Monday, October 6, 2014

Early Unraveling of Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Series: Snow Like Ashes Book One
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: October 14, 2014

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
  photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg 



***


My Thoughts



A copy was provided through Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for review consideration

Snow Like Ashes is a hard book to rate. It wasn't bad but it wasn't that good either. It had all the right elements but not enough of them. 

Characters. We have Meira our MC, all she wants to do is prove herself to Sir and to Winter, to prove that she matters, that she's needed. She is feisty, she fight back, she is smart, but she isn't smart enough, her fighting back sometimes turns into just being bratty and her feistyness turns annoying at times. I didn't like Mather and sure as hell didn't like Sir, the rest of the characters were all too superficial to really say if I liked them or not, they were just there.

World building. I liked it, but I wouldn't have minded some more from it. It's obvious why the Seasons are called Seasons. They are perpetually in that season, but why are the Rhythms called Rhythms? What makes them them? Primoria didn't always have magic, so how was it before then? We get a convulted history of how magic came to be in Primoria, but It's still a bit superficial. I don't understand how the conduits work exactly, how they are tied to the bloodline and the country instead of just anyone getting the item and using it. Basically why are they special if the process of imbuing the item was the same? And what exactly can you do with it? What are their limitations? This was all very vague.

Plot. Saw it coming a mile away. This was actually a really bad thing. Usually predicting what's going to happen isn't neccesarily bad, you just lose a bit of that sense of suspense and surprise. The problem with that here was that, not only did I know what was going to happen by the 10% mark, Raasch kept throwing glaring hints throughout the book and I had to keep gritting my teeth and just waiting till it was finally revealed, and it was frustrating as hell. I know what's going to happen, you don't need to keep throwing not-so-subtle hints in my face and then doing absolutely nothing about it! When it finally came I was just glad they had all caught up with the program so we could get to the juicy part. Which we did, but it was short lived and obvious and I just wanted more. 

Another thing was the motivation behind this whole book. The driving force of Angar destroying Winter. I know why Cordell wants in I just don't get why Angar is so ruthless in his take down of Winter. If it was because of the magic, he should have done the same with Autumn, Spring, and Summer, but he didn't. It was always against Winter. Sure now that Autumn is weak he'll go in for the kill. It's an opportunity, it's not what he is doing to Winter. His answer when Meira asks? Winter is standing in the way of his power...Whatever the hell that means. After reading the whole book and still not even getting an understanding behind the driving force of the plot is just not done. Even if I had the wrong one, but at the time it felt right is more than enough, but not left wondering what's the point of the book.

Romance. Yes, there is a love triangle. No, it's not a good one. I don't even know why it's needed. I could have done without and saved myself about 20% of the book dealing with this crap. It was annoying. I did however like Theron, so there is that.

Pacing. It was way off. Starts strong for the first 10% then just drags like hell for another 40% then it picks up again, then drags a bit again for another 10-20% and then we finally get to the good part which only lasted 30%. 

I could have done without close to half the book basically. Seriously, this could have been condensed a lot and invested instead a lot more in the last part. Would have made for a far more interesting book. If you are wondering how bad it dragged, I was ready to give up at the 43% mark and while it did get better it just wasn't enough.



So...

Would I Recommend it?



***

Other books in the Snow Like Ashes Trilogy:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Early Unraveling of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Title: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
Series: N/A
Author: Sara Farizan
Genre: YA LGBT Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Both personal and universal, this is a compelling story about high school, family and owning up to who you really are. Farizan is just the voice YA needs right now. Trust me, you'll be glad you listened. --Sarah Dessen

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual.

Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia's confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own."
  photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg 



***


My Thoughts



A copy was provided through NetGalley and Algonquin Books for review consideration

My first f/f book and it was a pleasantly good one filled with great humor.

