Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sublime by Christina Lauren

Sublime


Series: N/A
Author: Christina Lauren
Page Count: 336
Published: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  3.5 Stars ★★★

Lucy wakes up near a school. She doesn't know why she is there, and she doesn't know why people are acting like she isn't even present. But she does know that she is drawn to Colin, for some unknown reason. Colin finds himself drawn to her as well, and he knows that there's something different about her. As they get to know each other, they fall for each other, and the fact that one of them is dead starts to complicate things. Colin wants to be close to Lucy, to touch her like she's any other girl, and once they find a dangerous way to accomplish this, they can't seem to stop.

I will admit, the reason I first looked into getting this book was the cover. Look at it! It's beautiful. After reading some reviews, both positive and negative, I realized that I had to get this book. While I wasn't really disappointed, I wasn't extremely impressed with this book either.

I have two issues with this book. First, is the writing style. I believe that it's written in third person present tense, and this combination just threw me off. I found it hard to get into reading the book, I really think that third person past tense would have been a much better choice. Because this issue obviously extended for the whole book, that knocked a few stars off of my rating.

Another issue I had with the book was the pacing. It was a bit too slow for my taste, and a good chunk of the more exciting parts happened in the last half of the book, so the first half felt extra drawn-out. As I mentioned, the plot speeds up at the halfway mark, which I really appreciated! I have to say, the pieces of the plot after that point were enjoyable and thrilling to read about.

I loved pretty much everything else about this book. The concept itself is one that I enjoyed. The idea of a romance between a ghost and a living person, two people drawn together for some unknown reason, and the obstacles that they face all tied this story together very well. The romance had a bit of an insta-love feel to it, but I don't mind this if it's done well, and in the case of this book, it was definitely done well.

I also really liked both main characters. Both had tragic pasts, Colin losing his parents at a young age, and Lucy dying so young, and I think that their personal tragedies complemented the others' in a way that made their attraction to each other, and their overall characters, very easy to care about. I like that the author didn't reveal every detail about their situations right away, it gave the story a sense of mystery.

This book was truly bittersweet, with all the talk of tragedies, and the unknown, and the question of whether or not Colin and Lucy's relationship would be able to continue on into the future, considering all the issues that they had to face together. No spoilers here, but I have to say that I think the ending was perfect!

Overall I enjoyed this book, though there were some issues. While the romance was sweet, the writing style and pacing cost the book a few stars. However, the whole concept of the book was intriguing and I am glad that I read it!

I recommend this book to young adult readers who like stories about ghosts. If you're into paranormal romance, you may enjoy this.

Find Sublime on Goodreads.

Friday, 15 September 2017

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Series Cover Set





This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is favorite/least favorite series cover set



Favorite


Image result for skulduggery pleasant series covers



There have been lots of different covers, but they're all really awesome. I like them because they're colourful but not too colourful. Here are just a few of the awesome covers




Least favorite


The Lorien Legacies. I mean, they're not the most hideous covers that I've ever seen, but they're not very pretty, in my opinion

Image result for LORIEN LEGACIES BOOKS


I really am not a fan of the cover of the first book, especially. You can find the covers here



Also sorry for the weird formatting and spaces.... I think blogger is glitching again -_-


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

 Bleed Like Me


Series: N/A
Author: Christa Desir
Page Count: 288
Published: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  4.5 Stars ★★★★

Gannon is having a lot of problems in her life. Her best friend seems to only be using her for cigarettes, her parents are too busy dealing with her unruly adopted brothers, and she cuts herself. Her life seems boring and she feels misunderstood, until she meets Brooks. Brooks is different than anyone she has ever spent time with before. He seems to see the real Gannon, and soon she finds herself craving his presence.

What starts as an attraction turns into a romance, but this romance is truly bittersweet. Brooks is dealing with problems of his own, and soon Gannon finds herself falling not only for Brooks, but for his manipulative tactics and dangerous life choices. 

In the end, this novel was heartbreaking for me, on several levels. I knew that it would deal with some tough subjects, but I had no idea that I would care for the characters as much as I ended up caring for them. 

