Saturday, July 20, 2019

Mini Reviews | 12

California Summer by Anita Hughes
Published June 19, 2018
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon | Book Depository
Review:
This was an okay read. It’s great if you’re looking for something short and easy to read without any real substance to it. And as typical of Anita’s books, there is always a woman who faces some sort of dilemma with her currently boyfriend or husband. She then goes away to “find herself” and within a few short weeks, finds the love of her life. She also somehow has all of these rich friends and when she goes away to find herself, she stays at the nicest guesthouse with a freaking butler and cook. Talk about a non-reality LOL. But regardless, I enjoyed this book for the most part. I did have to suspend my usual disbelief radar because this book is 1000% unrealistic. 

The one thing that really irked me (more so than the unrealistic aspect of the book) was how annoying Rosie was. It was as if she had no sense of self-worth to herself and after finding out that Ben slept with another woman in their own bed, she left but then proceeded to call him and pretty much begged him to take her back. Um, no. Just no. One of my biggest pet peeve is a weak female main character and this one was definitely so.
Rating:
🌟🌟1/2

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Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Published August 28, 2014
Review:
One of my fellow booktubers were raving about how good this book/series was but honestly, I could care less about everything in this book. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. For whatever reason, I did not really like any of the characters and I found both male protagonists (Tristan and Rowan) to be lacking. Tristan was by far the worst of them especially the version in the “real world”. There was one scene where I just found myself gob smacked by his audacity. Complete ludicrous and a douche. I did like Rowan a lot more but even so, he wasn’t amazing to me. 

The one thing I really liked about the book was the world building including the magic system. I thought that the author did a phenomenal job with writing and creating the parallel universe. I really liked the blend of futuristic aspects with some medieval elements as well. It was incredibly unique and vivid. Unfortunately though I don’t think it is enough for me to continue with the series. I’m just not invested with any of the characters and the plot itself to be intrigued to continue.
Rating:
🌟🌟🌟

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Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau
Published January 29, 2019
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon | Book Depository
Review:
This was a cute graphic novel but I felt that there were way more illustrations than dialogue. I mean, that’s totally fine but I would have preferred some more dialogue because I finished this book within an hour. It was that fast of a read. 

I did really enjoy reading about Ari as he struggled to figure out what he wanted to do with his life – move to the big city for his band or stay at his family’s bakery. At first, he wanted nothing to do with the bakery but as time passed and after he met Hector, he learned to realize that sometimes there are more important things in life. 

Overall, I did enjoy it but I didn’t love it.
Rating:
🌟🌟🌟

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Made for You by Melissa Marr
Published September 1, 2014
Review:
I haven’t read a Melissa Marr in forever so I was unsure what to expect especially with the somewhat mediocre reviews on Goodreads but this book was so good! I listened to it on audiobook and I was hooked from the start. 

What I found most interesting was how this book was told in alternating perspectives – Eva and the killer’s. While I enjoyed reading about Eva and from her POV, it was the killer’s that really intrigued me. It was so fascinating to see what was going on in the killer’s mind especially as the killer explains the reasoning of what he/she is doing. In the beginning, it seemed almost obvious who the killer was and I initially thought that was the author’s take – have the readers know but the characters didn’t because that would have been an interesting take on things. However, as the book continues, I realized that who I thought was the killer wasn’t and after that, I was left wondering. And I didn’t figure it out until about 70-80% of the way in. 

I also really enjoyed Eva’s character because she was like a breath of fresh air. She was the most popular girl with loads of money to boot but rather than being your stereotypical mean girl, she was instantly likable. She was funny, sweet and honest and I really enjoyed reading about her. I also felt so bad for her because of what she was going through with the accident, the scars, etc. And, not to mention, I loved how strong she was inside. Even though the scar messed up her face and obviously she was distraught after it, I liked how it didn’t bring her down to the point of no return. She still cared about her friends and tried to find out what was happening. It was a display of inner strength that I admired. 

Overall, I really liked this book and if you’re looking for a good mix – paranormal, fantasy, romance and a mystery then definitely check this one out.
Rating:
🌟🌟🌟🌟

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The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Published July 29, 2014
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Audiobooks
Review:
I have to say, this book was confusing and things didn’t fall into place until the last quarter of the book. But in all honesty, I think I was not 100% focused so that might have played a part. And that ending completely shocked me because that came out of nowhere. It made the entire book kind of a moot point. It was to the point that I didn’t even get the purpose of the book anymore. 

Another thing that I just didn’t get was the relationship between Colin and Mia and the whole purpose as to why they were shut in the cabin together. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that somehow Mia made it back home safe and sound (to some degree) but the relationship between them was just so odd to me. It was a classic case of Stockholm syndrome which I understand but what I didn’t understand was why this whole situation happened in the beginning. I can’t describe it any more than that because spoilers but this whole book was just…. 

Definitely not one of the best thrillers I have read.
Rating:
🌟1/2

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Friday, July 19, 2019

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Published April 2, 2019
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Audiobooks
Review:
I heard so much hype going into this one that I was a bit skeptical but I found myself thoroughly enjoying this book. I absolutely loved the friendships in this book, the LGBT reps and the atmospheric writing and scenery. It was such a fast read as well and I couldn’t stop myself from reading the book within a few short sittings. 

What struck me as interesting was the fact that this book was pitched as Raven Boys meets Stranger Things and usually I find myself thinking that the pitch is so wrong but in this case, it was SO right. It was exactly like Raven Boys meets Stranger Things. It had similar Raven Boys friendships and characters and I loved reading about how Violet, Justin, Isaac and Harper. 