I'm a sucker for a book that makes me laugh, and this one accomplished that multiple times. I could relate so much to all these wonderful characters it was a joy.
"I don't know, Leila. I kind of feel like running today."
"Are you kidding me? Why do you want to kill yourself for no reason?"
"It's not for no reason. Running can be an enjoyable experience." I look at her in bewilderment.
I loved Leila for the most part. I just didn't like how she was when she was around Saskia, but other than that she was awesome. She was very down to earth, clever, funny, and sweet. She is very thoughtful towards her friends and fiercely protective of them. She can also fake an illness like it's nobody's business. Bear in mind her dad is a doctor.
So I've been faking sick for three days. I decided on a stomachache as my illness, since it doesn't require a fever. Dad has been inspecting me, but they don't know I've been going to WebMD to make sure my symptoms remain accurate.
Fake running during PE class? Go to the water fountain and sprinkle water under the arms and face to simulate sweat. Lovely.

Saskia was one scary as hell character. I didn't like her at all. The shit she came up with was just O.O Who does that?! As Leila so eloquently put it:
Oh.
This bitch is crazy.
Yes, yes she was. Scary as hell. Her involvement and how Leila initially reacted to her was the only thing I didn't like about this book, but I also know that it was necessary for Leila's development, but I still don't have to like it.

Ultimately, this was about Leila coming to terms with who she is and not having to hide such an important part of who she is anymore. She starts accidentally coming out to those close to her and watching her finally sum up the courage to come out to her mom was hard. Her family is Persian and they are very traditional, but they are also like any other family. They all love Leila and want what's best for her no matter what. I loved how much they supported each other :)

To the romance! All I'm saying:
"I kind of can't believe you like me," I say. "I mean, I fart at inappropriate times, I never know what to do with my hair, I'm awkward... I just don't get it."
"You are also beautiful and kind, and you know me better than anyone else. Plus, everyone farts." Swoon.
"If you need me to be gushy, I can be. It's just not what I'm used to. But if you need me to reassure you that you're my love nugget, or whatever the hell it is people say these days, I can try."


So...

Would I Recommend it?




    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Unraveling: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

    Title: Unmade
    Series: The Lynburn Legacy Book Three
    Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Publication Date: September 23, 2014

    Who will be the sacrifice?

    Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

    Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

    This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.
      photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg 



    ***


    My Thoughts



    A copy was provided through Edelweiss and HaperCollins in exchange for an honest review

    Disappointed. Pissed. Underwhelmed. What was that ending?!

    What is up with all these horrible end-of-trilogy books this year? It's just one after the other and they all suck, frankly. Sad, so very sad.

    It started out a bit exciting and somewhat funny. Got a few chuckles and little smiles out of me. Then it started getting the rolling eyes and frustrated sighs, and can we PLEASE JUST MOVE ON FROM THE JOKES. Yes, I get that it's a very depressing and horrible time in your lives but the jokes are killing the mood and my enthusiasm.

    After the 30% mark the plot stood at a standstill. We, the readers, along with the characters had to wait till a certain date for them to make their move. Too bad the waiting took 50% of the book and with it it's bad jokes and mood killing.

    We get to DDay and WOW, JUST WOW. Can not believe THAT happened. I cried. Actual tears slid down my eyes. (I can count in one hand how many times a book has made me cry). After THAT happened, I was just numb through the rest of the finale and even if I wasn't it was a shitty finale.

    The Finale? This is what I got from it:

    Kami did some of this:





    Then some of this:




    And then finally some of this:



    And that was it.
    The End.
    Thanks for reading guys!


    P.S: Did I mention I didn't like this?


    So...


    Would I Recommend it?



    ***

    Monday, September 8, 2014

    Early Unraveling of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

    Title: The Perilous Sea
    Series: The Elemental Trilogy Book Two
    Author: Sherry Thomas
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Publication Date: September 16, 2014

    After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

    Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.
      photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg 



    ***


    My Thoughts



    A copy was provided through Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for review consideration

    Finally got around to reading this ARC. I've been meaning to read it but since I've started getting fed up with most YAs I kept putting it off. Yes, I'm getting fed up with the silly, sometimes vapid and unnecessary angsty shit that goes down, but I digress.

