Saturday, 30 May 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#22)

It's Saturday and so it's time for Stacking the Shelves!
Here is my haul from this week:

Description from Goodreads

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Description from Goodreads

Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green'sThe Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.

Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

I just love magical realism.

Friday, 29 May 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Description from Goodreads

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Finally!! Finally, I got this novel in my hands and had the chance to devour it! And of course (just as expected), Ms. Maas didn't let the readers down this time either. The new trilogy from the author continues with the same high quality as her Throne of Glass series: multidimensional characters, mysteries and secrets, twist and turns, and naturally a heart-pounding romance. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses was a such enjoyable retelling of Beauty and the Beast (reading the book really made me want to watch the Disney movie!!). The downfall of doing a retelling is of course that at times the plot is somewhat predictable, but I was really proud  of Maas (can I say that of an author who I don't even know??) for integrating small and big original ideas to the concept, making the novel more surprising and exciting than I would have first assumed. Being a fan of the original Beauty and the Beast story, I feel really protective of it. Maas however did justice to the original fairy tale by keeping the original themes of personal growth, feminism, trust, and love. 

Of course Maas took some artistic freedom while writing her novel and it paid off very well. For instance, I really enjoyed that she had decided as much as she did to write about Feyre, the main character's, family, and that she didn't paint them simply as 'good' or 'bad'. For example, one of Feyre's sisters, Nesta, was a really intriguing character. Outside she appeared cold and calculating, but there was so much more to her. I loved that Maas gave all the other characters the needed depth to them, not just in the case of Nesta. By doing this, the author reinforced my opinion that minor characters can be influencing power on the main character and the plot progression, and that it should always be done. The novel simply reaches one level of deeper meaning by writing all characters multidimensional, not just the two main characters. 

I suppose I do have one bone to pick with A Court of Thorns and Roses. Tamlin, the 'Beast', wasn't exactly a beast. Yes, he had to surrender to magic every once in a while and so became a bit animalistic, but most of the time Tamlin was a really patient, kind, generous, and really smoking hot. Does something sound a bit wrong there? In the original story the Beast is described having a 'deformity', but in the Maas's version the Beast had a mask hiding his face. This was a bit disappointing, at least for me, because I was really looking forward to read how Maas had decided to deal with the theme of inner beauty. Of course this theme was still handled in the book, but not to the same extent as I had hoped. A shame.

I have to mention there was this another character, an anti-hero you could call him, who was just my absolute favourite thing as I most definitely had a love-hate relationship with him. I'm 100% that Maas is going to include him in the upcoming instalments, and I just can't wait what the author has in store for us in terms of this complicated character. I can't help it but I have a real weak spot for misunderstood, dark guys. Oh, Rhysand. 

Maas laid out a very strong basis for the trilogy and I have no doubt that the trilogy will get only better with each subsequent book. That's sort of a speciality of the author. I still like Throne of Glass series better than A Court of Thorns and Roses, but this is the first book of the trilogy so who knows? Maybe I'll change my mind when I read the other books (yes, I most definitely will read all the books by her because there hasn't been one book by Maas that I haven't liked). Even though A Court of Thorns and Roses wasn't as dark as I had hoped, but I was entertained by Maas's magical writing and incredible characters as well as the twists and turns from the very beginning to the last page.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

Description from Goodreads

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped. 

I have to say right away that I loved Vicious by V.E. Schwab which was published in 2013, and ever since I've been looking forward to reading her other books. So, when I read the blurb for A Darker Shade of Magic I knew instantly, INSTANTLY, that I had to get this book because there's nothing that I didn't like about the premise: parallel worlds, travelling between these worlds, magic, and adventures!! It was really nice to notice that I wasn't let down by A Darker Shade of Magic, even though it was a quite a bit lighter than I thought it would be (I kind of hoped that A Darker Shade of Magic would be a gruesome and dark read).

I've always found parallel universes a really fascinating concept, so naturally I loved the fact that Schwab hadn't created only two parallel universes, but four. FOUR! Grey, Red, White, and Black London all had their own distinguished features in terms of appearance, amount of alive magic, politics, customs, and even language which was so cool - the author had really thought the concept through which made me to fangirl quite a bit. I loved how inventive and intriguing this concept was and its execution, and the fact that the author didn't give away too much. She gave the readers all the basics and then a bit more about the parallel worlds, but also made them hungrier to know more about these Londons. Hopefully, we'll get more insight of these cities and the parallel worlds in general in the next instalments!

