Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dark, bloody and sweet! ~ The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three words can describe this book:

Dark, bloody and sweet!

Which are exactly my kind of stories, making it the perfect combination for me ;)
This book is set up in a world where vampires are known to humans and have caused great havoc by spreading their 'virus'. The way this infection has been controlled has been by creating enclosed placed called 'Coldtowns'. And this particular book focuses on Tana, a girl who wakes up after an apparent great party, and realizes her life took an unexpected bloody change. She will then experience a series of events that will make her face lots of intense choices. I know, sounds cryptic, but I really really really don't want to spoil a thing!

I have this not so very healthy obsession with vampires and I'm always craving good vampy books. The good ones are hard to find; so imagine my over-enthusiasm when I found out Holly Black was writing a fanged book! I immediately knew I needed this book, which I am happy to report: OH YEAH, she nailed it!! It hit the mark perfectly :)
You get some dark stuff, an amazing setting for vampires that are no longer hiding and a nicely done set of characters.

I must admit though, that I wasn't a very hard core fan of Tana... Her choices, specially with Aidan seemed too naïve for my taste.
However, all is saved by Gavriel!!! Oh Gavriel, you and your pretty words: 'You are more dangerous than daybreak'
This crazy sexy vampire is now part of my list of favourite fanged ones. You've earned a spot next to Lestat. Yup, you're THAT good!
And on this note, how I wish Holly decided to give us moreeeeee of him in future books!

Instead of reading, I listened to this book and I was so glad I did. It's an entirely different experience. I have this book in both formats, and some things I wanted to re-read. It felt so much different, since the narrator: Christine Lakin, made an excellent job representing the different characters, accents and states of mind! It even had nice musical eerie sounds in the most dramatic scenes! I definitely recommend this format :)

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Before it was published:

I was just indulging myself with the short story that made this book, and it gave me goosebumps. It's free to read Here . EDIT It is no longer there :(
This one was published in her book, The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. Enjoy while you wait :-)

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Perdition


Perdition
Perdition by Ann Aguirre

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



As a true fan of the Sirantha Jax series, I was very pleased to learn that Ann Aguirre was planning a spin off. And my, oh my! I was utterly, fully, engaged with this new book.
These past weeks have been very hectic in my life, so I have little time to devote to my beloved books. Thus, Audible jumps to the rescue and keeps me sane! Hearing this book took a few weeks, but it was 100% worth it!

It is set in the prison-ship "Perdition". Where factions of prisoners constantly battle for territorial control and resources. Told from different POV's focusing mainly on Dred (or The Dred Queen) and Jael, a character that once surfaced on the Jax series.

Perdition has all the right stuff that makes Aguirre's stories awesome:

1) kick-ass female lead (check)
2) hot-bad boy-tortured male lead (check)
3) fantastic action scenes filled with crazy moves (check)
4) space, spaceships and cool sci-fi tech (check)
5) eerie and diverse set of characters (check), such as Silence or Katur.
6) Tam. Yes, he is back and he is still as enigmatic as ever!!!
7) Superb descriptions (check). Again, Aguirre's writing is great, specially when focusing on fights, gore and blood! Lots of scenes reminded me of "Kill Bill", for example:


The whole room was a blur of misery and violence. This was probably what the Conglomerate had in mind, but I suspect they imagined it would happen sooner. There was an awful beauty in Einar scything through his enemies. He gave no quarter, and the broad swing of his deadly axe demanded the broad clearance his allies offered. Nobody fought near him; they didn’t dare. Even among Grigor’s brutes, he towered head and shoulders above the rest. He was a juggernaut of wrath, dealing destruction to the enemies who rushed him from all sides.

I recommend this book to all Jax lovers out there, new and old and all those who haven't read the series, DO IT! Then, you'll have what to occupy your mind with while we wait for the next instalment of The Dred Chronicles.





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Thursday, October 3, 2013

"The Mazikin will grow their numbers soon. They always do."

Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2)Fractured by Sarah Fine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa my heart hutrsssssssssss badly
I have no words right now.
Will come back later, when I can stop screaming, to write more coherently O_o
---


I finished this book late last night and was worried I would end up having Mazikin filled nightmares. My heart is aching and my mind is racing. Lela Santo's life-afterlife-life is surely very complicated.

And ... oh dear dear Malachi!! I have been following your life through the pages of your journal (Here) and I have no words!! You're becoming more and more real to me than Lela. I badly want to be able to read Fractured from your POV. You're more than fiction to me, thanks to your insightful descriptions.

I don't want to spoil much this book by talking about its plot. I will instead focus on the things that marked me from this series. Most of you are aware of Sarah's background as a psychologist, as such, I seriously like her take on suicide, foster care and acceptance. Lela's upbringing and abusive childhood is pretty much skilfully woven in this series. I applaud when these social issues are highlighted and talked about in different spaces, particularly in fiction. Thank you Sarah for contributing discussions and awareness through your literary world!

Going back to the book, I will just tell you lovely to-be readers that this one has a very appropriate cliffhanger, which makes me anxiously crave for book #3!!

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review from its publishers, Amazon Children's Publishing, through NetGalley. Thank you for allowing me to read this exciting ARC!