    I'm glad I picked this one up! I adored the first book, and while I didn't love this one quite as much it was still very good. It did suffer slightly from second book syndrome, but it was very passable. The plot overall didn't really progress all that much, that's not to say that nothing happened in the book, because it did. There was still fighting, magical fighting, calling down lightning and all kinds of goodys. In small doses but still there.

    The Perilous Sea centers more on all the small details and puzzle pieces that were missing in the previous book. It answers basically all the questions that were raised in The Burning Sky. Therefore the rest of the book was mostly Titus, Iolanthe and the gang pulling all the isolated pieces of information that they had, following those threads and finally emerging with the complete picture and holy hell I did NOT see that picture at all. This almost never happens. I can usually follow where the plot is going fairly easy, but the revelations kept coming in this one and I just couldn't keep up. I was being bombarded from all sides till I just gave up trying to piece things myself and took it as it came. Which was great actually.

    I was a bit disappointed with Titus for a good portion of the book as well. I adored him in the last one. He is so capable and always on top of things and then, 
    fairly early in the book, he looses himself. He looses that confidence that made him assertive and able to command people and take charge of his actions, and well, it pissed me off! Because the reason behind this hiccup was just so stupid (in my mind anyway) I just couldn't understand why he couldn't just say fuck it and do his own thing. This truth that was revealed to him broke him for a good chunk of the book and I was just so sad/pissed, but he totally made up for it with his little speech at the end :)
    “The Master of the Domain will consider delivering a cubic mile of elephant excrement into the care of Atlantis, but nothing else. And he extends his warmest greetings to the Lord High Commander. Soon may the Lord High Commander depart for the Void, where he is long overdue.”
    With the way things ended here I CAN'T WAIT for next book! :D

    The war against Atlantis had begun at last.

    BRING ITTTT!



    So...

    Would I Recommend it?



    ***

    Other books in The Elemental Trilogy:

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    Early Unraveling of Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

    Title: Illusions of Fate
    Series: N/A
    Author: Kiersten White
    Genre: YA Paranormal, Fantasy
    Publication Date: September 9, 2014

    “I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

    Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.
      photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg 



    ***


    My Thoughts




    A copy was provided through Edelweiss and HarperTeen for review consideration

    "I long for the security of the world I lived in yesterday, but it is lost to me forever."

    This is definitely Kiersten White's best work so far.

    Best way to describe this is as a fluffy fantasy/paranormal. Why fluffy? Cause one of the mayor points in fantasy is world building and we only get the bare minimum of that here. It was enough to get the plot and everything going but it was still lacking some fleshing out.

    As for the rest it was quite good! The characters were lovely. We have Jessamine our mc who is headstrong, but still thoughtful, witty, but not to the point of being bitchy. She was great.


    Really liked Finn as well and the romance between the two was just lovely :)

    He follows my eyes and curses, then slides his hands beneath my legs and back. "What are you doing?"
    "Picking you up so we can run!"
    "Don't be daft, my hand is broken, not my feet!"
    "Right, that was stupid. Stupid."

    But hands down the best character was Sir Bird.

    "One of the familiars is with you!" He raises his cane, eyes blazing with murder toward Sir Bird.
    "Don't you dare!" I hunch my shoulders around Sir Bird, angling him away from Finn.
    "We haven't time for this!"
    "So keep running!"
     ...
    "That bird belongs to him."
    "This bird saved my life."
    "I am saving your life!"
    "You were ready to give in! I saved my own life. You are simply keeping me company on this leg of my escape." Sir Bird caws brokenly in support of my statement.

    Between the great dialogue, the witty banter, and Sir Bird, and the plot kept moving right along and it made for a quick fun read.


    So...

    Would I Recommend it?




