Saturday, 28 February 2015

Monthly Wrap Up - February

I wish I had had a more exciting month reading-wise, but nah, it was pretty boring and uneventful. Insurmountably, The Heir of Fire was the best book that I read this month. Funny story though, I started reading it the day it was published in the UK (September, 2014), and even though I loved the beginning and I was so happy to get the book in my hands, I left it unfinished for several months.  'What', you may exclaim and I concur. WHAT??! How could I just leave it unfinished when it was so good?? Well, I have no answers for that question, but I think  that the fact that there was so much build-up for the future books, making the third book so different from the previous two, that I was a bit taken back by it. No excuse, though.


 Book Haul 

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

 Books Read 

1. Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West 
2. The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley
3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
4. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
5. Extraction (Extraction #1) by Stephanie Diaz
6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

 Books Published (that sound amazing) 

1. A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab
2. Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
3. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand 
4. A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing #1) by Rhiannon Thomas
5. The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter) by Melinda Salisbury

✿ Books that I drooled after 

1. A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic) by V.E. Schwab
2. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson
3. Saga Volume. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
4. The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey
5. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

+ many more, but these were the books that I desired the most. I actually have Crown of Midnight on my Kindle, but I want the physical copy too! I wish I had more money to buy books.. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

Description from Goodreads:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

The 5th Wave was definitely something that I couldn't have predicted to like so much.  I feel like the book included pretty much everything that I want to have in a science fiction novel: characters who react to intense situations in a very realistic manner, there are unbearably thrilling and nail-biting scenes, and a very original and captivating premise. 

I don't read that many alien books, but the take Yancey had taken on while writing this book was extremely compelling and fascinating. The different waves of alien attacks and their impacts on the human society never ceased to amaze me. Yancey was very elaborate while describing the attacks which took me a bit surprise but also made me very pleased - it's all in the title after all. The 5th Wave is a very survival focused book, but there still are elements of romance, thriller, and mystery as well. I feel like the author was able to write a very comprehensive book about a young girl's lonely struggle in the world, yet it felt so much bigger piece of literature. The novel also is about the survival of the humanity. 

The book definitely is a page-turner. I kept reading late into the night until my eyes hurt and I couldn't read properly without my glasses. The first thing the next morning was me reading the book  in the breakfast table, unable to put it down even for a little while. The reader has to constantly worry about who can be trusted and what are the consequences of trusting someone. I had so many ideas and conspiracy theories in my mind! The main protagonist is Cassie, but the book also includes chapters from other character's point of views which I first shunned a bit, but quickly grew on me. Those different p.o.vs unquestionably brought a sense of coherence and unity to the whole plot as well as intrigue and insight that the characters themselves didn't have. 

At first, I was under impression that the book wouldn't really have a romance aspect to it, and while it wasn't a prominent element, I was pleasantly surprised how well it fitted the overall story. I didn't see the romance coming, so it might have caused me to like it even more than if I was anticipating it. Some may say that it was insta-love but I don't really see it that way. I don't want to say anything else about it if you haven't read the novel yet, but I didn't see it as instantaneous as there were resistance and suspicion involved as well.  

The second book, The Infinite Sea was published last Fall, and I'm dying to read it but also a bit hesitant. I absolutely adored the 5th Wave, and I'm so afraid that the second book won't meet my expectations. Fear not though, I'm going to read it, but I just need to muster all of my courage to continue the series - I don't wan't to be let down. A must read for everyone, as the 5th Wave is one my favorite YA books!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Description from Goodreads:

A haunting mystery, romance in the vein of The Lovely Bones by New York Times bestselling author.

"The yard of this house is a graveyard of moments and everything left behind is a clue. And I am here to dig."

There's a ghost haunting 208 Water Street. She doesn't know who she was, or why she's still here. She does know that she is drawn to Maggie, the new girl in town, and her friends - beautiful, carefree Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.

But the ghost isn't all that's lurking in Gill Creek... Someone is killing young girls all across the county. Can the ghost keep these three friends safe? Or does she have another purpose?

Once in a while you stumble on to a book that you start reading with an open mind, without any sort of preconceptions or expectations. And sometimes the book ends up being one the most authentic, saddest, but also the most peculiar books you've read for a long time. The Moment Collector definitely was that sort of book for me. Even though it has been promoted as mystery and a ghost story, I wouldn't exactly label it as one. Yes, there were brief moments where the readers could see what was happening to the characters, and a murderer was wandering around the city, but the focus mainly was on Maggie and her story. And I didn't mind it all, but I think people should be aware of it when starting to read the novel.

