Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Reads: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston!!

Hello everyone and happy Friday! I hope your Friday will be a nice one and like myself, you can enjoy a weekend off (which might be a more rare treat for me than some of you, but it should always be enjoyed!).

I'm starting this week's Friday Reads with a review from one of the books that were on my "reading bag" that I packed for my weekend away at the cottage. This one released last year so it will be counted towards my goal in the 2014 TBR Pile challenge!

The Rules for DisappearingThe Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had been wanting to read this book for quite a while and had to contact TBD when my paperback order got lost in the mail. But it finally arrived and on my unplugged weekend, I dived into the book!

It was a very fast read cause it held my attention and kept me turning page after page, wondering when would the other shoe drop and what the big mystery was. I had my suspicions about what was going on and was suspicious of a character and I ended up being right about both, even if I hadn't guess the exact details.

I had never read a book about the Witness Protection program (YA or otherwise) but I had seen movies or shows that had a references to it before, so I had a lil general idea of what it did. This book showed us what the toll on a person and on a family it can be, changing names, pretending to be someone else, feeling paranoid about your safety, and feeling like you can't ever feel like you belong anywhere because you might be taken from there and the life you build there in the middle of the night, without warning.

The book starts with one of such sudden moves, and with a girl we'll know as Meg from there on. She's with her little sister, and she's getting briefed about her new life and identity and where will they be starting life anew for who knows how long. Meg has stopped caring about thinking too much about her new name, she seems to be too tired and too scared of being trapped in the ever moving, ever changing identities and even worse, she doesn't even know why her family is in the Witness Protection program.

Meg was a really interesting character, she had decided that this time she would try to keep herself away from everyone to avoid attachments when she was next taken a way from this place and she was determined to find out what was the reason for her family to be in the Witness Protection program. We see her strugging with the persona she needs to project, with who she was before her family entered the program and who she is now, after all the moving and lying and changing. She felt responsible for her lil sister and how the program was affecting here, and how her parents were dealing with all the changes, in their own imperfect way. I loved how the book wasn't just focused on Meg, but we saw how everything affected the whole family and how strongly she cared for Teeny.

Then her best laid plans go awry when she meets Ethan, a boy in her new school that finds her intriguing and ends up battling down her barriers. I thought that he might have been a bit too insistent and cared too soon for her given how Meg tried to shut him off at first, but I loved how they interacted with each other, how he made Meg realized who she wanted to be, and how he also helped Teeny to come out of her shell. I quite liked how Meg and Ethan became a team and how he confronted her and called on her bullshit when it needed to be done.

I wasn't exactly surprised with the big reveals, as I said before since I suspected something on those lines, but I didn't mind at all cause I was really invested on Meg and her family and on Ethan and I had managed to fall in love with the people in that small Southern town and I was turning pages like there was no tomorrow! The ending was quite unexpected as well, and now I'm awaiting the sequel cause even if there is no real cliffhanger, there's enough set up for what I hope will be a very interesting sequel!

Very much deserving of 4 stars and a good addition to the contemporary/thriller YA list!

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

First Chapter, First Paragraph #5: Shrouded Soul by Clare Davidson!!

First Chapter, First Paragraph is one of the two memes that I will be alternating on Thursdays in place of my Ink & Batter posts during the summer, when I won't be baking due to the heat!

I discovered this meme via the ladies of My Shelf Confessions, and it is hosted on Tuesdays by Bibliophile by the Sea. But since I already have my blog tours posts and Tell Me Tuesdays, I thought that it'd work best on Thursdays for me!

The idea of this meme/feature is quite self-explanatory from its name, we share the first paragraph of the first chapter of our current read! Quite a good teaser for others to read and see if they'd be intrigued!

This week I'm sharing a lil tease from an ARC I got sent by the author of a indie paranormal series I discovered via Goodreads. (Thanks Clare!!).

 Shrouded Soul by Clare Davidson

"I frame AJ's face in my phone's camera and use my thumb to take the shot. He laughs and turns away as the electronic shutter clicks, leaving me with an image of his profile. His cheeky lopsided smile is hidden from view"

What do you think? Would you want to know more?
What are you reading right now?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #53!!