Gannon is struggling so much, and her problems mirror those of real-life teenagers, which really struck me. Her issues were presented in an authentic way which made the portrayal of family problems and cutting all the more realistic. Gannon was broken inside, but she was likeable and my heart ached for her. 

I kind of feel like I was supposed to hate Brooks, but I didn't. I was just so sad for him. I guess he's kind of the "villain" in this book, but I didn't buy into that role for him at all. He was just as hurt and broken as Gannon, his issues just manifested in a different way. While Gannon turned to self harm, Brooks did as well, to a lesser extent. His involvement with drugs was another problem that he faced, which as with the cutting, appeared to be portrayed in a sincere way too. 

I liked both of the main characters. I could see good in them, beyond their unfortunate life choices, and I think one of the saddest parts about this book is that their story could have gone a whole other way. While the author approached their relationship as something destructive and harmful, it made me sad that, in theory, they actually could've been really good for each other, and helped each other overcome their various problems. That was the real tragedy of this book. It showed the ways that peoples' everyday relationships and actions can go horribly wrong, when there was so much potential for things to go right. 

I won't spoil the ending, but I am surprised that I didn't cry at the end. I usually get emotional incredibly easily over books, but somehow I managed to keep it together. I think that was because I was so engrossed in this book, the writing style made it easy to read for long periods of time, and before I knew it, I had flipped to the last page. 

I do take a bit of an issue with the portrayal of alternative, goth, or punk people within the book. Gannon and Brooks, along with mentions of smoking alternative types, were of the goth, punk, or otherwise "different" variety. Often, I see these types of people portrayed negatively, in fiction and in reality, and I'm kind of tired of constantly seeing the stereotype of the out-of-control, emotionally unstable alternative person everywhere I go. Certainly there are alternative, goth, and punk people like this in real life, however, I wish that the author had balanced out the representation of people in these subcultures with more positive characters in the scene, as well. This is a minor complaint, but I had to mention it.

Over all, this was an emotional read with depictions of real-life problems. While I had a few minor issues, the writing style was immersive and I loved the characters, which kept me reading on.

I recommend this book to fans of YA contemporary stories. If you're interested in emotional books about self harm and family problems, this book is for you.


Friday, 8 September 2017

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Cover Trend



This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is favorite / least favorite cover trend


Favorite


 Matched (Matched, #1)  Champion (Legend, #3)   New Moon (Twilight, #2)  The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)


 As usual I have a few favorites. One of them is beautiful dresses but The Butterfly Reader already covered that! I was also thinking dark covers, like Hush Hush and Fallen, but some people might not see  that as a "trend". So I'm going with simple covers: covers that are quite bare/not very busy, except for an object, symbol, or person on the cover. Matched is a prime example of this! And of course I've included a few more. 



Least Favorite


 Delirium (Delirium, #1)  Specials (Uglies, #3)   Before I Fall  The Host (The Host, #1)


Faces up-close. I kinda feel a bit uncomfortable, to be perfectly honest, with these covers. It's like I'm invading someone's personal space. 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Fall by Jeff Mariotte

Fall  (Witch Season, #2)


Series: Witch Season
Author: Jeff Mariotte
Page Count: 320
Published: October 1st, 2004
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  3 Stars ★★★

In the second book of the Witch Season series, Kerry is still mourning Daniel, and she holds a serious grudge against Season, the witch who killed him. She and her friends fear that the witch is still after them, and so their lives are tainted with an underlying anxiety and much suspicion. Kerry decides that she must take justice into her own hands, so she leaves her college and runs away, hoping to find Daniel's mother.

Mother Blessing is not what Kerry had expected. She agrees to teach Kerry witchcraft, as she also holds anger against Season, and so Kerry begins her journey, learning magic and reading Daniel's journals. But things might not be as they seem, and by the end of her time at Mother Blessing's she may come across some shocking revelations.

After enjoying Summer, the first book in this series, I had some high hopes for the second book. While this book wasn't terrible, it wasn't very satisfying, either. It left me fairly disappointed, although I did enjoy the story.