The Moment Collector isn't a happy story (remember that). It isn't exactly a scary one either, but it is so amazingly melancholic and tender to read. I find it really difficult to describe the atmosphere that surrounded the setting, but I guess one way to put it would be eerie with a hint of realism (I don't mean magical realism though). The style of writing by Anderson just contributed even further to this mood. She had a very calm and smooth way of writing, which I really enjoyed. Her writing makes me think of a transparent blanket covering everything - making you think one thing, but actually the thing being something else (sorry for being so cryptic, but it's difficult to put into words how the atmosphere made me feel). 

One of the things why ended up liking the characters in The Moment Collector is because they were so real and authentic. All Maggie, Pauline, and Liam were a bit strange in their own, good ways which made them stand out from the millions of other contemporary YA books. There were moments when I hated all of them, but also moments when I loved them equally as much. The trio was able to bring such deep emotions in me that I both laughed and cried within the 256 pages. The dynamics between Maggie, Pauline, and Liam were ever changing and it kept the readers on their toes right until the very end. And even after.

It's strange that even though there wasn't exactly that much action in the book, the book didn't feel long to read it. The pages seemed to turn by their own as I got more immersed and invested in the characters. I know that this type of book isn't for everyone, and maybe it was because of my sad mood while reading the book, but I really enjoyed the lack of action. This gave more resources for the story to focus on the relationships and personal growth of Maggie which was one of my favourite things in the book. Maggie experiences and feels so much during The Moment Collector and it's easy to identify with her right away from the very first pages. 

The Moment Collector wasn't at all what I expected it to be, which turned out to be a great turn of events - I ended up liking it more than I first thought. The melancholy and sombre mood make the book stand out from the rest of this year's books, and I really hope that people decide to pick up this book. It really was a peculiar and lovely story with a painful twist. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #20

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

The Winner's Crime
(The Winner's Trilogy #2)
by Marie Rutkoski

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical

Pages: 416

Expected Publication: March 3, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's


Description from Goodreads:

Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner'strilogy.

I loooooved the Winner's Curse - Kestrel, Arin, the setting, the plot, the final twist!! It has been a long year waiting on the Winner's Crime, but I'm 99% sure that the wait hasn't been for nothing. Just a bit under two weeks left for the publication!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #17: Favourite Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday this week is about 

 Favourite Heroines 

1. Celeana Sardothien (Throne of Glass series). Smart + fabulous + lethal = perfect.
2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter). I think Hermione has been one of my my role models ever since I first read about her. She's so likable and easy to identify with, without even mentioning how kind, loyal, and hardworking she is. Hermione seriously is the perfect human being (witches are humans, right?).
3. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Trilogy). Come one, does this one even need explaining? Katniss is the definition of kickass!
4. Daenerys Targaryen (A Song of Ice and Fire series). Another strong, intelligent, independent, glorious, and kind character. If I ended up being in the game of thrones, Daenerys would most definitely be in my top 3 when thinking about with whom to team up with. 
5. Raisa ana'Marianna (The Seven Realms series). Queendom can be better than kingdom, and Raisa sure can demonstrate that.
6. Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones). If we're being technical, Bridget is more of a antiheroine than heroine. But in my opinion, the fact that she lacks the traditional heroine traits makes her just as good heroine as any other. If not even better.
7. Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice). Funny, witty, and caring but doesn't care what others think of her - sold! 
8. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles series). Who doesn't love the underdog? Especially, when it's clear that she is meant for great things!
9. Kestrel (The Winner's Trilogy). Even though she is only seventeen, I love the fact that she is able to think with her own brain - she knows where to put her efforts and is a critical thinker. No BS with her. 
10. Magdalena "Lena" Haloway (Delirium Trilogy). Lena's character development has to be one of my favourites: to develop from conforming, timid girl into this brave and loyal person. 

Just talking about these wonderful heroines makes me want to reread all these books. I can't think of many other amazing things than a well written heroine! 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sunday Post #10

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead." 

 What I read this week 

The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley

✿ Reviews ✿

❄ Nihal of the Land of the Wind (The Underworld Chronicles #1) by Licia Troisi  

✿ Memes ✿

 Waiting on Wednesday 

✿ Around the blogosphere and elsewhere ✿

 Second Chances by The Perpetual Page Turner 
❄ Shadow Hunters TV series 
❄ The first chapter of the Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
❄ The release of the map for the Winner's Trilogy  (which is gorgeous by the way)

✿ What else I've been up to this week ✿

1. Back in the business. Yes, I'm back. I disappeared for over 6 months because I was working really hard at one point, and just didn't have the energy anymore for blogging (I kept reading though, but just running the blog didn't feel good at that point). Then the summer was over and I went back to uni, and guess what? I didn't have time to blog then either, even though I wanted to. So, even though I'm still a busy bee with all the uni stuff, I'm determined to continue blogging, because I love it. I love writing the reviews, I love doing the weekly memes, and I love meeting new people and finding new blogs. So yes. I'm back in the business.

