Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Reads: ARC Review of The Forever Watch by David Ramirez!

As the final entry on this week's Friday Reads I have another review book, one I got approved for on NetGalley, thanks a lot St Martin's Press for the approval!

As a review ARC it is part of both ARCApril and my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge!

The Forever WatchThe Forever Watch by David   Ramirez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I requested The Forever Watch on NetGalley I felt like I really needed a change in pace and felt like some good classical science fiction was exactly what I needed.

And now that I've finished it, I'm completely torn about this book. On one side the world building is impressively detailed and layered, there's so much of the story that you can imagine at first, with some dystopian touches here and there and the plot has some curve balls that you really cannot expect. But on the other hand, everything seems to progress at such a slow pace... it's like following a path of tiny crumbs that keeps on meandering and going and going and never seems to end! You are walking through a gorgeous countryside and try to enjoy the journey but if it goes on for too long... you just want to get somewhere!

Our story takes place in the Noah, a generation ship on route to Canaan after the destruction of Earth. The society built on the Noah is a meritocracy and has a very advanced technology with brain implants that enhance abilities like telepathy and telekinesis and other physical feats. Hana has just undergone her mandatory Breeding, where females get pregnant and stay sedated during the entire pregnancy and never get to meet their children. We see her trying to get back to her normal self previous to this experience and going back to her normal routine. Through her eyes we discover the world of the Noah and while it is fascinating, we meander around technology and descriptions for quite a bit.

Then we meet Barrens, a friend of Hana after helping her on her worst night to date, and a police officer, with plenty of phyisical enhancements and modifications to help with his work. He also has some secret darkness in him that is at odds with the tight control that is everywhere in the Noah. Big brother is nothing compared to the control of the Nth Web and what can be done by the "thought police". Being Adjusted means having your memories deleted which results in a loss of who you are, and are left more than an unfeeling robot.

Despite all this, both Barrens and Hana start on a slippery slope of hacking and investigating anomalies that are being kept hidden. Here is the beginning of a very long thread that keeps us on our toes and that throws us quite a few unexpected surprises! There are so many secrets and lies weaved all over the Noah, and the choice of keeping them or getting them in the open can lead to the end of what's left of humankind.

Hana and Barrens relationship progresses with a very realistic pace, when we meet them they've already been friends a while, but after Hana's Breeding duty they become close friends and then even more than just that. Their investigating and hacking and illegal activities manage to bring them closer in their quest to find the truth. And they discover that the truth sometimes isn't something that humanity (or what's left of it) can deal with as a whole.

Full of nuance and detail, with great plot lines and food for thought this is a great science fiction read, but somehow it just kept on feeling slow and long for me. I'm giving it 3 stars. Maybe it just wasn't the right read for the right time for me, but if you like science fiction, give this one a try!

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Friday Reads: A Mad Wicked Folly by Shannon Biggs Waller!!!

As the first entry of this week's Friday Reads, I have the review of a book that is one of the gems of the year and that will be in my list of favourite books of the year for sure!

A Mad, Wicked FollyA Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always been a big lover of historical fiction but I haven't been reading as much of it as of late. I've been more devoted to my other loves, science fiction & fantasy, as of late. But I'm never gonna say no to a good historical fiction novel!

The premise for A Mad Wicked Folly sounded fantastic, with a girl trying to find her place in a world that's not for women and during the period where women where fighting for their right to vote. And after I read Debby's review on her Snuggly Oranges blog, I knew I had to have it, so bought the hardcover. Then Gillian from Writer of Wrongs, Alyssa from The Eater of Books and Stephanie from Inspiring Insomnia all wrote glowing review for it, so I knew I had to move this "me" read to the top of the TBR list ASAP!

And boy, am I glad I cheated and read it before I had originally planned! This is a wonderful wonderful book that I will push into anyone's hands! Not only it has a fantastic setting that feels so genuine that you can't help but wonder the amount of research that must have gone into it, but the writing style and amazing and so visual that you have no trouble whatsoever walking right beside Vicky at every step.

Vicky or Miss Victoria Darling is the daughter of a business man of the upper class in Edwardian England, and as such she's attending a finishing school, getting her ready to be a proper lady, join the high society circles and find herself a husband. The fact that she's an artist and art is her life and her dream is of no consequence in the society of the time. The same one where the Suffragettes are fighting for women's right to vote and getting scorned and mistreated for doing so.

Vicky was a fantastic character, she had a constant fight during the book, always trying to find the way to keep her art, to not give up that part of herself, no matter what sacrifices she has to make. There are times that I felt like she needed a bit of shake, cause she seemed to feel like everything was justified as a means to an end of her goal, even when she was being too optimistic about her future and pesimistic about her talent. There's a lot of growth to her character and I loved how strong she really is and how she learns about that strenght.

