to stare at the cover and you'll realize, it's perfect. so absolutely, purely, perfect.
Every minute attention was paid to the detail within the covers as well. From the inside page designs of the book, to the ink color (which is a real dark, aubergine purple), and even the fancy scroll work and illustrations at the heading of every chapter was lovely. Everything about the construction of the book was deliberate to the story and turned out first class. everything.

This story runs a pretty good parallel to the original Lewis Carroll version - but it's so far from being a cookie-cutter wanna-be version. SPLINTERED brings with it all sorts of new twists and characters that are much darker, grittier and, more than occasionally, mutated. So much so that it actually concerns me for the well-being of the author if *this* is how her brain works!

And speaking of the characters. Holy cow I LOVED them all! there were the ghosts of the original story who were brilliantly brought back to life in this story, in addition to the new main characters. Alyssa Gardner (the great-great-great grand daughter of Alice Liddell), her kinda boyfriend-type-person, Jeb and another mysterious guy she remembers from her locked away past, Morpheus - he's all grown up now and more mentally destructive than ever.
They each had depth and reasoning, you could relate to them - some characters were despicable while most others were charming and/or full of warped imagination.
I loved the love triangle that wasn't really a triangle at all and the fact that even though this is technically a young adult book, it wasn't focused on romance -even tho there is some slight romanciness between the characters.

The Underland world the author created here was beyond amazing. Again, more twisted, and off-kiltered .... off with their heads madness and then some. Altered and adapted to become a more modern nightmare.

As crazy and unbelievable as the original AiW is, SPLINTERED manages to be even crazier and more unbelievably fantastic. a beautifully written, plausible expectation to what happened to Alice Liddell AFTER Lewis Carroll put down the pen on her story all those years ago

I am truly amazed and impressed to the high heavens with A.G. Howard's debut book. So much attention to every little detail. Thoroughly developed, edited and exquisitely presented. Such a treat!

I loved it. all of it. the cover, the book, the story, the ending. all of it, every single bit of it. seriously folks, EVERYTHING!!

I tee-totally, absolutely and positively, whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who loves or appreciates the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and anyone else who enjoys fantastical, adventurous, young adult stories that feature a strong heroine, swoon-worthy guys and a story that pushes the reader to the brink of madness -but in a good way.

rating: 5 stars and a HEART!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4)

**Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews that spotlights the books we receive each week**

The last time I posted one of these was somewhere around mid-December and I've bought and/or received somewhere close to 40 awesome books since then!! So todays StS is more like STUFFING the Shelves to the gills...

Here are ALL the 2012 Christmas books (actual gifts received) and/or books that were purchased in December and therefore deemed part of Christmas. As well as books I've won during recent book blog hops and Goodreads First Reads giveaways.

  •  In the Woods by Tana French (purchased - used)
  • The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry (purchased - used)
  • Changeling by Delia Sherman (purchased - used)
  • The Faerie Path by Allan Frewin Jones (purchased - used)
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (purchased - used)
  • Thirteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher (purchased - used)
  • Wondrous Strange by Lesley Liningston (purchased - used)
  • One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus (purchased - used)
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (purchased - used)
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (purchased - used)
  • The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (purchased - used)
  • The Secret Underground by Natalie Bahm (new - Goodreads First Reads win) My 4-star Goodreads review
  • Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian (won during the Mid Winter's Eve Blog hop from Ashley at My 3-star Goodreads review
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (purchased - used)
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (purchased - used)
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (purchased - used)
  • The Memory Palace by Mira Barton (purchased - used)
  • Firebirds Rising - an anthology of original science fiction and fantasy edited by Sharyn November (purchased - used)
  •  Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (purchased - used)
  • NOT SHOWN: A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz  (gift received Christmas 2012 - new) My 4-star Goodreads review
  • NOT SHOWN: Massive by Julia Bell, Andrew Biscomb (purchased - used) My 3-star Goodreads review
  • NOT SHOWN: I Am Half Sick of Shadows (Flavia De Luce #4) by Alan Bradley (purchased new) 4-stars - review to come
  • Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (see more photos below) My 4-star Goodreads review
  • Beta by Rachel Cohn (purchased - new)
  • Crewel by Gennifer Albin (gift received Christmas 2012 - new) My 4-star Goodreads review
  • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (purchased - new)
  • Flight Behavior by Babara Kingsolver (won from a contest from
  • Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill (purchased - new) 4-stars review to come
  • Wildwood by Colin Meloy (gift received Christmas 2012 - new)
  • The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (gift received Christmas 2012 - new)
  • What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (purchased - new)
  • In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente (gift received Christmas 2012 - new)
  • NOT SHOWN: Wither by Lauren DeStefano (purchased - used)

Splintered by A.G. Howard (purchased - new) My 5-star Goodreads review

  •  Defiance by C.J. Redwine and lots of great bookmarks! (ARC - won during the Book Lover’s Holiday Hop from
  •  more awesome bookmarks!! (won during a blog hop, from Gabbie at
  •  Forgotten by Cat Patrick and bookmarks! (Finished copy - won during the 'Printed Books Giveaway Blog Hop' from

  •  Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens, signed and autographed by the author, plus swag!

  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard, signed & autographed by the author, plus awesome swag, t-shirt with the tag line "Aim for the Knees" and bookmark (won -

  • Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini, signed & autographed by the author, plus swag, signed bookmarks, and a origami crane (new - Goodreads First Reads win) My 4-star Goodreads review

To the seventeen people following us, I apologize for not keeping more on track with all incoming and reviewing - and for letting it all stack up (pun intended) ... it seems real life just rolls over blog time lately. 
I *do* generally still make time to read .... but not so much for the writing parts.

Thank you to EVERYONE who gave me books before, during and after the holidays. And Thanks to everyone I have won books from as well as for all the super duper bookmarks and other great swag. 
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

ps after spending a terribly long time writting this post and putting all the photos together with their titles, etc. I just went back and realized that some of the Christmas 2012 books that were purchased early in December actually *did* make it into a previous StS posted in December. Oopsie!!