      Monday, September 1, 2014

      Early Unraveling of City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

      Title: City of Stairs
      Series: N/A
      Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
      Genre: Adult Fantasy
      Publication Date: September 9, 2014


      A densely atmospheric and intrigue-filled fantasy novel of living spies, dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, ever-changing city-from one of America's most acclaimed young SF writers.

      Years ago, the city of Bulikov wielded the powers of the Gods to conquer the world. But after its divine protectors were mysteriously killed, the conqueror has become the conquered; the city's proud history has been erased and censored, progress has left it behind, and it is just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power. Into this musty, backward city steps Shara Divani. Officially, the quiet mousy woman is just another lowly diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, Shara is one of her country's most accomplished spymasters-dispatched to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly harmless historian. As Shara pursues the mystery through the ever-shifting physical and political geography of the city, she begins to suspect that the beings who once protected Bulikov may not be as dead as they seem-and that her own abilities might be touched by the divine as well.
        photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg 



      ***


      My Thoughts



      A copy was provided through Edelweiss and Random House Crown for review consideration

      And they said to Her: “You blessed us as Your people, and we rejoiced, and were happy. But we found those who were not Your people, and they would not become Your people, and they were willful and ignorant of You. They would not open their ears to Your songs, or lay Your words upon their tongues. So we dashed them upon the rocks and threw down their houses and shed their blood and scattered them to the winds, and we were right to do so. For we are Your people. We carry Your blessings. We are Yours, and so we are right. Is this not what You said?”
      And Olvos was silent.

      Pacing (2.5/5): First half of City of stars was more like 2 stars. It was so damn slow, and the writing style was hard to get into. The second half was much better. Once things finally picked up at around the 60% mark it didn't let up till the end.

      Writing Style (2.5/5): As I mentioned before the writing style was hard to get into, at least for me. It made it hard to connect to the characters and get immersed in the story. It wasn't impossible or anything but it was unnecessarily hard.

      “Who is … Sigrud?” asks Vohannes.
      There is a horrific scream from nearby, and a burst of breaking glass. Then silence.
      “That is Sigrud,” says Shara.
      Characters (3.5/5): I ADORED Sigrud. He was the tall, mysterious, deadly, totally socially-oblivious guy. He basically did all the dirty work Shara. The relationship between Shara and Sigrud was lovely. It was a great solid friendship, not a maybe they'll become a thing later. Just a nice old-fashioned friendship.


      “How do you expect me to do that? Am I to don all black and infiltrate this place in the middle of the night? I would have thought you’d have people for this.”
      “I expected you’d come up with an easier way than that. Primarily because you own the bank.”
      Vohannes blinks. “I … I do?”
      “Yes.” Shara hands him a copy of Pangyui’s decoded message.
      He examines it. “Are you sure I own it? Its name doesn’t ring a bell. …”
      “It must be so nice,” says Shara, “to be so wealthy one is uncertain of which institutions one does and does not own..."

      Vohannes was another character I really liked and his story and relationship with Shara broke my heart.


      “You … You really think you can? Do you really think you aren’t being, like”—Mulaghesh laughs—“well, wildly fucking na├»ve about this?”

      And then there is Mulaghesh! She was awesome. She didn't beat around the bush. Her personality was refreshing.

      Plot (3.5/5): Once things started going, it was hard to put down and the clues just kept piling one on top the other till it was the final showdown and then BAM! It was finished :( While it wasn't anything amazing, it was very well thought out and planned out so you are always just a few pages ahead of most of the revelations.

      World-building (3.5/5): The world-building while being excellent was also lacking at some points? Or maybe it was just me wanting to know MORE, because it was so damn interesting. I really would have liked to know where the Divinities came from and WHY the Saypuri didn't have any? While this turned out to be a good thing in the long run it would have been nice to have an explanation of some kind.

      All in all a solid fantasy that's worth a read :)


      “The Divine may have created many hells,” he says, “but I think they pale beside what men create for themselves.”