The real historical events and facts are intertwined with Vicky's story is such a seamless way that we learn about the fight women had to put up to gain the right to vote, and we see through Vicky's fight for having a say in her life and to keep her passion, that the right to vote was just but the start of a long, still ongoing, fight for women to be treated as equals.

And I cannot NOT talk about Vicky's motivation, her love for art and how it comes alive through the pages. I have no talent for drawing whatsoever, but I love photography and could somewhat relate to her yearning to put a scene to paper. Her love for art simply pops out of the pages! After reading the book I really felt like going to a museum to roam around the wonderful paintings and made me want to learn more about the Pre-Raphaelites movement.

There's romance in this book and even though I'm not in the best emotional state myself, I found that I simply couldn't help but adore this romance! Vicky thinks she can find an ally in her assigned fiance Edmund, but at the same time she keeps on falling for Will, her muse. There's no love triangle here, it's quite clear where Vicky's affections really lay. I found myself tearing up and feeling all happy and content upon finishing the story.

A wonderful book that does deserve each and everyone of the 5 stars I'm giving it! Go READ IT NOW!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Introducing a new feature: Ink & Batter!

Hey guys! Welcome to the official introduction of what will be a regular (every other week, but I don't think I will manage to have it weekly) new feature in the blog!

Some of you might know of my love for baking and decorating cupcakes, and I've even made book inspired cupcakes before but it was not till Becca from Pivot Book Reviews saw them and completely started squealing and demanding I made more that I decided I needed to make it a regular feature on the blog!

I asked a few of my good blogger friends over Twitter for suggestions and Sam from Realm of Fiction sent me a huge list full of great ideas via e-mail! After pondering about all the suggestions and a few ideas of my own, I chose Ink & Batter (from Sam's list, thanks a lot for all the suggestions, Sam!).

Then it was just a question of getting a banner made (ain't it pretty) and I was all ready to debut the feature! This week I will be showing the first two proper examples of book inspired decorated cupcakes that I made, and hopefully for next Thursday or the one after I'll have some new book inspired cupcakes to show off!

The first inspired cupcakes were made for a contest on CJ Redwine's blog to win an ARC of Deception, and I was so inspired that I made Defiance inspired cupcakes and on a whim also made Incarnate & Asunder by Jodi Meadows inspired cupcakes!



Now I have a huge list of books that I'm super inspired to make decorated cupcakes about like Splintered & Unhinged by Anita G Howard, Deliverance by CJ Redwine, Infinite by Jodi Meadows, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G Buehrlen, The Ring & The Crown my Melissa de la Cruz, A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller, the Selection series by Kiera Cass ( I need to decorate cupcakes inspired by each of the dresses in the covers!)...

Do you guys have any suggestions? Let them in the comments, I'm always happy to add more books to my list!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #38!!

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!

What book am I totally dying to get my hands on to this week? Sixth Grave From The Edge by Darynda Jones!!

Goodreads Summary:

"Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it's time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn't come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.

Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she's used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow."

Why am I eagerly awaiting Sixth Grave On The Edge? Well, these books have the most amazing chemistry between Charley and Reyes (the hot & sexy Son of Satan), make me laugh cause Charley has the most hilarious inner dialogue and with some brilliant secondary characters... I just cannot get enough of this series!!

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cover Reveal With Xpresso Book Tours: Fruit of Misfortune by Nely Cab!!

Hello guys! Today I'm very happy to be part of the cover reveal for the second book in the Creatura series, organized by Xpresso Book Tours!

But before you get to see the amazing cover designed by Phatpuppy Art, I'm gonna share a bit more about the book!

Fruit of Misfortune by Nely Cab
(Creatura #2)
Publication date: May 1st 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Isis and her boyfriend, David, are on the brink of a horrible transformation and they are eager to stop it. Together, they set out on a quest to Greece to find Isis’ biological father—the only person that may be able to help them. Their journey comes to an abrupt stop before it even begins when Isis falls ill, and Eros, David’s best friend, arrives in Athens, unannounced and curious…with a plan of his own.
The hunt for her father leads Isis on the turbulent path of deceit, death, and demons as she anticipates the dawning of the beast that stirs inside her.

Ready to see the beautiful cover now?

About the author:
Nely Cab has lived and resided in a small, quiet South Texas town most of her life. She worked in banking for several years, before she relocated to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 2001, where she dedicated time to the study of culinary arts and the art of oil painting. After her return to the U.S., Nely resumed her employment in banking and later transitioned to the field of Social Work.

Today, Nely Cab writes from the comfort of her home, where she lives with her husband and son. Her life goal is to check-off Bucket List Item No. 95,623,351: To Conquer the World. While she aspires world domination, Nely can be found lost in other fantasy worlds in front of her computer, sipping coffee.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Taste of Darkness by Maria V Snyder!!

