Friday, 30 August 2013

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastards, #2) by Scott Lynch (2007)


Description from Goodreads:

Thief and con-man extraordinaire, Locke Lamora, and the ever lethal Jean Tannen have fled their home city and the wreckage of their lives. But they can't run forever and when they stop they decide to head for the richest, and most difficult, target on the horizon. The city state of Tal Verarr. And the Sinspire.

The Sinspire is the ultimate gambling house. No-one has stolen so much as a single coin from it and lived. It's the sort of challenge Locke simply can't resist...

...but Locke's perfect crime is going to have to wait.

Someone else in Tal Verarr wants the Gentleman Bastards' expertise and is quite prepared to kill them to get it. Before long, Locke and Jean find themselves engaged in piracy. Fine work for thieves who don't know one end of a galley from another.

--

I had very high expectations for the book. I loved the book one, The Lies of Locke Lamora, so much because of it's witty, smart and funny dialogue and twists which knock your socks off. Red Seas Under Red Skies did offer these elements once again, but not nearly with the same standard as the first book, or at least I felt like this. 

I think the main reason for this is the fact that like the description tells us, Locke and Jean are forced to become pirates. Even though the idea seems pretty appealing to put the duo in a situation where both of them are helpless sounds pretty comical and interesting, it was mostly boring and predictable for me. I was able to guess every plot development while Locke and Jean were on the sea, and I didn't like it. I have never been a huge pirate fan, so probably this also contributed to my lack of enthusiasm. If the book wouldn't have concentrated so much on piracy and sea traveling, I probably would have liked the book better. The guys are definitely land rats, and I prefer them to be on dry land as that is where they shine. 

Fortunately, the book wasn't all about the pirates, but we got plenty of action in Tal Verrarr, the city Gentleman Bastards habit for the moment. The beginning and the ending were my favourite parts of the books as Jean and Locke were in their element. Of course as always, they face some tricky situations and they need to solve it order to move forward with their plan. I really admire Lynch's ability to come up with such complex shams Locke invents and he gives hints how the plan is carried out, but only in the end everything is revealed. In Red Seas Under Red Skies, we didn't get so much of this as in the book 1.

Another thing that is to my liking when it comes to Gentleman Bastards books, is the characters. Jean and Locke faced a terrible loss in the book 1, and some of the aftermath is handled in Red Seas Under Red Skies. Locke starts drinking trying to forget his sorrow while Jean concentrates on something concrete in order to copy with the events that took place in The Lies of Locke Lamora. I wish the readers would have gotten more of the coping with the sorrow as it was both heartbreaking and occasionally tragicomic to watch especially Locke's effort to move on (or not to move on). Other characters were also once again brilliant as this time we got also very strong female characters. I loved that they weren't stereotypical but felt very real with their strengths and weaknesses.

Even though I did mostly enjoy the book, I just wanted to skim some parts (the pirates). I think partly the reason why I'm disappointed with Red Seas Under Red Skies is because I loved the first book, and I was expecting the plot to be so different what it turned out to be. Nevertheless, I do want to continue reading the series as the third book The Republic of Thieves sounds mind-blowing. I can't wait to see what happens!

""You're mangy," said Jean. "You're dirtier than a Shade's Hill orphan. You've lost weight, though where from is a great mystery. You haven't been exercising you wounds or letting anyone tend to them for you. You've been hiding in a room, letting your condition slip away, and you've been drunk for two straight weeks. You're not what you were and it's your own damn fault.""

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1) by Kimberly Derting (2010)


Description from Goodreads:

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

--

Recently I have been reading only high fantasy books, so I though it would be nice to tone it down a little, and choose something to read that could actually happen, but still has a slight fantasy element to it.  So, as I had been wanting to read The Body Finder for ages, I decided to give it a try; the description promises thrilling scenes and unrequited love sounded just perfect for the current mood. And I wasn't disappointed!

A killer is roaming free at Violet's city, and one by one pretty and young girls turn up dead. The murdered got his own point of view and chapters which made the already scary atmosphere even more threatening. The readers get to see how the man stalks the girls and thinks the whole process as "hunting". The killers becomes obsessed with these pretty girls, and eventually he needs to kill more often and more often. It was a brilliant choice from Derting to add chapters from killer's point of view as those made shiver (even though they could have been even creepier, because that's the way I like my stories sometimes).

