Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Reads: Haze by Paula Weston!!!

Hey guys! For the second entry on this week's Friday Reads I have one of those sequels that somehow manage to get everything that was good on the first book, build on it and make it even better!

A word of warning, this book was released last year in the UK and Australia but it won't be published in US till September this year, so my dear US friends either curb your impatience, or order the UK/AUS versions from The Book Depository!

Haze (Rephaim)Haze by Paula Weston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haze is one of those sequels that are absolutely amazing, that moves the plot along and is full of revelations and add more layers to the already complex world building! Since this is the review of the sequel, there might be some spoilers for book one, Shadows, but I'll try keep those to a minimum.

Haze starts pretty much where Shadows left us, with Gaby still reeling with all the revelations and happenings since Rafa appeared at a bar in Pan Beach, and the search for answers about what happened to Jude and her, what did they find out? Why the memory loss?

We do get more questions than answers, but at least Gaby gets a bit of a break in the shape of some good news! She finds that she isn't alone in her corner, cause neither of the guys one both sides of the Rephaim seemed to trust her in Shadows, except from Rafa, and that came with reservations. Now, she finds herself asserting who she is as Gaby and accepting those parts of Gabe that come to her, like muscle memory and learning to fight properly, again.

I loved how Gaby kept trying to find her place within the Rephaim now, being Gaby and not Gabe, dealing with all the memories everyone has of her, and that she doesn't. It was great to see her character grow and intereact with all the others Rephaim, even those that weren't fans of her at all.

And what I loved the most was how the relationship with Rafa moved, it had quite a few hot & cold moments, but given the story between them that Gaby can't remember at all (and so we don't know about) it kind of makes sense that Rafa isn't entirely ready to act on his attraction (and probably much more) to Gaby. Their relationship is fantastic, since Rafa tries to treat her as who she is right now but at the same time is mindful of who she was. The chemistry between them is amazing as is the way they work as a team.

The action takes us to so many new places in this one! Not only in Gaby's not real memories (that I keep thinking must be very important and relevant but still don't know how) but in the journey for answers the characters are. Gaby keeps returning to Pan Beach so it has to have some more significance that we know yet, and then she travels with other Rephaim to LA and Dubai... and every place feels so real and so vivid.

What we thought we knew is challenged when we meet some new characters, and we're entirely unsure if they're friends or foes. I found very refreshing that there are revelations that are new for all the Rephaim, so it's not just Gaby the one that is in the dark, although it is quite worrisome too. What else is there that the Rephaim don't know about, and maybe they should? Why are they being kept in the dark? Is that why Jude and Rafe and their rebels left? Does it have something to do with why Gaby stayed and then left with Jude??

I feel like there are clues left for us everywhere along the books and we don't realize they're clues, except when something will be revealed and then we'll go "AHA!" and that's a feeling I love in a book! But for now it's the feeling of "maybe this is relevant for later on or maybe I'm just getting paraoid?".

If you can, I'd suggest reading this one with the next book reading to be open either right next to you or in your eReader, cause the cliffhanger is one of the specially horrible and cruel ones!! I'm beyond happy I waited to read all three books in a row and didn't start the series last year, cause the wait would have been painful!!

All in all, this is a brilliant sequel and very much deserving of 5 stars!!

View all my reviews

Friday Reads: All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor!!

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! This Friday is a particularly happy one for me since I'm gonna be leaving for my parents cottage and gonna be there till Monday, spending my time relaxing, reading, playing with the puppies and sleeeeping!!

As my first entry for this week's Friday Reads I have yet another of the Classic Middle Grade books from The Midnight Garden monthly read-alongs! Today is also the day we're having the read-along discussion there, so drop by! I'm loving taking part of these read-alongs and discovering such lovely books that I had missed originally on my childhood!

All-of-a-Kind FamilyAll-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is yet another book that I've read and loved thanks to the very awesome ladies at The Midnight Garden. As another of their middle grade challenge read-along books, this is a new discovery for me and yet again, a lovely lil gem!

All-of-a-kind family is the kind of lil story that would really help children see how different things were quite a few years back, and it works the same way with adults. Every description felt so genuine, so well done, and nothing in the narrative, not the descriptions of how the girls had to save their pennies for the dad's birthday or how the way some meals were reserved only as treats for certain days, nothing was written in the "woe is me" kinda way, but simply as a fact that it was like that. A family of limited means making the most of everything they had!

I knew I was going to love the book since it started with the five sisters going to the library! I could relate with Sarah's anguish of not finding her book! That has been a recurring nightmare for me, and it's been a looong time since I've taken books from the library! But as a young girl the library was one of my most favourite places to go, roam around and find my next read!