      So...


      Would I Recommend it?




        Friday, August 1, 2014

        Time Out

        I haven't quite decided if I'm going to take a long break or just quit all together. It's been great blogging, but lately I'm just not feeling it. I've been getting more and more frustrated with the commenting. Not just mine here alone in the blog but in other blogs I follow. There are either too many comments and the blogger never gets around to all of them (which is perfectly understandable) or no one bothers to comment at all, and if they do, the comments aren't addressed half the time.

        I started blogging to simply get my views on books out there and I felt like Goodreads wasn't doing a good enough job for that. As I went on, I started getting more into the community itself and discussing all manner of things with those few bloggers I did interact with. But recently it just seems like blogging has lost it's way, or that's probably just me. They are more and more geared towards this 'invisible' general audience instead of the cozy book niche they were before. They just seem unapproachable now I guess.

        This probably has more to do with me than anything else so I've decided to take an indefinite break. I've got some ARC reviews already scheduled all the way till October I believe, but that''s all that's going to be posted for now. I'll still be around Twitter and checking out other blogs in the meantime.

        Thank you lovely readers for sticking with me this whole time! Love ya's! :)

        Tuesday, July 29, 2014

        Building Castles In The Sky: Discussion Posts


        Today's Castle: Discussion Posts!



        Let me start of by saying I suck at discussion posts. I can come up with some good topics, usually while I'm trying to fall asleep. I'll basically redact the whole thing in my head but by the time I wake up I just don't feel like writing it all down...Hence why I basically never do discussion posts. I tried a while back with one about romance on books and how every single book doesn't need a romance. And I wrote the first post! Which is was awesome. But I was supposed to write a second one, and well....I didn't. OOPS. I kept meaning to and I just never got the motivation to sit down and actually write it.

        But enough about how much I suck at these things! What I want to talk about is the whole discussion part of discussion posts. I like bouncing of ideas with people. I like actually thoroughly discussing things with people. I may suck at normal everyday conversation and be horribly awkward about it but give me a nice discussion topic and I can talk for hours. 

        What I have been noticing about these posts is that there aren't actual discussions going on. There is the main post, then people start commenting, but it's all very individual. It's always just the author of the post responding to one comment at a time. I have yet to see a reader reply to another. And most of the comments are just statements of their point of view, which yeah it's kinda the point, but well we are trying to discuss stuff here people! Give me something to work with!

        Sometimes it's the same sentiment written over and over again in different ways, which granted that's fine cause people have similar tastes in things and whatnot, but they don't discuss these tastes. They are stated and left out in the ether to never be seen again.

        I guess what I'm saying is I'd like some actual discussions to happen instead of these exclusive author to reader, one on one, responses, that don't even go past the first response anyway. I understand people sometimes don't have the time to be responding to comments. Maybe instead we need to revamp the whole idea?

        I was thinking of maybe making either a whole day or whole week of a certain topic to discuss in twitter, for example. Make up a hashtag, write up your post, make the twitter widget, upload it to your post and get the ball rolling. Maybe even get a few bloggers together writing on the same topic to have a wider reader base.

        What do you guys think? Would this be feasible? Would you even like it if it was in this format? Do you even agree that it could use a revamp or am I just talking out of my ass? xD

        Btw - I'm just assuming that's how the twitter thing works, so anyone who is more twitter savvy feel free to correct me if I'm wrong :)


        Friday, July 25, 2014

        Upcoming Releases - Week of July 28th


        Here are the releases for the upcoming week of July 28 - August 3, 2014




        Tuesday, July 29, 2014





        Thursday, July 31, 2014






        Books I'm looking forward to:

        • The Young World by Chris Weitz
        • Free Agent by J. C. Nelson
        • Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

        I hadn't realized another Kate & Curran book was coming out already! So excited! :) Another superhero type book coming out in July and Free Agent sounds like it could be fun.

        What books are you looking forward to?
        ^ Scroll to Top