Review: Teardrop

Teardrop
Teardrop by Lauren Kate

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Never, ever cry… Seventeen-year-old Eureka won’t let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean. And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother’s death and Ander’s appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don’t make sense. Can everything you love be washed away?

Ah, Teardrop – why did you disappoint me so? I went in with my love for Kate’s writing and came out wondering what happened to her beautiful style of writing romance. When did it get so cliche – Fallen was a hundred times better than this, and that dealt with reincarnation as a plot device. Teardrop, while focused on mythology and Eureka(why this name?), is infested with cheesy insta-love and yearning and teenage angst. Honestly, if the mythology wasn’t genius enough to keep me entertained, I was ready to wash my hands off this book.

So, Eureka is capable of raising Atlantis if she cries, but she isn’t aware of this fact. (Great job on that, Diana! Way to keep your daughter out of the loop) She only knows that her mother ordered her to never ever cry, and that she is a big believer in Stoicism. This works out quite well for the rest of the world, as it can continue it’s existence without a deluge drowning it. But lo! There are survivors of Atlantis – two enemy factions, both dangerous for her and both at opposites on whether Atlantis should be raised or not. She basically has a target painted on her back by the no-Atlantis faction, to which Ander belongs. They call themselves Seedbearers and are a bunch of sociopathic (I am assuming since I haven’t read the novella yet) wind-controllers whose only job has been to murder innocent girls for the ‘greater good’. Other faction is the King Atlantis himself, whose motive and nature wasn’t made clear in the backstory (what did he need saving from??) but whom we will just go with the flow and assume is evil and wants to rule the wold, blah blah. Ander keeps popping up like a stalker (he really is one) and her best friend Brooks is all territorial-male-asshead. Now if you put two and two together, you know it is going to be a love triangle. If you are trained in the art of deciphering clues in YA, you also know why Brooks is acting like that. Lot of angst, I remind you and lots of heavy and meaningful glances, and lots of he-gets-me-so-well. (By this point, you must have realized I don’t give a rat’s ass about either couple – I want freaking Atlantis!)

In the end, the mythology is the saving grace of the book. It is quite different, and does not take any influence from Greek mythology (I almost thought Poseidon was going to be involved). It’s a whole different universe created and here I was reassured of Kate’s brilliance. I was confused about the Zephyr and link between the Seedbearers, though, and lots of the backstory wasn’t completely explained. I am hoping the sequels will make more sense and maybe we get more action, because this was damn slow. I liked how Eureka’s psychological state was presented, and empathize with her feeling of loss and hopelessness. It gave way to a good character arc, which sadly was only restricted to her. Ander, Brooks or Cat didn’t get the same treatment, and Cat in particular didn’t make much sense as a best friend either. My advice for this book – proceed with caution. Lots of lovey-dovey moments, and I have warned those averse to mush, beforehand, okay? But if you are a big fan of romance and magic, go for it!

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Review: This Is How It Ends

This Is How It Ends
This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Riley and his friends are gearing up for their senior year by spending one last night hanging out in the woods, drinking a few beers, and playing Truth or Dare. But what starts out as a good time turns sinister when they find a mysterious pair of binoculars. Those who dare to look through them see strange visions, which they brush off as hallucinations. Why else would Riley see himself in bed with his best friend’s girlfriend – a girl he’s had a secret crush on for years?

In the weeks that follow, the visions begin to come true…including a gruesome murder. One of Riley’s closest friends is now the prime suspect. But who is the murderer? Have Riley and his friends really seen the future through those mysterious binoculars? And what if they are powerless to change the course of events?

Things I loved:
The plotlines – Yep, more than one, and straddling two genres, mystery and science fiction. On one hand is the murder that happens in the town, and one of the group being a suspect. On the other hand is the fact that the murder was foreseen by that very suspect through an extraordinary pair of binoculars. Alongside these two major plotlines are well-built character arcs for Riley, Natalie and that racer girl (I can’t remember her name!). I loved how the author kept the mystery right until the end, culminating in solving a bigger mystery than was seen from the start. The twist is that what was thought important was unimportant and a trivial thing turned out to be major. Though with a slow pace, the story developed quite well, and was interesting from start to finish.

Things I didn’t love:
Riley and his drama. Man, he is a downer and his self-pity gets irritating at times. He and Sarah didn’t really make sense, and the whole future thing kind of made it a given, thus not allowing the romance to develop naturally. Trip was a character that wasn’t explained, and I felt quite miffed at this, considering other characters were fleshed out so well and he is relegated to only being represented as an arrogant jock. The murder reveal was a bit fizzled out, but then there was that other mystery so it was balanced, I guess.

Verdict: Layered plot and well-written characters make me love this book, but I warn against the drama.

Received an ARC from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinions or review

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Book Blogger Hop: Oct 24-30

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is:

You accidentally unleashed ghouls from a novel and they are now running amok. What fictional hero (book or film) would you like to help you defeat the ghouls?

Well, naturally this handsome guy – Dean Winchester. Who else but the king of hunters?