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!

Soooo, what book am I absolutely dying dying to get my hands on this week?? Well, another series ender!! Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood!!


Goodreads Summary:

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

 Why am I eagerly awaiting Sisters Fate?? Well, if you have read Star Cursed, how could I not?? That cruel cruel cliffhanger ending!!! I'm dying here to know how it all goes on this book now and my The Book Depository preorder can't arrive soon enough!!

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tell Me Tuesdays #5!!

Tell Me Tuesdays is a meme/feature created by the awesome ladies of Please Feed The Bookworm and La La In The Library where we can share how we choose the book we are currently reading from our TBR pile!

I'm always curious about that, cause as much as I tend to make myself a rough schedule for books to read and the like, I'm quite a mood reader and sometimes I just HAVE to ignore my schedule and read something else!

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey


Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year."

I'm doing a read-along with one of my fave book people and trusted canary Kristen from My Friends Are Fiction, and we both are absolutely loving this book to bits! Thank you, Wendy from The Midnight Garden for the recommendation!

So what are you all guys reading and how and why did you decide to pick up that book? Shiny new ARC? Comfort read? Scheduled for review? Must have new release? Tell me!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield!!

Hello everyone!! Happy Monday! Today I'm returning from my long weekend, but by the time this post goes up I will still be at the cottage playing with the puppies before lunch and then getting back on the road.

Today's book for Mark This Book Monday is July's pick from my Alyssa Recommends list! I have been very much in a fantasy mood, and thought it was the perfect moment to read this one!

Chantress (Chantress, #1)Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Chantress is one of those books I had wanted to read for a while, but never seemed in the right mood for it. That changed when Alyssa from The Eater of Books gave me her list of Alyssa Recommends books and I was in a fantasy-reading kick!

It took me a while to get into the book, not as much as to think of giving up on it, but enough to hope that it'll change a bit and make me love it more and round the 60% mark, it did! And then I couldn't continue reading fast enough!

Lucy's first mistake and rebellion that started all the action was to be expected, I guess. When all you do is hide secrets and not give information at all to a young person that demands answers, you can find yourself with rash choices made. I'm not a fan of the "hiding things from you to keep you safe" cause ignorance usually does more harm than good.

The beginning of the book was more full of questions than answers, given that Lucy starts discovering all the secrets that had been kept from her, but given how Chantresses had been hunted there's barely any information out there to be had. We also have the set up of the political situation and the need for change and rebellion and the dangers of it.

I found the disbelief and mistrust between Lucy and her newfound allies understandable but to a point, Nat's attitude at first was very irksome, as much as I tried to empathise with him. Sometimes there was too much trust and sometimes the mistrust was thrown in some ridiculous occasion.

Then the pace and the plot and all the information picks up and I was flying through the final 40% of the book, even if it wasn't 100% action, even in the scenes that could be a bit boring there were hints and things that kept me intrigued and wanting to turn the page.

I really liked Lucy by the final part of the book, she showed more strenght of character than recklessness and showed that she could be trusted in the choices she made.

There isn't much romance in this book, and what is in there is the slow build up kind of romance. I was hoping it wouldn't add unnecessary drama, and it didn't! It might not have been a slow burn that made me want to go at them "kiss now!" but I appreciated that it didn't get in the way of the story!

Despite this being the first book in the trilogy, there is not massive cliffhanger at the end of the book and I'm so very grateful for that! There is enough resolution to leave us satisfied but there are also enough hints to be looking forward to what might come next in the sequel!

Despite the not so gripping beginning, the final part of the book made me really enjoy it overall, so I give it 3.5 stars!

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Pages: Shimmer by Paula Weston!!!

Hello there!! Welcome to a new edition of Saturday Pages!!

By the time this post will be up, I'm gonna be at my parents' cottage, relaxing, enjoying that it's cooler there, playing with the pups, sleeping and reading! Just taking a few days to recharge and find some sort of inner peace!

But since I've been a bit better with my juggling of work and blogging, I have a review ready to share with you guys, and this one is yet another 5 stars for an angel book! Who would've thought, huh? Not me if I had read and paid any attention to the Goodreads blurb! Hush, Hush?? Nope, this is WAAAY BETTER!!
Thankfully I just listened to the very amazing Sam from Realm of Fiction and boy was she right!!