My main problem with this book was the pacing. The pacing of the writing was way too slow, it took too long to move from the beginning of the book into the main plot, and I found myself zoning out every now and then because there was too much description, and too little action. 

As with the first book, Kerry discusses her thoughts through journal entries, which continued to give me insight into her own ideas and at times almost foreshadowed some of the coming events. Daniel's journal offered more information concerning the history between his family and Season, and as with the first book, I appreciated these pieces for shedding light on parts of the story that the reader might not be able to understand without these writings. 

I really don't have much to say about Fall, because honestly, it's not an amazing book. It wasn't horrible, but it didn't really blow me away either. 

I recommend this book to those who enjoyed the first novel in this series. If you're interested in witches and romance, you might enjoy this series.


Thursday, 31 August 2017

Book Title Book Tag

I found this awesome tag at Metaphors and Moonlight . You use book titles to answer the questions asked!


1) Title that's the story of your life


Chasing Truth (Eleanor Ames, #1)


 Chasing Truth covers this one. Essentially my whole life I've been chasing truths: who am I? What is family? What's important in life? I want to know the true answers to all of these questions.



2) Title that describes your perfect weekend


 Blood and Chocolate



Blood and Chocolate. By blood I mean watching great horror movies. And chocolate speaks for itself. 



3) Title of an adventure you'd like to go on


 The Killing Woods


 The Killing Woods. What if a body was found in some woods years ago, and I go out into the woods and hold a seance? Now that would be fun. I don't like going on crazy adventures.... just some nice woods fairly close by for the night is an adventure enough for me.



4) Title you want to name your child


Mercy (Mercy, #1)


 Mercy would make a nice name.




5) Title of your ideal job
 

 Author, Author


 Author, Author. Yep you guessed it.... an author! I wonder what gave it away?



6) Title of a place you'd like to visit


 Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)



Vampire Academy. I'd love to visit a school of vampires!


7)  Title of your love life



Did I Mention I Love You? (The DIMILY Trilogy, #1)



Did I Mention I Love You? I'm always telling my boyfriend how much I love him.



8) Questions you ask yourself 


 M or F?


 M or F? As in, how do I dress today so that my genderfluid self might get gendered properly?




9) Title of a kingdom you want to rule or name


 Night World, No. 1 (Night World, #1-3)


 Night World. If I rule the Night World, that would make me some sort of supernatural creature. Yes please! Can I be a vampire?



10) Title you'd name your band 


Oblivion (Nevermore, #3)



Oblivion. I just think that'd be a great name for some kind of rock band.



Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Perfect Ruin (Perfect Ruin, #1)


Series: The Internment Chronicles
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Page Count: 356
Published: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  3.5 Stars ★★★

Morgan lives on Internment, a city in the sky. While some have tried jumping off the edge, hoping to fall down to earth, none succeed, and all return with any number of afflictions. She knows this all too well: her brother went blind after jumping off the edge. While she knows the dangers, Morgan just can't stop wondering about life on earth, and about what it would be like to approach the edge of her beloved city.

When a girl is murdered, the citizens of Internment are shocked. Supposedly killed by Judas, the boy she was set to marry, Daphne Leander's murder makes Morgan believe that things are changing, and not for the better. When she and Judas come face to face, Morgan is convinced that he is innocent, and this begins Morgan's quest for the truth about Internment. 

I picked this up as a fan of Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden Trilogy, intrigued by the concept of a city in the sky. As I've enjoyed the first two books of her dystopian trilogy so far, I decided I'd try another one of her books. I had high hopes, hopes which were not exactly fulfilled, unfortunately. 

So, I really liked the world of Internment. The world-building was amazing, with everything from religion to government to social norms covered in a way that didn't overwhelm me, nor bore me. Descriptions of Morgan's life, her hopes, her dreams, and her family brought the main character to life, and she seemed to become someone more than just a character written on a page in a book. 