3842785However, him being a demon at the moment could be a problem. So, I would probably ask Magnus Bane for help?466548_464425906967488_1038649393_o

Book Blogger Hop: Oct 17-23

 

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is:

You’re going to a Halloween party and you’re going to take a book along just in case you get bored. What book would you bring?

I’m not a mood reader so I guess whichever book I am reading at that moment? Maybe something in fantasy, which I can lose myself in – best for boredom.

Cassandra Clare and co. to launch Shadowhunter e-series

Ruthsic:

Whee! Another shadowhunter series of short stories!

Originally posted on Shelf Life:

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The Mortal Instruments series may have come to an epic conclusion earlier this year, but author Cassandra Clare is far from done telling Shadowhunter tales. Case in point: EW has learned that Clare will partner with bestselling authors Sarah Rees Brennan, Robin Wasserman, and Maureen Johnson for a new series of e-novellas titled Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.

The series will launch with one story a month beginning in February, in the same vein as Clare’s Bane Chronicles. (The Bane Chronicles, co-written by Brennan and Johnson, will publish a special print edition next month.)

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Review: Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

First of all: great concept of having four kingdoms (Season) ruled by the seasons, each with it’s own race, and customs and all, even though they are next to each other, along with four other kingdoms (Rhythm) having ‘normal’ (our) seasons. So, there were plenty of lines drawn in the population – one based on whether they were Seasons or Rhythms, and then again which Season they belonged to. Naturally, this made for a lot of politics, and politics and magic – well, they are a deadly duo. Magic, though not a major arc plot-wise, plays into a lot of the motivations of the characters. The Winters want to complete their broken conduit, Spring wants power, Cordell wants the source of the magic, while other kingdoms just want a peaceful existence.

Now, Meira, our protagonist, is a soldier in the meager Winter army – and is patriotic for a kingdom she never lived in. She still has the borrowed memories of everyone else, and longs for a simple life in her kingdom. She is ready to contribute in any way possible – but the General doesn’t let her; not because she is a girl, but because she isn’t ready. It’s important to note that there is a slightly misogynistic attitude in Cordell and Spring, but thankfully not in Winter (maybe because it is a female-blooded conduit kingdom?). As Deborah said, a lady can be both a warrior and gentle. She wants to be a warrior, but is asked to contribute as a lady through a political marriage to Cordell’s first prince Theron. Theron, is actually a nice guy and frankly, I am shipping him with her rather than Mather and her. For starters, Mather is too passive, while Theron is more in tune with her feelings. Moreover, Theron supports her every step of the way, even going as far as to fight with Mather (I don’t see why that was necessary, though, besides being a testosterone level test) and risking himself to aid her. They are both bound by duty, and become close pretty fast. Mather is not bad, but maybe better as the best friend?

The second half of the plot, then shifts to revealing the magic and explaining the conduits. It also reveals something I had partly suspected all along, when the gender-based conduits were mentioned. By the way, the gender-based conduits were a nice touch – equality to both throughout the kingdom. Things go down pretty fast after that, with a war and some cool action, and Meira shining through it all. Her stint in the slave workhouses, and her reclaiming her past through them and then leading them all – that was beautiful and quite smart. The ending was quite good – hopeful but of course the other shoe will drop in the sequel.

Overall, quite a good fantasy – strong protagonist, divided kingdoms, war for freedom, hidden heir, and all. I don’t like to compare, but this one reminded me (in a good way) a bit of Throne of Glass, with the slave houses and the reclaiming of the kingdom. I enjoyed this book, however, and look forward to the sequel!

Received an ARC from Balzer+Bray via Edelweiss. This in no way affects my opinions or review.

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Review: BZRK: Apocalypse

BZRK: Apocalypse
BZRK: Apocalypse by Michael Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The BZRK series has always been full of action, and Apocalypse certainly didn’t disappoint. Right from the start, it was fast-paced and apocalyptic. It starts with outbreaks of madness among people and you start to wonder how non-BZRKers are also going crazy. Madness or death was the motto of BZRK – but now suddenly all over the world people are seeing biot visions and going crazy the next minute when those biots are destroyed. Meanwhile, the New York cell of BZRK is dealing with how to get rid of the Armstrong Twins who survive the sinking of the Doll Ship and how to then stop this overall madness that has started to spread. Bug Man gets recruited by an unlikely person, and it is then you realize that in the BZRK universe, there is no definite good or evil. There were quite many surprises, but the most shocking one was the identity of Lear and Caligula. A lot of plot threads, in this book as well as the last, were being tied up throughout the book, so it was a gradual completion of the character arcs.

What I probably love (other than oodles of action), is the fact that even with a fast paced plot, Grant manages to give each character importance, be it by POV or just a statement. Sadie in particular, was so much delved into, as a character. Her evolution from a rich teen girl to leader of an army to a battle-hardened girl was so heart-breaking. I thought Vincent losing his biot in the last book was tragic, but Apocalypse made that seem like an ouchie moment. It is brutal, both in prose as well as in feelings – I will warn you. The amount of manipulation and brain-washing, and the paltry HEA that is offered in the epilogue – this book hits you right in the feels. But it also takes you on a nail-bitingly anxious ride, so that just enhances it. I’m not exactly happy, because this book is painful, but more content that this was a brilliant ending to the series. The nanobots, blue goo, and the biots – between all of them, Earth was in danger quite a few times. Even the world-saving came at a great cost, and the death toll of the book was certainly high.