I loooved the relationship between Violet and Jay. I want a best friend like that, even if I would be in love with him! It was so heartwarming to read about their daily activities, sense of humour, and trust. I was really surprised as I wasn't annoyed when Violet became jealous of Jay, because usually the jealousy makes the main character needy. But not when it came to Violet! I was so glad that even though she had a major crush on him, she couldn't bring herself act on these feelings as she was afraid what would become of their friendship. Their relationship seemed really realistic and it wasn't rushed which I really appreciated. You don't seem to get those too often nowadays.

Even though the plot was rather suspenseful, it was also quite predictable. I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't give you any examples, but for me it was pretty obvious what the plot curve would look like. If the plot would have been more surprising, I think I could have thought about giving even 5 stars. But no. The book is part of a trilogy, so I have quite high expectations for the other books, because I have no idea the story will continue. I hope book 2 and 3 will give some delicious twists.

The book was thrilling and cute at the same time, and I think quite many will enjoy it. Like I already mentioned, the predictability is a major downside, but otherwise I really enjoyed everything else. Jay was handsome and sweet (basically perfect) while Violet was very likeable and relatable. I will definitely read the book 2, just because I'm curious how the story continues! The actual rating is more like 3.5 than just 3.
“She allowed herself to look his way, pretending she was glancing at the clock on the wall above the door. He was meticulously lost in the lesson, taking notes well beyond the scope of what was written on the board.She was grateful that at least one of them was listening, because she knew he was going to have to explain it all to her later. And he would, without every knowing that he was the reason she hadn’t heard a word of the lesson.”

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#7)



Waiting on Wednesday is about sharing a book every week you cannot wait to be published. This week, I'm waiting on

by Amanda Grace


Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 229

Expected Publication: September 8, 2013
Publisher: Flux


Description from Goodreads:

Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.
Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennett. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.
There's only one problem. Bennett is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.
The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennett - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.
I rarely get this excited about contemporary romance books, but this just sounds so great that I can't pass this one. Come September already!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (#5): Favourite Secondary Characters


Top Ten Tuesday this week is about 
The Favourite Secondary Characters

1. Aborynn from Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. He has only appeared in the prequels for Throne of Glass, but oh boy, did I fell in love with his character immediately. He is the most vicious, smartest, most vengeful yet the most charismatic villain I've ever read. That's why he deserves the no. 1 place in my list. I'm really hoping the readers find more about him in the future books!

2. Severus Snape from Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Even though I had always hated Severus Snape, the last book (naturally) changed my whole perception of him. I've hit myself several times after for not seeing right away what an incredible character he was with his protectiveness, loyalty, guts and resourcefulness. He is one of my favourite characters of all time as Severus is so complex and tragic character, even though not all good either. 

3. Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish  from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. Oh, is there even words to describe this marvellous character. Quite many characters in A Song of Ice and Fire series rely on their combat skills or their family name, but Baelish is so different from them as he has arisen from a modest family to the King's council solely with his sharp mind and manipulation skills. He is one of the players in the game of thrones that I expect to survive until the last minutes. No one seems to get why I love this character so much, but he is just so amazing with all his mind games and charisma. 

4. Haymitch from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The depressed, alcoholic Haymitch wasn't at first the character that I thought I would end up falling in love with. However, the more the readers learnt about him, the more I became to sympathise and understand him. I wouldn't change a thing about him now (well, you know, personality wise).

5. Patrick from the Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I love Patrick's outrageously funny, independent, true-to-himself character. Even though I liked all of the characters from the book, Patrick always took all of my attention when he was in the scenes. Ezra Miller did fantastic job capturing the essence of Patrick in the movie adaptation.

6. Isaac from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Isaac makes me laugh, cry, and then laugh again. He is one of the most realistic characters I've ever read with his strengths and weaknesses, and the only thing I wish was different in The Fault in Our Stars is that it could have included more of Isaac. He is just brilliant.

7. Ian from The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Ian was probably my favourite character in the book. At the beginning, I hated him (probably like most of us), but then in the end I was really surprised how protective I had become of him. I loved his character development and the person he became to be: sweet, loyal, a perfect gentleman yet a passionate and smart guy. I love you, Ian!

8. Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Adam Douglas. I just had to add Marvin to the list. The depressed and sarcastic robot is one of the things that has made The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy one of my favourite books. Anything that comes  out of his mouth made me laugh.

9. Murtagh from Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. I'm  a sucker for characters that seem very bad outside, but still have some goodness in them. Murtagh definitely is one of those characters. The further the series went ahead, the more I found to like him. He is one of those characters which makes you think how much environment can affect you as a person and your future. 

10. Cecily from Wither by Lauren DeStefano. I loved how even though she was in a very oppressed situation and was taken advantage of, she was able to take some control of the situation. She became rather powerful and independent even though not through the most preferable ways. I loved her wits and sense of humour, and how she does her everything to stay strong until the very end.


This one was so difficult! And after writing the list, I realised I have only one woman in my list. What? That came as a quite surprise. But then again, I do tend to like tragic male characters. It's one of my weaknesses. Do you like any of these characters as much as I do?

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, #1) by Scott Lynch (2006)


Description from Goodreads:

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. Born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora dodges both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains, neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected family of orphans “Gentlemen Bastards.”

Locke grows to lead, delightedly pulling off one outrageous trick after another, infamous as the Thorn of Camorr—no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. But the Gray King is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the magically protected Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying.

--

I'm a huge fan of George R.R. Martin's writing, and the first thing that made me interested in The Lies of Locke Lamora was the fact that in the cover of the book is a quote from Martin: "Fresh, original, and engrossing tale by a bright new voice." I mean, if this doesn't capture your attention what does? I just needed to get my hands on this book.  I tend to have really high expectations of every book I'm planning to read, whether it had been rated over 4.0 or under 3.0 on Goodreads. So as one can imagine, having sky high expectations can some times (or plenty of times) result in sore disappointment. But all my expectations were met after I had finished reading The Lies of Locke Lamora.

It's just really difficult to start with this book - there are so much to say about it! First of all the writing was just so beautiful yet so effortless. Every chapter was a page turner as almost every other chapter was about how Locke Lamora ended up in a position as the leader of Gentleman Bastards, and the other half was about the events that took place in the present. The plot was incredible addicting as you just had to know what Locke and his companions are going to next and whether they succeed in their crimes. This and the witty humour of the irreplaceable characters was just a killer combination. 

And how about the world? Oh, dear. Thanks to the fantastic writing, it did justice to The Lies of Locke Lamora. Lynch has an incredible mind for details concerning not only the physical world but also the history, hierarchies, and culture! The whole book is just so epic in every aspect from the grandiose city centre to the scheming of Lamora. While reading the book I felt like the world itself became reality, and I was just absorbed so that I forgot the real world around me completely. 

Absolutely one of my favourite things in the novel is the Gentleman Bastards group. They pull off these scams of epic proportions and always seem to get away with them. It's really rare for me to get emotionally attached to all "good" main characters, but once again The Lies of Locke Lamora surprised me. I loved all of the members of Gentleman Bastards, even though Lamora gets most of the attention. Lamora is the brains, the twins Calo and Caldo had the wits to do anything, Jean was the muscles, and Bug was the eager apprentice. I loved how they all were so very different from each other yet they made the perfect group of conmen. 

I'm so-o-o-o glad Lynch decided to do a series out of this! Even though The Lies of Locke Lamora could have survived alone, I'm super happy as I can continue the adventures with Gentleman Bastards. Even though I hate to say "to the lovers of __ series", I can't help myself to say that those who enjoy A Song of Ice and Fire series, Ocean's Eleven and The Godfather movie trilogy will also find themselves engrossed by The Lies of Locke Lamora. There is so much potential in this series to become one of my favourite series, so I'm really looking forward to see what Scott Lynch will do with the future books!


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bout of Books: I Spy Challenge


You can find the original challenge from here

So some of the things you need to follow while carrying out the challenge:

1. Use one book only once
2. You can use max. two books from a particular series
3. Only use books which you own

You need to find some particular things on the cover of books.