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Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: Friday Night Bites


Friday Night Bites
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I am hooked! This is an awesome Urban Fantasy series with the right dosage of adventure, supernatural drama, mystery and romance. And above all, it's all about vampires!!!
Book # 2 delivered brilliantly. We're introduced a bit more into the life-changes Merit is facing regarding her change from human to vampire. And then her new role as Sentinel
Of House Cadogan. I simply enjoyed so much this book!
And ohhhh Ethan, you sexy Master vampire... You're so much more complicated than I thought.
What I specially love about this series is that it presents fresh new not-so-stereotypical characters into this genre. With having read so many books about vampires and the supernatural world, I feel
this series creates an alternate take where you really don't know what to expect.

I can't stop raving about the superb language, style and detailed descriptions. I am in love with this series and best of all, is still ongoing!!

*busy finding Book #3*





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Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: The Returned


The Returned
The Returned by Jason Mott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I'm in a conundrum with this book.

For starters, it has the most beautiful poetic descriptions about life, loss and mourning. These are still lingering in my mind. It possesses a strange literary beauty, where the main characters' feelings can manage to touch lightly -and not so very lightly- some of those fibres that evoke human relations. I imagine this book a unique personal experience on its own, as each reader can find some sort of issue, sentiment or feeling to relate to.

The puzzle for me is the plot. As a fiction and fantasy lover I was immediately drawn to this book about people returning from the dead. Basically, this was the deciding factor for me to read it. I had previously read the short stories that were released in anticipation of this book: The Sparrow, The Choice and The First. I was very much enthralled by what was this book going to tell me regarding these no-longer-dead people appearing everywhere in the world. It sounded Apocalyptic!
However when getting into business, these returned felt merely like an excuse to describe social relationships and how unsolved issues, fear of differences and change, may cause social unrest.
In turn, all the explanations I expected to have in this book weren't present. For instance, we don't know why the returned 'returned', if they aged, where they 100% as human as when they were alive, what happened to the bodies if they had previously been buried, where they still in their coffins? The ones who came back from a very very different era, how dis they feel about all this technological, social and geographical change? There are so many unresolved issues in this book I feel it wasn't entirely finished.

In sum, I would recommend the first part, and the whole setting of the story, but I strongly advise to take the ending lightly. Keep in mind: don't expect any explanations and you'll be utterly satisfied!

___
This book was provided to me by its publishers, Harlequin, through NetGally in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!



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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

'Any truth is better than indefinite doubt' - Sherlock Holmes

A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair, #1)A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, my oh, my oh, my... Evelina Cooper, you rock!

smile photo smile_zps1f4a54a4.gif

This book was glorious :-) I had the best of times reading it, as I slowly devoured its words.
I am a big fan of that mysterious brilliant detective Sherlock so I was immediately drawn to the premise of this book: Shelock's niece, Evelina, Victorian England, a big mystery, romance and lots of steampunk adventures *happy dance* it was great!! From its superb language, alternating POV's and crafty plot, this book will seriously transport you to a different era/world. I was so impressed by the way each character's voice was meticulously maintained.


I have to admit that it was a bit long to finish, taking into account there are 2 more coming, but otherwise I felt it was just great. It made me laugh, cringe, worry, blush and curse! Everything in the best right measure.
The best thing: this mystery has more to come!!!
I can't wait :-)

Seriously recommended for fans of Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle and Sherlock! You'll be very happy meeting Evelina!

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A Study in Silks was generously given to me by its publishers, Random House & Del Rey Spectra, through NetGalley. All in exchange of a time travel machine and a cup of Earl Grey... -ehem- Nevermind, no time travel machines were offered, just a honest review (and the Earl Grey was provided by my diligent husband).

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Friday, September 6, 2013

I am Sherlocked: with gears 'n all

I'm absolutely enthralled reading the book "A Study in Silks" by 

It's set in Nineteen Century England, focusing on Evelina Cooper -Shelock Homes' niece-. Full of magic, gears, voluminous gowns and a huge mystery! 
Such a fantastic steampunk adventure!

...more to come once I finish the book :)

For now, I will leave you with my favourite Sherlock... 

Enjoy: 

My gears, they grind.....


Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Charming - "A vampire and a blonde walked into a bar..."

Charming (Pax Arcana, #1)Charming by Elliott James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

John Charming is a very interesting guy.
He is a bartender in a shabby small town in rural Virginia called Clayburg.
He is on the run from an order of Knights.
He has serious wolfy unresolved issues...
His life is about to get very VERY complicated (much more than it is already).

Charming, your story was fun to read! I was pleased with this book.

In sum, this was a book about a supernatural guy who is hiding from an order of Knights who wants to destroy him. He works as a bartender at a lonely pub, and lives a daily boring life with a stolen identity. However, a vampire and a beautiful woman walk one night during his shift in his bar, which causes havoc and adventure in his life.

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What got me into reading this story:
I was intrigued by the curious cover of this book: a red cross in Charming's shirt and his badass attitude.

What I liked:
The complexity of this world. I have to admit that it has been a while since I've read a book in which things are set up so detailed, clear and natural from the beginning.

The 'Pax Arcana'- basically the spell that makes us lowly humans unaware of all the magical and supernatural beings that are all around us. There is virtually an explanation and answer for every-single supernatural issue or question that might arise from this whole P.A. spell.