However, the first half of this book was too slow for me. While it is interesting to read about daily life in some kind of fantasy, dystopian society, I can only read about it for so long before I become bored. Sure, interesting bits were added in every now and then for the first fifty percent of the novel, but I found myself speed-reading to get to the next exciting event. This was the main issue for me, and it was bad enough that it knocked a few stars off of my rating for this book. 

The second half of this book, however, was much, much better than the first. The plot sped up and Morgan found herself caught in between her home, Internment, and the truth. She had to make some difficult choices, and her relationships, including those with her best friend, her betrothed, and her family, change both for the better and for the worse, forever. There were some really sad moments, and the author did a great job of making me care about what was going on. There was a lot of anticipation for the ending, and I rushed through the second half. I needed to know how it would end. 

Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be reading the rest of the series. While I was captivated by the world of Internment and Morgan's hopes and fears, the way that this book was paced really just made me hurry to finish reading it. I don't care enough about how the series is going to end to read through a few more books and possibly deal with another boring first half again. 

Overall, I liked the idea, but I think that the pacing, especially in the first half of the book, was too slow. This resulted in me wanting to hurry and finish this book, but I ended up not caring about the whole story itself to consider finishing the trilogy. 

If you like stories with a lot of pieces of everyday life, especially those in dystopian societies, you might like this book. If you're interested in a book about corrupt governments and questioning what one has been told, you might consider giving this book a try.


Friday, 25 August 2017

50/50 Friday - Book You Enjoyed with the Most/Least Page Count




This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is book you enjoyed with the most / least page count


Most pages


 Kingdom of the Wicked (Skulduggery Pleasant, #7)


The book I enjoyed with the most pages is Kingdom of the Wicked. It's at 607 pages, and its the 7th book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series


Least pages


The Wrong Turn (Taken Hostage by Kinky Bank Robbers, #2)


The book I enjoyed with the least pages is probably The Wrong Turn by Annika Martin. I read it as an eBook so I'm not sure how many pages it was considered, but Goodreads puts it at 103 pages. (I'm not counting short stories here)

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Firespell by Chloe Neill


6611024


Series: The Dark Elite
Author: Chloe Neill
Page Count: 246
Published: January 5th, 2010
Publisher: Signet
  4 Stars ★★★★

Lily's parents are going on a trip overseas, so they enroll her in St. Sophia's, a fancy, elite boarding school for girls. As she gets used to her new surroundings, including lots of rich, spoiled teens, she becomes friends with Scout, one of her suite-mates. 

Scout may not be petty and judgemental like the rest of her classmates, but she's keeping secrets. Lily wonders where Scout goes when she sneaks out at night, and when Lily is the victim of a prank and becomes trapped in the school's basement, she runs into Scout, who is running from something much worse than boarding school bullies. 

Lily is thrown into a world where magic is real and the corrupted Dark Elite maintain their powers at the expense of others. She's fascinated yet fearful at the thought of the real-life equivalent of wizards and warlocks walking among the streets of Chicago. After all, she's just a regular human....or is she?

I really liked this author's take on wizards or warlocks. While the idea of different factions of some paranormal group feuding might seem over-used, Chloe Neill makes it seem fresh and new again with the rivalries between Scout's group of magic-wielding teens protecting the city, and the corrupted Reapers. I will probably read the next book because I want to know more about the Reapers and the world they live in. While they're portrayed as evil, the concept of feeding off of others in some way to maintain power kept me hooked to this book and their world. It's somewhat creepy and definitely intriguing. 

I really liked the whole atmosphere of this book. It takes place in various locations, though the boarding school, St. Sophia's, is one of the primary settings. The descriptions of the school itself painted a vivid picture in my mind and really helped me to visualize what was going on. I really liked the descriptions given when Lily was in the basement or catacombs, especially when she gets lost. 

However, I feel like the characters in this book were not memorable at all. That really disappointed me! Everyone from Lily to Scout to the love interests seemed somewhat flat and lacking uniqueness. There wasn't really anything to distinguish them from other characters from other young adult urban fantasy novels, so I didn't feel much of a connection to any of them. I hope that in the next book, the characterization continues and they develop a lot more as people, because if this isn't the case, unless the situation with the rivalries between Scout's group and the Reapers becomes extremely interesting, I don't think that I will be compelled to continue on in the series. 