Kell and Delilah/Lila were such an interesting duo, both of them being used to be self-reliant and distancing themselves from other people. I liked that they weren't those typical YA characters 'handsome/beautiful without really knowing it' but Kell and Lila were very impressionable with their quirky yet a bit sad personalities. And I have this really weird thing for girls dressing as boys to get away with things! I don't what it is, but I just always seem to love novels in which the girl dresses as a boy and is a really badass and conquers the world in her own way. Even though I had a bit difficult time to connect with Lila first, I was really glad to notice that she eventually grew on me. With Kell, I had no problem - I liked him instantly. He with his red-hair and brooding personality was right up on my alley! One thing that I would've liked to know more about was these characters' pasts - what's up with Kell not remembering his childhood? I need to know!! I guess I just have to wait the other books to be published...

I think A Darker Shade of Magic is one of those books which are best experienced when known as little as possible, so I'm just going to list somethings that I absolutely loved in this novel (hopefully) not giving too much away: banter, a potential romance, Kell's coat with more than two sides, sadistic villains, dying magic, just enough open-ended ending to peak my interest for the second book. One thing that I didn't like, though: the constant use of italics to emphasise words. 

So if you have been meaning to read A Darker Shade of Magic, but still haven't: DO IT. I can almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed. I have to say thought that I did enjoy Schwab's Vicious more than A Darker Shade of Magic, but I still have to read her The Archived (which I'll try to read soonish as soon as I get a copy in my hands). A Darker Shade of Magic offered banter, slice of magic, exciting adventures, and heartfelt emotions which made the book a rememberable and unique read.  

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #27: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

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

by E.K. Johnston

Description from Goodreads

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Genre: Young adult, Retelling, Magic, Fantasy 

Pages: 336

Expected Publication: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

A retelling of One Thousand and One Nights? Insanely pretty cover??? By Disney Hyperion????

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#24): Beach Bag

Top Ten Tuesday this week is about 

 Books that I plan to have in my beach bag 
(In no particular order)

1. Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman
2. Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa
3. Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman


4. Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand
5. Evertrue (Everneath #3) by Brodi Ashton
6. The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas

7. Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta
8. The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
9. Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

10. The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Now, you may ask, why these books? All of these books have two things in common 1) they are young adult books 2) they are fantasy books. Those are the two main things that I usually look for in a book when trying to relax with it. And what's often associated with relaxing? Beach. So at least for me, these fantasy books would make perfect beach reads. Without even mentioning that they've been on my TBR list for ages (as you can see all of them were published in  2014 or earlier).....

Monday, 25 May 2015

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Description from Goodreads

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

When I heard that "Red Queen is a #1 New York Times bestseller", of course I had to read it myself. I mean, fantasy YA novel making it to the top surely is something worth reading and people on Goodreads had seemed to love it. So why not give it a try? Well, in principle, it was a good idea. Unfortunately, I just couldn't join in the hype and adoration Red Queen has apparently obtained. I did like some parts of the novel, but mainly I was just power-reading it through because I was afraid that I would miss out on something if I didn't finish it. Well, to be fair, there was this twist in the end which I totally didn't see coming, but let's be honest here, it couldn't resuscitate the novel.

The novel did start off pretty promisingly. I really liked the somber atmosphere Aveyard was setting with the oppression of Reds and how they were shipped off to a war while the Silvers were enjoying their privileges safe and sound in the capital. But I never felt like the novel fully explored this element. While there were demonstrations of the societal inequality, the author never decided to go one step deeper in to the matter. But then, ironically, at times the author simply underestimated the readers. She would describe something very basic, and literally explain it again in simple English - she didn't leave any room for interpretation or giving the readers a chance to think for themselves. There was this strange imbalance within the novel in terms of prioritising what to present to the readers. And that might be the main reason why I didn't like the novel that much - I simply cherished different things than the author had cherished. 

The action also was quite slow to start. If I remember correctly, it was around 50% when things really started rolling and the plot was actually going somewhere. Before that, all the focus where on somewhat trivial things which weren't contributing to anything in the end. If the book was chopped in to two, and I would have to start reading the book from the middle, I probably wouldn't be too bummed out. Even though the novel did start off well by setting the mood, the oppressed mood was definitely a constant. Going back to the original point, when the action started going, I was surprised that I was actually enjoying myself to some extent. There were still quite many things bothering me, but some of the twists and turns kept me entertained and those are the main reasons why I decided to finish the book. 

