Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday Pages: The Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy!!!

Hey there guys! *waves*

As the last reviews for January I'm having a series that I binge read on Monday last week! It was my day off and I was supposed to buddy read The Deal with my friend Alyssa from The Eater of Books. And that we did, we both read it and loved it, but for some reason I ended up binging the rest of the series till 6 am! O_o
Thank goodness for working the 3 to 10 pm shift and being able to sleep in till noon!

So this week's Saturday Pages is all about mini reviews for all three of the books! Now I'm impatiently awaiting the next book to come, because for once a series of companion books ended in what could be considered if not a cliffhanger, at least quite the shocker!

The Deal (Off-Campus, #1)The Deal by Elle Kennedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this one! I don't usually read a lot of NA, probably the last NA I read were Ann Aguirre's 2B series (that I loved) but I decided to buddy read this one with my friend Alyssa from The Eater of Books and boy did I love it!!

This book was full of humour, some real life issues that are dealt with but don't become the center of the book and don't make for unbearable drama and angst. The characters deal with the issues, work on them and live with them, but the book is not about getting over said issues/bad things. They appear because they're part of the character's life but they go on and live and thrive. Big kudos for the positive message there.

We get alternating POV chapters between Hannah and Garrett and boy how much did I love these two! I adored how Hannah was both confident and strong but had her insecurities and vulnerabilities that she worked at dealing with. And Garrett, oh dear... that guy! He's cocky and confident but also so focused on his sport and on what he wants to accomplish! He's more than just a stereotypical jock from the beginning, and the more we get to know him, the more I liked him!

I don't know a whole lot about hockey, but this book really made me want to start watching the game and managed to explain enough about the going-ons in the team and game without being boring.

The romance was simply fantastic, from dislike, to platonic friendship to a chemistry that's off the charts and all with low angst, even when the conflict arises near the end of the book. And even more when on the moment of possible drama and confrontation... you end up laughing your arse off because of the fantastic humour!

I laughed, out loud and a lot reading this book, I giggled, I cackled, I swooned and I fanned myself. I seriously loved it to bits and want to re-read it soon. Also, I want a Garrett of my own... too bad we have no hockey over here that I know of! 5 well deserved stars for the kind of NA I'd love to read more!

The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2)The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As soon as I finished reading The Deal I needed to read this one, and seeing how it was on sale, I JUST HAD TO GRAB IT AND READ IT!

I really liked Logan as Garrett's best friend and although I was a bit unhappy and wary about certain developments and Logan's feelings by the end of The Deal, I trusted the author wouldn't go on the high on drama and angst route and she didn't disappoint.

Logan is not in the best place emotionally at the beginning of the book and his family situation isn't helping with how unhappy he feels about things. He's quite the player, inside and out of the ice rink, and now he's feeling unhappy and restless about it. And he ends up making the "mistake" the title refers to. Mostly being an arsehole and not seeing what's in front of him!

Just like The Deal was, this one is told in dual POV, Logan's and Grace's and I loved them both. I understood and felt for Logan, but wanted to seriously slap him silly on the first few chapters (that's actually what on second thought costed this one a half star and for me to drop the rating) but then when he was determined to win Grace back no matter what? Oh boy, he was beyond adorable!!

Grace is a fantastic character! At first she's a bit unsure of her place on campus and who she is, but after facing Logan's issues and her best friend's... well, she finds herself putting herself first and finding that she can be assertive and strong. Her parents are fantastic and I loved how crazy but awesome her mum was. I loved how she started doing things for herself but still gave Logan a chance at working hard to prove himself.

Another fantastic example of humour and low angst NA, with fantastic chemistry, many laughing moments, some serious ones and quite a few "oh dear" *fans self* moments too! Hockey players do really have a certain something! 4.5 to 4 stars to this one!

The Score (Off-Campus, #3)The Score by Elle Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Given that I was not a big fan of Dean in the previous book and that at the start of this one I really disliked him and he irritated me to know end with his attitude, I'm surprised but how much I ended up liking him by the end of it! How did that happen??

This book is like the previous ones told in dual POV, Dean's and Allie's. We already know them both from previous books (or at least we thought so!). Allie is Hannah's best friend and I really liked these two as best friends, always being there for each other when they needed it. And because of that support and helping between them, Allie gets herself into quite an unexpected situation, right after breaking up with her long term boyfriend.

Dean... well, Dean is quite different from what I expected him to be. He's a massive player and what we see of him in the beginning reaaaally ticked me off. And the way he continued to go after Allie was both irritating and somewhat alluring. Confusing? Contradictory? Hell yeah! I could understand Allie's mixed feelings because I was having them myself to a point!

The chemistry between these two is OFF THE CHARTS and I really loved seeing a different side of Dean and seeing Allie asserting what she wants to do with her life. I must say that the ending was a bit more angsty and Dean disappointed me a lil bit, because he failed Allie in ways I wouldn't have expected him so, although things get sorted and fixed with work and in an adult manner, not too fairy tale like.

The biggest surprise was the bomb thrown at the very end of the book, that left me making all the grabby hands at the next book and Trucker's story!! Very much deserved 4 stars for this one, proving that I can like NA and quite a LOT at that!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Reads: ARC Reviews of Into The Dim & The Girl From Everywhere!!

Hiya there guys!

Friday is here! And with it sleeping in the morning because I work night shift tonight. I'm hoping for a bit of a quiet shift so I can get some reading done while the patients are sleeping!

For this week's Friday Reads I have two eARCs that count towards my Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge and that are two time travel YA books and 2016 debuts, so they do count towards my 2016 Debut Author Challenge goal! Time travelling for the win today it seems! ;)

Into the DimInto the Dim by Janet B.  Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a big fan of historical fiction and after reading & watching Outlander now I'm also a big fan of time travel that focuses more on the historical bits of where you land than the science mechanics of the traveling itself.

Into The Dim combines a bit of both, there's a bit of mixed science explanation of how you time travel and there's a lot of finding yourself in a different time and having to adapt to it and making the best of what the circumstances throw at you.

Hope, our main character, is grieving the loss of her mother, and battling her phobias and even her photographic memory from overwhelming her. And once she thinks things cannot get more difficult and it's trying to adapt to the new situation, she gets a real game changer thrown at her. And her reaction and responses made a lot of sense. After a lifetime of being told one thing, even certain proof can be hard to swallow & digest, even more when it means that your loved ones have lied to you all along.

Her interactions with a certain boy that she meets are more than a lil suspect to me, but given her upbringing, being homeschooled and quite closeted, it didn't seem as far fetched that she wouldn't suspect it as much as I did. And frankly I can understand the allure of the guy, even if the "stalker" vibes at first should have been a bit of a no-no!