Overall I enjoyed this author's take on magic-users and paranormal rivalries. The descriptions of the settings helped me to see things as the characters saw them, but as for the characters themselves, this book falls short. 

I recommend this book to readers who like YA urban fantasy. 


Friday, 18 August 2017

50/50 Friday - Bookish Gift You'd Most/Least Like to Receive





This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is bookish gift you'd most / least like to receive



Most



 

Besides actually books or gift cards to bookstores, I'd love to get some nice bookmarks. I've started a small bookmark collection and I'd love to add more! 


Least


I'd be thankful for any bookish gift, but I guess the bookish item I'd use the least would be a piece of jewelry related to books (i.e book fandom necklace, bracelet with a book charm, etc). I like jewelry but I often just forget to wear it.

Do you have any bookish jewelry? What's your favourite bookmark?

Monday, 14 August 2017

My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

My Sweet Audrina


 Series: Audrina
Author: V.C. Andrews
Page Count: 403
Published: September 15th, 1990
Publisher: Pocket Books
  3 Stars ★★★


Audrina isn't the first Audrina. No, she's the second and worst Audrina. Her father wants her to be like the first and best Audrina, sitting in a rocking chair to capture her "gifts". Staying home with her mother and aunt, it seems that she can't remember before a certain point in her life. Time passes by quickly, and she has to deal with her mean cousin Vera, who gets to go to school.

The first Audrina is dead, and her family often visits the girl's grave. They warn the second Audrina never to go in the woods, because that's where their first daughter was attacked and murdered. As she's tormented by Vera, and as time passes by, it becomes obvious that there's something that she doesn't know, and whatever it is could change her life forever.

Ok, so this book was really, really, really weird. I have never read anything like it before in my life.

There were some great things, and some not so great things. First, the great things. The author did a good job of capturing a fairly creepy atmosphere throughout the book. Audrina's home is big and fancy, yet it seems to hold frightening secrets. Descriptions of everything from the windows to the wind chimes added to the unsettling feel of the novel.

Audrina's confusion was also well represented. I found myself just as confused as her at times, what with the strange rituals her family performed (teatime, anyone?), and the passing of time, and her memory issues. I think the author's intention was to clue the reader in that something was wrong with Audrina, and that definitely worked.

I also found the family extremely creepy and unlikeable. Now, this didn't take away from the book at all, rather it added to the distinctly disturbing atmosphere. The way that her family phrased things was at times inappropriate for the occasion and shocking, and her father was a frightening mix of loving yet abusive. Her aunt was also quite abusive and obviously had many unsolved personal issues, and her mother seemed off to me. Vera, her cousin, was a horrible bully, making life harder for poor Audrina.

Now, there are the things that I didn't like. The first half of the book was way too slow. I understand that the author wanted to build tension and convey the confusion that Audrina felt, but she didn't have to take two hundred pages to do that. Some scenes felt drawn out and unnecessary. This book could have done with a hundred less pages, and still been just as unsettling.

I also found the explanation behind what was going on to be anti-climactic. I had guessed it from near the beginning, but I was thinking that this couldn't be the case, it was too predictable and actually didn't even make much sense.....how would Audrina's family achieve this? The explanation was not very believable. That was disappointing.

Overall, this book had a very unsettling atmosphere and characters that thoroughly creeped me out. However, the conclusion fell short of my expectations, and the first half of the book dragged on for way too long.

I recommend this book to those looking for a creepy mystery. If you're interested in books with characters who clearly have issues, with plots that span over many years, and with an unsettling atmosphere, this book is for you.

Find My Sweet Audrina on Goodreads

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

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 Series: Shades of London
Author: Maureen Johnson
Page Count: 372
Published: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Speak
  4.5 Stars ★★★★

 Rory is an American teenager who moves to London to attend a boarding school. On the day that she arrives, a brutal murder occurs, and it is oddly similar to a murder committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper from decades before. She soon learns, as she deals with meeting new people, crushing on a guy, and talking with a strange and mysterious man, that the horror has only begun, and that she has some amazing abilities of her own. 

