Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Pages: Mini reviews of Outcast & Swamp Bones!!

Hello guys!

This week's Saturday Pages is happening a lil latter than usual, but they almost didn't happen... I was extremely tired last night and went to sleep without having any posts ready and today I woke up feeling rather tired still, but I decided to still manage to crank up a pair of novellas reviews that I had pending!

One of them is a novella that I got this week on NetGalley so it will totally count for my ARC August list!

 Swamp Bones: A Novella (Temperance Brennan, #16.5)Swamp Bones: A Novella by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've always been a big of both this series by Kathy Reichs and Bones the tv series (at least till I lost interest once the drama got a bit too much for me) even if they were rather different. I had forgotten a bit about the books till I saw this novella on NetGalley and realized I had missed reading one book and there was another coming! So I just got the previous book to this one and preordered the next!

Swamp Bones is a novella that can be read without having read all the Tempe Brennan books since it's a story on its own, but I don't think it's the best of the Tempe stories either.

But even as one of the weakest stories in the mystery sense of the murder(s) to be solved, cause there was a point were the suspect was pointed at too easily, so much that I was expecting it to be a red herring, the story was always fascinating because of the way the science is weaved in. Even if most of the science was about pythons in this one, and snakes are one of my few irrational fears!

Tempe can be a bit too rash and impulsive and given some of the bad situations that has got her into in the past, it makes me wonder why she doesn't seem to learn given how intelligent a character she is. I guess we all have our flaws, and hers is being a bit rash and overly optimistic on outcomes.

All in all, a good enough novella that really got me in the mood to read more Tempe Brennan books! 3 stars to this one (for the too obvious resolution).

Outcast (Defiance 0.5)Outcast by C.J. Redwine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Outcast is the very much awaited novella featuring our dear Quinn and his sister Willow's story before they meet Rachel and Logan and become allies. This is the story of why Quinn understands how broken Rachel can be and how both he and his sister got exiled from their tribe and came to meet Rachel's dad.

Quinn has always been a very interesting character and we knew there was a lot more to his past than what he himself or his sister had revealed before, both about what caused their exile and why Quinn refused to kill when fighting and in this novella, we find out exactly how horrible their childhood was being trained to be killers with the excuse of being defenders, and how abusive their relationship with their father was.

We see Quinn from feeling like what they're doing is wrong, to finding the strenght to face his father and try to put a stop to his madness when he thinks of protecting his sister and finds an unexpected ally on Rachel's father when Jared stumbles onto the village's perimeter trying to hide from Rowansmark agents.

For a short novella this one packs a really emotional punch and we find ourselves loving and understanding much better both Quinn and Willow and even get a lil better understanding of what a good man Rachel's dad was. One of those novellas that are a joy to read, even with the tough themes in it which earns it 5 stars.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Reads: ARC Review of Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini!!

As my final entry for this week's Friday Reads is one of those ARCs that you cannot believe your good luck on getting a copy! I'm so very thankful that Mac Kids Books took pity on me on Twitter and allowed me to get an eARC of this one!

Since it's an ARC it's also part of my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge, but not of ARC August since I read this one a while back, totally skipping on my review pile! ;)

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1)Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trial By Fire is one of those quite awaited books for this year since I loved Josephine Angelini's other series (Starcrossed). When I saw that I had missed it being a read it now on NetGalley, I conmiserated with fellow bloggers on Twitter and was immensely lucky to be given a chance to read it by the publisher, so a big thank you to Mac Kids & Feiwell 6 Friends!

As I started reading the book I was a bit confused at first, cause I was expecting witches and burning and for some reason I thought it'd be historical fiction paranormal, but what happens is that we meet Lily Proctor, a girl that is allergic at almost everything and that's having the hardest time ever trying to have a normal as possible life. We see her as a recluse with a best friend that she has a crush on and that has been jumping from girl to girl for the longest time. So far all very contemporary (and a very confused Pili) but things change quickly with betrayal and hurt and Lily finds herself in a very different place altogether.

This is when the real book started for me, even if everything that happened before made sense as the book progressed and some of the things that happened and the people she had in her life were relevant and I'm sure will continue to be so in the rest of the series, once Lily finds herself in a different Salem is when the book really takes off!

The world building of this one simply blown me away, I loved the concept of multiverses and how this world and Salem had the same players and so many things were similar to our world but also essentially completely different. Science and magic as different ways to achieve (more or less) the same thing. How witches hold their magic as their tool and form of control, cause as much as they do a service to the population they also can hold them hostages to those comforts. Quite a good commentary in itself to positions of service and power and the corruption of the best of intentions.

Lily coming to a different Earth where there's another Lillian already and having to deal with the purpose that her other self set on, learning that she's much more here than just a feeble girl allergic to the world and dealing with a whole new version of the people she had in her life... Learning and finding herself powerful and dealing with the temptation of imposing her own will on others was a very interesting journey to read, and seeing how she would fight to remain herself even with all the changes around her made me like Lily a whole lot.

