Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Pages: Hatchet and The Secret of the Mansion for The Midnight Garden Readalong!!

Hello there guys!

Things are getting crazy once again because juggling everything with very few days off is complicated and I cannot wait till I get some more days off soon so I can do stuff at the apartment and have time to post a bit more!

Today for Saturday Pages I have two mini reviews for two books that are part of The Midnight Garden Classic MG & YA Readalong Challenge! They're May and July books (because I haven't yet managed to finish June's book...).




HatchetHatchet by Gary Paulsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


3.5 stars. The narrative style and Brian's voice threw me a lil bit at first and it took me a while to get used to it and to his stream of consciousness mixed with his narration of current events style of writing. Even when I thought I had managed to get into the book, sometimes an event will jar me out of it because it was a bit difficult to keep events and feelings separate and making sense of both.

But I really liked how he was resourceful but nothing that he did seemed too far-fetched or impossible with some knowledge of basic survival, even if I know I'd fail at starting fire with the hatchet as Brian did!

His small failures and triumphs felt very well balanced but also made you think about for how long can he keep up with his limited supplies and knowledge? Small in a scale, but such a big thing because they could be the difference between life and death.

There was quite a strong message about how very poorly prepared we are to deal with the outdoors and how frail humans are left to their own devices and having to confront wild animals, not even counting the carnivores!

And even if it was a bit obvious, the message about appreciating what we have and thinking about where our food comes from would be a good message for all of us, food doesn't come in neat wrappers at a supermarket only, and we ought to remember what's behind it all!








The Secret of the Mansion (Trixie Belden #1)The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was such a fun sweet book! And it reminded me of one of my fave series as a child, The Happy Hollisters! Oh, how I devoured their adventures!

A perfect summer read and even if it'll be a bit of a different read for younger kids these days, given how old timey it can read at times, it was full of charm and reminded me a lot of both very loved books I read when I was Trixie's age and also of the summers of my childhood, that I also spent under very little supervision, safely roaming and playing around in a small village, far from the rest-of-the-year-life-in-the-city!

Trixie was both an endearing and irritating character at the same time, because she was sweet and enthusiastic but could also be a bit too quick to judge and rather prone to act first and think later! Often rash and always determined she was also a very honest and open girl that was the best kind of influence for the very city girl and sheltered Honey (also, that name?).

They both form a team that keeps each other on balance and once they find a very unexpected friend that they want to help and a mysterious inheritance to find. I was expecting a lil bit more of the house mystery but I wasn't really disappointed because the book was full of summer goodness and the mystery was just another part of it!

3.5 stars to this one and I'm curious to give a try to more books in the series, if I can get my hands on them!



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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tell Me Tuesdays #29!!


Tell Me Tuesdays is a meme/feature created by the awesome ladies of Please Feed The Bookworm and La La In The Library, where we can share how we choose the book we are currently reading from our TBR pile!

I'm always curious about that, cause as much as I tend to make myself a rough schedule for books to read and the like, I'm quite a mood reader and sometimes I just HAVE to ignore my schedule and read something else!


I almost forgot to post my Tell Me Tuesday post this week! I was so tired yesterday and then this morning I was so busy with the kitchen thing, I nearly forgot!!



Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre


In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.

Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.

Because of her boyfriend Kian's sacrifice, she's operating under the mysterious Harbinger's aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she's terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers--mercenary monsters committed to her destruction--she's not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months...unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can't bear to lose.



 Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton

 Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.






Today I have a physical ARC that I got from the author's assistant and that might even count as my first ARC request ever, this one I'm only reading during the day because I fear how creepy the first book was and I think that Public Enemies will be even worse!

Then I've also started this month's book for the Reader's Lounge Book Club, and it's making me very happy I never got too serious about ballet! Oi!

And I'm also reading a 2016 ARC that I'm loving to pieces and that once I'm done I'll probably be pushing on every single one of you, but for now my lips are sealed!
  
So what are you all guys reading and how and why did you decide to pick up that book? Shiny new ARC? Comfort read? Scheduled for review? Must have new release? Tell me!!  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell!

Hiya there people!

So today is Monday and for me it is a Monday after a tough night shift at work and a tough Monday when I try not too sleep too much or too little so I can still function during the evening when I'm meeting friends from India here in vacation but also manage to fall asleep at night!

For this week's Mark This Book Monday I have yet another ARC review! This one I got both approved via NetGalley but also got gifted a physical ARC by my friend Britt from Please Feed The Bookworm! Such a lovely cover, so I'm super happy to have the physical ARC!

As a 2015 release it counts towards by 105 Challenge too!



MechanicaMechanica by Betsy Cornwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I fell in love with the cover of this book and really wanted to read a Cinderella retelling with not your typical ending. I ended up with both a physical and an eARC of this one and I'm beyond grateful for them!