As is the case with many of my books, I snagged this one from the bookstore while it was on sale. Drawn in by the cover and the idea of Jack the Ripper, I couldn't resist. While this book was not exactly what I expected, it was certainly enjoyable, with an ending that left me wanting to read more about Rory and what comes next for her. 

I really like the way that the author wrote the characters, especially Rory and her roommates, including one who comes along a bit later in the novel. They created friendships and relationships that to me well mimicked what I see in the real world, which brought the friends together in times of crisis or fear. However, I can't say the same for the romantic aspect. I didn't really understand why Rory found herself attracted to Jerome. While he didn't seem like a bad guy in any way, he didn't exactly seem too appealing either, he didn't feel as real as Rory and her friends did. 

A piece of the book that I really enjoyed included all of the various happenings with the mysterious and strange man that Rory comes across. She is actually the only one who can see him for a portion of the book, which lead to a great guessing game on my end. I won't spoil the explanation behind it all, but I was definitely satisfied with how the author explained what was going on. 

The ending was a cliffhanger and has me adding the second book in the series to my wishlist. I hope that some of my questions left over from this book will be answered in the next, and that I'll be able to read about the cast of characters again, and maybe learn more about them, in book two. 

I recommend this to people who like their murder mysteries with a side of paranormal intrigue, If you're interested in Jack the Ripper and ghosts, this is a great pick for you. 



Saturday, 5 August 2017

Beautiful Book Cover of the Day

Heya there everyone! Today I wanted to share another beautiful book cover.


This Wicked Game



From Goodreads:


Claire Kincaid’s family has been in business for over fifty years.

The voodoo business.

Part of the International Guild of High Priests and Priestesses, a secret society that have practiced voodoo for generations, the Kincaids run an underground supply house for authentic voodoo supplies. Claire plays along, filling orders for powders, oils and other bizarre ingredients in the family store, but she has a secret.

She doesn’t believe.

Struggling to reconcile her modern sensibilities with a completely unscientific craft based on suspicion, Claire can’t wait to escape New Orleans – and voodoo – when she goes to college, a desire that creates almost constant conflict in her secret affair with Xander Toussaint, son of the Guild’s powerful founding family.

But when a mysterious customer places an order for a deadly ingredient, Claire begins to realize that there’s more to voodoo – and the families that make up the Guild – than meets the eye.

Including her own.