I loved the every day happenings of the family and the wonderful descriptions on the book. How each of the girls were their own person but never felt like they were too much of a stereotype! I loved their joy at finding books and at buying and making the most delightful games of eating their penny candy at night!

One of the episodes I felt that rang more closely to my own childhood was the one about Mama's rules about the food and how when Sarah refused to eat her soup, she wouldn't be given anything else to eat. That was pretty much my mother's rule, "if you don't eat this for lunch, you'll have it for dinner and if not, for breakfast". Only once I refused to eat my lentils for lunch, and let me tell you, lumpy re-heat lentils for dinner, I do not recommend! I loved how it portrayed the view from both the obstinate child that wants to give in but doesn't and the mother that worries but can't back down!

Another wonderful thing about this book is the descriptions of all the Jewish traditions and holidays and how the family included other non-Jewish people in their life and included them in their celebrations, like the library lady and Charlie! Every reference to them as gentiles seemed casual and never implied as a good or bad thing, simply what it was and that it was okay.

I might have been a lil bothered with some tiny things, like the importance of the girls learning to be good housewives, but I cannot fault the book given its age! It compensated with the immense love of the girls for books, so I forgave that.

A most delightful read, even after all these years since it was written! Very well deserved 4 stars!!

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 24, 2014

First Chapter, First Paragraph #4: Forecast by Rinda Elliott!!

First Chapter, First Paragraph is one of the two memes that I will be alternating on Thursdays in place of my Ink & Batter posts during the summer, when I won't be baking due to the heat!

I discovered this meme via the ladies of My Shelf Confessions, and it is hosted on Tuesdays by Bibliophile by the Sea. But since I already have my blog tours posts and Tell Me Tuesdays, I thought that it'd work best on Thursdays for me!

The idea of this meme/feature is quite self-explanatory from its name, we share the first paragraph of the first chapter of our current read! Quite a good teaser for others to read and see if they'd be intrigued!

This week I'm sharing a teaser from an ARC I was lucky enough to get sent by the author and it's the sequel of a book I discovered thanks to Jenny from Supernatural Snark! Norse mythology for the win!

 Forecast by Rinda Elliott

 "The boy's furious dark gaze locked with mine as the cop snapped the handcuffs on him. He stared hard at me for a moment before snarling over his shoulder. "Seriously? What's with the damned cuffs? You can't do that. I said I'll come!"

What do you think? Would you want to know more?
What are you reading right now?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #52!!

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted at Breaking The Spine  that spotlights those can't-wait-to-get-my-hands-on-them books that we are eagerly awaiting!

So what book am I awaiting with bated breath this week? Opposition by Jennifer L Armentrout!!

Goodreads Summary:

"Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing."

Why am I eagerly awaiting Opposition? Well, I binge read the entire Lux series at the beginning of last year, a few months before Origin came out, and the wait with the horrible cliffhanger in Opal, till I could get my hands onto Origin was baaaad. There was a cliffhanger in Origin too, but at least not so bad! I cannot wait to see what will happen now that the Luxen are on Earth!!

What are you all (im)patiently waiting this week?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tell Me Tuesdays #4!!

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!

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

"“Sing, and the darkness will find you.”

This warning has haunted fifteen-year-old Lucy ever since she was eight and shipwrecked on a lonely island. Lucy’s guardian, Norrie, has lots of rules, but the most important is that Lucy must never sing. Not ever. Now it is 1667, Lucy is fifteen, and on All Hallows’ Eve, Lucy hears a tantalizing melody on the wind. She can’t help but sing—and she is swept into darkness.

When she awakes in England, Lucy hears powerful men discussing Chantresses—women who can sing magic into the world. They are hunting her, but she escapes and finds sanctuary with the Invisible College, an organization plotting to overthrow the nefarious Lord Protector. The only person powerful enough to bring about his downfall is a Chantress. And Lucy is the last one in England.

Lucy struggles to master the song-spells and harness her power, but the Lord Protector is moving quickly. And her feelings for Nat, an Invisible College apprentice and scientist who deeply distrusts her magic, only add to her confusion…

Time is running out, and the fate of England hangs in the balance in this entrancing novel that is atmospheric and lyrical, dangerous and romantic."

I picked this one as my July read from my "Alyssa recommends" list, inspired by Epic Recs, where Alyssa from The Eater of Books recommend me a book and I recommend her another! Since I was in the mood for fantasy I decided to pick up this one!

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!!

ARC August is here! Hosted by Read Sleep Repeat!

After the success for me that was ARC April, and seeing that the ladies at Read Sleep Repeat have decided to host ARC August once again, I'm totally gonna be signing up for it! I think after taking part in ARC August I might very well finally get the ever ellusive 80% ratio on NetGalley!

