Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #40!!

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 is-it-here-yet-eagerly-awaiting this week? Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo!!

Goodreads Summary:

"The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for."

Why am I eagerly awaiting Ruin & Rising? Well, I absolutely adored Shadow & Bone and the world it was set in, with the Russian & Slavic references and feel to it, and even though Siege & Storm I didn't love as much as I hoped, I cannot wait to see what's in store for us in this book! I cannot wait to see if Alina will get through her challenges and beat her inner demons!

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

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of The Falconer by Elizabeth May!!

As this week's final Mark This Book Monday review, I have another review of an ARC copy. This one was a big surprise, cause I was approved for it on Edelweiss, and I get very few approvals there, so a big big thank you to Chronicle Books for giving me the chance to read this book!

This one is part of my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge and also part of ARC April!

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)The Falconer by Elizabeth  May

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first heard about The Falconer I was super intrigued, even if I'm not the biggest fan of books about the faeries. So when I was approved on Edelweiss for an ARC of it, I was so very happy about it!

Aileana is an aristocratic young lady with a secret and with scars, both physical and emotional, and all of them very well hidden. After a very traumatic night when she saw her mother being murdered by one of them she has spent her nights hunting the Faery. But she has to keep her proper lady image as much as possible after high society seem to blame her for her own mother's murder. I loved how she was both driven by revenge and trying to keep appearances up, while at the same time learning more about who she really is.

I loved how this world is a mix of fantasy, steampunk and a bit of historical fiction! Aileana always seems to be tweaking some invention or other, and since her mother's murder she's been working on new weapons to fight & destroy the faeries. She's even managed to build a flying device (also known as ornithopters)! There's dances and meetings for elevensies and proper society with expectations for women to marry and stay at home (very much Victorian/Edwardian society). And then we get all the tiny glimpses at the faeries, first mostly from Aileana's hunts, and then we learn more about them at the same time that she does.

As far as the rest of the characters goes, all are quite well developed and some are simply adorable! Derrick, Aileana's pixie is both funny and slightly annoying on occasion, but I loved him when he got all protective of Aileana. Kiaran McKay is Aileana's mentor and so much more... He's one of the most powerful faeries but he also hunts his own people. There's so much we don't know about him and we keep on learning more about him at the same time that Aileana does. Their relationship is fantastic and it's the kind of romance that you want to continue to progress and once some of the burning happens, you just want more flames! Catherine is Aileana's friend and despite knowing she's being kept in the dark, she's loyal and tries to help Aileana in every way she can. Gavin, Catherine's brother and Aileana's old crush, returns from England with some secrets of his own and soon gets mixed into the battle.

There isn't exactly a love triangle, but Gavin and Kiaran both are a big part of Aileana's life and get even more involved the more the story progresses. Even the fact that both seem to be part of Aileana's life managed to not bother me, which is quite saying something, since most hints of any triangulation irks me to no end!

The ending was quite abrupt and very much cliffhangery, which left me all "nooooo, you can't end it like that there!", so now I'm bitting my nails to get my hands on the next books and see what happens next! Very well deserved 4 to 4.5 stars!

View all my reviews

Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Feather Bound by Sara Raughley!

Hello everyone! For the first review of this week's Mark This Book Monday I have an ARC that I got via NetGalley (thank you once again Strange Chemistry for the auto-approval!).

This one is part of ARC April and my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge!

Feather BoundFeather Bound by Sarah Raughley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First of all I want to thank Strange Chemistry for having me auto-approved on NetGalley, so I'm always just a click away from their very unique and fresh books!

Feather Bound had a very unique premise, and was instantly drawn to a story in present time based on the Swan Maidens folk tales. I found I had some issues with the pacing on occasion, but still was a very unique read.

Deanna lives in a world where you can discover all of a sudden that you are Swan, which leaves you vulnerable to human trafficking of a sort that's even more horrible than the already awful one that exists out there. Once someone possesses a Swan's feathers they essentially own them and have their loyalty. The Swan will always have to return home and won't be able to speak against them. That means people are sold into slavery, wives stay with abusive husbands and lovers have to stay with someone they wouldn't even touch otherwise... It can be used as a metaphor for what control and power other people have over it, but here you can't really break free from it on your own, since you are compelled and bound by your own nature.

