Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata, #1)Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata #1)
By Lisa Mantchev 
Published July 7th 2009 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre | Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

All her world’s a stage. Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater. She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents. She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own. That is, until now.

Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.

COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.

ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.

BERTIE. Our heroine.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known. (Courtesy of Goodreads).

Review | ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Before I say anything about this book, I’d like to mention how much I adore the cover for Eyes Like Stars. All the covers made for the Théâtre Illuminata trilogy were done by the amazingly talented Jason Chan. He has a website where he sporadically post his artwork. It’s awesome, so go check it out!

Now onward to the book! I decided to reread Eyes Like Stars for the Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon and, while I didn’t accomplish my goal of completing the trilogy,  my love for this book has been rekindled. Lisa Mantchev weaves an enchantingly whimsical tale set in the surreal Théâtre Illuminata, where the players and crew are not short of colorful personalities and melodramatics.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata. The theater is a magical place home to many players,  not your ordinary actors and actresses mind you, but the real characters from actual plays. It wouldn’t be uncommon to find Hamlet and MacBeth clamoring at each other out or to witness little faeries devouring a buffet table. The book takes place entirely in the theater, but that’s okay. The theater is vast with lots of sensational locations to explore, ever-changing stage settings, and danger lurking at every corner (coughArielcough).

All her world’s a stage. Bertie is a charmingly headstrong heroine to say the least and while the theater is her home, though it’s clear that she’s not like the others in the theater. She’s exuberant, rash, rebellious and I really liked her character. There is a love-triangle involved in the story between the steadfast pirate Nate from the Little Mermaid and seductive Ariel from the Tempest. So far it’s presented as a typical YA love-triangle, so you won’t find anything new here. However, that didn’t deter my interest in the book and I really enjoyed the romantic scenes. My favorite characters would have to be Bertie’s sidekicks, the faeries form A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are Bertie’s trusted friends and are such hilarious, fun-loving adorable little sprites. They never failed to make me smile or laugh. If anything, I want a faerie side-kick myself.

I can feel it in my bones. Mantchev’s writing style is quirky and entertaining. Whether it is the characters or the magic of the story, the writing gave me the impression of something Disney-esque. Instead of the characters breaking out into song, they perform in plays in various intervals of the story. Mantchev does something unique that I have never seen in a book before: write in script format. Portions of the story are written as scripted plays, serving as flashbacks or character made scenarios. The sudden change in writing format may be staggering to other readers, but I really enjoyed reading the scripts and found it refreshing. The pace of the book is fairly neutral. Not too fast, but not too slow either. In my opinion, all of the charm of the story comes from the vibrant characters than the actual plot.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! I’m not a theater junkie by all means, but I still loved this book. Those who like plays may get a kick out of all the theater references.

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Stacking the Shelves #3

Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I know I had an STS post just last week, but I couldn’t retrain myself from buying more books. I have way too many unread books on my shelves and this book buying addiction is beginning to be a problem. But to my credit, one of the books I received was pre-ordered months ago and another was a free giveaway.  But let it be known that as of today I’m going on a book buying ban! So you probably won’t see another STS post from me for a long time.

Bought:

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)The Theory of EverythingGurren Lagann, Volume 1Gurren Lagann Manga, Vol. 002One Thousand And One Nights, Volume 05Japanese Comickers 2

Ebook:

The Midnight Heir (The Bane Chronicles, #4)

Giveaway Prize:

Precious Blood

#BookChat [1] | That First Sentence in a Book

#BookChat is a feature on my blog where I make discussion posts on anything book-related. So, let’s chat!

Let’s say you walk into a bookstore and simply search the shelves with no particular book in mind. You let your eyes wander when suddenly a book catches your eye. You have never heard of the title or author before, but feeling adventurous you flip to that first page and read. How much does that first sentence affect your need to read that book?

This discussion idea occurred to me after making my Teaser Tuesday post where I shared the first two sentences in the prologue of The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna. Normally, I never give a second thought about the first sentence in the book, but then I realized how much I really loved those first two sentences in The Theory of Everything. Despite the shortness of length, those two sentences are enough to make me think, “I am going to love this book!” Obviously as I read the rest of the book my opinion may change, but by those few sentences alone I am further hyped to read this book!