As far as the romance in this book it was a lil on the complicated side, with Rowan being the one that has to help, but with a lot of baggage from his past and his relationship with Lillian. The way the relationship progresses in fits and starts and how they get connected was a bit painful but had me very much rooting for them to get together.

The book has everything, magic, science, enviromental concerns, political intrigue, rebellions, abuse of power, multiverses and one hell of an ending that surely leaves you begging for the next book! Damn those cliffhangers! Very well deserved 4 stars to this one!

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Friday Reads: Opposition by Jennifer L Armentrout!!

Hello guys! Happy Friday! Mine is not the start of a weekend off, but at least I'm back on 3 to 10 pm schedule, which means I can sleep in in the mornings!

I'm starting this week's Friday Reads with a review for yet another series finale and an August release. As such it is not one part of any of my various challenges, but one of those "ME" reads!

Opposition (Lux, #5)Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started the Lux series on a whim, cause although I wasn't drawn to them, I was waiting for the next Covenant book and I thought "Why not?" and damn, I got totally addicted and ended up binge reading the first 3 books! Then the wait for Origin was quite awful cause of that evil cliffhanger and even if the cliffhanger wasn't as bad this time, it's always bad waiting for the final book of a series!

Given that it is the final book of the series some spoilers for previous books might be expected but I promise no spoilers for Opposition itself!

Opposition starts very much where Origin left us, with the Lux's arrival, Daemon disappearance (along with Dee and Dawson) and Katy left to worry and wonder. The beginning was a bit odd while you wait till working out what the heck is going on now. But never fret, things won't stay weird for long, and soon enough Katy and Daemon will be again the amazing team that they are, ready to face whatever comes together.

That is one of the strengths of these books I feel, the great relationship between Daemon and Katy, the chemistry, the banter, and the way they support each other! Daemon wants to protect Kary but also accepts that she is not going to want to be left behind or treated as useless and he actually really appreciates how kick ass she has become. They don't hold each other back and that is always a sign of a healthy relationship.

Daemon still got his sass and smartass attitude, even when it really wouldn't be a great idea to display, but that's the Daemon we all know and can't help but love. Katy has grown a lot and she's got very good at dealing as best as she can with all the crap that has been thrown her way, but she hasn't stopped being her nerdy bookish self, and I absolutely adore that!

Opposition has plenty of action, even if there's also a lot of planning and the final battle ends up being more personal than massive final showdown. There is conflict, heartbreak and also a lot of hope, some old friends from other books and plenty of humour here and there to lighten the tension a little bit.

The epilogue was a nice way to round it up, and even more after you read the extra epilogue that JLA wrote on her blog (the first line of that one made me giggle btw!) and this was a great final book for the series. Who would have thought I'd love a series of aliens in high school, huh? Very deserved 4 stars for this one!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Chapter, First Paragraph #8: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley!!

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 the beginning of an ARC I got approved by Harlequinn Teen via NetGalley that will release next month and that I'm buddy reading with the awesome Becca from Pivot Book Reviews (and Totes!).

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

"Lie #1 

There's no need to be afraid

Jefferson High School, Davisburg, Virginia February 2, 1959

THE WHITE PEOPLE are waiting for us.

Chuck seem them first. He's gone out ahead of our group to peer around the corner by the hardware store. From there you can see all Jefferson High."

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #56!!

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!

Sooo, what book am I really really really looking forward to this week? First World Problems by LeighAnn Kopans!

Goodreads Summary:

"Sofia Cole has always been able to get anything she wants through begging, flirting, and shameless manipulation of everyone around her.

Sofia doesn't think that Dad sending her on a gap service year to Guyana to address how "spoiled" she is will change any of that.

Sofia just might be proven wrong.

(A companion novel to SOLVING FOR EX (February 2014,) FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS is a standalone Upper YA/Lower NA contemporary romance.)"

Why am I eagerly awaiting First World Problems? Well, LeighAnn Kopans is one of my beloved authors and this one is a NA companion novel for one of my fave contemporaries of the year, Solving For Ex! I cannot wait to read how dear Sophia gets thrown completely out of her comfort zone!

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tell Me Tuesdays #8!!

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!

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

 In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

 Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

I got approved on NetGalley for Lies We Tell Ourselves and I'm doing a buddy read of it with my bloggy friend and awesomely talented Becca of Pivot Point Reviews and Pivot Book Totes! And I'm also finally reading Mortal Danger, after I got the sampler with the 5 first chapters and read some really great reviews from some of my bloggy friends!

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, August 18, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Deliverance by C.J. Redwine!!!

As the last entry for this week's Mark This Book Monday I have one of my most awaited books of the year! I was extremely happy and grateful when I was approved for it on Edelweiss by Harper Teen, since I rarely get approved by them!

This one counts for two of my challenges, the 2014 Book Blogger Summer Reading Program and the 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge!