My favourite part of the book had to be once our dear Hope and rest of the gang find themselves in the time of Eleanor of Aquitania and have to execute a rescue plan where nothing goes as it should, full of unexpected hurdles but also unexpected allies. You can see that the author did her work on researching the era and we get so many winks at historical events to come! I already liked Eleanor of Aquitania, but now? Now I'd like to claim her as my patronus! So much love for such a strong woman and how she did what she could given the time she lived in!

Family feuds, friendships destroyed by jealousy, unexpected revelations that throw what we thought we know for a spin and that could have quite intriguing repercusions on books to come, some really swoony moments and a character with changing loyalties except for one and that makes some maybe questionable choices but nonetheless understandable... Combine all that with a great sense of pacing and gripping writing and you've got yourself a book that cannot stop reading until the very end!

Thank goodness for the lack of real cliffhanger though! I mean, the ending is sad and heartbreaking but it's reasonable and very much the closing of a chapter, but not a real cliffhanger. Still, it definitely leaves you wanting more and making grabby hands at the sequel! Very much deserved 4.5 stars to this fantastic debut!

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The Girl From EverywhereThe Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a magnificent debut!

The Girl From Everywhere is one of those 2016 debuts I was so very excited for and it has not disappointed!

Nix's story is more complex than what you'd think at first, but at the same way it's also simpler. It is at its core the story of a girl and her father growing apart and finding a way to reach common ground again. Their circumstances being quite complex and unusual, but the problems being lack of communication and grief clouding judgement, those are not so extraordinary.

The world building for this book was simply outstanding... the mythology and the time travel is done in such a fantastic and simple and at the same time complex way! Things are happening because something happened in the past but that is caused my something happening right now? Quite an interesting take on causality and even if there are few rules to this time travelling via map, the ones that exist are absolute. Every bit and detail woven into the narrative is done in such a way that you are reminded of this being a fantasy story but making you wish so very hard that it could happen!

The writing also compliments the world building, because it's extremely visual and gripping! Never a moment to be bored, no matter if you're sailing to the border, taking a small tour of the island and being awed by sacred waterfalls or trying to avoid the Hawaian version of Dance of the Death. You want to be on board the Temperance and you want to see all the sights and visit all the places!

I must warn of the presence of a love triangle, surprisingly it didn't bother me as much as I was expecting, although I feel bad some one of the parts of the triangle, and the resolution is not as definitive as it could have been... I wasn't all that bothered, and I sort of understood Nix's motivations, feelings and doubts. I might have prefered if it wouldn't have been there, BUT... well, it didn't take from my enjoyment of the book or how captivated I was so...

Even if I felt like taking a half star off because of the love triangle, there's a dragon and a puppy and that means it gets extra half star too, so it all evens out. I'm not sure if it's a 4.5 or a full 5 stars, but this is one book I see myself re-reading, I'm hoping for more stories about the Temperance crew and their adventures and more mythology to absolutely love and enjoy!

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: Vicious & Midnight Marked (ARC review)!!

Hello there guys!!

Since last week I totally failed at posting reviews, I'm adding an extra day of review posting this week, and since I love alliterations, I'm calling it Thursday Thoughts!

As my extra reviews of the week, I'm pairing today two adult books, one that has been in my TBR pile since either early last year or late 2014, so it will count towards my Rock My TBR Challenge and that I buddy read with my friend LaLa from LaLa in the Library.

And the other one is an eARC I got approved for on NetGalley that releases in March BUT since it's the next book in one of my favourite Urban Fantasy series ever... I just HAD to read it! It counts towards my Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge and contributes to keeping my ratio at 80%!

Vicious (Vicious, #1)Vicious by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first book for #RockMyTBR challenge! And I'm sort of kicking myself for not reading it before. As soon as I read ADSOM, I needed to read anything else Victoria had written, and so I bought this one, but it ended up being packed up in a box way too soon (moving time) but I finally got it out in time to buddy read it with my friend LaLa!

I love how very grey all the characters are, and how unsure you are while reading if everything is part of the plan or not. The first part of the book is told mostly on Victor's POV, and you aren't entirely sure if it's a very sucessful antihero story, an even more successfully done "now I feel bad for the villain dammit" or if it's something in between. Then we see a few more POVs and on the second half we also get Eli's POV, and then things change a bit. You start wondering if the usual labels of villain and hero or even antihero can be applied to either of these two, and how you alternatively keep on switching your allegiance from one to the other.

I think I very much ended up siding with Victor but fuck if I know if he's the hero, the villain or the antihero, and I have to wonder what that says about my moral code... I mean, it's not that I approve about his tactics or his motivations or lack of empathy, but I very much prefer him to Eli so... I dunno? Damn Victoria Schwab making me root for a guy that is the lesser evil? I don't even know!

We keep on switching between present and past, between Victor's revenge plans and the how and somewhat the why Eli and Victor became who they are or even "what" they are now. A lil bit of science, a lil bit of philosophy and a lot of food for thought about powers, responsability, what defines who we are or how we even define ourselves. The ending was quite a twist and once again left me wondering if it had all been planned in advance or if it was as it was only because of the character's change in choices that couldn't be planned... or could they? Seriously, so much that I'm not sure if it's fate or a brilliant strike of planning!

Thankfully, I read the book knowing that there is a sequel, and I'm so very highly and impatiently awaiting! 4 to 4.5 stars to this one!

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Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires, #12)Midnight Marked by Chloe Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, how I loved this one! Chicagoland Vampires is one of 3 adult urban fantasy series that I'm utterly in love with, and that is still going strong and onto book 12 with Midnight Marked. This is the kinda series that I preorder the book as soon as it becomes available on Amazon, and that I usually start reading as soon as it downloads to my Kindle at midnight.

It's a bit mind-blowing to think that only a year has passed between the first book and this one being the twelfth, because SO MUCH STUFF KEEPS ON HAPPENING! These guys can't even go to a damned baseball game without encountering a dead body and finding themselves knee-deep in another crisis!

The cast is extensive because we've met quite a varied group of supernaturals of a type or another, and a few humans too. I love having the Pack back in the picture, along with our favourite vampires from Cadogan house, our resident sorcerers and the best grandfather on that side of the Atlantic.

Merit is a great main character and I like how she's grown so much since she was turned and how she continues to be both resilient, kick arse and vulnerable all at once! She's very much in love with Ethan, Master and alpha male, but she does NOT fail to call him on his bullshit and challenge him when it needs to be done.

Ethan, also known as Darth Sullivan, is alpha male 100% and changes cannot come too easily for a 400 year old vampire, but I like that he is beginning to adapt, even though he still seems uncapable of a proper apology and instead we get what Mallory calls "alphology". He deserved a bit of a smack in the head for failing at being Master and losing his head going all alpha, but nothing that can't be forgiven.