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This is not limited to just the first sentence of a book, but could also expand to the first few pages you read. I have had instances where I pick up an unknown book at a bookstore, open to a random page in a book, read a couple of pages and immediately take with me to the cash register.

A specific example was when I was perusing the Young Adult section of Barnes & Noble. At this time, I was fairly new to the YA genre and didn’t have any idea of what kind of book I would enjoy reading. I searched around, picking up books and reading the little blurbs. Eventually, I spotted Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I’ve seen this series around the internet for some time, but didn’t really know anything about it. The cover was enticing, the synopsis inside the flap seemed interesting enough and my curiosity bested me; so I flipped to a random page. Lo and behold, I had flipped to the page where Tessa and Jem had an intimate bed scene (you know what I’m talking about ;D). I read a few pages further and was hooked. I had to have this book. I didn’t care that I haven’t read the first book, or was even entirely sure I would like the rest of the book. I like what I read, I needed know to more and it needed to be mine.

For that specific situation, I didn’t regret my choice at all. I’m not really sure what this post says about me, other than I can be such a compulsive book buyer. :p

What about you? Do the first few sentences or pages influence your need to read a book? Without knowing anything about the author or book (series), what convinces you to read that book?

Want to read more book-related discussions? Check out Let’s Discuss!

Teaser Tuesday #1 | The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers |

“Once I saw a guy’s heart roll right off his sleeve. Mom and I were sitting in a booth at Sal’s sharing a sausage calzone when I saw it–a big red heart sitting in the outside of his arm instead of the middle of his chest where it belonged.”

 
These are the first two sentences in the prologue. I think the introduction is pretty successful in enticing you to read the rest of the book. Seriously, when can you literally say you saw someone’s heart on their sleeves?

Goodreads | TBD

What are you reading this Tuesday?

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

These are the books I bought this past week. I loved Miyazaki’s film version of Howl’s Moving Castle and was ecstatic to snag an ebook of the original book on Amazon for $1.99! Such a steal! Unfortunately, the promotion ended sometime Saturday and I have no idea if they are ever going to drop the price again.

I also signed up for the 30 day membership trial for Audible.com. When you sign up you get one credit and an extra bonus credit for a total of 2 audio books. From what I understand, you can use those 2 credits for any audio book they have. If you decide you don’t want to pay for the membership just cancel your membership before the 30 day trial is over and you still get to keep your 2 audio books for free! Pretty awesome right? I think so 😀  (I recently just found this out. So if you’re  more familiar with Audible.com please correct me if I’m wrong.)

Ebook:

Howl's Moving Castle

Audio Book:

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) Eleanor & Park

Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon: Goals, Challenges and Updates

The Summer Lovin’ Readathon is a week-long readathon event hosted by seven independent bloggers! (Oh, Chrys!, Tumbling Books, Effortlessly Reading, Love Life Read, Shelf Addiction, Read Sleep Repeat, and Reviewing Wonderland)

Spend the week reading at your own pace, when and how you want too. There will be daily challenges for awesome prizes and opportunities to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

As if that weren’t enough – the week will end with a 24-hr marathon readathon! Twitter parties, mini-challenges, games, prizes given EVERY HOUR, and more chances to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

Sign-ups will be open through July 6th. I’m in, are you?! Continue reading

Tadoku Contest ROUND 2 Wrap Up!

It’s the end of June which means it’s also the end of Tadoku Contest Round! At the beginning of the month I set myself the ridiculous goal of reading 1000 pages (ha!)

I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t as committed to Tadoku as I should have, but when I did have time I made sure to read at least of couple of sentences in Japanese. In the beginning I had a compulsive need to use rikaikun or look up words I came across that I wasn’t familiar with (when I read Magic Kaito I had 3 pages–front and back–full of words!). But looking up words made reading a slow process and that isn’t what Tadoku is all about.

I eventually stumbled upon a really helpful post by Mikoto who shares her Tadoku thought process, which is essentially similar to using context clues only for Japanese. This completely helped. I stopped worrying about not completely understanding a word or kanji and just read. I actually felt I was learning something. In the end I didn’t read as much as I’d hope but, I’m actually pretty proud of myself for reading as much Japanese as I did. I’m still learning and any progress is good progress in my opinion.