2. Dissertation. I'm a fourth year student in uni, meaning that I'll get my Bachelor's Degree with Honours in June, yay! That means though that I still have plenty of assignments to write, and I still need to finish my dissertation. Fortunately, I've managed my time super efficiently this semester, so it's not as hectic time as it is for the most of the people in my year. Still, I have to admit it's a bit stressful time, and not to mention scary too!

3. Boring in terms of reading. I managed to read only one book this week. One. Book. Kind of sad, but then again I've been busy. I can always use that as an excuse. Hopefully, next week I'll finish at least two books so that I can write some reviews!

Nihal of the Land of the Wind (Chronicles of the Overworld #1) by Licia Troisi

Description from Goodreads:

An international bestseller from an extraordinary storyteller—get ready for Nihal and her world

Nihal lives in one of the many towers of the Land of the Wind. There is nobody like her in the Overworld: big violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. She is an expert in swordplay and the leader of a handful of friends that includes Sennar the wizard. She has no parents; brought up by an armorer and a sorceress, Nihal seems to be from nowhere.

Things suddenly change when the Tyrant takes charge. Nihal finds herself forced to take action when she is faced with the most difficult mission a girl her age could imagine.

Fierce, strong, and armed with her black crystal sword, Nihal sets out to become a real warrior. Readers will be riveted as she forges her powerful path of resistance.

I have to be upfront about something - I had massive expectations about Nihal of the Land of the Wind. I hadn't heard anyone talk about it before I found it requestable on NetGalley and after, that I probably read every review of it on Goodreads. Some people had loved it, some had found it a mediocre. I, on the other hand, convinced myself that it would become my new favourite high fantasy series, without doubt. The book definitely had its moments, but I might have expected a bit too much now in hindsight.

I really liked how the author had decided to depict Nihal and what sort of character development curve she had. She starts off as the tomboy girl dreaming of becoming a Dragon Warrior and facing great adventures, but eventually she learns that there is nothing to be romanticised about war. Despite Nihal being a strong (mentally and physically), independent, self-reliant, and smart, she most definitely isn't perfect as she has a tendency to be a bit self-absorbed, inward about her feelings, and even naive in some respects. However, this didn't make her dislikable but conversely, easy to emphasise with. Her interesting looks with blue hair and violet eyes made me like her even more.

The world building of Nihal of the Land of the Wind doesn't leave the readers cold. The author introduces traditional elements of high fantasy such as magic, dragons, elves, and dwarves and combines them with her own original ideas like tower cities (which I found pretty cool) and the unstable alliance and cooperation between the Wizard Council and Dragon Warriors against the Tyrant. Recently, I have found the importance of world building to be more and more important when reviewing a book, and the novel didn't let me down in terms of world establishment. 

However, I felt like the main audience for the novel was middle grade. Despite having very dramatic and sad scenes in the plot, they weren't fully explored in terms of darkness and despair as I had hoped. The continuum of the story somehow reminded me of fairytales as there was rather little dialogue. The lack of conversing and occasional flat storytelling definitely lowered my view of the story as some scenes felt dragging while other events were described only superficially. The intensity high fantasy books usually have was lacking from Nihal of the Land of the Wind which I ultimately found to be the novel's downfall.

The novel wasn't bad, but I can't say that it blew my mind either. Some of my favourite things were the character development of Nihal, the world establishment, and some twists in the story, but the overall experience left at least me a bit cold. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I was some years younger. I'm interested in finding out how the story is going to continue, but not entirely sure if I'm so interested that I will actually buy the next book when it's translated. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #19

Waiting on Wednesday is about sharing a book every week you cannot wait to be published. This week, I'm waiting on
(A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, 

Pages: 432

Expected Publication: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's

I need this book - so badly. Sarah J. Maas is the fabulous queen, and I can't wait to get a hold of her new series. Her Throne of Glass series is one of my favourite YA series, and if A Court of Thorns and Roses is anywhere near as good as her debut series, I will probably cry out of pure joy.

What do you think? Is this book going to be as exciting, heart breaking, and interesting as Throne of Glass? Or maybe even more so?