Deanna and her family had rather dysfunctional dynamics, with a sister that married up and nearly forgot about her family, a father that could never get over losing his lucrative job and then losing his wife, and Ade & Dee who seem to be trying to go on with their life dealing with their mother's death and their poor situation the best in their own way.

The plot was a bit confusing in this one at times, I wasn't entirely sure if it was about Deanna's family, the Swans or Dee & Hyde's romance. In the end, once the book is finished, I'd say it was a bit of a mish mash of everything, and maybe that was what made the book not work better for me. Seemed like the author wanted to juggle all those lines and sometimes you weren't entirely sure how to make them fit together. They came together in the end, but it wasn't always smooth sailing.

Deanna took a while to warm up to... at first I liked her a lot, but then she took a turn for the insecure and fragile in a way that was a lil irritating. I liked her much better once she decided to take action and find a way to turn things around, even if the plans weren't fool proof or worked exactly as she would have wanted.

The ending was quite satifying, most loose ends tied up, with plenty of reinforcement on the fact that communication is important! 3 to 3.5 to this one.

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Showcase Sunday #31!!

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 in books started great since Monday was quite an awesome book mail day, and a pair of preorders for my Kindle! I also found a very cheap Kindle edition for Anne of Green Gables and after the discussion on The Midnight Garden, I knew I needed to read it! And Alyssa from The Eater of Books, who is an awesome book pusher sort of made me get the first book in a new series! I also saw a very interesting ARC on NetGalley, gotta love being auto-approved by Strange Chemisty!

Purchased (via The Book Depository)

Dylan was extremely happy to get such an awesome book mail pile on Monday!

Some series I need to have in both Kindle and physical edition, and for the Tahere Mafi trilogy, I really wante the very very pretty "eye covers" so I got all the paperbacks so they'd match!

And I also finally have my paperback with extra content of If I Should Die by Amy Plum to complete my beautiful paperback with extras colection! Loved that epilogue!

Purchased (via Kindle app)

The Fearless by Emma Pass

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

For Review (via NetGalley)

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

Quite a very good haul this week! Though I'm still awaiting some more books and preorders in the mail!

What all did you get this week?


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday Pages: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa!!

Hello everyone! This week for Saturday Pages I'm gonna finally start reviewing The Iron Fey series that I read back in Feb, when I was on vacation! It felt a bit odd reading this series from the beginning now since I had already spoiled myself by reading the spin-off series, The Call of The Forgotten, but I still really enjoyed the books!

This series wasn't part of my original goal for my 2014 Series Challenge, but since I finished the whole series, I decided to add it too!

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started reading Julie Kagawa series in a strange order, cause the first book I read was The Lost Prince, the spin off for this series all about Ethan, and then I read The Iron Traitor and I really loved them both. So I decided that if Julie Kagawa had made me love books about faeires, I ought to check the original series, so I went on a binge read for The Iron Fey series!

On the Iron King we are introduced to Meghan Chase, a girl that has always felt a bit different from everyone, that feels like her stepfather doesn't remember she exists half the time and that adores her half brother, Ethan. She has her best friend Robbie but the rest of high school isn't a very pleasant experience. Then everything starts changing for her when Ethan is kidnapped, and she discovers she's being lied to by Robbie and that's more to her than she ever imagined!

We then travel for the first time to the Nevernever and we meet Puck properly as he is, not as his Robbie persona. We also get to meet Grimalkin (the most amazing fey version of the Chesire cat!) and we discover that Meghan is half fey and not any faery either, but a princess, much to her changrin. She ends up in the court of Summer, blundering her way about, and messing things up by being her unsubtle and headstrong self. I couldn't help but adore Meghan, even if at times I felt like telling her to watch and learn instead of just opening her mouth and running away with it!

