Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Pages: Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins!!

Hey there guys!

Getting a review up for today has been quite a close call, because last night I was too tired to schedule one and I was not sure if I'd have time to write one today before work with everything that I had to do this morning, but I was inspired enough to write a quick one!

This Saturday Pages is all about a quite awaited sequel that didn't suffer from middle book syndrome or sequel slump and that as a 2015 release is part of my 105 Challenge!





Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When I read Rebel Belle last year I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did, and since it was my first Rachel Hawkins I had no idea I was in for a treat with the banter and the humour, but this time with Miss Mayhem I knew what to expect when it came to that.

What I wasn't expecting were the new twists she threw into the relationships between the different characters and the turns and twists that the plot would have!

Harper finds herself trying to juggle her role as Paladin and protecting David with the lies she has to tell her friends and family to explain absences, strange events and all mananers of oddities that keep on popping here and there, and it all gets even more complicated when the Ephors appear again! I was very annoyed as was Harper when they came demanding and blackmailing and generally putting everyone in danger and not giving any answers.

Harper finds that trying to juggle having her ex and her new boyfriend as part of the team as well as her best friend back, but not quite as she was before she was taken... can be a bit much, even for her. And as she tries to get everything sorted, she finds herself learning to work with others in a way that she didn't have to before.

It was very interesting seeing Harper & David work both as a team and as a couple, and how Harper needs to learn to give up her control freak tendencies a bit, because David needs to make his own choices, no matter how much she has to protect him. Their dynamics were full of banter and humour but thankfully no unnecesary drama!

The dynamics between Bee and Harper also undergo a pretty big change and one that I was not expecting, but it's fantastic that they didn't have a competitive friendship where when there's a hitch they try to tear each other down, instead there's talking and figuring out things and asking for time to do so when necessary.

I loved that Harper's family continue to be present, and that despite her powers and all the crazy stuff going on, her parents are present in the story and not as oblivious as you'd expect. And I simply adore her aunts, Aunt Penelope in particular!

The ending was quite the unexpected twist and quite horribly cruel, so be aware that the wait for the final book is gonna be BAD! I have no idea what aces Rachel Hawkins is hiding in her sleeves, but I cannot wait to find out! Very much deserved 4 stars!



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Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Reads: ARC Review of The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott!!

Hey guys!

I've been rather off-kilter as of late, with too many things and plans about the apartment and the move as of late, and if then you add the Star Wars trailer that was revealed at the latest SW Celebration and the fact that the next Celebration in 2016 will take place in London... I have been a bit of a mess this week! I already got my tickets for Celebration London 2016, and I got news yesterday that I might be getting the keys to my apartment NEXT WEEK!

So yeah, probably the blog will go on a hiatus as soon as I get the date for my apartment keys confirmed, because I'm gonna be waaaay too busy!

Now back to the review at hand... this week's Friday Reads is also the book I am adding to my Alyssa Recomends category for the 105 Challenge and the book for April!





The Shattered CourtThe Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I saw this one on NetGalley and wondered about it, but once I saw my friend Alyssa from The Eater of Books's review for it, I knew I had to read this one, and it didn't disappoint!

I found the world building fascinating, even if we are left with many more questions about the history of the kingdoms and why in Anglion there are such restrictions on what kind of magic can be used and by whom. It's not that information is simply kept from us, it's that almost no one in the kingdom know the reasons behind why women can only use earth magic or why they have to be married off as soon as possible after coming into their powers, it just is... but I know we'll probably be getting more information as the series progresses, and I cannot wait!

Sophie was a great character, not very keen on simply accepting everything as is, and stubborn enough to trudge along even when she's scared and she doesn't like what's going on. She disagrees with the rules of the society she lives in, but she knows that she cannot disobey them too upfront if she wants to keep breathing. But she's more than willing to take risks and wants to find a way to control her power and her destiny.

Cameron... well, he's a very swoony guy after a while, but at first I wasn't 100% keen on him, he just seemed too dismissive and did seem too happy with the status quo and given that it includes women being married off and their powers being used and controlled... I was NOT keen on that!

Their chemistry was quite off the charts as soon as they connected, magically induced at first but once it all progresses we can see that they seem to be a very good match for each other, even if at first it seems more lust than anything, but then they start working together as allies to protect each other and to face the threats against Sophie coming from those in power. Be warned that this should not be considered YA because there's sex and not the fade to black kind at all!

The plot could be the weakest part of the book, because we aren't clear on why what's happening is happening or how things are relevant or what are we moving towards in here, but we do have loads of hints and info a few unexpected twists by the end that made me glad it was not what I expected at all!

The ending was open enough to make me really want to get my hands on the next book soon, but not awfully cliffhangery as to make me pull my hair out, so that's something!