The set of characters! Stanislav, Choo, Parth and Molly. I really liked how vampires are portrayed here. They are scary cunning monsters with zero interest in humans beyond making a meal out of them muahahaha

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All the action scenes were beautifully described.

The titles on each chapter were so funny!

The plot & pace was very entertaining.

The narrative in which it is told: we get a scoop on things happening in the story, the background story and some stuff that John wishes it would happen... but nope, it won't. It never gets dull.

What I found Meh:
Sig's behaviour... I simply did not enjoy her... She is strong and intense, but for the life of me I did not feel any sympathy towards her. I wish John meets someone different I might volunteer.

I have mixed feelings about the detailed descriptions. On one hand, I enjoyed knowing so much about all the stuff that was happening, but on the other, there were times that it was a bit too much! For example, I'm in the middle of a big fight with a half-snake guy and then lots and lots and lots of explanations on why, who and what... I might have wanted more showing on this book rather than telling.
facepalm photo tumblr_mpxw2icttT1qkpkkwo1_500_zps29f5957e.gif

What I disliked:
The abrupt ending... *crickets* after all that time invested in reading all those descriptions, explanations and what not, bam - THE END.... really??? I felt that there should have been a better closure. Yeah, I know this is the first of a series and, believe me, I've read a whole bunch of series, but this cut felt too abrupt,maybe the author run out of time or something. It really does not feel consistent with the pacing of the whole book.

Will I continue with this series:
Yes!

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I received this book from its publishers, Orbit Books/Hachette Book Group for an early reading and review through NetGalley. Thank you for allowing me the wonderful chance to read this story in advance!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: The Water Witch -- "Oh, wait... I just realized I don't care"

The Water Witch (Fairwick Chronicles, #2)The Water Witch by Juliet Dark
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Zzzzzz

Cailleach McFey is definitely a character whom I feel a complete lack of empathy...Her motivations and actions constantly made my eyes roll *sigh*... I gave this book a second chance, since I had started it a few months back, but then I was very distracted and it lost me.... However, again, I was bored and skimmed The Water Witch through the end.

I feel that the positive elements of this series are the world it creates and its long list of diverse and interesting characters (succubi, incubi, witches, fairies, Norse gods, vampires, etc), but for a book that advertises romance, it felt short! I am still not convinced of all the naïvety in Callie that reflects upon her actions.

After two tries, I don't know if I will have the enthusiasm to read the 3rd book.

i don't care photo ijustrealizedidontcare_zpsbe29c683.gif

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: The Sparrow


The Sparrow
The Sparrow by Jason Mott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



*Claps eagerly* Bravo!
What a sad, hopeful and sweet story! This were the best 40 minutes spent listening to another great free prequel for The Returned it's free over at Audible and ius superbly narrated! It made me cry!!!!!

This is about another Returned, Tatiana, a 10 year old girl who is found by a couple, Heather and Matt next to a busy street way. Here we get a very heartfelt glimpse of the circumstances that caused Tatiana's death 20 years ago.

I can't wait to start The Returned



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Review: The First (free short story)


The First
The First by Jason Mott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I liked this very short story. I'm so intrigued to read the full book!
This was both free for Kindle at Amazon and as an audiobook at Audible.

I'm not even bothering to write a full review; the description of this little story is enough:

It's been just over a year since Edmund Blithe died, and just over a month since his fiancée, Emily, stopped wearing her engagement ring. Emily has finally begun to move on… Until Edmund mysteriously and inexplicably returns, sending the world—and Emily—into a tailspin.

Edmund is only just the beginning. Around the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond, seeking only to reenter the lives they left behind. As the world dives deep into uncertainty, Emily and Edmund are determined to find their way back to one another…even if it means risking everything.



Though, I just listened to it without reading the full synopsis and it was great!

If you have 34 minutes to spare, go ahead and listen to The First, it's very well narrated and it was free :-)



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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review: Prodigal Son


Prodigal Son
Prodigal Son by Debra Mullins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Since this book will only be out in a few weeks (Pub. date: Oct 1st), I will briefly try to convey my enthusiasm over my experience while reading this book.
I craved entertainment, action and adventure and I got it all in Prodigal Son.

Let me start by swooning over Mr Rafael Montana, or Rafe for those of us who are more familiar with him...Aaaaaahhhh Rafe *sigh* he is such a hot badass! As an outcast Seer from a family of such, he is a Bounty Hunter in Las Vegas, with 'zero percent failure rate'. He has the super-powers to find people easily, discern when people tell the truth or lie and when in need, he can turn into a super-Hulk-like person an invite a 'Hunter' entity that is dormant inside him. Our dear tormented and loner Rafe ends up taking a mysterious yet simple case: to find a guy (Danny), who fled bail in connection to a car robbery. Because Danny is Cara's stepbrother, Cara inevitably crosses into Rafe's path.
Cara is strong, smart and extremely loyal towards those she cares. Even though she is a fictional character, her concerns and worries felt very real. I cheered for her!

Prodigal Son tells a great fast-paced urban fantasy romantic story.
All the good stuff I like in this genre is present: a cool setting (Las Vegas and a very detailed road trip), intricate plot, great chemistry between the two main characters and hot sexy scenes.

I would have liked a bit more of a background story in how Danny ends up in this whole mess, but perhaps it will just unnecessarily drag the story...