Then she meets Ash, the Unseelie prince from the Winter court and everything changes. She suspects her brother might be taken there but then discovers that he's being kept in a new realm in the Nevernever, the realm of the Iron Fey. So Meghan decides she'll risk everything to rescue Ethan, and so she starts a quest of sort with Puck, Ash and Grimalkin to go defeat the Iron Fey and get Ethan back.

It's always an odd feeling reading a book (or in fact a whole series) when you sort of already know what happens and what doesn't in the end, even if you don't know how it did. I guess it took a lil bit of the direness of some of what was happening for me, but I absolutely loved learning so much more about the Fey and the Nevernever and meeting Puck and Grimalkin anew! Grimalkin is such a fantastic secondary character!

A very satisfying read and one that proved that yes indeed, Julie Kagawa does write Fey books that I love reading! 4 well deserved stars.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Reads: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson!!

I'm starting this week's Friday Reads with a sequel that is part of my 2014 Series Challenge and that as luck would have it did not suffer from middle book syndrome! The only pity is that the final book won't be coming out this year, but the next which is quite a bummer!

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Madness Underneath started very shortly after the ending of The Name of The Star, so you can expect some spoilers for the first book in this review, but as usual I will do my best to ensure I won't spoil this one for you.

This is a great sequel and let me tell you, it doesn't suffer at all from the dreaded middle book syndrome. The story progresses if in a bit of an unexpected direction, but that had some crumbs planted on the first book.

Rory is trying to deal with all that she went through at the end of The Name of The Star and as usual, she does it in her own unique style. Half trying to figure out things, half pretending she's okay and ignoring whatever issues she might have, and all around lying to everyone around her about what happened.

She discovers some new and unexpected abilities and feels like she must stay in London and help Stephen, Boo and Callum. But her parents are understandably scared and want to keep her safe and close to them. Her new abilities prove to be reason enough to, through some behind the scenes manouvres, get sent back to Wexford so she can be close to the team.

Back in Wexford she falls back to her usual routine of being Jazza's friend and Jerome's girlfriend, and trying to catch up with all the school work that she missed, but she's no longer the same girl she was and she keeps finding clues and thinking more of her secrets than trying to go back to a normal life.

The plot in this one surprised me, cause at first it seemed like it'd be similar to the main plot of book one but then, a character that I didn't think would be too relevant turned out to be not only relevant but the main villain for the book and maybe the rest of the series! We get a peek at a more deep mythology for the whole purpose of the Shades and after an unexpected showdown we are left with an ending that was quite cliffhanger-y and evil!

I missed more of the friendship of Rory and Jazza, cause those two make a great team, but whatever was present felt very genuine, including Rory's guilt at having to lie to Jazza all the time. As for the romance... I have to say part of it I saw it coming, and felt very realistic as far as teenage relationships go, but the other part... well, I wasn't as sure about it. Hopefully the mess that the romance and the cliffhanger are will get resolved in the final book!

Well deserved 4 stars for this one.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Xpresso Book Tour Blog Tour for Recruitz by Karice Bolton!

Hey there everyone! Today I'm taking part in the Blog Tour for Recruitz by Karice Bolton, organized by Xpresso Book Tours!

I will be sharing my review & a Blog Tour wide giveaway, so click HERE for the full tour schedule! But before that, let's get you some more information about the book & author, shall we?

RecruitZ by Karice Bolton
(Afterworld #1)
Publication date: December 27th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

Scientists are the new rock stars. The infection has been contained for nearly three months, and the world is celebrating. But humans are still dying. Rebekah Taylor has seen it firsthand. Her husband was killed right in front of her by the very creatures that humans were told they no longer had to fear.

Rebekah is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of her husband and the obvious cover-up. Fueled with revenge, she begins to find answers that lead to one frightening conclusion. The apocalypse might be over, but the battles are just beginning.

About the author:
 Karice Bolton lives in the Pacific Northwest and is a writer of Young Adult and New Adult books. She loves to read anything and everything. She also enjoys baking, skiing, and spending time with her wonderful husband and two English bulldogs.

