Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #39!!

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted at Breaking The Spine  that spotlights those can't-wait-to-get-my-hands-on-them books that we are eagerly awaiting!

What book am I metaphorically-biting-my-nails-for this week? City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare!!

Goodreads Summary:


I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. In the long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Dark Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris — but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee — even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned . . .

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the world in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!"

Why am I eagerly awaiting City of Heavenly Fire? Well, I just NEED to know what's going to happen with Clary and Jace!! I need to know what the destiny of all the characters! Even if I'm quite scared to see who will survive, cause I fear the death toll will be high in this one...

What are you all (im)patiently awaiting this week?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mini Reviews: Mitosis & The Boy In The Smoke!!

Hey everyone! I've said it more than once, but I really enjoy novellas, not only they can be excellent prequels to give us more information about a series we already love, but can also work as a bridge between books in a series adding some extra info, or give us a different POV from another character in a series providing more info (again).

So today I have a prequel to Maureen Johnson's Shades of London : The Boy In The Smoke and a bridge between books novella in The Reckoner's trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: Mitosis.

The Boy in the SmokeThe Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have the Shades of London series in my list for my Series challenge and I decided that I ought to start with the shorter book that is also the beginning.

This novella starts in a very prosaic way, with the story of Stephen, a boy of a wealthy family that is ignored by his parents. He wants to be a policeman and do something useful but since he's always been a good boy and do what he's supposed to, he ends up going to Eton and continue to be ignored by his parents.

There are some big issues dealt with here and all done in a very sensible way, nothing crass or cheap. Absent & cold parents, drug addictions, suicide attempts... it all weaves into the story to make Stephen the boy in the smoke. By the end is when we get an glimpse of what else might be there for this series, and this is quite a fantastic setting stone. Well deserved 4 stars.

Mitosis (Reckoners, #1.5)Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mitosis is a short story set after Steelheart. David and the Reckoners are helping Newcago to get some semblance of normalcy, even if people are still waiting "for the other shoe to drop". But that doesn't mean other Epics won't try and take Newcago for themselves, but it seems the Reckoners won't be alone in the fight this time.

While this is a very short story, there are hints as to how to figure out the weaknesses of Epics, and we see that the Reckoners are changing things, not just killing Epics.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: House of Ivy And Sorrow by Natalie Whipple!!

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!

Though for me it's like Saturday, since I have today and tomorrow off after working the weekend! For this week's Mark This Book Monday I have a book that I preordered after reading the super positive and excited review by Octavia from Read Sleep Repeat, and that I started wondering about after reading some other blogger friends' not so positive reviews. But after reading Alyssa from The Eater of Books' positive review, I knew I had to read the book myself and make up my one mind.

This book is not part of any of my challenges for this year and it's a standalone, so it's just one of those "me" reads, a shiny new book that I felt like reading right away after release!

House of Ivy & SorrowHouse of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the moment that I saw the gorgeous cover of this book I was curious about it and though I'm not the biggest fan of book about witches I added it to my TBR list. Then one of my fave blogger friends read an ARC and loved it to bits, reading her review made me even preorder it! But as release date came closer, some negative reviews started popping up on other blogger friends' blogs and I began worrying I'd end up not liking the book. Then also some positive reviews popped here and there, and I knew this was the kind of book you had to read and see where you stand.

Luckily for me, I absolutely enjoyed this book, with its dark moments, its more normal silly and light moments, the different kind of witch lore and the extremely strong friendships between Jo, Gwen and Kat.

Jo has lived alone with her grandma since her mum died ten years ago, trying to hide from the Curse that has killed many witches before and all of the Hemlock family, except for them. One day Jo finds a strange man outside their house and she feels something is seriously wrong with him. That visit is what starts a cascade of actions and reactions, full of plot twists and unexpected revelations.