I devoured this book in two days and can't wait to see what Debra Mullins will do with this interesting world, mythology and characters in future stories. I am dying to know more about Mr. Gray...
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I received this book from its publishers, Macmillan-Tor/Forge for an early reading and review through NetGalley. Thank you for allowing me the wonderful chance to read this story in advance!




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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Water - 'Oh Book. Don't take it personal, it's not me, is you'


Water
Water by Terra Harmony

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



I was curious about this book's premise and cover art. It was enticing enough for me to be inclined to read it. However, I must say, I was utterly disappointed.
This book follows Kaitlin, a very undeveloped character, whose past, intentions, dreams and/or drive is unknown. She is a photographer and ends up kidnapped in an island by a group called The Seven who tell her she has some kind of superpowers, connected to earth's natural equilibrium and its elements.
As a story, it is very lineal, but it has some very few redeeming parts. Particularly those that focus on its environmental or ecological approach, as sustainability, renewal of resources and the sub-context around being conscious when using earth's resources.

But sadly, I was very dissatisfied with many things of this book.

I specially disliked the main character. Kaitlin is very forgettable, unlovable, shallow and inconsequential.
On one hand when she discovers she is 'Gaia' and all that it entails, her reaction is as bland as plain jello. Her newfound strength and powers from nature reflect in zero concern for ecological or sustainable approaches: 1)she wastes food 2) wastes water taking long showers 3) makes food fights... Yes! FOOD fights with raw fish... How un respectful of these resources (animal or not) is she?
Argh it hurts my 'crunchy granola heart'

The whole oh-you-kidnapped-me-but-it's-OK-now-I-will-give-up-my-old-life, taking everything she is told face value!! She doesn't question her captors beyond what they tell her. She doesn't suspect any wrongdoings. She is so naïve, it hurts my eyes just to read what she does/thinks. There is zero -nada- agency on this lady's actions Argh!!
Any-who...
Beyond her being annoying and boring to read, the plot is really meh.

Another issue that made me dislike this book is how her physical and psychological abuse is treated. I think it was very poorly handled and it bothered me. Without spoiling too much anything for potential readers, my main critique lays in the subjugated acceptance of Kaitlin's role. Her individuality gets shattered, her life (job, dreams and friends), personal things (apartment)and her own body is violently treated without her permission. She is forced to do things that she is not okay with, but then the next thing you know, she is drinking with her abuser or just chatting him up in an amicable way. Why didn't she leave the crazy Seven after all the abuse and intrusion in her personal life??? I'm baffled!

I personally will not continue reading this series. This was not a book I enjoyed or would recommend. Simply put: 'Oh Book. Don't take it personal, it's not me, is you'

This book was kindly given to me by Patchwork Press thought NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.



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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fanged books and the use of tremendous language

Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1)Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love vampire books. I devour with pleasure great quantities of words that portray all those vampy worlds. But I'm particularly interested in the paranormal romance side of vampire tales. In this quest for 'all-things-vampire', I've encountered a big selection of titles that can be separated by their quality. I usually don't expect much of some of the vampy books I read, as I do it just for the pleasure of visiting fantastic worlds where fangs and smoking hot scenes are frequent.

But once every few books I find myself enthralled with an amazing story. This is the case with Chloe Neill's Some Girls Bite. It is told from the POV of Merit, a 28 year old Chicago grad student who is attacked and changed into a vampire without her consent. She lives in a world where vampires recently revealed their existence to the general public.
The book has impeccable grammar and a vocabulary worth of a thousand English tests. I have to admit that I was just drooling like crazy over these beautiful new words (for me) and its colourful uses.

Some examples are:

“I’d prefer to see both knees on the ground. I mean, if you’re going to grovel, be the best groveler you can, right?”

"Immortality does pose its own set of quandaries.”

He just stared at me. “Are you always this obstreperous?”
“I’m not obstreperous. Stubborn, arguably. And don’t start in that I was causing trouble. I was only asking a question.”

"The vitriol and sarcasm he dished out on a daily basis—and there was a lot of it—was clearly a plea for her attention. A dismally unsuccessful plea."

*smiles*---ahhhhhh don't you love reading these lovely words? I do! Specially because I'm always looking for new words to learn.

Anyways... Going back to the book, besides praising the beauty of its words, I was happily impressed with the plot. It follows urban fantasies structures, where our MC wants to unveil a mystery, but in the meantime learns a whole lot about herself. Best part: there are vampires, the steamy hot kind, and many... So yes, this book made me happy. It was a bit predictable, but thanks to its style, pace, language, characters and choices, this book makes up for any flaws.

I'm sooooooo looking forward to read the next titles in the Chicagoland Vampires series!


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Monday, July 15, 2013

And here we go

Oh lovely blog. You've been neglected. With no content on your cyber-pages. But fear no more!

I'm finally re-plugging after some intense weeks of planning, attending family, organising and doing a big move and change of country.
As my nephew says: 'All done'

I'm ready to feed this wonderful place again!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The living, the dead and the living dead

This is Not a Test Book review: This Not a Test by Courtney Summers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the soundtrack of our impending death"

I've been taking my sweet time to write down what an amazing disturbing book this was.