Mechanica is a more "faithful" retelling than others that I have read before, but I cannot generalize much since I haven't read many. Nicolette is an orphan that's left with her Steps once her father dies. She's treated like a servant and lives like one. There's even a ball and a prince in this story too, but the setting and the way the story is woven sets it apart from the more known versions of Cinderella.

This is a world of clockwork and magic and secrets. Where the Fae were treated like servants before being expelled and where rebellion and a war are looming. I loved all the lil stories woven here and there about the magic and the Fae.

My favourite part of the whole book has to be seeing Nicolette working on her clockwork inventions and discovering all that had been shut down and finding a way to connect with her mother through the memories and diaries. And to see her planning and plotting a way to escape the Steps with her own work and talent, without needing anyone to rescue her!

I love that no matter what hurdles she faces, Nicolette continues to work and try to fix herself a new and better life, with her friends and some of those lovely mechanical critters that were her very first friends (and quite a wink to the Disney rodents).

I really loved many things in this book and you might be wondering why it didn't get a higher rating, but the thing is that the overall feeling was not one of overwhelming love or amazement, so I cannot give a 4 or 5 stars rating, but THIS is the kind of fairy tale I wish I could have read when I was a pre-teen and one I'll make sure young girls that I know will get to read.

We don't need books that have girls being rescued by marriage to a prince, but girls that despite being treated badly are still capable of finding friends and getting over heartbreak without bitterness and through their own work and talent rescue themselves. And this is a book that says exactly that. So big kudos to the author for writing a modern version with a very classical fairy tale feel to it.

Very much deserved 3.5 stars to this one. It'll be in the Xmas list for some young girls this year from me!



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Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Reads: ARC Review of The Veil by Chloe Neill!!

Hey there guys!

Happy Friday! I'm trying to clear up my review pile a lil before jumping head first into ARC August!
The book for this week's Friday Reads is an ARC that I was approved for by Penguin on NetGalley! I cannot say thank you enough to the Penguin guys for being so kind to approve me so often over there!

It counts towards my 105 challenge since it is a 2015 release (an August 4th to be more precise!).




The Veil (Devil's Isle, #1)The Veil by Chloe Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm a huge fan of Chloe Neill's other UF series, the Chicagoland Vampires series, and I was quite intrigued about this one.

I'm happy to report this is another UF series I will be faithfully following now. It has the trademarks of Chloe's writing without feeling like a rehash of Chicagoland.

The setting is New Orleans after a war with the paranormals in which the Veil that separates their world from ours was torn. Claire lives in a recovering from war NOLA, where magic is outlawed and paranormals are kept in a special prison. Times are tough and she runs an antiques + survival shop she inherited from her dad.

Claire is a wonderful character. She had plenty to be afraid of and she had a secret she kept from everyone in her life, but even fear of discovery and punishment wouldn't stop her from trying to help and do what's right. And even when her life threatens to change too much too fast she doesn't shrink back from what she can do to help. Not even what she would prefer to do is hide her head in the sand and pretend nothing happened. She's resilient, strong and a bit of firecracker, but not overly impulsive.

Liam is a bounty hunter with alpha tendencies but that doesn't really go to the "so alpha he ends up being an arsehole" side, which is always a relief. He's got his own issues and secrets but he's willing to help Claire be safe and also make her understand that there's more to the paranormals and the war that is public knowledge. I love that he wants to help her but doesn't treat her like a breakable thing but acknowlegdes who she is and what she can do.

The pacing was a bit slow through the first half or maybe a lil more of the book because there was some real basic world building to do and characters to stablish, but once the action started to pick up and the game started to be revealed... I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!

There's romance here but it's more on the attraction and the "should we should we not act on it", and "with the state of things and what can happen to you, maybe it's better if we keep our distance for reasons", but I cannot wait to see how these two deal with their attraction as the series progresses! They can make a great team.

Thankfully there's no real cliffhanger on this one, the first chapter of the larger story ends neatly although we know there's more coming and we are left really looking forward to see what's next for the gang!

3.5 well deserved stars on the higher side of the 3.5!



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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tell Me Tuesdays #28!!


Tell Me Tuesdays is a meme/feature created by the awesome ladies of Please Feed The Bookworm and La La In The Library, where we can share how we choose the book we are currently reading from our TBR pile!

I'm always curious about that, cause as much as I tend to make myself a rough schedule for books to read and the like, I'm quite a mood reader and sometimes I just HAVE to ignore my schedule and read something else!

After quite a while since my latest Tell Me Tuesdays post, I'm back again on the saddle, trying (and failing) to get back into a more regular blogging schedule!


Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.



 The Veil by Chloe Neill

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…



 Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

 In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. 

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.