In conclusion, amazing book and brilliant finale, complemented by well-defined character arcs, lush descriptions of the scenario down in the meat, and fast-paced action. Must-read.

Received an ARC from Egmont USA via Netgalley and Edelweiss, which in no way affects my opinons or review

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Review: SeaMonster

SeaMonster SeaMonster by Amalie Howard My rating: 4 of 5 stars They say that love is the death of duty … Speio Marin is land-bound, tied to the side of the Waterfell queen-to-be, Nerissa. There’s only one problem–she wants nothing to do with any of the Aquarathi or her undersea kingdom, preferring instead the freedom of pretending to be human. Torn between his own desires and his duty to serve his future queen, he spirals into an abyss of malcontent. Speio’s mistrust of humans is no secret, and he sees them only as a threat to the existence of his people. Until he meets Anya Delmonico–a mysterious and enigmatic girl, teetering on the edge of survival. Anya is sedate and secretive, yet reckless enough to brave a hundred-foot cliff jump. Caught between a dark past and an ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go, Anya knows that getting involved with anyone new is the last thing she should do. But when her past catches up to her, Speio turns out to be the only one she can trust, refusing to let her face her demons alone. When Anya discovers the truth about Speio, putting her life in mortal danger from the Aquarathi as well as her own sinister pursuers, will he risk everything to protect her? Or will he choose duty above all?

I love when there are novellas of secondary characters, especially one close to the main. In this book, it is Speio, the stoic protector of Nerissa, for whom living on the land is a particular brand of hell. He wants Nerissa to man up and return to her kingdom to claim her responsibility, but is frustrated with her stubbornness. It is kind of refreshing to see this from his perspective, with his longing for the sea and his Aquarathi form. Even with his loyalties to the sea, he can’t help being tied to the land in the form of Anya, a troubled runaway girl. She is quite persistent in keeping him out of her troubles but he wants to see what makes her sad. Their story is sweet and sexy at the same time, and you really feel for Speio; he is torn between duty and love but knows what he will have to choose in the end. The ending is sad but hopeful; I feel particularly bad for him and wonder whether he will find her. Okay, that was spoiler-y but sorry, I had to discuss it! Received a copy as part of a contest prize. This does not affect my opinions or review, in any way. View all my reviews

ARC Review: Mani-Pedi STAT: Memoirs of a Jersey Girl Who Almost Lost Everything

Mani-Pedi STAT: Memoirs of a Jersey Girl Who Almost Lost Everything
Mani-Pedi STAT: Memoirs of a Jersey Girl Who Almost Lost Everything by Deb Ebenstein
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Release date: October 14, 2014

Mani-Pedi STAT chronicles Deb Ebenstein’s two bouts with cancer, and a rare blood disorder, between the ages of 16 and 33. Navigating cancer treatments while continuing to balance real life and then returning to a world she doesn’t quite recognize anymore, her story is told through the eyes of a bright-eyed Jersey girl who loves boys, sports, fashion, and ultimately a family of her own.

Deb discovers that at the very worst of times—when her body is bloated and her future is uncertain and bleak—that the generosity of girlfriends, family, and a good mani-pedi can lift the spirits and help her thrive and survive. Mani-Pedi STAT is for survivors, friends of survivors, and memoir lovers alike. It will bring patienthood to life in ways that make you laugh and cry at the same time, and along the way you might learn a thing or two for your next trip to the doctor’s office.

Mani-Pedi STAT is a story about survival, moving on with life and fighting for what you want, and while it sends a powerful message, it unfortunately couldn’t hold my interest. Even though the story was pretty interesting, and I went into it thinking it was a work of fiction (the ‘memoir’ should have clued me in but I kinda overlooked it), so while the plot was good, it felt more like an essay than a story. Most of the story was lost in retrospective thoughts, and the actual plot featured a roughly 30-40% of the book. Personally, I prefer a plot-heavy book, or at least a character-specific development, but it failed on both accounts for me. It also reminded me why I don’t go for non-fiction books. Also, the story was too focused on the medical conditions than the person itself – I felt like a particularly dry episode of a medical drama was going on. The writing was at blame, in my opinion, and even for the voice was unsuitable for the younger arc of the character. Just not my kind of book, and I was tempted to just skim through it.

Received an ARC from Rare Bird Books via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinions or review.

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Book Blogger Hop: Oct 10-16

 

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is:

What is the scariest book title you have either read or heard about?

  1. Girl in the Mirror by Cecelia Ahern – once you read it, the title comes out as very creepy.
  2. The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan – I sure as hell don’t want to step into that forest. o.O
  3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

 

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