ShimmerShimmer by Paula Weston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was one of those highly awaited sequels and I was lucky enough to be able to start right after finishing the killer ending/cliffhanger of Haze!

As expected there could be some spoilers for the previous two books in the series but I'll try my best to avoid them!

Shimmer starts right where Haze left us, and includes a who's who and a prologue that will help with bridging the gap between one book and the other so you can be reminded of what's happened (always helpful if a year has passed between books) and that even if I had just finished one and started the other, didn't feel repetitive or superfluous.

When things seemed to be going better on Haze, despite the dangers and the enemies and the unknowns, we got that horrible ending and Gaby and the rest of the Rephaim got quite the awful shock. And now they must regroup and react. Seems like this could be a chance for both sides of the Rephaim to work together, but it seems like that won't be something easily accomplished.

I'm extremely happy about how the author seem to manage to make every book more, without faltering on the pacing, the revelations and the world building. How we keep on getting more clues and little things here and there, and how she keeps us wondering about what will be relevant later on and what won't.

I loved how Gaby continued to grow and despite her acting a bit rashly due to very emotional and understandable reasons, I never really felt like she was being stupidly headstrong. I tended to agree with her questioning the authority and motivations behind the leadership of the Rephaim, and what their real mission was. It was great to see questions thrown into the Rephaim and see how each of them reacted, and how some changed sides and opinions. So much had been kept from them all and so much seems to still be discovered (or re-discovered in case Jude and Gaby had discovered it before the memory loss happened).

I was beyond happy about the romance in this one, and I haven't really been in the right place for loads of romance as of late. This has been the slow burn type of romance and it takes extreme events to push it farther, but once it does, it happens with a vengeance!

This book managed to up the ante a bit more after what Haze did, and that is saying quite something! Seems like all the players are now alligned for a final showdown and the ending despite being a cliffhanger, it's not the kind of horrible killer of a cliffhanger than Haze had, it's more of the "I want to know now!!" kind of cliffhanger, cause we're thrown quite the game changer at the end of this one!

Once again, a very well deserved 5 stars for this book and a series that has managed to wow me with every book so far! Keeping my fingers crossed for Burn, the last book that will be releasing next year!! If you haven't started this series yet, DO IT NOW!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Reads: Haze by Paula Weston!!!

Hey guys! For the second entry on this week's Friday Reads I have one of those sequels that somehow manage to get everything that was good on the first book, build on it and make it even better!

A word of warning, this book was released last year in the UK and Australia but it won't be published in US till September this year, so my dear US friends either curb your impatience, or order the UK/AUS versions from The Book Depository!

Haze (Rephaim)Haze by Paula Weston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haze is one of those sequels that are absolutely amazing, that moves the plot along and is full of revelations and add more layers to the already complex world building! Since this is the review of the sequel, there might be some spoilers for book one, Shadows, but I'll try keep those to a minimum.

Haze starts pretty much where Shadows left us, with Gaby still reeling with all the revelations and happenings since Rafa appeared at a bar in Pan Beach, and the search for answers about what happened to Jude and her, what did they find out? Why the memory loss?

We do get more questions than answers, but at least Gaby gets a bit of a break in the shape of some good news! She finds that she isn't alone in her corner, cause neither of the guys one both sides of the Rephaim seemed to trust her in Shadows, except from Rafa, and that came with reservations. Now, she finds herself asserting who she is as Gaby and accepting those parts of Gabe that come to her, like muscle memory and learning to fight properly, again.

I loved how Gaby kept trying to find her place within the Rephaim now, being Gaby and not Gabe, dealing with all the memories everyone has of her, and that she doesn't. It was great to see her character grow and intereact with all the others Rephaim, even those that weren't fans of her at all.

And what I loved the most was how the relationship with Rafa moved, it had quite a few hot & cold moments, but given the story between them that Gaby can't remember at all (and so we don't know about) it kind of makes sense that Rafa isn't entirely ready to act on his attraction (and probably much more) to Gaby. Their relationship is fantastic, since Rafa tries to treat her as who she is right now but at the same time is mindful of who she was. The chemistry between them is amazing as is the way they work as a team.