I have a list of books I need to read and review that I will be working in on August and hopefully a few of those ARCs that have been there for too long. Most will be from NetGalley with maybe one or two from Edelweiss and at least one for a blog tour!

Here's my tentative list!:

I have a few ARC reviews that will be going up in August but those are already read, so they won't exactly count for the challenge! Wish me luck and if you want to join, SIGN UP HERE!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: Shadows by Paula Weston!!!

Hello guys!! Welcome to a new week, new Monday and as such a new edition of Mark This Book Monday!

This week I'm gonna be reviewing the three books that are out so far (in Australia and the UK) from The Rephaim series. One of those very few series about angels and demons that I have actually enjoyed and adored! Which ones are the others you may ask? Sweet Evil trilogy by Wendy Higgins and Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee.

I want to thank Kristen from My Friends Are Fiction and Sam from Realm of Fiction for putting this series on my radar, you ladies are two of my most trusted canaries!

Shadows (The Rephaim, #1)Shadows by Paula Weston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never really been a fan of books about angels and demons but I had two of my blogging friends, Sam and Kristen, highly recommend I started this series last year but somehow I completely forgot about it. Fast forward to last week when the third book in the series came out, Sam was again raving about it and I decided to get the three books for my Kindle app... and the rest is history as they say, I totally binge read the three books in two days!

Shadows is the first book and the one that keeps us confused for the first half of it, as confused as Gaby herself is. She moved to Pandanus Beach trying to recover from the horrific accident where her twin bother Jude died, and now a year later, she seems to be able to start living and not just surviving. But then a mysterious stranger called Rafa arrives, calling her Gabe and claiming to be Jude's best friend. And that's just the beginning of what could be defined as "all hell breaks loose!".

Gaby is told that she's not 19, she's not human, she was presumed dead too and her being alive makes her a suspect of treason to her own people. There are two sides that are telling her to choose, not really believing her when she says that she has no idea what's going on and she's being pushed in every direction to remember the past and defend herself.

I loved Gaby from the start, she was trying to heal, trying to find a new life for herself and then she's thrown THE curve ball and she doesn't know what to do or what (or who) to believe. Rafa proves to her that he was her brother's best friend and that they had known each other before, but he's quite stingy with the information he provides. Gaby has to relearn a LOT of things, starting with who to trust, how to fight and what she is not willing to compromise. She might have been someone different once, but she is now Gaby and she won't forget about her friend Maggie and her other regular human friends.

Rafa was a very interesting character, even if his tendency to expect Gaby to remember things or to be stingy with the information he provided really got on my nerves on occasion. Given that the rest of the Rephaim aren't any better with their information sharing, I quickly forgave him for it. He might have not been 100% sincere from the start, but he always gave Gaby more credit and treated her more like an equal than the ones that were supposed to be on Gaby's side.

Daniel I quite dislike on principle and never really warmed towards him, he was too much of the politician and didn't care enough to bother giving Gaby a chance to explain herself or really believed her when she said she didn't remember. So for me, the possible love triangle really wasn't such, as I'm pretty sure it wasn't for Gaby!

Maggie and Jason were also interesting secondary characters, and with very interesting twists hidden too!

One of the best things on this book is how well balanced the action and the world building were. We don't really get any info dumping, we're getting explanations but at the same time we're moving the plot along. There were plenty of twists, unexpected reveals and surprises along the way and the take on fallen angels never felt overly done at all.

One heck of a first book and one that I flew by and as soon as I was finished needed to start book two! Well deserved 4.5 to 5 stars! Even if angel books are not your thing, trust me, this one might just be!

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Showcase Sunday #42!!

Showcase Sunday is a weekly feature hosted by Vicky of Books, Biscuits, and Tea where all book lovers can share with others what bookish goodness we got this week, be it purchased (physical or eBook), won, gifted or for review!

This week's haul is special but for no other reason that I'm a geek and it's my haul number 42! And 42 is the answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything!! Ah, I feel like I need to re-read the Hitchhiker's books again soon! I got a few books in the mail, that seems to be working way more slowly now that it's summer, oh well!

Purchased (via The Book Depository)

Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton
Starglass by Phoebe North

Purchased (via Book Outlet)

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Linked by Imogen Howson

Purchased (via Kindle app)

Black Rook by Kelly Meade

For Review (via NetGalley)

Thank you so much to Harlequin HQN and Rebellion for the approvals this week! (continues humming BSB songs).

I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

edited by David Thomas Moore

For Review (sent by the author)

Thank you so much for these, Rinda and Clare!!

Forecast by Rinda Elliott

Shrouded Soul by Clare Davidson

Well, that was quite a big week too! With books arriving in the mail almost two weeks after buying them... and I'm still awaiting my Barnes & Noble order! Hopefully next week!

What all did you guys get this week!