Monday, June 24, 2013

Mark This Book Monday: ARC review of The Deepest Night by Shana Abe!

And here's the third entry for today's Mark This Book Monday!

The Deepest Night by Shana Abe.

I was given a digital e-galley of this book for an honest review via NetGalley, and I was delighted when I got approved for it, cause I had loved the first book in this series.

The Deepest Night starts more or less where we were left after book one, so be warned, this review will have spoilers for book 1, and even might have some for this book too, even if I'll try to avoid them as much as possible.

Lora is still trying to recover from her injuries, both physical and emotional, after the fight to protect Mandy and Jesse and everyone at Iverson from the attack from the Nazis. While still trying to recover from the loss of Jesse and from her own injuries, she still needs to help Mandy reconcile himself with his Drakon nature as well as try to not get kicked out of Iverson and sent to another orphanage, or even worse, another asylum.

Lora is getting better at controlling her second nature, and going from mist to Drakon and to fly. She also tries to help Mandy connect with his Drakon self and start controlling it, and making sure he survives the turn.

There's a lot of action in this book, since Mandy's dad task her with the near impossible mission of rescuing Mandy's brother from behind enemy lines. And there's also the fact that both Mandy and his dad can hear Jesse speak as a star to them, but Lora can't, which leaves her having to rely and depend on Mandy more and more, which brings them closer, even if Lora isn't developing the same kind of feelings she had for Jesse.

This is a second book that doesn't fall short on what was the build up of the first, but instead keeps on bringing up the story a notch higher, keeping you engrossed from start to finish and leaves you wondering what will come next!

Ver well deserved 4 stars for this one!

Mark This Book Monday: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi!

And as promised, here I am with another book review for this Monday's second Mark This Book Monday!

Next up is the second book on a trilogy about Juliette, a girl with great powers that has been shunned from human contact all her life, since her touch is lethal. If you haven't read book one, Shatter Me, I highly recommend it to you, and here is my review of book two:

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi.

Four very well deserved stars for this continuation of Juliette's story.

Once again, Tahereh Mafi has managed to hook me up with her unique writing style and her way to ravel and unravel emotions and plots, and I've finished another book about Juliette's story in a day.

The story picks up on where Shatter Me left us, with Juliette at Omega Point and trying to get used to being surrounded by people. The first few chapters of the book are also parallel to Destroy Me, the novella told from Warner's POV, or so it seemed to me. The story progresses a lot in this second book, and it never gave me a filling of being just a filler or bridge book, it had so much going on and added so much to the story!

Juliette still struggles a lot to accept herself and to relate to others. She still thinks of herself as a monster and shies away from others scared of hurting them or being hurt by their fear and rejection of the monster they'd surely see in her. Castle, the leader of Omega Point expected Juliette to settle more easily and to make efforts to join in, but he couldn't figure out how hard that'd be for someone that has been through what Juliette was. Put her ability, her awful past and a year of full isolation together with the angst and hormones of a teenager, and I'm surprised Juliette still has any sanity left at all!

The state of the world is a mess, the common people are starting to revolt, the Supreme commander has decided to teach both the rebels and Warner a lesson, and in this book we learn how much more twisted and horrible he is, and we've also given quite a few shocking revelations, that make the already messy emotional shitstorm that is Adam + Juliette + Warner a bigger and more complicated one!

For those against love triangles... well, it all gets messier and more "triangly" in this book, and to my very own surprise, it didn't put me off the story at all. All the emotional mess simply made me understand all three of them better, and even relate to all three of them. Warner is not just the horrible villian he began as in Shatter Me, and I've come to understand him and not hate as Juliette has.

There are fights, both emotional and physical, and Juliette learns how to kick arse and how to try and accept that others might not see her as a monster, and that if she lets them come closer, she can begin to feel wholly human again.

The book ends not in a proper proper cliffhanger, but it does leave you aching for more, for a bigger fight and for Juliette to finally come on her own, and own who she is. And frankly, to see what all Adam and Warner are gonna do, cause I'm not sure who I'm rooting for anymore!

Mark This Book Monday: Winter Queen by Amber Argyle!

Hello everyone!

Now that I do have more spare time, since I'm on vacation, not only I have more time to read, but also I have more time and also more motivation to write reviews!

So, expect more reviews than just this one for this week's Monday. Here goes, the first Mark This Book Monday for today!

Winter Queen by Amber Argyle

This is the first book by Amber Argyle that I've read, and I've really loved it.

The world building is amazing, this is a fantasy book, but the way everything is described, their way of life, the traditions, the relationships between the tribes... everything resonates so truthfully, that you feel you are actually reading history.

Another thing that truly held me captive to this story is Illyena's journey, the emotional journey that she goes through as well as where the story takes her. I connected so strongly with Illyena's struggles, and how she tries to always do what's right and what's best and how to do what's best for her people, even if she isn't even sure on how she'll manage to do that.

This is a fantastic story with a big reminder on why women need to never forget how much we've accomplished towards equallity, and how bloody hard and awful that fight has been. You might think that getting that out of a fantasy novel might be quite a stretch, but it isn't at all. A fantasy novel set in a Middle Ages-ish setting, with tribal associations and customs will always teach lessons on the value placed in human lives and in women's lives in particular, and how power can blind people to anything but their worst.