Merit & Mallory's friendship continues to be a joy to read about, and I love how after all that happened, their friendship was tested and strenghtened. I loved seeing them going on double dates, even if they usually end interrupted rudely by murder more often than not.

We get a few interesting answers when it comes to questions unanswered from book 1, and so proving that you never know when something will come back to play a part on what's to come. We also get a few more mentions of a certain prophecy that I hope we'll get more answers to soon, maybe next book?

The ending after the final confrontation with the bad guy seemed a bit... I dunno, cheap? But of course opens up for what might come in the next book(s) and I wonder how things will play up. On the other hand, I'm extremely please with the final surprise in the book and I'm still squeeing about it!!

Only thing that must be noted is how every book seems to be a love letter to Chicago, Chloe Neill never fails to make me want to visit all the places talked about in the books! Is there a Chicagoland Vampires tour yet? There needs to be! Very much deserved 4 stars for this one! When is the next one coming out!?! Waiting a whole year is gonna kill me!!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Now And Again by Jennifer Ellision Blog Tour: Review & Interview!!

Hello there guys!!

Happy Tuesday! Today I'm super happy to be part of the Blog Tour for Now And Again by Jennifer Ellision, hosted and organized by the wonderful ladies of Pen & Muse Press (thank you Jolene, you're a dear!).

I'll have Jennifer over for a super quick interview as well as my own review of the book, and don't miss out on the giveaway at the end of the post, so you can win your own copy of the book!

But before all that, a lil more info about the book!

Now And Again by Jennifer Ellision

 Unemployed. Broke. Maid of Honor.

All (unfortunately) words that describe Em Hayes.

Without any job leads in San Francisco, Em caves to her mother’s promise of free rent and returns home. Her best friend, Nikki, couldn’t be more thrilled. Em’s degree in Event Management is gathering dust, and what better way to put it to use than planning Nikki’s wedding?

There’s just one flaw in that plan: Cole Connors. The girls’ former roommate. And part of the reason Em hasn’t been back since college graduation.

Em’s never been able to forget Cole—or how close they were before she pushed him aside and ran for the hills. Cole’s never forgotten Em either— but in the past two years, she hasn’t given him much choice but to try.

And, according to Nikki, there’s no better pair to plan the wedding of her dreams.

Em’s usually good at squashing messy feelings, but being around Cole again brings them all rushing to the surface.

And this time, she’s not sure she wants to run.

Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.

Jennifer is the author of the YA fantasy series, Threats of Sky and Sea, as well as the New Adult contemporary novel, Now and Again.


I'm not the most avid contemporary reader, and even less if we're talking about contemporary NA, but I have been getting myself to read more contemporaries since last year and I'm happy to report that for the most part, it's been a pleasant surprise after another.

I really love Jennifer Ellision's fantasy series, so giving her contemporary NA a try was a no brainer for me, and as with her fantasy books, she hooked me up from page one!

Em is coming back home and she's none too happy about it, since she run away all the way to the opposite side of the US as soon as she graduated college. And now that she's back, she has to face everything that she run away from.

The book is told in dual POV, Em's and Cole's, and also switches chapters between the NOW of Em coming back to Florida in time for her best friend's engagement party & wedding planning and the THEN of college times so we learn about the past that shaped Em's flight response.

Cole's POV was easier to read than Em's, and he felt quite genuinely a male POV, even when he was jumping off a window to avoid facing a girl he had just broken up with (again?) (sort of?)... He was more upfront and open with his feelings and tried his best to be honest with Em at all times.

Em's POV was harder to read because she was so closed up and refused time and again to face the past and her feelings. She's very much still avoiding everyone that means something for her and continues to ignore her feelings about the past and those rekindled in the present too. But as hard as she was to read at times, it was also very rewarding to see her grow and finally accept that the answer is not running away from pain or help or love.

Alternating the timelines worked great since it helped us understand both Em and Cole better, and I really enjoyed seeing their friendship develop in the past as well as see when & how things changed. I really liked Nikki being the common thread (and friend) that connected them both with the present and the past and the friendship. Nikki was also a lovely character, a great balance to Em's closed up nature.

I must confess to want a bit more after the ending, maybe an epilogue of sorts? It is the perfect resolution for the story told, but I really wanted to see a bit more of what comes next! Despite my need for a lil extra pages, I absolutely enjoyed this one, so 4 very well deserved stars to this contemporary NA!


Hello Jen! Welcome to my lil corner of the blogosphere!

Hi Pili! Thank you for having me! It’s an honor to be here. ^_^

I consider myself a big fan of your fantasy series (cannot wait for book 3!) and was quite surprised when I saw the book you were writing next was a contemporary (that despite contemporary not being my fave genre, I've loved too!). How did the contemporary bug bite you? Anything in particular that inspired you to switch genres?

Buckle in for a long answer, haha. Now and Again was actually the first book I ever wrote, though the published book is very different from what the first drafts looked like. It was my first NaNoWriMo project, my first project that wasn’t fanfiction, and it has its roots in a short piece I wrote for one of my Creative Writing workshop classes in college.

But 1) My female main character, Em was really a tough nut to crack. I couldn’t figure out why she pulled away from Cole (her love interest and the male main character) so much when I knew that she wanted him. And 2) I didn’t have the practiced skill to turn the book into something that I felt was worthwhile. I reluctantly shelved it and spent a couple of years reading more than I ever had before, writing a little fanfiction to remind me what I loved about writing, and starting what would become my first published book, the YA fantasy Threats of Sky and Sea.

Flash-forward to me cleaning out my closet one day and coming across the binder that housed the bare bones of Now and Again. Somewhat afraid of how bad it would be, I read everything I’d
written all those years ago and I realized that I finally knew what made Em tick. And I knew I had to tell her story, so I started the book all over again.

I really enjoyed having the dual POVs on the book. Did you plan it that way from the start? Who was your favourite character to write? Cole or Em?

Oooo, this is tough. Cole’s voice came through for me a lot clearer, so sometimes he was my favorite just because he was much easier. He was a relief to write after the struggle that was Em.

But, there’s something to be said for the challenge of Em. She was never easy to write, but once I understood what made her tick, I connected with her on a level that I really haven’t ever connected with a character before. Em isn’t really cold—she just uses it to hide a vulnerability. She doesn’t hate love or commitment—the idea of letting someone have the power to hurt her just terrifies her. And if I’m honest, those are things I completely understand.

So, I guess I have to go with Em. She’s my girl. ^_^;

The changing timeline from now to then worked great for the book, giving us lil tidbits here and teasing us to discover more. Was it always planned like that?