Back after a while and with 2 ARCs, one physical gifted by my friend Britt from Please Feed the Bookworm, another an eARC from NG and re-reading my gorgeous hardcover of Throne of Glass for the #ReadThroneofGlass re-read in preparation for the release of Queen of Shadows on Sept 1st!! I hoping to finish the two ARCs this week, so I can have their reviews up on the before their release date of August 4th!

 So what are you all guys reading and how and why did you decide to pick up that book? Shiny new ARC? Comfort read? Scheduled for review? Must have new release? Tell me!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Reads: Mini-Reviews for The Stars of Summer and Open Road Summer!!!

Hey there guys!

Happy Friday! I hope you had a good week and have some nice plans for this weekend! This is one of my longest weeks at work, since I work 3 to 10 pm shift from Mon-Thurs and then night shift on Friday and Sunday... So I kinda cannot wait till next Monday!

Today I have another pair of mini-reviews as my Friday Reads! One of them was June's book for The Reader's Lounge Book Club (that I failed to read in time...) that will count towards my 2015 Debut Author Challenge (since I can count 2014 debuts too) and as part of my 105 Challenge as a book that has been in my physical TBR pile since last year! The other one will also count towards the 105 Challenge as a Middle Grade read!







The Stars of Summer (All Four Stars, #2)The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Another wonderful adventure for Gladys trying to navigate normalcy as a kid at camp, finding things in common with her parents and a few unexpected complications while she tries to find the best hot dog in New York!

Gladys now has friends and can cook at home, she also has a job as freelance critic, so things are looking up, right? But things aren't as simple as they'd seem! Her friends aren't friends with each other, all of them too different to really click, she gets invited to camp so she won't have all the cooking time she wanted this summer, and she gets a really odd assignment from her editor at the paper.

Time for a confession, I've never been to camp so I felt like I was vicariously living the experience with Gladys! I'm not big on directed activities and the like, so I'd be pissed if I had to give up a summer of enjoying my hobbies to go to camp. But I liked how Gladys gave it a try because it was her friend's camp and also tried to make the most of it by thinking of it as cover for her hot dog escapades.

My favourite part of the book has to be how Gladys spends more time with her parents while trying to complete her hot dog assignment and it ends up being more than just an excuse to complete her job and instead is a way to find common ground and a way to connect together as a family!

The kid author celebrity was an unexpected twist added and a way for Gladys to see her less endearing qualities magnified in someone else. It had a bit of a tongue-in-cheek feel with how he was characterized, but I love that we get to seem some more layers and not so much of a two dimensional character.

There's an awards night, a conspiracy solved, some friendships got challenged and came out stronger and at the end of the day Gladys decided that she needed to be honest with those she love more than anything else.

All the food talk in this book makes me hungry and now I want to sample some of the awesome hot dogs featured here, as well as reading more of Gladys' adventures, which I do hope we'll get!! More Gladys next summer please!!



Open Road SummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Well, now this is the kind of contemporary that I love reading! The one that makes me feel everything, that makes me smile and laugh and cry my eyes out! Instant Emery Lord fan for sure here!

Proper review to come once I've stopped being overwhelmed with ALL THE FEELS!!

This book was June's book for my book club and had been in my TBR pile for many months, and my friend Becca from Reading Teen had pushed it to me MANY a time, and holy crow if she wasn't right!

Reagan is not an easy character to like. She was flawed and angry and bitter and had a thing for judging others in a way she hates to be judged that annoyed me quite a bit, but she felt real and raw and she grows so much throughout the book! Her best quality had to be her loyalty to Dee and how she always put her first, even when she was feeling selfish or underappreciated.

Dee is a great character, one that deals with her dream coming true and the difficulties that fame and fortune do bring with them. Papparazzi and lies that not only hurt her but those she loves. I loved how we see the inside of a tour and the real life behind all the glamour.

The best part of this book is the friendship, such a positive and supportive friendship between such different girls as Reagan and Dee. There's also a lovely romance with a great character such as Matt that manages to get under Reagan's skin and turn her upside down a bit!

A very much recommended book for lovers of contemporary books as well as those like myself that don't pick a contemporary as their first option. Give Reagan a chance, she'll show you that even when you want to shake her, she'll get better and grow!

FIVE stars and well deserved!



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Monday, July 13, 2015

Mark This Book Monday: All the samplers!: Dove Arising, Daughter of Deep Silence, The Heir, Ungodly!!

Happy Monday you guys!

This week is gonna be quite work-busy for me, and I still hope to manage to read a bit at night and hope that I won't have to juggle too many apartment related things...

And if only the damned heat wave went the F away! This heat is really killing my energy and my productivity!

For this week's Mark This Book Monday I'm gonna have a special Samplers mini reviews, so I can finally get them off my NetGalley Shelf!



Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

This was a rather short sampler, but quite enough to give us a sense of the state of mind of Frances right as she is rescued from a shipwreck, dealing with survivor's guilt and having to face the fact that the other only survivors are lying about what happened in the cruise and how the ship was sunk.