Deliverance (Defiance, #3)Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a brilliant ending to a fantastic trilogy, but I don't think I'm ready to say goodbye to Rachel and Logan and Willow and Quinn... *clutches book*

I was beyond happy and honoured when I was finally approved for an eARC of this one Edelweiss by Harper Teen and I'm grateful, since they very rarely approve my requests!

As the final book of the series, there might be some spoilers for the previous books, so please be aware of that. I will be keeping my review as spoiler free as possible so it will be a bit vague.

After the nonstop action and heartbreak of Deception, I was kind of scared of reading Deliverance, even more after the very cruel cliffhanger ending! But I was quite reassured since C.J. had assured me on Twitter that Deliverance would compensate us from all that suffering!

Rachel and Logan are now separated and in extremely tough situations both of them and both have only themselves to rely on, Rachel because she's in enemy's hands and Logan cause despite it all, he's the leader and the man with the ideas & plans. Both are en route to Rowansmark, Rachel being dragged there as prisoner and Logan trying to rescue her.

Both Rachel and Logan are amazing characters, and they've both had such a wonderful character development throughout the whole trilogy and even if Logan's has been fantastic, I think Rachel's the most amazing of them both. She started as a headstrong and reckless girl that gets broken and is left as a mere shadow of what she was only filled with pain and revenge, but she continues to go on, to try her best and ends up facing her demons and finding the hope of healing.

I loved how Logan always respects Rachel and even though he wants to protect her, she never underestimates her and never tries to stop her from being the fighter she is at heart. And Rachel IS a fighter but she also learns that she can rely on her friends for whatever kind of support she might need, and learns to keep hope. She can rescue herself and she doesn't expect others to do so for her, but she keeps the hope of Logan coming for her and she plans to help once he does.

What I also appreciated very much was how well crafted the villains of the series are. Not only there are evil and repulsing ones but strangely enough we end up feeling for one them, unexpectedly understanding his hate and misguided actions, and in the end feel really bad for him and his fate!

The rest of the secondary characters feel very much alive, from Quinn and Willow to the many new characters that we meet in this book (and some of them are little easter eggs by name for anyone that follows C.J. on Twitter and knows of her fellow writer friends).

This was a brilliant final book for this very amazing part dystopian part fantasy series, one that I plan to re-read for sure, while I wait for the next book from C.J. Redwine, that has become one of my auto-buy authors! Very well deserved 5 stars for this one!

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Mark This Book Monday: Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins!!!

Hello everyone! What best to start Monday than with a wonderful & swoony book as the first entry of this week's Mark This Book Monday?

I'm starting this week's Mark This Book Monday with the next book in the Isla Is Coming readalong hosted by Andi from Andi’s ABCs, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner , Judith from Paper Riot, Lindsey from A Bookish Sinister Kid and Meg from Cuddlebuggery!

 Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm rightly chuffed that I finally decided to join the #IslaIsComing readalong, because I've absolutely loved reading Anna and Lola, and I'm happy that I didn't have to wait as long as most people for Isla to come out.

It's quite hard to decide which one of the books is my favourite, but if I had to choose... I'd be probably leaning towards this one. Isla and Josh are a fantastic couple and their struggles and relationship progression really captured my heart.

I had noticed both Josh and Isla while reading Anna's book and I was quite excited to read how their relationship will progress, and thankfully it was as absorbing and heartwrenching as I was expecting.

Isla is a tiny sweet and geeky girl with an inseparable best friend with high functioning autism, both setting themselves apart from the rest of school. She's had a crush on Josh since they started high school together in Paris but their interactions have always been sparse and awkward, but that changes during summer break in NYC once she's high on painkillers and they meet by chance on a cafe (Kismet, quite appropriate I'd say!).

Their relationship is a joy to read about, and even when things get tough for them and even when it breaks our hearts, it's so beautifully written and woven! I was cheering for them since page one even when I felt like shaking one of them, or both.

As always, there is much more in the book than just their relationship and romance, there's family issues between Isla and her younger sister Hattie, and between Josh and his political-centered parents. There's also the adjustment between friends of Kurt and Isla. Even if Josh does go through quite a lot in the book, I'd say that the most character development and growth is Isla's, not only she learns how to accept herself and being loved, she also has confront her own flaws and shortcomings and accepting that some of what she thinks as shortcomings, aren't really so.

We also get plenty of travelling and get treated to wonderful descriptions that make us want to be there and enjoy all that Josh and Isla are discovering! I have already been to Barcelona and Paris but after reading Anna and this one... I feel like I really need to go back there as soon as possible!

I missed having some of the rest of the gang appear a bit more for most of the book, but all those wishes were fulfilled by the end of the book when we see Anna, Etienne, Meredith, Cricket and Lola, and get treated to even more emotional swooning and tears and make us turn the last page with a huge grin, even if you have some tears still lingering!

A wonderful read, very much deserving of 5 stars!

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