15 Nov 2016

Review: Nemesis

Publication Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
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Princess Sepora of Serubel's world runs on spectorium- and, as the last known person who can create the precious substance, she is a highly valuable resource. When her father devises a way to weaponise spectorium and begins to eye neighbouring countries, threatening to plunge her nation into a war, Sepora disappears into the night. Presumed dead, she journeys to Theoria, hoping to live out the rest of her life as a civilian there, where her power will not be turned to destruction. When she is captured on the road by Theorian slavers, she finds herself in the Theorian royal palace, thrown back into the world of politics- this time in the court of her father's enemies.

Getting this out of the way right now: the cover is kind of weird and doesn't suit the novel very well, nor is the title really well suited to the story being told. Okay, now that the judging a book by it's cover is done, onward.

This book was... entertaining, but didn't function terribly well on any greater level of engagement. It's like... Kingdom Politics Lite. I don't entirely understand the means of governance of Theoria... despite the fact that the novel ostensibly focuses on politics of the country, it was mostly superficial glamour the grossly underestimates the complexity of managing a country. So that challenged my suspension of disbelief a bit. (Yes, inadequate governance systems stretch my ability to suspend my disbelief, but dragons don't. The human brain is weird.) Moving on.

I feel like I never quite got a handle on Sepora as a character... or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I didn't really connect with her. A lot of her decisions didn't make much sense to me.... and I found it really hard to believe that some of the things she suggested hadn't, you know, been suggested before...? She's impulsive in the extreme, but it seems to work for her, if only because of narrative convenience. I feel like I understood Tarik at the beginning of the book... but I actually lost any grasp I might have had on his character by the middle of the novel.

Something that was kind of interesting to me was the parallels with and references to Egyptian and Greek mythology. I'm not sure how much of that was intentional, but I assume at least some of it must have been.  Ones I caught:

  • Nemesis is the Greek goddess of revenge. I'm fairly sure they intended the more colloquial meaning of nemesis, though
  • Set(h) is the name of the Egyptian god who cut out Horus's (a.k.a. god-king/pharaoh, falcon-headed deity) eye. (Maybe. Depending on what version of the myth you listen to.) I'm not saying direct parallels, but there are... certain thematic similarities.
  • obviously the pyramids and some of the more basic characteristics of Theoria were inspired by ancient Egypt

The plot was a bit scattered... they often felt like they only happened because it was convenient. Also surely, surely there was a way for Sepora to secretly provide spectorium without telling everyone she was a Forger?

Overall, I feel like the book had a fairly strong concept, but didn't deliver well on a lot of fronts for me. I am curious about how the story ends, however, and will likely be picking up the second half of the duology.


4 Nov 2016

Unparalleled, The Graces

Series: The Graces #1
Publication: September 6th 2016 by Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
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Rating:
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

There are lot of definitions a person could give you with truth. But mostly, his answer is not the whole truth, it’s just part of the truth.  That part is his experience to another person or the world not telling the truth to him. The other part is that, the truth on his self.

I was filled with the emotional impact of overwhelming surprise on how Laure Eve exposed the truth of ourselves—on how we crave and crave for the entire truth yet we cannot give it back totally. On most chapters of The Graces, I have a lot of queries to what’s the point of this? What’s the point of that? Then what? There is no clear shot, yet, that my questions would be answered. I also thought that this would be a draggy read because of the rising number of my unanswered questions and I would end up DNF-ing it but it wasn’t, instead, those questions lead me to further to read The Graces.

This may spoil you a bit. You might want to skip it? But it’s good to know this first especially if you’re so into magic. Your expectations on The Graces magic might deadened and you would DNF it. The magic on this book was different but it was one of the reasons I have read it until the end. It’s a bit of a disappointment to those who have been fed up of breathtaking supernatural powers. So if you are interested to read The Graces, don’t expect much on its magic. Expect more on the magic of Laure Eve.


If you are finding the truth in yourself or of the world, The Graces is desirable for you. Just don’t let your anticipations get ahead of you. It’s a light read and it’s easy to adapt on its quality of being one of a kind. Resplendently written, The Graces would grant you coup de grâce.



Source: Publisher via Netgalley - Thank you! · I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



29 Oct 2016

Joyride, Let's Just Call It A Ride

Publication: June 2nd 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Format: ARC, 288 pages
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Rating:  
It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.
Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.
All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

Feelings over some parts of Joyride? Disappointed. I expected it literally to be joyride. Like Perks of Being A Wallflower joyride. (I know that it’s wrong of me to think but I HAVE FALLEN FOR THAT MIDNIGHT PRANKING.) Also, betrayed. I have expected that they would do gratifying pranks but I was like, “That’s it?”.

What Bank’s gave me is a painful yet impressing and revealing read. Painful that racism never stops because it starts to the people who you expected to understand the most, the people who would see everyone as equal. Impressing that Carly found what it is to live life freely. And, revealing that Arden is wise and a worthy guy for a Latina like Carly.