One of my favourite parts of the book was the witches' lore and how it was its own little bit of unique and dark. Magic is not good or bad, magic is power and as such it can corrupt and control you, the different between good and bad witches is that the good witches control their magic and the bad witches let magic control and corrupt them. Another important part of that was that no matter what ingredients you used for your potion (and we're talking about the most classical spiders, toads' eyes and eagles tears) you always have to sacrifice something of your own, a piece of yourself for the magic to work. Everything in magic has a price and you have to be prepared to pay it.

The darker parts of the book, following the main plot line of Jo and her grandma deciding that they cannot hide anymore and have to fight the Curse are balanced out with the lighter ones of Jo and her crush on Winn and their start of a relationship. It's quite cute and adorable, even if at times it seems that Winn is too perfect to be real (and indeed he is hiding something).

One of my absolute favourite parts of the book is how strong the friendship between Jo, Gwen and Kat is. They're been friends for a long time and when that friendship is put to the test with some dark threats and some gruesome sacrificies, not only it doesn't fail but comes out of it stronger. It's not often that a friendship is so important and pivotal to the plot and to the heroine.

Adorable, funny with plenty of darker moments, some disturbing ones and quite a few unexpected plot twists, this was one book that kept me up late at night reading and deserves 4 stars!

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Showcase Sunday #30!!

Showcase Sunday is a weekly feature hosted by Vicky of Books, Biscuits, and Tea where all book lovers can share with others what bookish goodness we got this week, be it purchased (physical or eBook), won, gifted or for review!

This week I have a wee bit of everything, even if I'm still missing quite a few physical books in the mail, since for Easter the last post day was Wednesday!

Purchased (via The Book Depository)

Star cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Purchased (via Kindle app)

Frozen by Erin Bowman

Foretold by Rinda Elliott

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

For Review (via Xpresso Book Tours)

I got an ARC of this one since I'll be part of the blog tour in June.

Threats of Sky And Sea by Jennifer Ellision

Not a bad haul all in all, now hopefully the rest of my physical copies will arrive without a hitch next week!

What all did you get this week?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday Pages: The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson!!

As the final entry for this week's Saturday Pages I have the first book of a trilogy that I had been eyeing for a while and that I added to my 2014 Series Challenge before I knew that the final book for the trilogy had been pushed till next year! Still, I hope it'll count!

The Name of the StarThe Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Name of The Star has been in my list of books to read for a while, but after seeing a tweet from Maureen Johnson about a prequel novella, buying and reading (and loving) it, I decided I needed to start the series right away!

As always, I will try to keep my review as spoiler free as possible but I might make some references to the novella, so be warned about that.

I was so intrigued by the Jack the Ripper mention on the synopsis, and though the very beginning started with Rory arriving from the US to be taken to her private school, soon enough we start hearing about how the school is smack in the middle of Jack's old hunting grounds.

Rory was a character I simply adored, she was funny and quirky and didn't mind being different and when she might have been targeted, she didn't cower and she started making fun of herself by being over the top, which worked great for her. She was brave and a little reckless but not stupidly so.

I really liked her friendship with Jazza, and although I was never too sold on the romance bit with Jerome, it seems like they were good for each other if the connection never felt as nothing too special. Which I feel is good, since at high school time you don't necessarily have to find the love of your life right away.

The book does a great job at mixing every day school happenings and a normal life for a teenager that is still quite confused about some of the Englishness of London with the mysterious Jack The Ripper copycat that starts murdering people in the same places and dates that the old one did.

The tension and creepiness that the book manages to add, before and after the more paranormal element is revealed is great. Having read the novella before, I was wondering when we'll be introduced to said element and other characters, but even so the pacing never bored me.

I really liked some of the new characters introduced on the second half of the book, even if it took me a while to warm up to them, even to this different Stephen (since I already liked him a lot from the novella).

A very solid start for a series, well deserving of 4 stars!

View all my reviews

Saturday Pages: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!!!

Hello everyone! I'm starting this week's Saturday Pages with a series that I'm adding to my 2014 Series Challenge because it's ending this year but that it wasn't part of my original list for the challenge. The first two books had been in my TBR list for quite a while, so this one is also part of my 2014 TBR Pile challenge!