Books currently available:
*Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1) Beyond Doubt (Book 2) Beyond Reason (Book 3) – Feb. 28th
*Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1)
*The Witch Avenue Series: Lonely Souls (Book 1), Altered Souls (Book 2), Released Souls (Book 3) Shattered Souls (Book 4)
*The Watchers Trilogy: Awakening (Book 1), Legions (Book 2), Cataclysm (Book 3), Taken Novella (Watchers Prequel)
*The Camp
 Karice would love if you stopped by her blog or FB page to find out the latest news on giveaways and upcoming releases, or you can just send her an email. She loves hearing from her readers and responds as soon as she can.

My Review

Recruitz was a very intriguing book. Right from the start the action begins and leaves you wondering about what's really going on in the world you've just gotten your first peek at.

Rebekah is trying to deal with the worst kind of loss, having lost her husband in a very inexplicable way just when they thought they were safe, so now she's turned everything into finding out the truth about the incident and getting revenge.

While trying to gather information she infiltrates the underworld where she meets Preston, and although she doesn't trust him fully at first, they become allies on trying to find out what happened to Rebekah's husband and Preston's sister and they find out that there's more to it than either of them really suspected at first.

The setting for this book was very interesting, we're in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak, right when the world seems to be getting back to normal and rebuilding, after a vaccine was discovered and distributed, and although you can still found the odd rotten zombie here and there, they can't turn anyone and so they're not as big a threat. But things aren't as safe as it seems, and someone is using and shaping zombies to suit their needs. As a zombie book, this is definitely very unique!

The plot was quite well weaved and some of the revelations were quite unexpected, and although this is obviously a first book in a series, it has enough plot of its own to not seem just a mere introduction and doesn't only focus on world building, so there's space for that on the upcoming books. With a bit of conspiracy theories, secret societies and corporations taking advantage of an unstable world, there's plenty of plausability.

What didn't work for me in this book was the romance between Rebekah and Preston...Rebekah seemed to be so wrapped up in her husband's loss and then she finds out about something and then she seems ready to move on? I liked how they worked together as a team, but maybe for my own personal reasons the romance seemed to move along too fast. It started feeling wrong for me, and it costed the book quite nearly a star just because of that. Probably not something other readers will have an issue with, but I did.

All in all, a very interesting read, well deserving of 3 stars.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #39!!

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 metaphorically-biting-my-nails-for this week? City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare!!

Goodreads Summary:


I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. In the long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Dark Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris — but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee — even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned . . .

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the world in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!"

Why am I eagerly awaiting City of Heavenly Fire? Well, I just NEED to know what's going to happen with Clary and Jace!! I need to know what the destiny of all the characters! Even if I'm quite scared to see who will survive, cause I fear the death toll will be high in this one...

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mini Reviews: Mitosis & The Boy In The Smoke!!

Hey everyone! I've said it more than once, but I really enjoy novellas, not only they can be excellent prequels to give us more information about a series we already love, but can also work as a bridge between books in a series adding some extra info, or give us a different POV from another character in a series providing more info (again).

So today I have a prequel to Maureen Johnson's Shades of London : The Boy In The Smoke and a bridge between books novella in The Reckoner's trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: Mitosis.

The Boy in the SmokeThe Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have the Shades of London series in my list for my Series challenge and I decided that I ought to start with the shorter book that is also the beginning.

This novella starts in a very prosaic way, with the story of Stephen, a boy of a wealthy family that is ignored by his parents. He wants to be a policeman and do something useful but since he's always been a good boy and do what he's supposed to, he ends up going to Eton and continue to be ignored by his parents.

There are some big issues dealt with here and all done in a very sensible way, nothing crass or cheap. Absent & cold parents, drug addictions, suicide attempts... it all weaves into the story to make Stephen the boy in the smoke. By the end is when we get an glimpse of what else might be there for this series, and this is quite a fantastic setting stone. Well deserved 4 stars.