Maybe it was that there was just too much of everything in the novel, which made me like less the novel? The basic setting was a somewhat fantasy-based as the monarch was a ruling body of the 'kingdom'. However, there also were elements of scifi with the high technology pieces, but furthermore, there were also 'superpowers' (controlling different elements like fire, water, electricity, etc.) which is a sign of supernatural genre! Simply too much! If the supernatural element was completely eradicated, I would probably have liked the book a lot better. Something tells me that the author just wanted to include all the trending elements of YA genre, in the hopes of striking gold. Well, apparently she did with quite many readers, but I was just constantly cringing. I don't think the saying "the best ideas are the simplest ones" is good for nothing, it is a saying for a reason. 

Do you know the feeling, when you aren't that into a novel and then you just start consciously finding faults that you can rant about? Well, it did kind of happen to me with Red Queen, which is basically just self-torture and making the reading experience even more difficult for yourself. For instance, one of the things that I'll probably remember forever about this book, was that Mare had naturally an ombre-coloured hair, and in the world of Red Queen it was perceived as dull and ugly. Gahh! While I suppose this was a clever move from the author as ombre hair is very trendy nowadays and making the main protagonist appear more desirable, but it just infuriated me. How could someone have ombre-coloured hair naturally? That's not how the biology of hair works!! 

I think I might have been a bit harsh with my review, but I just I didn't like this novel as much as I had hoped, and you know I have that right of disliking something. I'm sure that even though Red Queen wasn't for me, it won't stop other people enjoying the novel (because I did enjoy the action in the novel). In fact, I hope that people who haven't still read the book and want to do it, should go ahead and  perhsps will find it enjoyable. But I for sure know that I won't be continuing the series/trilogy. Over and out. Actual rating 2.5.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sunday Post (#15): Weekly Recap

"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 

 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 

❄ Uprooted by Naomi Novik 
❄ A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)  by Sarah J. Maas

✿ Reviews ✿

❄  The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey  4 STARS 
❄ Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson  5 STARS 
❄ Uprooted by Naomi Novik  5 STARS

✿ Memes ✿

❄ Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Published Books I'm desperate to read
❄ Waiting on Wednesday: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
❄ Stacking the Shelves 

✿ Around the blogosphere and elsewhere ✿

 Are We Too Harsh on Our Heroines?

❄ Head Vs. Heart - Readin, Rating, Reviewing
❄ The Best of Bookstagram #1 
❄ Whatcha in the Mood For?

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

1. Eurovision 2015. Of course I watched this annual burst of over the top performances with rainbows and acceptance! It's always so much fun to watch. And congratulations Sweden for the winning performance!

2. The Loveliest Saturday. I had the loveliest friend-date on Saturday. I don't see this one friend of my so often anymore, because she is working so much, but occasionally we have these friend-dates in which we just wander around the city going to independent jewellery stores, for a froyo, and then sit in the park - just basking in the sun. It was so nice. We just talked about everything and nothing and enjoyed spring.

✿ Have a lovely Sunday! ✿

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#21)

It's Saturday and so it's time for Stacking the Shelves!
Here is my haul from this week:

❄ Edelweiss 

by Mindy McGinnis

Description from Goodreads

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

by Patrick Ness

Description from Goodreads

What if you weren’t the Chosen One?

What if you’re not the one who’s so often the hero in YA fiction; who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions...

by Robert L. Anderson

Description From Goodreads

Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

by Alex Flinn

Description from Goodreads

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Alex Flinn's modern and mysterious retelling of Snow White, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and true love doesn't necessarily mean Prince Charming.

Celine's life is the stuff fairy tales are made of. She's beautiful, talented, and brave. Unfortunately, her tale comes complete with a wicked stepmother! When Violet steps into Celine's life, everything changes and weird things begin to happen to her—bizarre accidents, strange illnesses, and rabid animal attacks. Celine doesn't feel safe anywhere. It's almost as if some hateful witch is out to get her.

And there is. Violet has been waiting all her life to have Celine's father to herself. Getting rid of his gorgeous daughter is child's play for a witch as powerful as she is. Happy-ever-after isn't enough for Violet. She wants to be the fairest of them all, and Celine is in the way . . . but not for long.

Forced to take refuge with her friend Goose and his family, Celine gives up everything she loves and goes deep undercover. But will it be enough to fool Violet, or will Celine's fate be decided by a reflection in a magic mirror? And where do you find Prince Charming in Miami anyway?

Mirrored is a modern retelling of Snow White—told from the points of view of Violet, Celine, and Goose—with all the magic and mystery readers will love.

by Sarah Prineas

Description from Goodreads

When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.

Oh boy, I have a lot of reading ahead of me! But I don't mind at all since all of these sounds so amazing!! I'm dying a little because I'm so happy of these ARCs - especially The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Can't wait to read these!