Book Blogger Hop: Oct 24-30

 

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is:

WYou 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:

[ew_image url="http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2014/10/14/Shadow-Hunter_612x380.jpg" credit="" align="left"]

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

 

Review: Of Scars and Stardust

Of Scars and Stardust
Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Of Scars and Stardust was a breath-taking thriller which I wasn’t able to put down (except for much-needed sleep). Claire returns to her town after two years of the incident which left her sister scared and herself traumatized. She believes the wolves of her town were responsible and feels that she is still within hunting range for them. Her psyche twists everything and you wonder if it all is real – if the wolves were real. Honestly, I was questioning myself if this was supernatural too – her perspective was so engrossing. Grant was also too sweet and for the first time in weeks, I was really rooting for a couple hard, even though romance was not even the main focus of the story.

The writing brings the story to life, with adequate details and well-constructed backstories and pulls you in from the start. You can feel Claire’s despair over her decision to run from the problems, her desperate love for her sister, her longing for Grant, and her fear over the wolves. While investigating the case of her sister’s disappearance in the present, she comes across a lot of buried secrets. Some of them are pretty shocking, and even I did not see the twist coming. Without being spoilery, all I can say is that the end made me question a lot of things I simply accepted while reading the book. While thinking back on it, it made me wonder what really happened, and I am still a bit awed by the fantastic finish the author gave. I still, though, am not fully satisfied with it – I wanted more explanations, perhaps more story too. It gave me chills, and was simply quite enchanting to read. Good thriller!

Received an ARC from Flux via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinions or review.

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Review: H2O

H2O H2O by Virginia Bergin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

.27 is a number Ruby hates. It’s a number that marks the percentage of the population that has survived. It’s a number that means she’s one of the “lucky” few still standing. And it’s a number that says her father is probably dead. Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning, “It’s in the rain. It’s fatal and there’s no cure,” the drinkable water is running out. Ruby’s left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father-if he’s even still alive. H2O is a post-apocalyptic novel, narrated by a 15year old teen, Ruby, in the aftermath of a global pandemic caused by contaminated rain water. Firstly, the death toll rises high because people don’t realize it’s in the water. Ruby herself survives only thanks to the advice of her elders. As the day passes, people keep dying and she and her stepfather are forced to look at options for food and water. Later on, she sets out to find her dad, and meets a guy from her school, as well as a kid, and together they travel to London. When she finally reaches settlement, she recounts the story and this is the narrative we hear. The story of H2O, while pretty good and thought-out, fails due to bad writing. Ruby as a narrative, is kind of a headache, and she uses exclamations way too much and quite a lot of capitals too. It’s very scattered, the voice and the thoughts, and it sometimes took me several tries to get the meaning of the sentence. It would really have been more fun to if it wasn’t trying to be an amateurish teenage diary of the apocalypse. Secondly, Ruby, as a character comes across as very shallow and vain at times, and in the face of a drought-like situation, I doubt that piling on makeup would be your first priority. She is the antithesis of preparedness for any sort of disaster, and maybe the book wanted to show how a common person would get through it, it makes it all seem like happenstance then. Also, she makes various rash decisions, which make me wonder how she did not end up being rained on. Overall, it was okay, but difficult to read through because of the writing. Might read the sequel but don’t have high hopes for it. 2.5 stars Received an ARC from Sourcebooks through Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinions or review.

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