For the most part, yes! I definitely knew that I wanted to tell both the story of “Now” and the story of “Then.” I toyed briefly with the idea of making it a bit more linear in structure--making the big chunk of “Then” come before the big chunk of “Now”-- instead of a chapter here and there interspersed throughout. But I didn’t even attempt it. It just didn’t feel right.

Thank you so much for being here Jen! 

Thank you again for having me!


Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win 1 of 3 e-copies of Now And Again!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mark These Books Monday: ARC Reviews Blackhearts & Beyond The Red!!

Hello there guys!

Last week I totally failed on the blogging front! I only had my Monday reviews up and then I was distracted reading, working, feeling rather crappy and completely stuck on review writing... so I'm gonna be upping it up this week and I hope to get as many reviews up as possible! Also, finally got to the ever ellusive 80% ratio on Netgalley, so YAY!! Now, the hardest part... to keep it!!

Starting the week right with another edition of Mark These Books Monday, I have two 2016 debuts, but only one of them will count towards my 2016 Debut Author Challenge as well as my NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge, because one of them I read in Dec'15 and I had failed to review it till now!

Beyond the RedBeyond the Red by Ava Jae

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fantastic debut indeed! I really got a "classic science fiction" feel from this one, and although it was more focused on the plot and the action than the world building, the author did a really great job with establishing the setting.

The books is told in dual POV from halfbreed Eros, that lives with the human refugees, and queen Kora, the first female ruler of her territory in many generations. The book starts with them in very different places and situations but soon they cross paths and change each other's lives.

We can easily picture ourselves in the red desert camp, among the humans that are making their life there as best as they can, and we can easily picture ourselves into the city that Kora rules, feeling quite intrigued about the kind of society that she lives in, and the kind of political war she finds herself involved in. I kept on wishing for a bit more of in-depth explanations about the past history, because we get some lil bits here and there, with legends and stories and snippets, but I wanted more!

Humans & aliens, although technically the humans should be the aliens since they're the ones not indigenous to the planet (and no, it is not Mars, even if the Red bit of the title made me think it'd be) with an us vs them relationship based on discrimination, hate and political power plays. The resentment was clear but the fact that Eros as a halfbreed existed also made me wonder about how different both species could be and if there might not be closer ties than the ones we know about?

The relationship between Kora and Eros moves from the only way out of a really bad situation for Eros to a reluctant alliance to a more solid one, and there's attraction quite clear there. Eros sees that a position of power isn't exactly free of pain, hurdles or doubts, and sees that despite his anger & pain, helping Kora might very well be the lesser of two evils. Kora finds an ally with no political designs that she feels she can trust and one that shows her a different light on her situation as a ruler and what she thought she knew about humans too. Part forbidden relationship, part unbalance of power, their interactions & the way the relationship changes and progresses is great.

I already said the action is quite non-stop and we also get quite a few revelations, although some of them were easier to suspect than others. Once the main one happened, there others were easier to see coming, although after that ending, I'm not really sure what will come next and I really hope there will be a next! It could be a rather open ending and be left at that, but I'm really hoping that we'll get a sequel and with it more answers to questions about the past!

Well deserved 4 stars to this science fiction debut!

BlackheartsBlackhearts by Nicole Castroman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blackhearts was initially not one of my most awaited debuts of the year, I cannot pinpoint why because I like stories about pirates but for some reason I was a bit undecided. But then I saw a few super positive reviews for it and Sarah (The YA Book Traveller) made her book trailer and I was absolutely pumped for the book!

Being approved after being not approved for it my Simon Pulse on EW seemed like a sign that I had to read the book ASAP, and so I did! And guess what? Another fantastic debut that I'm beyond glad I didn't miss!

Just keep one thing in mind, Blackhearts is not a story about pirate adventures, pillage and battles. Blackhearts is all about the unknown and untold backstory of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.

Blackhearts is a character driven novel, told in dual POV from both Teach and Anne Barrett. Anne is mixed race and is employed as a maid at Teach's father's house, but she's got too much spirit for a maid and her looks set her apart and make people suspicious or underestimate her. At first that makes her clash with Teach but soon enough that changes.

Teach has just returned from spending a year at sea and he doesn't want to go back to fold into his father's expectations and society's norms. He wants to return to be the man he was on the ship, where he was valued for himself and the choices he made, not the choices others make for him, or climbing the social ladder.

Teach and Anne first meetings are rather clashing and quite fun to read about too. And the way their relationship progressed from Anne hitting him (not on him) to them finding they understand each other much better than they could ever expect given their different backgrounds.

I loved the setting and how very much immersed into the story and the time I was. And I was so very easily drawn to both Teach and Anne and their budding relationship. I really appreciated Anne's fierceness and determination and Teach's open mindness and the way he looked at people's worth as themselves and not their social status or connections.

The ending was quite open and rather cruel too, and I'm really hoping there will be a sequel so we'll get a bit more on the story of Teach and Anne, and a bit more of pirate adventures too! Still, very much deserved 4 stars for this debut! Don't miss it!!

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Mark These Books Monday: ARC Reviews of NEED & An Inheritance of Ashes!!

Hello there guys!

Mondays off are one of those lovely treats, aren't they? Today I really must catch up on some house chores and also run a few errands, but I'm hoping to also have some time to relax and read a lil bit, or maybe just go back and continue binge watching BSG on Netflix... who knows??

For this week's Mark These Books Monday I have two reviews of eARCs that I got approved for quite a while back on Netgalley but I never got around to reading in time, so now they're part of my Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge and my ongoing battle for finally reaching the 80% ratio (and keeping it!).

NEEDNEED by Joelle Charbonneau

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

NEED was one of those books that I requested because they sounded extremely interesting: social media and teens using it to get what they really wanted with no concern for what they have to do in exchange... Sounds really cool! It also was a Read it Now when I got it on Netgalley.

Then release date rolled over, I couldn't fit it into my schedule and fast forward till I had a conversation with a friend about it and I remembered I had the eARC somewhere in my Kindle!

NEED was a very fast read and one that had me turning pages rather fast wondering if what I was figuring about it would be right or not. With multiple POVs it could have felt slow or cumbersome, but given that they were also short chapters for the most part, they didn't seem to slow the pacing as much. I know other people have said that some POVs seemed pointless to them, but for me it showed the outreach of the website and different people's reaction to the website, their actions and the consequences of those actions.

But the moment the big reveals started to happen... I was disappointed. I can't really go on in depth about why because I would spoil the ending and climax for everyone of course, but it just made me think, and I'm sorry all my dear US friends, "oh come, yet another typical American movie move". It felt like very typical combination of a blockbuster + conspiracy theory... just... gah.