On one hand we have a story of family abuse, despair and loss; on the other, we've got this unexpected massive and horrific zombie outbreak.
The story was extremely unsettling, but deliciously written. I felt completely transported to the locations and mind frame it was describing, making this zombie attack almost real.

This is Not a Test focuses on a little group of teenagers who are struggling for survival inside a high school, here they are 'bunkering' out trying to figure out how to survive and what to do since this zombie plague occurred. It is told from Sloane's POV, a girl who was in the brink of ending her life. We dig deep into her thoughts, fears and get some good descriptions of her devastated state when her sister left her; making this particular event of her life what ultimately broke her... as you can guess she is seriously messed up. Thus, the story we are visiting on these pages is oh so very dark and of course, being a zombie apocalypse, full of horrific scenes and scary places. I can still imagine the rattling at the doors described in various chapters from this book.

I don't have much to say except that I really enjoyed reading it. I wish there was a sequel, as This is Not a Test is still haunting me.... I kind of wonder what is happening to Sloane right now...

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Hairy business

This month I have indadvertedly chosen to read three books that have very unique covers showcasing girls/women with long hair that hide their face. These books, as a collection, look so much alike. The fun part of this, is that their stories have no connection at all. It was just a matter of the right book at the right time.




So one has zombies, another one has aliens and the last one ghosts.....


Do you know what these images of a hair covered face remind me?

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Yes, I'm having lovely dreams thanks to these books... 

I should focus on this one instead


Monday, May 27, 2013

Liberal amounts of Schadenfreude in this vampire series

Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires, #5)Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yikes!! This is soooooooo messed up!! Vampires fighting against each other, humans aiding each faction, humans against vampires, humans against humans... A full scale civil unrest.

Book #5 you delivered. Good.

This book was just action, non-stop! It was substantially better that the previous one, as it focuses on this full on war that is happening in Morganville after Bishop, Amelie's father shows up... He is a very, very creepy guy.
And Myrnin... Argh, the bipolar vampire, why did you trust him Claire?
you want to see my mask photo wouldyouliketoseemymask_zps18390320.gif

This book was full of tense moments. Poor Claire, she has her loyalties in shambles after this one.


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Friday, May 24, 2013

Elemental series read-along

Spirit (Elemental, #3)Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars





First impression after reading:

Hunter, I just want to hug you right now.


I signed up for the Elemental series read-along with Steph from Cuddlebuggery and Jen from the Starry-Eyed Revue. This has been fun!!! A roller coaster of emotions. Funny, teenage angst, hot brooding brothers, supernatural powers, love, family, friendship and loss... all tightly packed in three volumes and 2 short novellas. And let me tell you. This last one was so very intense.
Elementals Read Along

It is impossible to read Spirit without comparing it to its predecessors. However, the story was so fresh and raw it kept me clenching my teeth and biting my nails. My poor hands are hurting!

Spirit was Hunter's story. And like him, this book was charming, impulsive, fun, mysterious, with some good WTF moments, and more gray than black and white. Very different from the Merrick brothers, but yet he had so many similar issues to deal with. Specially with loss, and finding his own self after his world was shattered with his father and uncle's accident. I don't know how Brigid Kemmerer does it, but wow her books are intense. She carefully blends contemporary issues and dilemmas with paranormal stuff. I am able to imagine the powers from the elements and feel all the teenage angst in every page!

In Spirit, the main story arc left me speechless, as it had a very unexpected turn of events. Hunter is so freaking messed up, but I'm glad I was able to learn so much about him. Also, seeing the Merricks from afar was a good change of perspective.
Michael keeps getting my devotion, Gabriel continues his path of redemption after he was a douche on the first book, Chris is so cute when he is jealous and Nick is still cool and nice. Though, I haven't read the short novella Breathless that focuses on him and Quinn yet! It's on the back of Spirit, but I might save it for later this year.

If I were to choose a favourite book from the series, this would be it. I'm so curious about all these characters and the various sub-plots this book and series have.
I just wished I knew more about Kate, Silver, Calla an Noha.
I want to know more about Hanna, and I loved her short appearances. I have to thank her for bringing a Sawzall into her storytelling... I can picture her:
Sawzall photo image_zps6ecb9488.jpg

Other lines made me laugh, specially:

"We'll build a wall to match the curve today, then I'll come back next week to plant stuff on top. Here. I have a sketch." He reached inside the truck to grab a clipboard.
Hunter took a glance at the rough drawing. It was probably a good thing Michael was paid for landscaping instead of artwork.


Others, made me sad, but I'll just focus on the happy feelings here.

Now, I will have to figure out what to do with myself while I wait for the next books from the series... 2014? Argh, too far away!!!

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Thank you Kensington Teen and NetGalley for giving me this ARC for the read-along and for my personal review. You're simply awesome.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wrong timing to read you

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes


Dear book: you have a good concept, lovely cover and *thankfully * a little map and description of each person who is important for this story. However, for the time being, I must return you after 1/4 of reading. Your timing for me is not the best. I've been on a High Fantasy roll and most of my books now are kind of being sorted in: either you remind me too much of Game of Thrones, or you are very original and take a crazy road. Sadly, you dear Falling Kingdoms remind me tooooo much of GoT. Perhaps is better for me to read you at a different time, so I can stop comparing you.