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had heard quite some good things about this book, but after having Alyssa from The Eater of Books tell me how it was her favourite book of 2012 and continue to sing its praises, I decided to take a break from the ARC I was reading and take a peek at it. Big mistake! From the moment I read the tagline in the cover: "Why be a sheep, when you can be the worlf" I was well and truly hooked!

This is a wonderful fantasy with historical fiction touches book, with a world full of details, with its own mythology that reminded me a bit of Celtic mythology. The world building it's just stunning, full of layers of intrigue and politics and alliances and very much complex in the society created, even if based on the 15th century, it still feels wholly original!

One of the things that I truly adored about this book was how in a world so dismissive of women as any medieval society would be, here some women were trained and educated to protect themselves in a world ruled by men. They were trained and protected and given enough power to hold their own in a men's world.

Ismae is a survivor at heart, she survived attempts on her life before even being born and she survived scorn and hate after being born. When she's taken to the convent, she finds somewhere she can belong to and she can be appreciated, so she takes to the life of an assassin like a fish takes to swimming! Serving St Mortain as his Handmaiden requires a lot of training but Ismae seems to truly enjoy most of it, and she makes some great friends with some fellow novices, Sybella and Annith. I really liked Ismae, how she always tried to do what's right, how she ended up having to deal with learning who or what she should trust, her own judgement or the orders of those she owe obedience to.

I was wondering how much romance there would be in this book and sort of dreaded it, but I should have not worried. The romance was ideal, started from mistrust and confrontation, and little by little working together with a common objective, a certain trust is built and then it progresses to attraction and love. I loved how they become allies and comrades too!

The political intrigue was always very much part of the plot but was never boring, and I have to say I had my suspicions about the traitor but very much like Ismae, I wasn't too sure about motive.

I was very happy that the main plot point is resolved in this book and it is a story that can get closed on its own by the end of the book, but still I cannot wait to hopefully see more of both Ismae and Gavriel in the next books, and I very curious to see how the bigger plot of those will tie with the plot in this one!

An extremely satisfying and gripping read, very much deserving of 5 stars!

View all my reviews

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Reads: ARC Review of The Forever Watch by David Ramirez!

As the final entry on this week's Friday Reads I have another review book, one I got approved for on NetGalley, thanks a lot St Martin's Press for the approval!

As a review ARC it is part of both ARCApril and my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge!

The Forever WatchThe Forever Watch by David   Ramirez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I requested The Forever Watch on NetGalley I felt like I really needed a change in pace and felt like some good classical science fiction was exactly what I needed.

And now that I've finished it, I'm completely torn about this book. On one side the world building is impressively detailed and layered, there's so much of the story that you can imagine at first, with some dystopian touches here and there and the plot has some curve balls that you really cannot expect. But on the other hand, everything seems to progress at such a slow pace... it's like following a path of tiny crumbs that keeps on meandering and going and going and never seems to end! You are walking through a gorgeous countryside and try to enjoy the journey but if it goes on for too long... you just want to get somewhere!

Our story takes place in the Noah, a generation ship on route to Canaan after the destruction of Earth. The society built on the Noah is a meritocracy and has a very advanced technology with brain implants that enhance abilities like telepathy and telekinesis and other physical feats. Hana has just undergone her mandatory Breeding, where females get pregnant and stay sedated during the entire pregnancy and never get to meet their children. We see her trying to get back to her normal self previous to this experience and going back to her normal routine. Through her eyes we discover the world of the Noah and while it is fascinating, we meander around technology and descriptions for quite a bit.

Then we meet Barrens, a friend of Hana after helping her on her worst night to date, and a police officer, with plenty of phyisical enhancements and modifications to help with his work. He also has some secret darkness in him that is at odds with the tight control that is everywhere in the Noah. Big brother is nothing compared to the control of the Nth Web and what can be done by the "thought police". Being Adjusted means having your memories deleted which results in a loss of who you are, and are left more than an unfeeling robot.