Bonus point: The most enthralling character Bank’s have written was Arden’s uncle. His combining clever conception and facetious expression was delightful.

Joyride has the clarity and freshness of straightaway experience on racism, friendship, betrayal, suicide, and family that would last in your heart for a duration.



Source: Won from Dana - Thank you!· I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


5 Oct 2016

October Anticipated Reads

Anticipated Reads is a monthly meme hosted by Mel at Reviews In A Pinch that will be occurring the first Wednesday of every month that showcases at least three books releasing each month; letting you know what new books are coming out that I'm excited about.

Series: Magonia #2
Publication: October 4th 2016 by HarperCollins

Where is home when you were born in the stars?
       Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend Jason is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world.
        As in, not normal. Part of Aza still yearns for the clouds, no matter how much she loves the people on the ground.
      When Jason’s paranoia over Aza’s safety causes him to make a terrible mistake, Aza finds herself a fugitive in Magonia, tasked with opposing her radical, bloodthirsty, recently-escaped mother, Zal Quel, and her singing partner Dai. She must travel to the edge of the world in search of a legendary weapon, The Flock, in a journey through fire and identity that will transform her forever.
       In this stunning sequel to the critically acclaimed Magonia, one girl must make an impossible choice between two families, two homes—and two versions of herself.


Publication: October 6th 2016 by Penguin

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed 'America's Fattest Teen'. But no one's taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum's death, she's been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby's ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.
         Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he's got swagger, but he's also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can't recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He's the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can't understand what's going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don't get too close to anyone.
         Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world - theirs and yours.

Publication: October 4th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends

Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

         Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

         But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.








What are your October Anticipated Reads? Are you excited of the same books?


21 Sep 2016

September Anticipated Reads

Anticipated Reads is a monthly meme hosted by Mel at Reviews In A Pinch that will be occurring the first Wednesday of every month (but today is an exception for me because I want to share!) that showcases at least three books releasing each month; letting you know what new books are coming out that I'm excited about.

Series: Worldwalker #3
Publication: September 20th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends
Lily Proctor has come a long way from the weak, sickly girl she used to be. She has gained power as a witch and a leader, found her way home, chosen to face battle again, and (after losing her first love and being betrayed by her new love) she has learned more about loss and grief than she ever wanted to know.
Thrust once again into a society different from anything they have ever seen, Lily and her coven are determined to find answers―to find a new path to victory, a way to defeat the monstrous Woven without resorting to nuclear weapons or becoming a tyrannical mass murderer like her alternate self, Lillian. But sometimes winning requires sacrifices . . . and when the only clear path to victory lies at Lillian's side, what price will Lily be willing to pay?

Publication: September 27th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.
The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.
Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . .

Publication: September 27th 2016 by Harlequin Teen
Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.
When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.


What are your September Anticipated Reads? Comment the link of your September Anticipated Reads post and I'll visit it then!


12 Sep 2016

Review: My Lady Jane

Publication: HarperTeen, June 27, 2016
Genre: Alternate history, comedy
Format: Hardcover, 481 pages
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England is a bit of a mess, and Lady Jane Grey's impending nuptials dragging her away from her books isn't even the biggest problem. The king is dying, his advisors are conspiring, and there's a conspiracy afoot. Also, her husband-to-be is a horse half the time. 

Here's the thing about this book: it is patently and utterly ridiculous... but it's a self aware kind of ridiculous. It's set in the mid-16th century, but the speech is almost entirely modern. People turn into animals. Lady Jane Grey's story doesn't end in a beheading after her nine-day queenship. The narrators make comments on the goings on, rather than just telling the story. Everything is lot more humorous than the situation really would have been, historically speaking.

All that makes this a very interesting exercise in storytelling. My knowledge of English history is far from perfect, but you don't really need a grasp of history to read this one, as it veers so far away from what actually happened. Most of the story exists in active defiance of history, but, for the most part, the narrators make it clear that that's kind of the point. . The wackiness did make it a fun read, though.

While it was silly, and had very little to do with history this novel still had some fairly well defined characters that fitted the light tone of the novel. Jane was willful and compassionate, and more concerned with her books than the politics of England. The titles of her books amused me a lot! I'm a science student, so way they had lengthy and detailed titles of the academic was quite familiar (though the books themselves definitely weren't), and I quite enjoyed how Jane seemed to have picked up some pretty random bits of information from her reading (again, familiar). Especially the bit with the bear- I too often find myself in situations where I know a fair bit about something... but not anything of much use.  While I didn't enjoy the other characters quite as much as Jane, they suited the story well.

The only real gripe I have about this book was the Shakespeare bit. It just felt rather stilted being stuck in as it was... I think I might have preferred original poetry to that. It almost should have fit; there are parts of the story that do feel a bit Shakespearian- people turning into animals, the narrators interrupting the goings on with an intermission to comment, the RANDOM BEAR- but the poetry just didn't work for me.