This month I  read a mix of manga, short children stories and lyrics and read a total of 116.81 pages. Continue For List Below →

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I’ve garnered a handful of books within the past few months, but it was only this week that I decided treat myself and go on a little book buying spree. Luckily I got most of these on a discount. 🙂

Bought:

The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1)White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2)The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)An Abundance of KatherinesShades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron (Shades of Grey #1)Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore The Dancing KettleUmineko WHEN THEY CRY Episode 2: Turn of the Golden Witch, Vol. 1

Ebook:

What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles, #1)The Runaway Queen (The Bane Chronicles, #2)Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale (The Bane Chronicles, #3)Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon

The Summer Lovin’ Readathon is a week-long readathon event hosted by seven independent bloggers! (Oh, Chrys!, Tumbling Books, Effortlessly Reading, Love Life Read, Shelf Addiction, Read Sleep Repeat, and Reviewing Wonderland)

Spend the week reading at your own pace, when and how you want too. There will be daily challenges for awesome prizes and opportunities to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

As if that weren’t enough – the week will end with a 24-hr marathon readathon! Twitter parties, mini-challenges, games, prizes given EVERY HOUR, and more chances to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

Sign-ups will be open through July 6th. I’m in, are you?!

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Hey! I’m back with another read-a-thon ^^ I was introduced to Summer Lovin’ Read-a-thon by the amazing Asti who recently made a post on it.  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts you’ll notice that I have participated in a read-at-thon before, but that unfortunately befell on the week of my finals. As a result, some reading goals were not met and participation, in terms of blog challenges and socializing, was pretty minimal. However, since it is summer vacation, and even although I do have summer school, I feel like I can do this!

Let me mention first that I do having the reading pace of a turtle. On average it takes me a month to finish a single book,  so for this read-a-thon I’m going to be a little more lenient on myself. This means I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t happen to finish a particular book by then end of the read-a-thon. Instead, I’ll utilize this as an opportunity to socialize with fellow book bloggers. So I’ll try participating in more Twitter parties and commenting on more blogs.

Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata, #1)Perchance to Dream (Théâtre Illuminata, #2)So Silver Bright (Théâtre Illuminata, #3)

In terms of reading goals, my plan is to reread the first two books in the Théâtre Illuminata series by Lisa Mantchev and finally finish the last book which has been sitting on my shelves for months. The cover art for this series is absolutely gorgeous and definitely caused me to pick it up. It’s been a while since I’ve read this so I don’t quite remember the details, but I look forward to being reintroduced to the world and its characters.

Happy reading everyone!

What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan

What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles, #1)

What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles #1)

By Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 16, 2013 (ebook only)

Genre | YA, Paranormal

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

There are good reasons Peru is off-limits to Magnus Bane. Follow Magnus’s Peruvian escapades as he drags his fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss into trouble, learns several instruments (which he plays shockingly), dances (which he does shockingly), and disgraces his host nation by doing something unspeakable to the Nazca Lines. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Review | ★ ★ ★

A.K.A. The Misadventures of Magnus Bane & Co. Peru Edition!

I was so excited when it was announced that Cassandra Clare will be co-writing a series starring one of my favorite characters of all-time, Magnus Bane! So of course, I wouldn’t miss out on reading What Really Happened in Peru!

Going into this stand-alone I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However,  I was hoping for a more insightful background on Magnus Bane that gives him a little  more depth than what The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices offered. And I did get that…but only in little snippets. Among the comedic narrative of the story, little glimpses of Magnus’ past would be scattered about. It was interesting to read more about Magnus’ life as an immortal and his relationship with mortals, but this is something that can be fan speculated and what was revealed in this stand-alone wasn’t too exciting or shocking.

To me, this stand-alone read more like 5 disconnected mini stories all set in Peru in different time periods. Some of the stories were just plain silly, while others had a more serious tone to it.

The writing of Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Bennan really brought out the humor in this story and the craziness of Magnus Bane and was really fun to read about. All of Magnus’ absurd antics and extravagant clothing (which this story is entirely filled with) had me smiling throughout the whole story. His interactions with his fellow warlock friends, Ragnor and Catarina, were hilarious and I really enjoyed their chemistry together.

Would I recommend it?

For $2.99 on Amazon, I wouldn’t recommend it. The pacing was too fast and the story was too short for my taste. It was fun to read, but wasn’t really that spectacular to me.