A very intriguing start for a new fantasy series, one that I'll be sure to keep an eye on and plan to get my hands on the sequel as soon as possible! Well deserved 4 stars for this one!



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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #91!!


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!


This week the book that I'm extremely excited and cannot wait for it to be released is Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge!!




Goodreads Summary:


"When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption."

 


Why am I eagerly awaiting Crimson Bound? Well, I'm not usually too fond of fairy tales retellings but I heard so many great things about the author's debut book and I'm very intrigued about a Little Red Riding Hood retelling where the main character is fighting to save the world!


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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Pages: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and My Heart & Other Black Holes!!!

Hey guys! I hope you're having a wonderful weekend, in my case I'm hoping to have slightly less busy shifts during the weekend! And I hope to have some time to read ARCs because I need to catch up and finally reach the ever ellusive 80% on NetGalley!

For this week's Saturday Pages I have two mini reviews since I don't want my pending reviews to end up piling up as usual! Both books are contemporaries, both highly recommended by The Midnight Garden ladies (thank you Wendy & Kim) and both will be counted towards my 2015 Debut Author Challenge and my 105 Challenge as Contemporary YA is one of my categories in that challenge!








Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I'm usually not a big fan of contemporaries but when one comes as highly recommended as this one, I know I need to check it out, and Simon didn't disappoint at all.

Simon is a wonderful character, one that feels real and genuine, a teenager struggling with not just his being gay and coming out to his friends and family, but with many of his choices and actions, since he sometimes feels like he has to explain himself to everyone around him, and that can he hard enough when you're not sure about yourself.

I loved that this book dealt with many things, some lighter issues and some tougher issues. From bullying, to underage drinking, to misunderstandings with friends, family dynamics, falling in love and coming out and being upfront about who you are.

Simon & Blue start talking to each other via e-mail, and they slowly but surely become friends, support each other and help each other to be brave enough to face whatever's to come. They end up falling in love and it was so heartwarming and cute and adorable and *sigh* full of feels!

I loved the rest of the characters, because they're all there, real and genuine and with their own strenghts and flaws. Simon's family are wonderful, with great sibling dynamics & support and very present parents that are both supportive and parental enough to set up boundaries and limits.

A wonderful debut and contemporary read, a book that made me so very happy and made me cry and left me with a wonderful book hangover and a massive craving for Oreos! Very much deserved 4.5 stars!





My Heart and Other Black HolesMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is one of those fantastic books that need to be read despite the fact that it will break your heart, but it will also give you hope. And I must thank my dear Kim from The Midnight Garden for telling me that I HAD to read this book no matter what!

This book deals with the very tough themes of depression and suicide, and it does so in a way that feels genuine and realistic and that makes it very easy for you to feel what Aysel and Roman are feeling.

Both Aysel and Roman are at that point of feeling that they want the sadness and the pain to stop, and since they cannot see a way out of the blackness, they feel like they need that to stop and so they're planning their own suicide and find each other as "suicide buddies".

I love how by getting together to plan their suicide, they end up talking about their reasons for wanting to end it all, and how that made Aysel feel a lil different, how it make her finally find some hope, even if it was just the tiniest bit and she decided that she wanted to hold onto that hope. And how she decided that she needed to hold onto Roman and try and spark the same hope in him.

Prepare yourself for being overloaded with the feelings of sadness and black tunnel and then feel the relief of finding a lil spark that can make you see that there's more than just that darkness. A fantastic contemporary book that gave me a massive book hangover! Very much deserved 4.5 stars!


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Reads: Love in a Time of Monsters by Teresa Yea!!

Hello there guys!

Friday is here and with it another working weekend looming ahead for me. My brain is on overload thinking and worrying about expenses and the apartment and the plans for BEA... and I have been half tempted to just put the blog on hiatus already, but I shall wait till May 1st to start the official hiatus, minus some blog tour posts that I have scheduled.

For this week's Friday Reads I have a wonderful book that has been flying under the radar and I feel deserves to reach more readers because it's a fantasy NA and it is fantastic! It's counted towards my 105 Challenge for my Fantasy books category!




Love in a Time of Monsters (Golden Age of Monsters Book 1)Love in a Time of Monsters by Teresa Yea

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I discovered this book through the amazing artist that did the cover (our dear Jenny from Supernatural Snark) and once I read the summary I knew I had to get it and read it.

And I was right, I loved this one so much! I started reading it at work (night shift) and finished it as soon as I got home and got some sleep. I'd describe this as gothic fantasy with retelling elements, because we get references to novels and characters that know, so maybe it's a gothic fantasy retelling of the events that inspired the classics? Something like that!

I loved the world building and how wonderfuly visual the descriptions for everything was, from the landscapes, to the characters, to the feeling of the places and the monsters.