The action takes us to so many new places in this one! Not only in Gaby's not real memories (that I keep thinking must be very important and relevant but still don't know how) but in the journey for answers the characters are. Gaby keeps returning to Pan Beach so it has to have some more significance that we know yet, and then she travels with other Rephaim to LA and Dubai... and every place feels so real and so vivid.

What we thought we knew is challenged when we meet some new characters, and we're entirely unsure if they're friends or foes. I found very refreshing that there are revelations that are new for all the Rephaim, so it's not just Gaby the one that is in the dark, although it is quite worrisome too. What else is there that the Rephaim don't know about, and maybe they should? Why are they being kept in the dark? Is that why Jude and Rafe and their rebels left? Does it have something to do with why Gaby stayed and then left with Jude??

I feel like there are clues left for us everywhere along the books and we don't realize they're clues, except when something will be revealed and then we'll go "AHA!" and that's a feeling I love in a book! But for now it's the feeling of "maybe this is relevant for later on or maybe I'm just getting paraoid?".

If you can, I'd suggest reading this one with the next book reading to be open either right next to you or in your eReader, cause the cliffhanger is one of the specially horrible and cruel ones!! I'm beyond happy I waited to read all three books in a row and didn't start the series last year, cause the wait would have been painful!!

All in all, this is a brilliant sequel and very much deserving of 5 stars!!

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Friday Reads: All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor!!

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! This Friday is a particularly happy one for me since I'm gonna be leaving for my parents cottage and gonna be there till Monday, spending my time relaxing, reading, playing with the puppies and sleeeeping!!

As my first entry for this week's Friday Reads I have yet another of the Classic Middle Grade books from The Midnight Garden monthly read-alongs! Today is also the day we're having the read-along discussion there, so drop by! I'm loving taking part of these read-alongs and discovering such lovely books that I had missed originally on my childhood!

All-of-a-Kind FamilyAll-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is yet another book that I've read and loved thanks to the very awesome ladies at The Midnight Garden. As another of their middle grade challenge read-along books, this is a new discovery for me and yet again, a lovely lil gem!

All-of-a-kind family is the kind of lil story that would really help children see how different things were quite a few years back, and it works the same way with adults. Every description felt so genuine, so well done, and nothing in the narrative, not the descriptions of how the girls had to save their pennies for the dad's birthday or how the way some meals were reserved only as treats for certain days, nothing was written in the "woe is me" kinda way, but simply as a fact that it was like that. A family of limited means making the most of everything they had!

I knew I was going to love the book since it started with the five sisters going to the library! I could relate with Sarah's anguish of not finding her book! That has been a recurring nightmare for me, and it's been a looong time since I've taken books from the library! But as a young girl the library was one of my most favourite places to go, roam around and find my next read!

I loved the every day happenings of the family and the wonderful descriptions on the book. How each of the girls were their own person but never felt like they were too much of a stereotype! I loved their joy at finding books and at buying and making the most delightful games of eating their penny candy at night!

One of the episodes I felt that rang more closely to my own childhood was the one about Mama's rules about the food and how when Sarah refused to eat her soup, she wouldn't be given anything else to eat. That was pretty much my mother's rule, "if you don't eat this for lunch, you'll have it for dinner and if not, for breakfast". Only once I refused to eat my lentils for lunch, and let me tell you, lumpy re-heat lentils for dinner, I do not recommend! I loved how it portrayed the view from both the obstinate child that wants to give in but doesn't and the mother that worries but can't back down!

Another wonderful thing about this book is the descriptions of all the Jewish traditions and holidays and how the family included other non-Jewish people in their life and included them in their celebrations, like the library lady and Charlie! Every reference to them as gentiles seemed casual and never implied as a good or bad thing, simply what it was and that it was okay.

I might have been a lil bothered with some tiny things, like the importance of the girls learning to be good housewives, but I cannot fault the book given its age! It compensated with the immense love of the girls for books, so I forgave that.

A most delightful read, even after all these years since it was written! Very well deserved 4 stars!!

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