Key themes from you that kept me thinking about GoT:

* The different families that are sort of enemies.
* The book is told from different POV's, key to a bigger picture of issues regarding long lost magic
* The love between siblings though it's clear from the prologue they are not blood relatives
* The ways in which the families obtained their loyalties

See you another time
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Hunting

HuntingHunting by Andrea K. Höst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book opens up when Ash Lenthard's guardian, Genevieve (a herbalist living in Luinhall), has been brutally murdered. Ash finds herself in a predicament, by wanting to find her murderer and being forced to move into the palace to train as a seruilis -a sort of squire- for the foreigner and investigator Thornaster. Her life is even more complicated, as she has been disguising as a boy for the past 9 years.
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What an interesting treat. I have been eagerly waiting to read a new story from Andrea. She is such a talented, creative and amazing indie Australian writer. She has a gift when it comes to imagining fantastic places that are vividly described by her writing. She also makes sure all the places you visit on her books have a unique voice for their dwellers. I carry her fantasy worlds in my mind all the time.
However, in this book, you get thrown a bit too fast to the system of beliefs and the society which develops it.
I am still confused about what a Rhoi is, about the gods Astenar and Luin, what was the issue with property, lands and it's whole significance with Luin's Laws of Balance.

Perhaps this is the curse that I have to endure thanks to The Song of Ice and Fire or The Wheel of Time. Both of the authors of these High Fantasy epic adventures spoiled some of my enjoyment of Hunting. Lots and lots of details flow through these books, where in most cases you end up knowing more about the Stark family tree than your own. Or by repetition, what Aes Sedai wear. In the case of Hunting, there is so much potential for developing many characters and cosmogonic system of beliefs, that left me wanting MORE! I felt I was reading a quick teaser of something epic that was occurring in the background. I had to keep going back and doing lots of searches to try to figure out who the characters where, locations and the system of beliefs of this world. You don't have to take notes or pay extra attention to all the details, but it is possibly that you will forget so much, most of the things I kept on looking back where just vaguely mentioned once.

What I specially liked about this book was the characters' bickering! I loved the interactions between Ash and Thornaster.
For example:

"You're a real wordsmith. You should consider a career as a player."

"And you would make a remarkable diplomat, Ash. I shall recommend you. Now close your mouth and, if you cannot master your tongue, say nothing."


Ash's pragmatism reminded me a lot of Madeleine from And All The Stars

In sum, I liked it. I would love to read a story set in this world. Perhaps a spinoff where Kiri is the main character, and we learn more about her and Arun? Yes, please!


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Poison


Poison
Poison by Bridget Zinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I am a fantasy lover and YA book devote. Books with kick-ass female leads are my medicine. Though, I am not technically in the age range for YA literature, I am aware of what I am reading when I dive into it and sort of expect certain themes. However, this book felt a bit too young for me. I felt that I was watching The Little Mermaid or something super cute and Disney like. I know this book's publishing house is Disney, so yeah, not sure why I felt this connection so vividly in this book, since I have read lots of other Disney Hyperion titles. It was still good, but I was expecting something completely different. Regardless, I am glad I read it :) I might even recommend it to my younger cousins.

This book tells the story of 16 year old Kyra, a poison master who is hiding after a failed attempt to murder her best friend and future queen Ariana. Kyra is convinced that she must kill her friend in order to save the kingdom. She sets up on this task with a very unusual tracking animal, a piglet who is later known as Rosie. In her quest she meets a happy - go - lucky guy named Fred who becomes an interesting companion on her adventures. As a master poisoner, Kyra has a lot of tricks under her sleeve and uses tons of creative potions for her needs.

I was drawn to this book because of the cute piglet. Who doesn't want to read a story about a loyal pink cute companion? Well, certainly not me!

It was a cute book with a hint of mystery, surprises and fantastic characters.

A positive remark in this book world we live in is that Poison is a standalone novel! You don't have to worry about the next installments, since this was tightly packed.



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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Princess of the Silver Woods


Princess of the Silver Woods
Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I liked this series!

I've been enjoying this re-telling trend of fairy tales and I must say that Jessica Day George and Marissa Meyer are my two favourite re-tellers so far.

I am a sucker for books that not only tell a story but give you cool add-ons like maps, playlists, songs, glossaries, family trees, recipes, and in this case kitting patterns! They make me happy as they bring new ways to leave you thinking more about the stories they tell. Every single one of the books from this series comes with it's knitting pattern of an item that was highlighted on the book. I am a knitter, so this makes it even better :)

This story focuses on the youngest of the 12 daughter of King Gregor, Petunia. She is minding her own business doing some travelling in Westfalin as she is headed to the Grand Duchess' home where she was invited for a short stay. However, before she arrives, she ends up in the hands of the feared outlaws Wolves of the Woods of Westfalin. Things get extremely complicated from then on and we do have lots of King Under Stone and his brothers appearances in this book. I liked how it connected different stories and brought back characters from the previous two books.

Beyond the knitting, what I really enjoy is how strong and smart are these 12 sisters. They are not your regular stereotypical princesses; they know how to fight, defend their ideas and stand for themselves. Maybe we can have a book for each sister! Okay Jessica Day George, I am waiting for the remaining 9 books.



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Monday, May 13, 2013

Judging a book by its cover

This past week a lot has been said about book covers and gender. I have been intrigued about it since I first read Ilona Andrews' post about covers here. She masterfully explains and describes what we already know a cover is primarily a selling tool.