Despite all this, both Barrens and Hana start on a slippery slope of hacking and investigating anomalies that are being kept hidden. Here is the beginning of a very long thread that keeps us on our toes and that throws us quite a few unexpected surprises! There are so many secrets and lies weaved all over the Noah, and the choice of keeping them or getting them in the open can lead to the end of what's left of humankind.

Hana and Barrens relationship progresses with a very realistic pace, when we meet them they've already been friends a while, but after Hana's Breeding duty they become close friends and then even more than just that. Their investigating and hacking and illegal activities manage to bring them closer in their quest to find the truth. And they discover that the truth sometimes isn't something that humanity (or what's left of it) can deal with as a whole.

Full of nuance and detail, with great plot lines and food for thought this is a great science fiction read, but somehow it just kept on feeling slow and long for me. I'm giving it 3 stars. Maybe it just wasn't the right read for the right time for me, but if you like science fiction, give this one a try!

View all my reviews

Friday Reads: A Mad Wicked Folly by Shannon Biggs Waller!!!

As the first entry of this week's Friday Reads, I have the review of a book that is one of the gems of the year and that will be in my list of favourite books of the year for sure!

A Mad, Wicked FollyA Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always been a big lover of historical fiction but I haven't been reading as much of it as of late. I've been more devoted to my other loves, science fiction & fantasy, as of late. But I'm never gonna say no to a good historical fiction novel!

The premise for A Mad Wicked Folly sounded fantastic, with a girl trying to find her place in a world that's not for women and during the period where women where fighting for their right to vote. And after I read Debby's review on her Snuggly Oranges blog, I knew I had to have it, so bought the hardcover. Then Gillian from Writer of Wrongs, Alyssa from The Eater of Books and Stephanie from Inspiring Insomnia all wrote glowing review for it, so I knew I had to move this "me" read to the top of the TBR list ASAP!

And boy, am I glad I cheated and read it before I had originally planned! This is a wonderful wonderful book that I will push into anyone's hands! Not only it has a fantastic setting that feels so genuine that you can't help but wonder the amount of research that must have gone into it, but the writing style and amazing and so visual that you have no trouble whatsoever walking right beside Vicky at every step.

Vicky or Miss Victoria Darling is the daughter of a business man of the upper class in Edwardian England, and as such she's attending a finishing school, getting her ready to be a proper lady, join the high society circles and find herself a husband. The fact that she's an artist and art is her life and her dream is of no consequence in the society of the time. The same one where the Suffragettes are fighting for women's right to vote and getting scorned and mistreated for doing so.

Vicky was a fantastic character, she had a constant fight during the book, always trying to find the way to keep her art, to not give up that part of herself, no matter what sacrifices she has to make. There are times that I felt like she needed a bit of shake, cause she seemed to feel like everything was justified as a means to an end of her goal, even when she was being too optimistic about her future and pesimistic about her talent. There's a lot of growth to her character and I loved how strong she really is and how she learns about that strenght.

The real historical events and facts are intertwined with Vicky's story is such a seamless way that we learn about the fight women had to put up to gain the right to vote, and we see through Vicky's fight for having a say in her life and to keep her passion, that the right to vote was just but the start of a long, still ongoing, fight for women to be treated as equals.

And I cannot NOT talk about Vicky's motivation, her love for art and how it comes alive through the pages. I have no talent for drawing whatsoever, but I love photography and could somewhat relate to her yearning to put a scene to paper. Her love for art simply pops out of the pages! After reading the book I really felt like going to a museum to roam around the wonderful paintings and made me want to learn more about the Pre-Raphaelites movement.

There's romance in this book and even though I'm not in the best emotional state myself, I found that I simply couldn't help but adore this romance! Vicky thinks she can find an ally in her assigned fiance Edmund, but at the same time she keeps on falling for Will, her muse. There's no love triangle here, it's quite clear where Vicky's affections really lay. I found myself tearing up and feeling all happy and content upon finishing the story.

A wonderful book that does deserve each and everyone of the 5 stars I'm giving it! Go READ IT NOW!

View all my reviews