I loved how well crafted the characters are! None of the characters felt too typical or underdeveloped, because from main to secondary, all have more going on that you see at first. Cat is a survivor, a monster hunter, fragile and strong and an addict. She's broken and so very far from perfect, but I loved her to bits even at her worst moments and I loved how Rob always managed to see the best in her and so make her try to be that best. Same with Liam, even if it took me quiet a while to warm up to him, he's a fantastic character, complex and the perfect mix of antihero and villain. And Rob, well... Rob is of course a very complex character, a reluctant hero if there's ever been one, but with enough strenght and love to make others want be better.

The book takes place in a time of monsters, where sirens drag sailors to their death and get hunted for their scales, where monster hunters are necessary and where the most dangerous of all monsters was brought to Scotland to try and save a life. Mixing POVs and moving from past to current events, this story kept me riveted to the pages, wanting to know more, to see what happened and hoping for as few deaths as possible, but the book really doesn't pull any punches, and I had quite a few weepy moments along the book!

Rob is Robert L Stevenson and some of the events in the book inspired him to write his Treasure Island and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, and this is the part that made me call this book a bit of a retelling.

Before wrapping up this review I must talk about the romance, because there was a love triangle but it was done is such a different way that I just didn't bother me at all, and that's almost a first! Hooray for diversity, and even more diversity in fantasy books! And as a NA book, do consider yourselves warned, there are sexy times ahead, and there's also great humour, fantastic quotes and a lil bit of magic.

All in all a very recommended book to all the lovers of fantasy that will appreciate something fresh and unique and very well crafted! Very well deserve 4 to 4.5 stars!



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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #90!!


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 is the one that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for my preorder to arrive in the mail this week? Rogue by Julie Kagawa!!



Goodreads Summary:

"Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?"



Why am I eagerly awaiting Rogue? Well, I read Talon and really enjoyed it, even if I wasn't too keen on the love triangle, but I cannot wait to learn more about the world of dragons and their past history with the Order of St George!!

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mark This Book Monday: Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell!!

Hello guys!

How's your Monday going? Mine has started rather well, with some highly awaited book mail and some really good sleep last night, so I'm ready to start this new week! And the fact that I'm off work till Thursday after working 6 days last week is obviously helping with that good feeling too!

For this week's Mark This Book Monday I have a book that I will highly recommend to everyone, because it's both funny and full of depth and makes us think and makes us laugh. I also count it towards my 105 Challenge as part of my YA contemporary category!





Summer on the Short BusSummer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I got Summer on the Short Bus shortly after release last year but for one reason or another it got buried under more books in my Kindle library and remained unread. Then I took part on the 1 year anniversary blitz for it and thought that it was about time I read it and it took over my Sunday!

Constance "Cricket" Montgomery is a spoiled brat with an hilarious and offensive inner (and outer) monologue that made her feel extremely real and infuriating and that once confronted with a summer sentence working at a camp, tries every one of her tricks with her daddy to get out of it. And once she can't and has to face working on Camp I can with kids with special needs... she literally faints!

This story is full of snark, laughs and some serious fuzzy feels! I love how Cricket has to get off her spoiled rich girl horse and face more than her own share of prejudice and realize how that hurts when it's directed at you, as opposed as being the one spewing it. The best thing about Cricket though is how upfront she is with everything. She doesn't have a politically correct filter that makes her pretend to be one thing while snarking inside as another and that makes her honest and genuine, even in her spoiled brat self.

I love how Cricket learns a lot about empathy and about herself and her past and her own family, in a way that she could have never imagined, and even if it all might have been initiated by making the most out of spending time with the resident hottie and Zac Efron look-alike, it is not a change done only on surface. She is not faking for Quinn's sake, so she'll look good, the campers and other counselors are making her see things differently, and see herself differently, and she doesn't want to go back to being who she was anymore.

All the characters had a lot of depth and personality, from the campers, counselors to even Cricket's dad. There is so much more to them all than what we see at first when we meet them, and even if we don't get to know them all in depth, the characters have that realness to them.

A fantastic book that made laugh and snicker, and smile and gave me quite a few swoony feels and that managed to give quite a few lessons on diversity, equality, empathy and being honest with outselves and others without ever feeling preachy or self-righteous!

Very well deserved 4 stars and a very much recommended read for all of those that love contemporaries and all of those that aren't entirely sure if it's their genre too!



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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Song: Wonderful Life by Alter Bridge!

Hey guys, given my work schedule and blue mood for this last pair of days, I just couldn't have a review ready for today...

And since I felt like I needed a good cry to get it out of my system since it had been brewing for a while... I'll leave you with a fantastic song by a brilliant band. I'm now going to bed to cry and then hopefully get some proper sleep so I handle another night shift at work tonight.