What makes you choose one book from an other? Most likely we check up books by their covers first!

She explains what catches our attention:

  • Bright color.  Everyone likes blue, red is a close second, and purple is popular, but slightly more with women. Brown, for many, is the least favorite color.  It’s drab. 
  • Interesting image, preferably unlike other images next to it.
  • If there is a person on the cover, they should be attractive.
  • Familiar images that identify the type of the book – markers.  Man, armor, weird sword – heroic or epic fantasy.  Girl, gun, magical swirlies – urban fantasy.  Woman, Victorian dress, gears – steampunk.  Woman, gown, man grasping her dramatically – historical romance. Man, half-naked, magical tattoos – likely PNR.
Obviously this makes me wonder a lot about imagining concepts inside words and making them marketable, specially about body stereotypes, who chooses and why.


Recently, author Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) tweeted on May 6th:


I haven't read any of her books (so far), since she is not exactly an author that writes about vampires or paranormal fantasy I adore. However, she is a big name in the young adult circle and I follow her on twitter for her wits and crazy ideas.

She made a contest on her website about this cover dilemma and named it "Coverflip":

1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.) 
2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. Or a genderqueer author. Imagine all the things you think of when you think GIRL book or BOY book or GENDERLESS book (do they EXIST?). And I’m not saying that these categorizations are RIGHT—but make no mistake, they’re there. 
3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip. 
4. I’ll be looking at them all, along with Huffington Post Books. They will put up a GALLERY of the best ones, and I’ll pick one winner to get a PRIZE PACK of signed books by me, along with whatever else I find in my house and shove in the envelope.Remember to POST with #coverflip. That’s how we’ll find it. 
* CRITICAL NOTE: 98% of authors don’t make or choose their covers. (Self-publishing, I know you do. I mean published with publishers.)

I came late for the party! But a lot of discussion was raised. An article in the Hufftington Post shows great examples of the outcome of this experiment and the reasoning behind.

Kat Kennedy from Cuddlebuggery chose her favourite and I agree:



So I'm just adding my two cents here with Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study. This is the cover of the book I own:


And this is my contribution:

(Image from http://i-moc.com)

It looks so much different, right?

I love this book.

And on this note, I had a chance to review 'Speechless' by Hannah Harrington a few months ago and  I always felt compelled about this change of cover.

From:

To this:

By removing everything from the cover this book definitely stands out in bookshelves, I've noticed!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

The 5th Wave

This book is following me!

I can't wait to read you :)

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. 
After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. 
And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. 
After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.


Monday, April 29, 2013

“Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead.”

A Certain Slant of Light (Light, #1)A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful and haunting.

I was completely unprepared for this book. It's different and challenging, carefully constructed with superb style. I'm not a fan of poetry, but each one of the pages of this book felt like it. I know! I'm inspired and all. Its a paranormal YA plot that coexists with a Gothic novel. It touches various difficult themes beyond the YA norm. It's many stories and one; of two souls and two bodies. It's light and dark, like its captivating title. This standalone book left me wandering, with tears in my eyes.

It begins with Helen, a ghost that has haunted a few hosts over time by making herself a sort of spirit Muse. Her tie to these individuals is through her passion for words and literature. While doing her regular haunting of her current host, an English High School teacher, one of the boys from his class appears to be able to see her. Thus a haunting story of forgiveness, life, love and death,unfolds.

I loved this book. Its atmosphere and prose. I can see it's not for everyone, but for me, it was perfect. Really, its one of those strange books that will keep you completely mesmerised, while savouring each word and page.

My favourite lines:


“Care to offer a sentence with an example of an adverb?” Mr. Brown watched him doubtfully.

“Breathlessly he watched her hand,” said James.

Mr. Brown blinked at him. “Okay.”
-----

“Do you remember an example of where not to insert an adverb?”

James just stared at him.

“To desperately hope,” I whispered.

James let out a breath. “To gratefully believe.”
-----

Finally he said, “Just walk up to your hell and give it a push. Run through it, and I’ll be waiting on the other side.”


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Friday, April 26, 2013

"You're nothing but a bird with an attitude"

Angelfall (Penryn & The End Of Days, #1)Angelfall by Susan Ee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book a few days ago and I've been slowly gathering my thoughts to write this. Why? Because it was awesome.

Lately I've been having some iffy times with books about angels. I'm so very tired of the same formula being used over and over: angel meets girl *ghasp* insta-love and lots of drama and stuff. So yeah... I wasn't sure it was the right time to journey into Angelfall, but I'm glad I did.
I did not expect this book's plot at all. By the second page I was entirely convinced this book was different. It's another one of those times in which the great reviews from Goodreads are right on the spot for me. I love it!

This book starts with a beautiful eerie description.

Ironically, since the attacks, the sunsets have been glorious. Outside our condo window, the sky flames like a bruised mango in vivid orange, reds, and purples.

The world is in ruins because angels pretty much showed up a few months ago and caused havoc and destruction.  It is unclear why. What we know is that cities are becoming dangerous, as survivors gang up to scavenge anything left. Is an each one on its own kind of scenario.
We learn all of this from Penryn, our 17 year old MC, since this book is told from her POV.
I decided not to read the description on the back before starting, making my reading experience even better. Seriously I loved having absolutely no idea of where, who and what to expect beyond angels, when opening the book.  So, I refuse to spoil anything else here.