As the final entry for this week's Mark This Book Monday I have one of those ARCs that have been pending a while in my NetGalley account, but I finally got around to read it! Thanks a lot to Harlequin Mira for the approval!

This one is not only part of my 2014 Series Challenge as the final book of the Healer series, but also part of my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge and as such, also part of ARC April!

Taste of Darkness (Healer, #3)Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was the reason I read the entire trilogy, since I requested it on NetGalley and got approved for it, but unfortunately I couldn't read the previous books or this one in time for release date. I'm so thankful for Harlequin Mira for approving me, and better late than never, I guess?

This ARC had a few minor issues that annoyed me a bit while reading it, the biggest one being the fact that the different POV chapters where not separated, even to the point of a line on a page being one POV and then the next line after the stop being a different POV! Thankfully Kerrick's and Avry's voices were different enough, to recognize them instantly but it was a bit confusing. The formating affected also the ending a bit, cause I had to read the final pages twice to make sure I hadn't missed anything!

Taste of Darkness starts right where Scent of Magic left us, all unhappy and in shock & denial! I will try my best to keep this review spoiler free, but you can expect spoilers for the previous two books. This was quite a fantastic final book for a trilogy, even if I felt like some threats where included just to throw something more to keep us entertained till the final showdown happened.

I am a huge fan of Avry, she's one of my fave female leads with her healing selflessness, her streak of stubborness and her loyalty. I really felt for her through all the pain and losses she went through in this book! She still managed to overcome some difficulties and kick arse.

One thing that seemed to be a recurring theme in this book and series is how you keep on assuming the worst about friends missing and how you should not give up hope too easily. And how it seemed that death was not always permanent but can't be cheated all the time and not without consequences.

I loved how we get more and more information about what really happened and how the plague was started, but not everything is explained, we still have some things here and there left to be figured out or imagined on our own. I loved the Peace & Death Lilies, a different kind of magic from the usual one.

This was quite a fitting ending for a great trilogy, with plenty of action, intrigue and an ending that kept us worried till the very end! Well deserved 4 stars for this one!

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Mark This Book Monday: Champion by Marie Lu!!

This week's Mark This Book Monday starts with a review for the final book of a series that I binge read during my vacation time. And I'm glad that after waiting for a while, I finally read this series!

As with the previous books of the series, it is part of two of challenges: the 2014 Series Challenge and the Dystopian Reading Challenge 2014!

Champion (Legend, #3)Champion by Marie Lu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading a trilogy back to back is always a fantastic experience and this time it was not an exception. As this is the final book I will do my best to keep the review as spoiler free as possible but you can expect some spoilers from the previous books.

Since Prodigy ended in such an emotional wrenching way, I started Champion hoping to get some hope to the rather bleak prospects we were left with, but things started getting even worse soon. Day and June are again separated and reading each other's POVs with the knowledge that one has and the other hasn't... it is hard to read.

Then Day is called back to the capital to help save the Republic, and he finds out that things in a very bad situation for the Republic, and know that he knows the Colonies are not the utopia he once thought... he will try whatever is in his power to help save the Republic so it can be changed from within.

Champion is full of emotional crippling moments, neck-breaking action and a lot of political maneuvers. The political bits felt the less interesting of the lot, even if I enjoyed the visit to Antarctica since it expanded our knowledge of the world. I was happy when June left her Princeps post and started working as a field operative again, because that clearly was when she felt the most comfortable.

The final chapter was very hard to read, I kept on thinking that it was too cruel to end like that, after all the fight and all the suffering... And then we get the epilogue that made me cry some more and also left me with a heart full of hope and all the warm fuzzy feelings!

A very fitting ending for this series, even if all the political bits were not my favourite, this is still a very solid book to end a great dystopian series. Well deserved 4 stars!

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Showcase Sunday #29!

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 is gonna have the haul for two weeks combined since last week it was a small one, and this week I even got a surprise approval on NetGalley, so YAY for that!

Purchased (via The Book Depository)

YAY! I got my paperback copy of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (I needed to get the bonus content inside!) and my very much awaited hardback of Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor!! Both me and Dylan were super happy about them!

Purchased (via Kindle app)

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout

Summer On The Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

Indexing by Seanan McGuire

Red At Night by Katie McGarry

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

For Review (via NetGalley)

Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I was so surprised when checking NetGalley and saw this one and when I clicked on requesting it, I was approved instantly! Then I checked my e-mail and saw that it was auto-approved for the first 500 members to request it! That was quite good luck on my part!

Whew! I think I had more books that I had originally expected! I need to keep on doing it weekly or the hauls end up getting long to write and link!

What all did you get this week?