I liked Frances' voice and just the first chapters were really intriguing, really left me wanting to read more. And for some strange reason the sampler also made me think of the Doctor Who Xmas Special about the space Titanic (Allons-y Alonzo!). I think the whole conspiracy feeling about a ship sinking making it look like an accident or lying about how it was an accident is the similar thread there.

Did this sampler succeed in making me want to read the book? Quite so!


Dove Arising by Karen Bao

This one was a slightly longer sampler, and one that showed how unique the voice of this novel is. Phaet doesn't speak out loud, much or nearly at all. That could have proved a challenge to relate or to connect with her, but given it was not like that at all. Being inside her head with the first person narrative was a treat!

I loved how she was determined to work hard and make the most of her intelligence and was aiming to do what she loved, but how she was even more determined to keep her family together.

The world building of the Moon as a colony and the society developed there felt like a mix of classic science fiction and classic dystopia, and one I really would love to read more about!

Did this sampler succeed in making me want to read the book? YES!


The Heir by Kiera Cass

I must confess that getting this sampler was a total guilty pleasure, because I read the three Selection books and enjoyed them, even if they were the fluffiest of fluff. I had decided not to give a flying f*ck about the next book because I felt it wasn't needed, but then I got curious and grabbed this sampler.

It is a fairly big sampler, with the first 10 chapters of the book. The writing is equally as easy to read and devour as the rest of the Selection books, but Eadlyn, our new main character and the daughter of Mer and Maxon, is not an easy to like character. She reads entitled and spoiled in a way that her brother doesn't, and when she makes a point of fighting for her independence and self reliance, it comes out more as a selfish tantrum.

There's a new Selection, one with a female as a chooser for the first time, so it's like a first edition of the Bachelorette. And maybe it should have read girl empowering, but since it was used as a distraction, it felt manipulative and even if that was not the intention, it read like "you need to find someone to love, or you'll never be happy" sort of attitude pushed onto Eadlyn.

Did this sampler succeed in making me want to read the book? Well, yes...
Will I buy the book and read it? Nope, I'll probably beg for spoilers to know what the hell happened though.


Ungodly by Kendare Blake

My most recent sampler grab and one that I had to read right away, even if reading a sampler from the last book of a trilogy you love is never really a good idea...

This one is also a BIG sampler, with the first ten chapters and quite a few answers and twists already happening!

After the very bloody and cruel ending of Mortal Gods, we see the fallout and what happened to our characters, meet a few interesting new characters (helloooo there Death!) and see Athena in a rather unexpected light and continue to feel like hugging and walloping Cassandra in the head! Neither Athena nor Cassandra are easy characters to love, but for some reason I give Athena more lenience and Cassandra ends up making me want to shake her a bit more, with her combination of hatred, naivete and deep knowledge at the same time...

Did this sampler succeed in making me want to read the book? HELL YEAH, EVEN MORE THAN I ALREADY WANTED TO BEFORE!!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

ARC August is back and I'm totally signing up for it again!!

Hey there guys!!

Once again the amazing ladies at Read Sleep Repeat are doing ARC August (for the third year!!) and I do plan to once again, sign up for it!!

You might be asking, what is ARC August? Well, I'm gonna let the mighty Octavia explain it to you, words taken right out of her blog:

"For those of you new to RSR let me explain ARC August. And to answer your first question, no it is not a month where ARCs of you most anticipated books rain from the heavens and fall directly into your laps.

I started ARC August my first (was it really my first?!) year of blogging, as an attempt to get caught up on my ARCs and get my Netgalley ratio up since it was completely in the shitter (think 32% people) and it wasn’t changing any time soon. And, like they say, misery loves company so I invited my fellow book nerds to tackle their ratios and piles with me and it was GLORIOUS! Not only did we have fun, I really made a dent in my pile! So I’m bringing ARC August back and am inviting all of YOU to look over those ARCs and show them who’s boss."

I was so close to getting to 80% ratio on NetGalley before I had to put the blog on hiatus, so I'm hoping to get back to eARC reading and reviewing with a vengeance, so I can end the month of August with the ever ellusive 80% NG ratio! And also, I need to tackle my BEA pile of ARCs in the proper order!




That's why I'm planning to read and review all the September ARCs from the BEA pile


And I'm also planning to read another 5 eARCs that are currently in my Kindle, probably Legacy of Kings, The Veil, Beastly Bones, Lair of Dreams and at least a pair of titles that I'm late to read and review...

My goal is reading at least 10 ARCs, between physical and eARCs, and I hope to succeed! After all, once I'm done with ARC August, I'll have Queen of Shadows to read, and what better way to read it that with all the Sept ARCs read and reviewed!! No guilt!!




Are any of you guys thinking of joining ARC August? Wish me luck!!