Given how disappointing the ending was for me, I cannot give this one more than 3 stars and only because it was an interesting take on social media and the freedom to forget about being responsible from our acts & choices that seems to be inherent to anonimity sometimes, and the mob factor. Multiple POV was also done well for me, but nothing can take away how disappointing the ending was.

An Inheritance of AshesAn Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some books have slow beginnings peppered with enough small bits here and there that make you want to keep on reading to see if it delivers what it promised, and this one is one of those. From 40% onwards it became better and better and ended up earning 4 stars.

An Inheritance of Ashes is one of those books that needs to be given a chance because they develop slowly and hides its secrets quite well. For a good part of the book I wasn't sure if it should even be considered fantasy because despite the mentions of the Wicked God and the presence of the Twisted Things, what we get is two sisters at odds, trying to survive in the aftermath of a war and the trials and tribulations that come with that.

The biggest strengh of this book lies in the characters and the story & relationship between the two sisters and their struggle to survive. Hallie and Martha have to deal with their family history, the losses from the war and being alone in running the whole homestead on their own. The book is told from Hallie's POV but we get to see that things might not always be as she perceives them.

And the secondary characters aren't any less strong, meeting the neighbours that love the girls as family, even if sometimes the sisters feel like they have to prove they don't need help. Tyler, Nat & their family weren't without issues on their own, but dealt with them differently and provided with a great balance for the sisters.

I said it before, sometimes I struggled with the book till I reached the 40% mark, because I wasn't sure where it all was going, or wasn't sure about the world building, but after the 40% mark I was well and truly hooked, not only because everything started to come together both plot and world building wise, but because the character development continued to grow and expand and the interactions between the characters grew even more complex as new revelations started to drop here and there.

The mix of magical world of fantasy and the feeling of historical fiction/period drama was so well done. So much about the mistrust between family members, living within a lie to protect yourself, and consequences of war and how it changes you when you're lucky enough to return from it. This book is one wonderful study on human nature and how we shape or relationships with those around us with our fears and hopes and secrets and not only how the others act.

And once thing I haven't been able to stop thinking about was a conversation about help, how we need to make sure when we're offering help to others is NOT to offer things we want to do for them, but to make sure to ASK them what is the help that they really NEED. I will have to look up the exact quote because I really need to have it up somewhere in some shape, because I feel it is SO relevant and so important!

As I already said, the last 60% of the book really earnt itself the final 4 star rating and I'm very glad I got the chance to read it!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Saturday Pages: NIL & NIL Unlocked by Lynne Matson!!

Hey there guys!

Saturday is here and although I have to work this weekend, I'm quite glad that I'm rather recovered from my stupid cold and I won't be a snot mess at work.

For this week's Saturday Pages I have a new series I have absolutely fallen in love with, and I must thank Paula Stokes for insisting that I read NIL already! It might have taken me a while, but now I'm up to date with the trilogy and bitting my nails waiting for the final book!!

Nil (Nil, #1)Nil by Lynne Matson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 to 4.5 stars! I just couldn't stop turning the pages! NIL was a fantastic book with great characters and relationships between them and amazing mysteries and tension that reminded me so much of all that I loved from LOST (before it got too twisted & weird and stopped making sense!)!!

The book starts with Charley going on about her day until she encounters something that takes her away from her hometown and leaves her, naked, on an island in the middle of nowhere. I really liked how Charley tried to figure things out, tried not to panic (much) and started preparing to survive. Once she got to NIL city, we discover more about the island and its rules and its current inhabitants. I really liked Charley's voice, she understandably reluctant at first, but soon she found herself wanting not to just get through her own days & escape but also wanted to make a difference and figure things out.

Thad is the current leader of the city and the second POV in the book, Charley being the first one. Thad's been on the island for a while and he's trying to do his best to keep the rest of the group safe. He was taken in the same fashion as Charley, as were the rest of the island inhabitants, and he's got a very level head as a leader, although he has his moments as a teenager guy. His voice felt very genuine and he was so passionate about snowboarding and wanting to get his life back & help others do the same too.

NIL itself feels like a character in the book, ever ellusive, never sure if it's good or bad or even sentient to a point? Probably it's more the influence that being there in the island has on the characters, but you are never really sure.

I loved how we started digging on the mysteries of NIL, how we met so many characters and we managed to end up caring for so many of them, unwisely so, given how unforgiving the rules of NIL are, and I couldn't get enough of the interactions & links between the different characters and how each one of them brought something different to NIL & the group, and how NIL affected them differently.

The relationship between Charley & Thad might seem to progress at a rather fast pace, but given the high stakes on the island and how it feels like its own universe, for some reason it worked really well for me!

So yeah, all that I loved about LOST (at least the first 3 seasons, because I stopped watching after that) in book form, with mysteries, high stakes and characters you really get to care about it. Very much deserved 4 stars for Lynne's debut!

Nil UnlockedNil Unlocked by Lynne Matson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NIL Unlocked was one of those fantastic sequels that maintain the feel & magic that you fell in love with in the first book, but also manages to build everything up, and in this case, it is done adding more hints and revelations about the mysteries of NIL.

We got back to NIL and to characters that we've already met, but we also have someone new, Skye, and she's not your usual NIL newbie... She's got inside knowledge and she's also been trained by her dad to survive on tough conditions and tropical islands. She also doesn't arrive in the island by the same usual method and by doing so discovers so much more about the island's secrets and past.

The other POV aside from Skye is Rives, someone we already met in the first book, and a character I liked already, but seeing him here and being in his head while trying to be a good leader and figure out NIL made me like him even more.

I really liked finding out more about what made NIL what it currently is and if only a little bit of what it used to be, as it's always the case with me, I always WANT more. I really liked some of the new characters that get to the island and how their perspective could be very different from those that had been there for longer, how the place you come from can change the way you view NIL... Hell, heaven or purgatory, or simply a place to survive through, or a place to escape from...

In this one I felt like NIL as a somewhat sentient entity was stronger, given how much it felt like that for both Rives & Skye, and how things seemed to align somehow... I'm still unsure if it's really like that, or if it was a case of finding what you're looking for in events, but was some good food for thought when it came to pondering theories in this one!

Rives & Skye made a great team, both romantically & as fighting-against-NIL team mates. It really took them a while to bow down to the pressure of time-ticking and let go of their doubts, but I really liked how their relationship build up.

I was fearing a much more heart-wrenching cliffhanger, so I was relieved when it didn't happen. For sure there's a mystery to be solved and something to finish & get sorted once and for all, but my worst fears didn't realize and for that I'm extremely thankful to Lynne!