Snowflakes


Thanks for the Memories
by Cecelia Ahern


Flames


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J.K. Rowling

A city skyline


Divergent 
by Veronica Roth

The moon


New Moon
by Stephenie Meyers

A sward


One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A wedding dress

High heels


Cinder
by Marissa Meyer

Fog


Everneath
by Brodi Ashton

A christmas tree
Sunglasses

Lightening


 The Lightning Thief 
by Rick Riordan

A tattoo


Dark Lover
by J.R. Ward

Combat boots


Graceling 
by Kristin Cashore


Hand-cuffs


Fifty Shades Freed
by E.L. James

A road


American Gods
by Neil Gaiman

This challenge ended up being more difficult than I expected! I didn't find all the items on the list, but I like to think I did pretty good - at least I found most of them!



Bout of Books: Halfway updates



So, I have been really, really lazy reader! I finished Viral Nation on Wednesday, and I'm currently reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo which is the second book. If I'm being really efficient today, I might be able to finish it and even start Shades of Earth by Beth Revis tonight. Ideally I'd like to start fourth book, but I'm not sure if that's a realistic goal for this Bout of Books.

I'm really frustrated because there aren't that many Bout of Books in a year, and I feel like I totally wasted this week as I haven't been really into reading. However! The rest of the week I'm going do some super reading as I'm planning to stay in today for the whole day and only read and eat! Sounds pretty amazing to me.

Updates

Monday
Pages read today: 160
Books finished today: 0
Pages read so far: 160
Books finished so far: 0

Tuesday
Pages read today: 50
Books finished today: 0
Pages read so far: 210
Books finished so far: 0

Wednesday
Pages read today: 215
Books finished today: 1
Pages read so far: 425
Books finished so far: 1

Thursday
Pages read today: 253
Books finished today: 1
Pages read so far: 687
Books finished so far: 2

Friday
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Saturday
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Sunday
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Happy reading!




Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#6)



Waiting on Wednesday is about sharing a book every week you cannot wait to be published. This week, I'm waiting on

(Dissonance, #1)
by Erica O'Rourke



Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 288

Expected Publication: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Description from Goodreads:

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

The book's description sounds so intriguing! But I can't believe we have to wait almost a year to actually read it. I'm not sure if I can wait that long!


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (#5): Top Ten Things That Make Your Life As A Reader/Book Blogger Easier


So this week the topic is what makes the blogging and/or reading experience easier for you. So, here are some things that make both of them more comfortable for me!

1. Internet. Blogging wouldn't exactly flourish if it wasn't for the internet so this one was pretty straight forward!

2. Kindle. Even though I love paperbacks, it so convenient when you can carry multiple books without with only the weight of few hundreds of grams. 

3. Goodreads. This is the place I always seek information first when it comes to books. To me, Goodreads is like the Mecca of information.

4. Weekly Memes. The best way to make your blogging voice heard as well as find new, interesting blogs to follow.

5. NetGalley. I'm a student, so my budget for new books isn't exactly big. Therefore, NetGalley is the perfect place to get books for free, but also get yet-to-be-published books for free! What could be better?

6. Coffee. I love the combination of book and coffee, and I can't think any situation where I wouldn't prefer them together.

7. Charity Shops. Like already said, my budget isn't enormous. That's why I like to raid some charity shops as they sometimes hide some real treasures and might cost only 50p!

8. Vloggers. I have become so addicted to youtube book blog posts! Even though I love reading traditional text posts, sometimes it's nice to have some change to the traditional blogging.

9. Bloglovin. It's nice to have all the blogs in one place, so you don't need to have million different bookmarks.

10. Bus trips. I live in a moderately big city, so if I want to visit some places I need to take the bus. When I'm in a schedule, bus trips often offer the perfect moment to read.

Any common ones with you guys? 




Monday, 19 August 2013

Bout of Books: today is the day!



Hello there, all my reader friends! So, today is the day when Bout of Books 8.0 starts! I have planned to start Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes today, and I'm hoping I'll reach at least halfway point by tonight. But I'll let you know how my progress goes later on!


Updates

Monday
Pages read today: 160
Books finished today: 0
Pages read so far: 160
Books finished so far: 0

Tuesday
Pages read today: 50
Books finished today: 0
Pages read so far: 210
Books finished so far: 0

Wednesday
Pages read today: 215
Books finished today: 1
Pages read so far: 425
Books finished so far: 1

Thursday
Pages read today:
Books finished today:
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Friday
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Saturday
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Sunday
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Happy reading!