As she bands together with the other firstborns of the Guild, she comes face to face with a deadly enemy – and the disbelief that may very well kill her.




~~~~~~~


I want to read this book eventually. I think the book cover is so gorgeous and the synopsis is very intriguing. Have you read this? What did you think?

Monday, 31 July 2017

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller


Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)


 Series: Untitled
Author: Linsey Miller
Page Count: 384
Published: September 5th, 2017
Publisher:Sourcebooks Fire
  4 Stars ★★★★


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. 

Sal is a thief, living in a world complicated by politics and war. Still haunted by the 'shadows', they steal for Grell, but they're tired of it. After stealing from some nobles, Sal finds a flyer that could change their life. If they prove their worth, they can audition to be part of the Queen's Left Hand, a group of assassins that get their namesakes from the rings that the Queen wears. Opal has died, and this may be Sal's chance for a new life, and vengeance. 

The competition is deadly, and the stakes are high. With a romance blooming and drama between contestants, Sal will be lucky to survive with their heart, and their life. 

So this book was really awesome. It was close to perfect, I am so happy that I received an ARC from NetGalley! 

First off, Sal was genderfluid. I am genderfluid, and there are so few people like me in books that its incredibly exciting whenever I come across a nonbinary character! Not to mention the way that Sal's genderfluidity was incorporated into the book.... I loved it because it wasn't the focus of the plot. Sal was casually genderfluid, kinda like how most genderfluid people just wake up and live their lives like everyone else, eh? While I think stories about identity and coming out are great as well, I want to see more of this, more books with nonbinary people just existing as nonbinary individuals, not necessarily on display for their identity. I loved the casual way that Sal's pronouns were discussed, and the way that most characters just complied. It was quite optimistic and a great break from the real world where just the mention of singular "they" will spark a fight. I also loved the way that Sal described genderfluidity and I thought it was really accurate. I won't quote it since this is an ARC and the final manuscript may prove to have minor differences, but when you read the book, you'll get what passage I'm talking about. Anyways, this was an awesome aspect of the novel, I really appreciated the diversity!

Then there's Elise, the love interest. Elise is a noble of Erlend, a nation whose people haven't been kind to Sal's people. Elise is smart, assertive, and likeable! At first, Sal is a bit wary of Elise, almost using her, but I love how later in the book they realize their feelings for her! Alongside Elise is the idea that a person is not the sum of their heritage, or their nationality, and I thought that was a really great message. Sal realizes this and it adds to their growth as a person throughout the novel, in my opinion. This just made me love the book, and Sal, more. 

I also have to mention that there are some emotional scenes in this book. I can't say much without giving it away, but if you get attached to characters, get ready to potentially have your heart shattered!

I also loved the beautiful descriptions throughout the novel. Metaphors and such really added to the way I visualized Sal's world. I loved this fantasy world, I loved getting lost in the danger of the shadows and the life that Sal was escaping, and the life they were ultimately working toward. However, this book lost a star because sometimes the world-building was confusing. Maybe this is because I'm new to this type of fantasy, but I had trouble keeping up with all the political drama, national tensions, and historical events. 

Overall, this was a really awesome fantasy novel! I loved the inclusion of a genderfluid character, and I really like Elise and the messages that accompanied her character. While the world-building could use a little work, the author's descriptions were often beautiful. 

I absolutely recommend this book! If you're a fan of fantasy novels, this book is for you. If you are interested in a book featuring a genderfluid person, you'll want to pick this one up. I know that once this is released in stores, I'll be picking up a copy!

Find Mask of Shadows on Goodreads


Friday, 28 July 2017

50/50 Friday - Place You Buy the Most / Least Books





This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is place you buy the most / least books 


Most


 https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/e5/a4/76e5a4c877a2505b8726740e5e6dc0fc--thrift-fashion-recycled-fashion.jpg


Thrift stores. In recent years, my financial situation has gotten worse so I have bought less books new, straight from the bookstore, and instead I've been going to thrift stores! This includes both general thrift stores, and used book stores. (Image found here)



Least





 

Bookstores, where they sell the books brand new. I still go to Chapters / Indigo, and I still order from Amazon on occasion (and I've started using BookOutlet too) however I definitely don't buy books brand new very often anymore.  (Image from my Instagram)



Where do you get the most / least books? Do you share my love of thrift stores?


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

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Series: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Page Count: 452
Published: October 19th, 2010
Publisher: Speak
  4.5 Stars ★★★★

Calla is a shape-shifter who can turn into a wolf. She is the alpha of her pack, and she is expected to marry Ren, another wolf shape-shifter and another alpha, and to join their packs together. She lives in a world where the Keeper's rule over her, and she is expected to obey their every command. Everything changes when she saves Shay, a human boy, and he sees her shift from wolf to human. 