Once again, NIL Unlocked was exactly what I had wanted LOST (after season 3) to be and it wasn't! Very much deserved 4.5 to 5 stars to this one! Cannot wait to get my hands on the final book!! Is it May yet??

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Reads: The Storyspinner & The Skylighter by Becky Wallace!!

Hiya there!

Friday is here and with it my only real day off this week! I really ought to be doing some chores, but all I want to do is read... oh well, a bit of both with happen I'm sure!

For this week's Friday Reads I have the two books of a duology up for review! One of them was read in 2015 and should count towards my 2015 Debuts Challenge because it was the author's debut, and since I was extremely lucky to be approved for the sequel on Edelweiss (after being rejected first), the second and final book in the duology counts towards my 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge!

The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1)The Storyspinner by Becky  Wallace

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh boy, how much did I enjoy this one!! A lovely debut with multiple POV done right, a wonderful storytelling style and fantastic world building! I'm beyond happy to have the sequel at hand because I need to know what happens next!!

The story of The Storyspinner is one that might seem familiar, with a secret that I could see coming from the very beginning, but its strenght was not in doing something completely new, but in getting the very well known and rehearsed and giving it new life!

The setting is both unique and familiar because it's Brazilian/Portuguese rooted and well, Portugal is my neighbour and all that. I loved how the world was more than what you see at first, but never exactly what you would expect. I loved the Performers based both on the Romani and on the original wandering circuses, and how they are their own culture and society, but are not completely isolated from their surrounding society.

Joanna was a great character, with her flaws that made her more real and her love for her family that never wavered, no matter what befell them, ready to do what was necessary for their well being.

Rafi is the new Duke, inherited his position on his father's death and it's trying to do the best job that he can, even when things and people end up in his way, turning his world upside down!

The story is told from different alternating POVs and follows two different but colliding stories, one with Joanna & Rafi and their families and political issues, and another with Jacaré, Pira, Leão & Tex on their mission to infiltrate the neighbouring kingdom to restore the magical barrier that separates both kingdoms. I don't always like alternating multiple POVs, but here they were done so very well! No repeat information, no dragging the pacing or jarring it and we just simply keep on getting more and more information.

There is romance, and a hate to love, slow burn kind of romance that I really enjoyed! I also liked that even when the feelings came out, things didn't get resolved instantly. The couple needs to learn to communicate better and to work on resolving issues, and a kiss doesn't magically fix it, but they both agree to work on the issues but put the current live threatening circumstances first. There's another romance that is not hate to love, but that was also rather easy to see for everyone but those involved and that made me want to knock their heads together!

The biggest complain would be the cliffhanger, but since I read this one with an ARC of the sequel in my hands, let's say it didn't bother me as much as it would have otherwise! Just be aware that there is a rather cruel one here!

A fantastic debut, with everything that I love about fantasy and making it feel fresh! Very much deserved 4 stars for this one!

The SkylighterThe Skylighter by Becky  Wallace

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Confession time, when I requested The Skylighter, I thought it was the middle book in a trilogy, not the last book in a duology, so when I found out about that, I was a bit disappointed. I had only just started it and everything was getting more and more dire and I was as much in love with it as with the first book if not more, so I wanted more time with this story and characters!

Not to say that the book was a disappointment because it was anything but! It was action filled with a few extra twists and the urgency of the different missions was even greater than it was in the first book.

Aside from Joanna, Rafi, Jacaré, Leao and Pira's POV, this time we also get Dom's, Rafi's lil brother, and how I loved his POV! He seemed like the most fun of the two brothers, the yin to Rafi's excess of responsability's yang, and here we see how he's much more than just the funny guy. How he deals with responsabilites that used to be his brother's and with threats that come from unexpected places but also finds unexpected allies and even more unexpected traitors. Dom had to be by far my favourite character of the book!

Joanna and Rafi continue being adorable and irksome at the same time, and continue butting their heads as they try to find a way around the new revelations and what they ought to do to protect the kingdom and what to do once that has been achieved. They have great growth both as separate characters as well as together.

We get some new allies but mostly we get some new villains, new revelations from a few new grey characters that add more to the secrets that some of our characters seem to be keeping (ahem, Jacaré) and many more surprises added to what we thought we knew about other characters!

I really loved the pace and the development of the plot in the book, filled with small details everywhere that expanded on the world building and made it a distinctive place. I couldn't stop turning the pages fast enough although sometimes I dreaded what might happen in the next page! A fantastic continuation and finale to this duology, very much deserving of 4 to 4.5 stars!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tell Me Tuesdays #35!!

Tell Me Tuesdays is a meme/feature created by the awesome 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!

Into The Dim by Janet B Taylor

“Seventy-two hours, then we have to be back at the clearing. Sunrise on the third day.”

Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t help her fit in with her adoptive dad’s perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope’s undoing.

Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

 An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

 Six months ago, the men of the lakelands marched south to fight a dark god.

Weeks after the final battle was won, sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister, Marthe, are still struggling to maintain their family farm—and are waiting for Marthe’s missing husband to return. After a summer of bitter arguments, Hallie is determined to get Roadstead Farm through the winter—and keep what’s left of her family together, despite an inheritance destined to drive them apart.

But when Hallie hires a wandering veteran in a bid to save the farm, every phantom the men marched south to fight arrives at her front gate. Spider-eyed birds circle the fields, ghostly messages writes themselves on the riverbank, and soon Hallie finds herself keeping her new hired hand’s despite desperate secrets—and taking dangerous risks. But as she fights to keep both the farm and her new friend safe, ugly truths about her own family are emerging—truths that, amid gods, monsters, and armies, might tear Roadstead Farm apart.

Leah Bobet’s stark, beautiful fantasy explores the aftermath of the battles we fight and the slow, careful ways love can mend broken hearts—and a broken world.

I was lucky enough to grab Into The Dim when it was a Read It Now on NetGalley, and An Inheritance of Ashes is one of my backlogged eARCs that I didn't get to read on time, so now I'm working on my list to try and finally achieve and consolidate the ever ellusive 80% ratio! Right now I'm at 79%... SO CLOSE!!

 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, January 11, 2016

Mark These Books Monday: ARC Review of Night Study & The Abyss Surrounds Us!!

Hello there guys!

Monday for me this week also means back to work since I had the weekend off (as most people tend to, but a once a month occasion for a nurse like me). I spent it reading & catching up on shows and sorting the library room!

For this week's Mark These Books Monday I have two books that I read in 2016 and that also count towards my challenges of the year (YAY me!). One of them even counts for three challenges: 2016 Debut Author, Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge (since both are eARCs, both count for this one) and the Diverse Books 2016 Reading Challenge!