The book is great: the prose is amazing,  you'll love Penryn, our smart, strong and caring main character and above all, you'll have fun. Yup, this book took me places and made me laugh.
I am very eager to read what happens afterwards!

In overall, Bravo Susan Ee, you've gained a new fan with Angelfall

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Bloodline Immersed In You

Please note that this review has spoilers!


Bloodline Immersed In You
Bloodline Immersed In You by A.R. Dean

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



2 and a 1/2 towards 3 stars

I am picky with my book tastes, but I am open enough to read almost anything that crosses my way; especially if it has vampires.  I discovered Bloodline Immersed in You while browsing freebies for Kindle and was immediately drawn to the premise of a nurse who turns into a vampire after an accident in the ER with a needle. I jumped into this book with very very low expectations, being a self pub first book, however, I became engrossed with the story, enough to enjoy it despite it's drawbacks.

I enjoyed the plot, as it's a tad different from many of the books out there in the paranormal + vampire genre. In this book we have a female MC who turns into a vampire early in the book. Nick, a hot sexy vampire helps her during her transformation and  becomes her lover. this last part is obviously NOT expected at all :-)

Kathleen - or Katy, Kat- is 36 years old. She lives in our contemporary world, in Texas and works as an ER nurse at a hospital. She is married and had a daughter when she was 16, who doesn't live with her, but with her dad.  Kat's current marriage is in the brink of collapsing, however she is sort of satisfied with most of the aspects of her life; particularly her work and routine. She has a best friend Angie

You'll expect that when 1) she learns that vampires exist, 2) she becomes one and 3)she gets super powers: becomes a shape shifter and has premonitions; the book would  take a turn focusing towards more paranormal twists, but here is where this book left me dumbfounded. It became a story about the everyday normal life of a middle upper class couple that sometimes in between the: steamy sex scenes, the dinner dates (yeah, our MC loves sushi), hospital shifts, the strangled relationship with a daughter the long term infidelity and divorce; remembers that they have to drink blood... Yes, I had forgotten, they are vampires.

Vampires are supposedly everywhere. They are vampire judges, police, doctors and I wouldn't be surprised if the politicians were too. Soooo much potential in this story, but I felt it came short by focusing on pointless things, that felt unnecessary and long. We don't learn much about vampires, beyond that they can live forever, sunlight doesn't affect them and some have strange powers.

As I said in the beginning, I'm a picky reader, but I know what kind of book I was reading. I felt it was very creative and I did finish it quickly. The author has a great voice and imagination that bleeds (note my vampire allusion) in a fantastic way through each page. I was not expecting some of its twists and I was pleasantly surprised.

However, I can't help to note that I felt this story wanted to tell a lot in such a way that many characters, events and situations were seriously unnecessary and in many cases underdeveloped.

There were things and situations I didn't wanted to see, hear or have our characters say.

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For example, the best friend Angie, who dies and leaves Kat all her money and all the chapters devoted to their relationship... it just dragged on.
I had to challenge myself to continue reading this book when early on, Kat and Angie are out at night dancing, a sentence put me off entirely: 'Our continuous dancing like lesbian lovers seemed only to fuse the guy's persistence'. Argh! Stereotypes much? Why is this necessary? It didn't add anything to the story. I sort of understand what the author was trying to explain here, but...nope. Why is it necessary to add the word lesbian here? She is having fun with her girlfriend. Stereotyping behaviour of people with diverse sexual preferences bothers me.
However, this was not something that came back to the story, so I was glad to continue and give it a chance.

We learn at the beginning that Kat is a very sexual person. And true to her character, we get to read about steamy hot sex. It had lots of good very graphic sensual descriptions, leaving only small amounts to your imagination. Very sexy stuff! I appreciated how Callie, Kat's daughter, acted upon her desires and made the first move with Dean. And in that note, yes, I found it a bit creepy that this guy was first in love with Kat and then her daughter... but maybe its just me

Nick was a good male lead. Flawed when he just leaves Kat in the bar once she sees Orlando (her maker) fully aware that she is in danger and just acting on a vampire instinct... Tsk-tsk, not cool Nick , but his devotion redeems him. I liked him. I also liked Stephen and his welcoming personality. As you can already imagine, this book has a whole lot of story and characters in play.

There was simply too much unnecessary medical information. As a reader, I am looking to immerse myself in a story that is entertaining, not to read how medical equipment works, lab techniques and ways to analyse blood. Why was C.S.I. a  TV success? Because even though the main plot was to solve a case using lab-work, the story was focused on the interactions, observations and 'discoveries'; not the description of what equipment was used and the details of lab-work. Leaving much more room for imagination. Kudos for the research involved writing this book, but I would cut many of these.

There were a lot of grammatical errors, and editing that needs to be done. Particularly the second half has plenty of dialogues that never close the quotations.

I think I should stop. I could go on and on in stuff  I liked and stuff that I wasn't entirely sure. This means that the book was good enough to keep me engrossed. Yes it needs editing, yes it drags on unnecessary stuff, but I had fun.

I'm not sure that I would recommend it to anyone as it is. If it gets a revision I'll certainly would!



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