To her dismay, he begins to attend her school, and to seek answers about what happened on that day. What started as a kind act becomes a problem for Calla, especially because she and Shay become closer, and Calla starts to question everything that she has known about her life and her future. 

As a big fan of werewolf stories, I couldn't pass on reading this book, and I'm certainly glad that I didn't! While this was a different take on werewolves and witches, it worked well, and the world that the author created was one that stole my attention from the first chapter onward. 

The action starts right away, with the first scene being the one where Calla saves Shay, and he sees her shift from wolf to human. This caught my attention as it spurred on the first conflict, the issue of dealing with Shay, which brought on many of the conflicts that occur later in the book. Characterization occurs immediately afterward in the chapters following, where the reader meets the rest of Calla's pack and Ren's pack as well. 

The author did a great job of explaining the rules of the world she created to the reader. She also did a great job of making me angry, and therefore, making me interested! Calla is basically forced to marry Ren, and she is subjected to a double standard that is often found in the real world, the human world outside of books, of the "player" guy getting away with everything, and the "virgin" girl expected to stay "pure". This was an important aspect of the book as it provided extra tension considering Ren's advances and Calla's complicated relationship with Shay, and it helped make the world seem all the more real to me. 

The take on werewolves in this book was different to that of other books because in Nightshade, they don't seem to have much power. They are under the rule of the Keepers, expected to obey their commands and do as they say, even taking abuse and mistreatment quietly. This is in contrast to other interpretations of books that I've read, where werewolves are powerful creatures, feared by humans and other creatures within the supernatural or paranormal communities alike. Needless to say, it was an interesting and unique interpretation, and I thought the use of a paranormal hierarchy was done well with adequate back story and explanations. 

As Calla starts to question what she's expected to do in her life, she begins to rebel. Rebellion is a theme that I truly enjoy reading about, and the author used it to its full advantage. Tensions rose as Calla took more and more drastic measures to uncover the truth and try to lead her own life, from spending time with Shay, to questioning her engagement to Ren, to sneaking into libraries and reading forbidden books. 

The ending is definitely a cliff hanger, in my opinion. As I loved the book and I want to know what happens next, I will certainly be looking for a copy of the second novel! 

I recommend this book to those who like stories about werewolves. If you're interested in YA books about romance and rebellion, this is a great pick. 


Friday, 21 July 2017

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Character Name + Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2017



This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is favorite / least favorite character name! 



Favorite


 Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)


I have several favorites. Skulduggery Pleasant, for one. I also love the name Chaol Westfall
 

Least Favorite


 Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)


I'm not a huge fan of the name Grace. I also don't really care for the name Isobel. I don't hate these names at all, I just don't think they're the most interesting names ever. 
What do you think of these names?


~ ~ ~


Now it's time for the mid-year book freak out tag! I found it on The Butterfly Reader


1) Best book you've read so far in 2017


 A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)


I've read lots of awesome books, but those that stick out include Mask of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Demon Road.



2)  Best sequel you've read so far in 2017


 Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)



3)  New release you haven't read yet but want to


 The Beast Is an Animal


Ohhhh there are tons of new releases I want to read but haven't yet! The Beast is an Animal is only one of them.


4) Most anticipated release for second half of 2017


 Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)


So I already read an ARC of Mask of Shadows (thank you NetGalley!) however I am definitely anticipating the release date for this book so I can get a physical copy. 



5) Biggest disappointment


 Keeping You a Secret


Keeping You A Secret was quite a disappointment for me. 



6) Biggest surprise


 Proxy (Proxy, #1)


 I wasn't expecting to like Proxy so much!



7) Favorite new authors


 Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)


Sarah J Maas! 


8) Newest fictional crushes


Chaol!!!!! Celaena too. 



9) Newest favorite character


Yeah I don't have just one favourite character, but many. Chaol, Celaena, Feyre, Tamlin (Sarah J Maas is essentially providing me with a good portion of my favourites nowadays, as you can see). I also really liked Amber from Demon Road and Syd from Proxy. 



10) Book that made you cry


 When Everything Feels Like the Movies


When Everything Feels like the Movies. To be fair, I can't remember if I actually cried or if I only shed a few tiny tears, but either way this book was very emotional for me. 



11) Book that made you happy


Mask of Shadows! Genderfluid represent!




12) Favourite book to movie adaptation you've seen so far in 2017


I don't think I've seen any! :(




13) Favourite review you've written so far in 2017


 Oblivion (Nevermore, #3)


Oblivion. It's not some epic review, but its a review for the last book in one of my most favorite trilogies ever. 




14) Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year. 


 Zodiac (Zodiac, #1)


I have bought lots of lovely books, but Zodiac stands out for sure!




15) What books do you need to read by the end of the year?



So many. I'm not even gonna bother to list them. Just... so many.



If you've completed this tag on your blog, please leave the link below! Anyways, how has your reading year been so far?