Night Study (Soulfinders, #2)Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Action filled, with many twists and surprises, very many unexpected surprises that are changing the game as we knew it and that are keeping the series fresh and me turning pages like there's no tomorrow!

Shadow Study left us with quite a bomb and thankfully Night Study picks up right there where we were left, with Yelena and Valek as a team, trying to figure out things together. I so love that as the series progresses these two continue to make a fantastic team, facing threats together and without pointless drama.

Things are more dire than ever, Yelena without her magic and no idea how to get it back, Valek with his torn loyalties and his fierce need to protect Yelena but trying not to be a traitor to the Commander... and twisting and complex net where their enemies are getting the upper hand and refuse to stay dead.

The pacing in this one was neck-breaking and I could barely turn the pages fast enough to see how they'd get themselves out of the very dire situations and dangers they kept finding themselves. Working together or apart Yelena and Valek and their allies/friends/family are always a great team, even if this team all their efforts are barely enough to keep their heads above the water!

There were even more surprises and shocks and twists in this one, that I wasn't expecting, that made a lot of sense but that were real game changers once again! The death toll is also starting to raise and I'm beginning to get worried for my fave secondary characters, because the prospects are are dire and things are looking more and more grim by the moment!

Another fantastic installment in the newly extended series, and frankly with the way the author is keeping things spinning, I'm looking forward to many more books, although I don't know if this was planned as an extra trilogy?? Either way, I'll be bitting my nails here waiting for the next book! Very much deserved 4 stars for this one!

The Abyss Surrounds UsThe Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tough as nails lady pirates, monsters from the deep, and a slow burn romance with a cruel twist at the end, this was a wild ride that had me glued to my Kindle! Proper review to come, but I need a sequel like NOW!!

We meet Cassandra on her regular life, and we learn as the pages pass about the world we are in, with a few conversations here and there to add to the knowledge of the set up and the way it's changed from ours. Not a full info dump, and we don't know all the details of how or why, but enough to figure out the differences and get a clear idea of where we stand.

But soon enough the real action starts and Cassandra has her world turned upside down. Her first solo mission as a Reckoner trainer ends in failure and death and she finds herself among the same pirates she's always fought against, and what's more, finds herself with torn loyalties and scrambling around for a way to survive and keep doing what she thinks is right.

Once the pirates enter the book, we have this cast of grey and extremely interesting characters that shake Cas' world in ways that she really didn't expect. Cas always grows as a character tremendously, doing her best to survive and trying to hold onto the sense of right and wrong that was her moral compass before, but also discovering that not everything is so black and white and that people aren't always so black & white either.

I loved how gender stereotypes are subverted in many small ways and how in the narrative and the world, they are what they are, not challeged and not taken as exceptions. Santa Elena is a ruthless, tough as nails pirate that can chop off fingers and care for her son and conquer a boat with him strapped to her back or celebrate a victory wearing a ball gown. A father can be the one to stay home to care for the kids while the mothers come and go to the sea and might never come back. No one doubts what a girl can or cannot do because of their gender.

The relationship between Cas & Bao, her new Reckoner charge is quite complex, because she doesn't want to train him as Santa Elena wants him trained, she resents him for his own nature and how it traps her because of her knowlegde, but still, it's always a close bond between trainer & Reckoner.

And there's a fantastic romance, with a great slow burn and a girl that recognizes her feelings but also see how messed up the situation is and doesn't exactly throw herself into the mess anyways. It's still used against her, it's still full of chemistry and heartache and fantastic, and it's a lesbian romance (YAY diversity!). I was rooting for them both all through the book and was quite shocked and shaken at the end because holy spoilers Batman!

I'm so very glad we do have a sequel coming next year (it's written and all!!) because although this ends in a open but bearable way plot wise... emotionally... nope, unresolved as hell! Very much deserved 4 stars for this fantastic debut!

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Saturday Pages: Their Fractured Light & The Darkest Minds!!!

Hiya there guys!!

I'm having the weekend off and so far not many plans other than reading and binge watching something on Netflix (quite probably Daredevil, so I'll be up to date once the second season comes out). And maybe getting some sushi for dinner if I do some around the house chores too ;)

For this first Saturday Pages of the new year I have another two books that I read in 2015 but I had failed to review yet!

Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Starbound series has been a joy to my science fiction lover soul since I first got my hands on the first book, and now that I've read and loved the third and final one, my only complain is there I won't have any more of them to look forward to.

On Their Fractured Light not only we get alternating chapters of Gideon & Sofia's POV, but also there are some small... interludes I'd call them, with a different voice or voices that really do add some much to the story and bring the three books together in a rather unexpected way too!

Gideon and Sofia are a fantastic couple although their relationship ends up being complex and twisted due to their very own natures and their secrets. I really enjoyed how even lying to each other they found truths to hold on about each other, their own selves and what they really wanted to do and what risks were worth taking.

I was also very happy to see Flynn & Jubilee and Lilac & Tarver back! Getting them all as a big team, despite some hitches along the way was fantastic, because I loved having the other four back and they still didn't take away from Gideon & Sofia's spotlight!

There were some series twists and unexpected things dropped on us that really left me reeling and shocked and very very concerned for how my dears will save the day after the severly mind & heartwrenching twists were thrown into the story! I cannot say any more because big spoilers obviously, but wow... Amie & Meagan know how to throw things at you that both surprise you, break you and still make a lot of sense!

Quite simply put an amazing book and the perfect ending to this very beloved trilogy! Great characters, fantastic plot not only on this book but the overall for the whole trilogy! Irrestible science fiction, space opera style! Extremely deserving of 5 stars (with their respective star systems!).

My only complain? I don't think I'm ready to say goodbye to these characters!! I need more!! Maybe an extra epilogue? A novella? Something!!

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved dystopian stories with an absolute passion till I got really burned on them, one of those problems of reading too much in the same genre, and so I have not read any dystopians and have been avoiding them for the past year. BUT, I had the whole series in my Kindle for quite a while and decided to read at least the first book to get myself acquainted with Alexandra Bracken's writing before diving into Passenger.

And soon enough I remembered why I used to love dystopian stories, why I rooted for their characters and why I was so hooked on them that I ended up burning myself up. The Darkest Minds is full of action, dangers, great characters and twisted plot that leave you breathless and a darkness and danger that cannot be discounted as something imagined and unprobable. Yes, mental powers are not likely to come after an illness, but the way the government and society reacted? Yep, not unlikely at all!

Ruby was an amazing character to root for, to worry about and to feel like smacking on the head on very rare occasions. Given her past and her fears, I could understand and forgive some of her less than stellar choices, thankfully rare as they were. I loved how she didn't want to be a leader or take risks at first, but she steps up when she knows she has to and when she needs to protect those she cares about.