Mitosis (Reckoners, #1.5)Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mitosis is a short story set after Steelheart. David and the Reckoners are helping Newcago to get some semblance of normalcy, even if people are still waiting "for the other shoe to drop". But that doesn't mean other Epics won't try and take Newcago for themselves, but it seems the Reckoners won't be alone in the fight this time.

While this is a very short story, there are hints as to how to figure out the weaknesses of Epics, and we see that the Reckoners are changing things, not just killing Epics.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: House of Ivy And Sorrow by Natalie Whipple!!

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!

Though for me it's like Saturday, since I have today and tomorrow off after working the weekend! For this week's Mark This Book Monday I have a book that I preordered after reading the super positive and excited review by Octavia from Read Sleep Repeat, and that I started wondering about after reading some other blogger friends' not so positive reviews. But after reading Alyssa from The Eater of Books' positive review, I knew I had to read the book myself and make up my one mind.

This book is not part of any of my challenges for this year and it's a standalone, so it's just one of those "me" reads, a shiny new book that I felt like reading right away after release!

House of Ivy & SorrowHouse of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the moment that I saw the gorgeous cover of this book I was curious about it and though I'm not the biggest fan of book about witches I added it to my TBR list. Then one of my fave blogger friends read an ARC and loved it to bits, reading her review made me even preorder it! But as release date came closer, some negative reviews started popping up on other blogger friends' blogs and I began worrying I'd end up not liking the book. Then also some positive reviews popped here and there, and I knew this was the kind of book you had to read and see where you stand.

Luckily for me, I absolutely enjoyed this book, with its dark moments, its more normal silly and light moments, the different kind of witch lore and the extremely strong friendships between Jo, Gwen and Kat.

Jo has lived alone with her grandma since her mum died ten years ago, trying to hide from the Curse that has killed many witches before and all of the Hemlock family, except for them. One day Jo finds a strange man outside their house and she feels something is seriously wrong with him. That visit is what starts a cascade of actions and reactions, full of plot twists and unexpected revelations.

One of my favourite parts of the book was the witches' lore and how it was its own little bit of unique and dark. Magic is not good or bad, magic is power and as such it can corrupt and control you, the different between good and bad witches is that the good witches control their magic and the bad witches let magic control and corrupt them. Another important part of that was that no matter what ingredients you used for your potion (and we're talking about the most classical spiders, toads' eyes and eagles tears) you always have to sacrifice something of your own, a piece of yourself for the magic to work. Everything in magic has a price and you have to be prepared to pay it.

The darker parts of the book, following the main plot line of Jo and her grandma deciding that they cannot hide anymore and have to fight the Curse are balanced out with the lighter ones of Jo and her crush on Winn and their start of a relationship. It's quite cute and adorable, even if at times it seems that Winn is too perfect to be real (and indeed he is hiding something).

One of my absolute favourite parts of the book is how strong the friendship between Jo, Gwen and Kat is. They're been friends for a long time and when that friendship is put to the test with some dark threats and some gruesome sacrificies, not only it doesn't fail but comes out of it stronger. It's not often that a friendship is so important and pivotal to the plot and to the heroine.

Adorable, funny with plenty of darker moments, some disturbing ones and quite a few unexpected plot twists, this was one book that kept me up late at night reading and deserves 4 stars!

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Showcase Sunday #30!!

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 I have a wee bit of everything, even if I'm still missing quite a few physical books in the mail, since for Easter the last post day was Wednesday!

Purchased (via The Book Depository)

Star cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Purchased (via Kindle app)

Frozen by Erin Bowman

Foretold by Rinda Elliott

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

For Review (via Xpresso Book Tours)

I got an ARC of this one since I'll be part of the blog tour in June.

Threats of Sky And Sea by Jennifer Ellision

Not a bad haul all in all, now hopefully the rest of my physical copies will arrive without a hitch next week!

What all did you get this week?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday Pages: The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson!!

As the final entry for this week's Saturday Pages I have the first book of a trilogy that I had been eyeing for a while and that I added to my 2014 Series Challenge before I knew that the final book for the trilogy had been pushed till next year! Still, I hope it'll count!