Overall this was a silly alternate history that required a quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to get into. It's light, fun, and a bit random. It has less to do with history than most novels set on Mars, and it is definitely worth a read if you like something quick and quirky.

4 Sep 2016

Blood for Blood - A Series Not To Be Missed


Series: Blood for Blood, #1
Publication: February 24th 2015 by Chicken House Ltd
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
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Rating:
When it comes to revenge, love is a dangerous complication.With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.
When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell's life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families. As the boys' dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. She must choose between two warring dynasties - the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break.
I can’t believe that it took me a year to finally read this. It’s been just staying in my shelf for a long time. I let my mate borrow my copy though I still have not read it, and when she returned it to me and told me it’s really good and if I have the second book, I got interested and it’s like the book is calling out to me READ ME READ ME READ ME I HAVE BOYS TO FANGIRL AND A PROTAGONIST THAT YOU WILL NEVER GET ANNOYED. Yes, FIVE BOYS AND A NON-ANNOYING PROTAGONIST.

Vendetta constitutes to full extent suspense, a bit of romance, AND SWOON WORTHY BOYS. I am also really in love with how this book was written. I was never expecting to read such young adult. It was really, really, really good. I know that I’m a fantasy fan but this? This series made me realize that I love kick-ass young adult even more. I love the twists and turns and the realizations… EVERYTHING! I love it.

I did not expect to meet such characters. Sophie, the main protagonist, was never annoying. I was expecting her to be devoid of good sense or judgment or just like any other characters on other books that cause you irritation. Though she doesn’t think right sometimes, she is so brave and amiable. I was looking forward to Nic and Sophie’s relationship but I think Nic was “something”, there’s this feeling you won’t understand on him but he’s good at Sophie though and he cares for her but… And, Luca, Nic’s older brother. Gosh, Luca, I can’t get him out of my mind. His character may want Sophie to throw rock at him but I know something is up on his sleeve. And he’s irresistible!

I recommend EVERYONE to read Vendetta! It deserves more praises than it already has.
Trust me; you won’t forget every single scene.

Series: Blood for Blood, #2
Publication: January 7th 2016 by Chicken House
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
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Rating:
Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather in the second installment of Catherine Doyle's Blood for Blood series.
Sophie's life has been turned upside-down, and she's determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she's trying to forget, won't give up on their love - and it's Luca's knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace - and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie's in deeper than ever.

I have not stopped myself from buying a copy of the second book. I want to know what happens next to Sophie and the Falcones, especially my Luca. I read it in the midst of a school-hellish-works and so here it is.

 

If Vendetta was really, really, really good, then INFERNO TOPS VENDETTA. Yes, you have read that right. It is moooooooore intense and thrilling, and has moooooooooore twists and LIES AND TRUTHS. Oh, I love the truths though it hurts. The secrets that have been unraveled of Sophie’s identity were frustrating and led to upside downs and deaths.

 

Blood for blood.

Oh, I wish that I could share the whole book to you (I hate to spoil) but all I can say is that Inferno is astounding and breathtaking. I am out of words of how a great read it is.

 

If you have not read this series, pick it as your next read. And, while we wait for the third book, let’s fangirl together and get excited!


18 Aug 2016

Review: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You

Publication: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Action, Romance
Format: eBook
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Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, is not your ordinary private school, as Cammie Morgan can attest. All of it's attendies are trained in martial arts, fourteen languages, hacking, and covert operations- in short, they're trained to be spies. But when she meets an ordinary boy while on a training excerise, she has no idea what to do.

With the ten-year anniversery of publication of this one, I've been hearing really good things about these books. Now, having read it, I have to admit that I'm... kind of disappointed. I feel like I missed something.

I think part of the problem is that this felt too juvenile for me. I don't generally have a problem with books targetted toward younger audiences... but this time it got to me. It limited me ability to relate to the characters, and the simple writing style didn't appeal to me.

The most frustrating part was the boy Cammie liked. It seemed like a disproportionate amount of trouble to go to for someone she'd met once and had one pretty boring conversation with. Again, I feel like I missed what was interesting about him? Maybe it's because I didn't really get crushes in high school, so I was unable to relate...

I think because of that everything else fell apart. It seemed like trained spies (or even half-trained ones) would just... include meeting a person  in their report? And not make some truly ridiculous mistakes. I also would have liked to see more of their training... what we did see left something to be desired. I appreciated what the author was trying to do, but it just fell a bit flat for me... I didn't connect to any of the characters, and the plot failed to grab my attention.

The overall verdict, I think is "this one just wasn't for me." It wasn't what I was hoping for from a spy school, and I think the plot was a little to juvenile and/or unrelatable for me. I can see it being fun for a younger audience, even the writing, characters, and humour where not to my taste. I might give the sequel a try... but I kind of suspect that this series just isn't something I'll enjoy.
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