I was very distraught about the ending because of the sacrificies that she makes, but since this is the first book in the trilogy, I'm both excited and scared to see what twists will come in the next books and to read about Ruby's journey!

Very much deserved 4 stars to the book that returned my love for dystopian books!

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Reads: The Rose Society & The Iron Warrior!!

Hey there guys!

Friday is once again and even if for a moment I thought it was the first Friday of the new year, it's actually the second... Apparently I didn't realize Jan 1st was Friday *rolls eyes at self*

Anyways! It is the first Friday Reads of the year! And since I have such a backlog, I'm gonna have two mini reviews of books I read on December as part of the Diverse December challenge! And not only that but The Rose Society was my Alyssa Recommends book for December!!

The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #3)The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After finishing The Iron Traitor I was in absolute shock because THAT ENDING! Talk about an awful cliffhanger! But as soon as the cover & synopsis for this one was revealed, we could breathe again.

I must confess the way things got turned around and shown to have been solved in between books felt a lil bit like cheating, and maybe that was why I wasn't as 100% emotionally invested in the series as I was with all the previous books? I don't know...

Despite that new distance from the story, I really enjoyed this book. Ethan & Kenzie are fantastic together and I love how well Kenzie can deal with the Fae and their tricks, far much better than our dear Ethan, even if he finally grows out of his irrational first gut reaction of rejection for everything Fae.

Keirran's path was a complicated one in this one, after all he was quite clearly The Iron Traitor in the previous book, but I'm glad that even Ethan never really gave up on him, even when he had the best of reasons to do so.

The book is as usual full of Fae politics, even more if you had the Between & the Forgotten to the usual courts. But I was really glad to see Meghan standing her own toe to toe with the likes of Oberon and Maab. It is also full of traipsing through the NeverNever, some areas that are new to us, and old friends that we meet again. And it is also full of the trademark humour that I've got used to in this series. And I'm really glad about the humour because Julie Kagawa really managed to outdo herself on the creepiness in this one... Three words: Creepy Carnival Clowns! *shudders*

The ending was quite satisfying as far as Ethan & Kenzie is concerned, because we see their relationship solidify but in a very realistic way back on the human world! The cheating feeling also nagged me a lil bit on the climax, but at the same time I think it was satisfying and well done. Maybe I was expecting more and was scared of more emotional torture and when we didn't got through it I was left feeling a bit flat? I don't know. Still, I really ended up enjoying it so it gets 3.5 stars!

The Rose Society (The Young Elites, #2)The Rose Society by Marie Lu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't think I've loved a villain like this since... Darth Vader maybe? And that's saying something since I am a massive Star Wars geek!

Adelina is the villain of this story, but since this is mostly her story is way too easy to forget about that and root for her in ways I wouldn't have otherwise!

Marie Lu really is an amazing & skillful writer, she manages to make us see things from Adelina's POV and not such in the simple sense of writing from her POV, but actually making us feel for Adelina, and even following her justifications and agreeing with them! You barely realize sometimes the descent into the madness (and the dark side, so to speak) that she's undergoing until there is a change of POV and your able to pull yourself out of Adelina's head

Adelina is our bad guy, and quite a very scary one at that, but given the actions of the rest of the characters, I'm not really sure who all I'd call the good guys, because none of them are really in the clear, and that's probably the most fantastic part of this book, how in the grey everyone is. Black and white is quite inexistent here, and writing this characters and making you feel for them... masterful!

The relatonships between the characters keep on being as nuanced and complicated as they were in the first book but even more, adding more twists to the trust/lack of trust, fear and love that bound the whole cast together!

I just cannot say anything more without risking some spoilers, and I really want to avoid that! Sufice to say that the plot thickens and twists in ways you probably won't expect, the characters are simply brilliant and fantastic and scary and Marie Lu is a bit of a genius! Very much deserved 4.5 stars to this one! I'm really not sure what to expect from the next book!

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Challenges: Diverse Reads Book Challenge hosted by Read Sleep Repeat!!

Hello there guys!

Here I am with yet another reading challenge for 2016 and this is my fifth one!! I feel like I'm getting myself into trouble with so many challenges to keep track of, but I'm hoping I can do decently well at this!

The moment I saw Shelly from Read Sleep Repeat talking about this challenge I knew I'd be joining it! The 2016 Diverse Reads Book Challenge is hosted by Read Sleep Repeat and Chasing Faerytales and it's a way to help us read more diverse books!

I'm gonna be copy-pasting all the relevant info for the challenge so I can keep it handy on my blog, but HERE is Shelly's original post, where you can also sign up for the challenge!!

The Rules:
  • Read books that are diverse.
  • The MC must be part of a diverse group*
Defined by We Need Diverse Books: We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.
  • The book can be set in a diverse setting, but not necessarily
  • #Ownvoices stories (stories about marginalized groups written by a member of that marginalized group) are widely encouraged as well! Promoting diverse books by diverse authors is important.
  • If the book is a fantasy it can be based on/inspired by a diverse mythology or folklore ( E.g. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh)
  • If the book is a sci fi or dystopia, it has to be based on a dystopian country that’s not USA. ( E.g. Cinder by Marissa Meyer)
  • Intersectionality is encouraged.
  • The novels don’t have to be YA, but as we are YA bloggers, those are probably the novels we are more likely to read
The Logistics:
  • This challenge will run from the 1st of January 2016 to the 31st of December 2016.
  • You can join in anytime you want.
  • This challenge is meant to be a personal goal challenge to help find more diverse novels and to read more diversely.
  • There are no levels/points! You can read as much or as little as you’d like, this is a personal goal and is mainly individualized
  • To join the challenge, add your sign up post to the link up at the bottom of the post. You can include your TBR for the challenge if you want, but it’s not a requirement. Your sign up post can be a separate post or a part of a giant list of all your 2016 reading challenges. Anything is fine.

My personal goal is going to be to read at least 24 diverse books, 2 per month! Since I can combine this with my other challenges for the year, I'm thinking it'll be rather manageable, but at the very least I plan to read 12, one per month!!

How to choose what books to read when is usually a bit complicated for me, so I'm gonna be following the guidelines & themes that they have as a sort of guide for each couple of months!:
  • January-March: Ethnic diversity
  • April-June: LGBTQIA+ diversity
  • July-September: Religious diversity
  • October-December: Mental and physical health and disabilities.               
I already have one book ready to be read in my TBR pile for this month that fits the Ethnic diversity suggestion, so I just need to check my list for another and I'll be set!

Are you joining this challenge? What books would you recommend that have ethnic diversity?