Monday, December 28, 2015

Mark These Books Monday: Mini Reviews of Written In The Stars & Hollywood Witch Hunter!!

Hello there guys!!

After the craziness of the holidays and my work and juggling everything and getting a lil sick on Xmas day and the craziness of the Top 10 of 2015 week, I'm back with a more regular schedule of reviews.

To start this week right I'm gonna have mini reviews for Mark These Books Monday because the backlog of reviews that I have is rather insane, and I want to start reviewing books before the year ends!

Both books count towards my Diverse December challenge and one of them, Written in the Stars, I feel that is a most poignant book, and one that needs to be better known and more widespreadly read!

Written in the StarsWritten in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing book. Tough and poignant, it confronts us with a reality we might not know or might not want to acknowledge, but one we need to face and change. And what a debut! Very much deserving of 5 stars.

Written in the Stars is NOT based on a true story, at least not in one narrative only. There was no Naila in real life that is telling us her story, but that's how real and raw this book feels. You feel like this has happened, and we are reading about it in a biography of sorts, but it also feels as we are watching it as it unfolds, discovering what is happening as Naila does.

Everything feels so real, so like we are there! Naila's secrets, how they're discovered, how she goes on vacation with her family and finds herself trapped... I felt like I was right there with Naila! With the language, the descriptions, the relationships between the characters. Everything felt raw and real.

I know about the different kinds of arranged marriages that are still quite usual in Pakistan & India (and other countries) but I wasn't sure that'd be as spread on the communities from those countries living in the USA or the UK, but reading this book made me realize how some families do keep even those traditions no matter where they might live.

Adults and teens alike need to read this book. It'll help us understand a different culture and also maybe even help those that might be in a similar situation. Really, anyone and everyone NEEDS to read this book!!

Hollywood Witch HunterHollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of those books with positives and negatives and where the balance ends up being an in-the-middle 3 star rating.

I really enjoyed reading about a Latina main character that kicks arse and is proud of her heritage, and I really liked Iris as a character. I really liked that she had decided that she would not back down from her being a witch hunter no matter how many things would get in her way, and how much disdain she'd get from the rest of the all-male Witch Hunter Special Ops Team.

Iris knows she is good and she doesn't back down when she feels she is treated unfairly and wants to get to the bottom of a few strange happenings that are challenging what she knows about both witches and the hunters. She has a good relationship with her brother which was really nice, since he supported her in being the only female hunter and a not so good with her dad.

I felt the pacing was fast and kept me engaged and wanting to continue reading, the world building quite interesting and a different twist to the usual witches and hunters, but I had two main issues with the book.

One, the two possible love interests being introduced in very opportunistic ways... the moment they came on the page, you knew they'd be involved with Iris. And two, there was too much telling and not enough showing. I felt that I was being told things all the time instead of them being shown happening. And that tends to make it hard to connect or be engaged with book for me.

So as much as the pacing and the world building was interesting and fresh, the telling more than showing style really took out a lot of the enjoyment of the book for me. With more showing and less telling, this would have easily been a 4 stars for me!

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016 Challenges: Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge hosted by Falling for YA!!

Hey there guys!

After the whole week dedicated to my Top 10 lists I'm back with the last 2016 Challenge I've signed up (at least for now!). I've already gone a bit overboard because I had planned to keep thing low key and sign up just for three, but the 4 I'm doing are challenges I feel that will help me stay motivated with my reading and not slack so much with my reviewing (hopefully!).

I needed a challenge for ARCs because I really want to finally reach the ever ellusive 80% on Netgalley so Falling for YA's 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge is exactly what I needed!

I'm gonna be aiming for the Gold Level because is a year long challenge and I already have a bit of a backlog of late eARCs I need to read, so 50 books from either Netgalley or Edelweiss really doesn't seem like too much to acomplish on a year! I hope that maybe I can reach the next level, but I want to keep it realistic too! ;)

I've already made a Goodreads shelf/list with the books I need to read that are pending on my Netgalley/Edelweiss dashboards and that I'm most likely to read too! ;)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Top 10 of 2015: Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward in 2016!!

This year I'm very happy to once again join in the Top 10 of 2015 week hosted by Rachel from Reading YA Rocks, Jamie from Two Chicks On Books, Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads and Nancy of Tales of A Ravenous Reader.

For the final day of the Top 10 of 2015 week, we're sharing the top 10 books we're looking forward to in 2016.This year I will be making 4 lists... one for standalones & series starters, another for mid-series/series enders, another for 2016 books I've already read & need a finished copy ASAP and the final one for 2016 debuts! There are SO many books I'm dying to get my hands on next year!!

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward in 2016 (Debuts)

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2016 (Books I've already read & loved!)

In this case is more of a top 6, but given how all of these were 5 stars for me, I wanted to make sure they were mentioned because I'm dying to re-read them and get my hands on the finished copies!!

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward in 2016 (Standalones or First in New Series)

I'm only including those that have a title and cover revealed and it's actually a top 11, because I just couldn't pick one from the list to leave out!

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward in 2016 (Part of an Ongoing Series/Series Enders)

Once again this is a terribly hard list to limit and to help me with that I'm sticking with books that have both their title and cover revealed!