Illyena's choices are all very tough in this book, the suffering of others or her humanity, and Mrs Argyle takes us on that journey in a way that is never easy but that kept me glued to the page! If you are wondering if there is romance, yes, there is. The story doesn't really revolve about it, but it is a big motivator for the character's choices and in the end it also shows that it is really through love that we are human.

A great book I loved start to finish, and I do give it 4 and a half stars!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thankful Thursday: It's Always The Little Things...

Hello everyone!

Here I am, in India, with a borrowed laptop, and remembering this time that today is Thursday, and so it's time to say thank you!

For today's Thankful Thursday I'm gonna be thankful for the small things that so many of us take for granted to easily all the time...

The fact that we can wake up in the morning next to the person we love.

Turning around in bed to be kissed good morning.

Having a normal conversation on the phone with your mother every day even if we're right now thousands of miles away.

Having a doggy licking your hand to show you that you're loved.

Being able to eat roti and paranthas again cause you've found gluten free atta.

Having a smile come to your face more easily every day...

And finding yourself saying thank you happier every day.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mark This Book Monday: ARC of Ink by Amanda Sun!!

Hello everyone!

Second entry for Mark This Book Monday! I was lucky enough to get myself a borrowed lappy, so I can still blog while the bf is at work!

So here goes, my second review for the day!

Ink by Amanda Sun

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book from NetGalley for a review cause I was very intrigued about it since the moment I read the synopsis.

The premise of this book is extremely original and what really draw me to read the book, and also what kept me going when some parts of the story weren't as engaging.

Katie moves to Japan after the devastating loss of her mother, dealing with her grief and anger and confusion of losing the only parent she had, and to top it all she has to go and adapt to a new culture and learn a new language when more change is the least thing she wants.

The way we learn about Japanese culture and how Katie tries to adapt and try to deal with her loss flows through the book fairly well, but I wasn't very keen on the way Katie and Tomo are thrown in together, how Katie simply seems to get obsessed with following Tomo everywhere trying to figure out his mistery when she can barely try and make an effort to be social otherwise. Once they connect over shared knowledge of loss, their relationship seems more credible to me and despite the teenage angst it didn't pull me off the story anymore.

It seems that the Kami storline is revealed too scantly and then we're given quite some action out of it, but barely any solid information about what the Kami really are, and even less about why the Ink would have any ties with Katie or why she would have some effect on the Ink. The world building for the Kami seemed insuficient to me and simply seemed like a small introduction, like this book was more like a glimpse of a setting than a proper first act.

The Japanese culture and the mystery of the Kami are the biggest reasons to read this book, and I'm hoping both will continue developing and the angsty teenage relationship between Katie and Tomo will progress in the next books and will be a little less annoying and a little less stereotypical.

I give this first instance of the Paper Gods series 3 stars.

Mark This Book Monday: ARC of Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead!

Today's Mark This Book Monday is a scheduled entry, cause right now I'm in India on vacation, spending time with the bf and reading!

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

This is the first book I've read by Richelle Mead, and I have to say it was a great first impression!

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review, and I was very excited about it, cause the premise of the book sounded quite unique, and since I'm an absolute mythology nerd/geek/enthusiast, however you may wanna call it, any book with Gods and Myths involved will get my attention.

The book is told in three alternating points of view, that of the two main characters, Mae and Justin, and the third and not as main but still relevant, Tessa.

Mae is an elite soldier from the RUNA (Republic of United North America) that falls in disgrace and is sent on a mission to retrieve a former citizen and employee of the government that was exiled to the Provinces, Justin.

The worldbuilding in this book is massive, and I absolutely loved it. It might have slowed the pace of the plot and story on occasion, but every page I turned I was hungry for more details on this world with so many things that resonate with the ones we have, but so different at its core.

Mae and Justin are two characters massively different from one another, from where they come from, to what they do and the way they think, but both are absolutely the best on their field. Mae is a praetorian, an elite soldier, and Justin is the best servitor the goverment ever had. They meet up by chance before what should have been their official meet-up, and what happens between them that night just leads to a very complicated relationship where they both have to work together, and learn to trust each other enough to face danger and do the job they have been teamed to do.

It's very intriguing to see a take on a society that has been built without officially sanctioned religions and that actually mistrusts and keeps an extremely tight control on any religion association. And even more intriguing to see hints of what might be behind and what the RUNA government don't want to see. All the different mythology woven in the plot with hints and mentions really captivated me.

I don't want to say much more cause I risk spoiling parts of the book, but it has it all, a bit of romance, witty remarks, a strong female lead, post-apocalyptic setting, family issues, moral issues, mythology and some comic relief on occasion. You even get a pair of ravens!

All in all, a very satifiying read, very well deserved 4 stars, and I'm really excited for the next book!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Being able to gift my friends

Hello everyone!

Again, I almost forget about Thankful Thursday before Thursday is over!

Today I want to be thankful for being able to give gifts to other, nevermind of the value of the gift, but being able to give something to other people and see a smile on their face.

Yesterday I gave my friend Irene a saree for her birthday and I just had such a blast draping it on her and seeing how happy her face was!