The Name of the StarThe Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Name of The Star has been in my list of books to read for a while, but after seeing a tweet from Maureen Johnson about a prequel novella, buying and reading (and loving) it, I decided I needed to start the series right away!

As always, I will try to keep my review as spoiler free as possible but I might make some references to the novella, so be warned about that.

I was so intrigued by the Jack the Ripper mention on the synopsis, and though the very beginning started with Rory arriving from the US to be taken to her private school, soon enough we start hearing about how the school is smack in the middle of Jack's old hunting grounds.

Rory was a character I simply adored, she was funny and quirky and didn't mind being different and when she might have been targeted, she didn't cower and she started making fun of herself by being over the top, which worked great for her. She was brave and a little reckless but not stupidly so.

I really liked her friendship with Jazza, and although I was never too sold on the romance bit with Jerome, it seems like they were good for each other if the connection never felt as nothing too special. Which I feel is good, since at high school time you don't necessarily have to find the love of your life right away.

The book does a great job at mixing every day school happenings and a normal life for a teenager that is still quite confused about some of the Englishness of London with the mysterious Jack The Ripper copycat that starts murdering people in the same places and dates that the old one did.

The tension and creepiness that the book manages to add, before and after the more paranormal element is revealed is great. Having read the novella before, I was wondering when we'll be introduced to said element and other characters, but even so the pacing never bored me.

I really liked some of the new characters introduced on the second half of the book, even if it took me a while to warm up to them, even to this different Stephen (since I already liked him a lot from the novella).

A very solid start for a series, well deserving of 4 stars!

View all my reviews

Saturday Pages: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!!!

Hello everyone! I'm starting this week's Saturday Pages with a series that I'm adding to my 2014 Series Challenge because it's ending this year but that it wasn't part of my original list for the challenge. The first two books had been in my TBR list for quite a while, so this one is also part of my 2014 TBR Pile challenge!

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had heard quite some good things about this book, but after having Alyssa from The Eater of Books tell me how it was her favourite book of 2012 and continue to sing its praises, I decided to take a break from the ARC I was reading and take a peek at it. Big mistake! From the moment I read the tagline in the cover: "Why be a sheep, when you can be the worlf" I was well and truly hooked!

This is a wonderful fantasy with historical fiction touches book, with a world full of details, with its own mythology that reminded me a bit of Celtic mythology. The world building it's just stunning, full of layers of intrigue and politics and alliances and very much complex in the society created, even if based on the 15th century, it still feels wholly original!

One of the things that I truly adored about this book was how in a world so dismissive of women as any medieval society would be, here some women were trained and educated to protect themselves in a world ruled by men. They were trained and protected and given enough power to hold their own in a men's world.

Ismae is a survivor at heart, she survived attempts on her life before even being born and she survived scorn and hate after being born. When she's taken to the convent, she finds somewhere she can belong to and she can be appreciated, so she takes to the life of an assassin like a fish takes to swimming! Serving St Mortain as his Handmaiden requires a lot of training but Ismae seems to truly enjoy most of it, and she makes some great friends with some fellow novices, Sybella and Annith. I really liked Ismae, how she always tried to do what's right, how she ended up having to deal with learning who or what she should trust, her own judgement or the orders of those she owe obedience to.

I was wondering how much romance there would be in this book and sort of dreaded it, but I should have not worried. The romance was ideal, started from mistrust and confrontation, and little by little working together with a common objective, a certain trust is built and then it progresses to attraction and love. I loved how they become allies and comrades too!

The political intrigue was always very much part of the plot but was never boring, and I have to say I had my suspicions about the traitor but very much like Ismae, I wasn't too sure about motive.

I was very happy that the main plot point is resolved in this book and it is a story that can get closed on its own by the end of the book, but still I cannot wait to hopefully see more of both Ismae and Gavriel in the next books, and I very curious to see how the bigger plot of those will tie with the plot in this one!

An extremely satisfying and gripping read, very much deserving of 5 stars!

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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!