I think my favorite characters would either be Isaac because I just love his broodiness (apparently that’s my thing? and he reminded me of Ronan who was my favorite in the Raven Cycle) or Harper because I thought she was a badass despite her disability. Justin was probably, by far, the weakest character. I could honestly care less about him. I do think that the characters were probably the strongest aspect of this book though. Other than Justin, I found all of them to be very fleshed out and complex. I liked how each of them developed as the book continued and all of them had flaws either from their own mistakes or something that happened in the past. 

Then in terms of Stranger Things, it had very similar atmospheric writing and setting. I loved the parallel aspect to it with the Gray and the beast within. I also really liked the magical element and the whole secret history of what happened all those years ago with the founding families. There were so much intrigue and I loved reading about it. 

Overall, I’m so excited to read the sequel because that ending!! It definitely left things in a cliffhanger and I cannot wait to see what this one character will do.
Rating:
🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Blog Tour: War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer



Title: War of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Publisher: Talem Press
Publication date: 15 July 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: War is here. 

Toxic mist drives all life to the brink of destruction and the conqueror queen, Ines, has her talons in the kings of the realm. 

Bleak, having discovered her true heritage, must now scour the lands for the one thing that might save them all. 

But the search is a treacherous one, one that will push her to the very limits of endurance. 

Amidst secrets, lies and the intricacies of battle, Bleak and her companions learn just how far they’ll go for the ones they love. But will it be enough? 

As deadly forces grapple for power across the continents; families, friends and allies unite to take one final stand. 

Explosive revelations, heart-wrenching betrayals and breathtaking magic soar in the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s bestselling trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.

Book Link:
Goodreads
Review:
This book was utterly fantastic. If I rated the entire series, I would be a 4.5* (only because the beginning of the first book dragged a bit) but since this is a solo review for the finale book, I’m happy to say that this was a solid 5* read.

My favorite aspect would definitely be the characters – they were absolutely exceptional, probably some of the best I have ever read. And you know the characters are amazing and incredibly fleshed out when you experience so many emotions as the character grows and develops. There was one character in particular that grew the most throughout the entire series. I respected, hated, disgusted, and admired him and that for me, shows great character development. There were so many other characters that I completely fell in love with: Bleak, Henri, Swinton, Dash, and so many more. I just loved how each of them were so distinguished and unique and I just loved reading about their relationships with each other especially as the nature of it changed so drastically throughout the series.

Also, this book features one of my favorite things to see in books and that is female badasses. The Valians were all female badasses that I just loved reading about their culture and the “Valian Way”. I also loved how this series and especially in the last book really focused on female empowerment. There was this amazing scene at the end where this girl says something and as a female myself, it resonated so deeply.

The plot and worldbuilding of the book (especially in the earlier books since this is the final book) was fantastic. I loved reading about all the plot twists and there were definitely a few that shook me to my core. But there were also some that I guessed early on or right before it was revealed – either way though, I still enjoyed all the twists and turns.

The one issue I had with the story was how there were certain “conveniences” that seemed a bit too convenient for my taste. For example, in this final book, there was one scene where this character was looking for someone/something and without being explained, in the next few scenes when something critical was happening, everything somehow worked out exceptionally well with said character (that’s as vague as I can get without spoiling anything). There were many similar incidences but again, I don’t want to go into spoilers. However, because I loved the characters so much and because I was so immersed with the overall story, I took these conveniences at stride and it didn’t bother me as much as it would otherwise.

Overall, I loved this series and I cannot wait to see what else Helen has in store in the future. Also, can I just mention that I love Rion? I usually love all magical creatures but I never thought I would end up loving a panther but that’s exactly what happened. He was just the icing on top of everything! If you’re looking for a phenomenal fantasy series with magic, adventure, hint of romance (seriously, it’s only a hint), and amazing characters then definitely check this one out!
Rating:
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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About Helen:
After writing literary fiction for a number of years, Helen Scheuerer was inspired to return to her childhood love of fantasy thanks to novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner, and The Queen of the Tearling. 

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, an online learning platform for emerging writers. In its first year, Writer’s Edit reached thousands of new authors, and soon became its own small press, with Helen overseeing the production and publication of three creative writing anthologies. It’s now one of the largest writing websites in the world. 

Helen now lives by the mountains of New Zealand and writes full time. She has many more books planned for the future.

Author Links:

🌟From my moodboard, you can see some of the elements that really stood out to me: badass females, magical panthers and a gorgeous setting. I tried to find a better female warrior photo but couldn't find a better one than this one with swords and that look of defiance. πŸŒŸ

G I V E A W A Y
Prize: Audiobook copies of War of Mist and Reign of Mist (one winner only)
Scope: Open worldwide/internationally
a Rafflecopter giveaway
R E S T  O F  T H E  B L O G  T O U R  I N F O

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill

The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill
Published July 30, 2019
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon | Book Depository
Review:
So I have recently read some pretty amazing retellings (i.e. To Kill a Kingdom, A Curse so Dark and Lonely, etc.) and then I stumble onto this book. This book was just gross. I don’t even know how I managed to finish this book as there were so many cringey scenes in it. 

I didn’t like the way how the mermen treated the mermaids in this book. It was misogynistic and creepy. This book follows a young mermaid, Gaia, who had just turned 15 but is betrothed to marry Zane, one of their greatest warrior against the “Salka” which were women who were cast out in a patriarchal world because they were faced with marrying without their permission, forced to behave, etc. and had enough by drowning in the ocean. So these “Salkas” were women who used to be human but were treated so unfairly that they chose to die instead. Anyways, Zane was also 80 something years old. At least that is the impression that I got. Or, at the very least, 60+. And the way how he treated Gaia, who had only just turned 15, was repulsive. I honestly felt like gagging every time. 

And it wasn’t just Zane who treated the mermaids like that. The Sea King, Gaia’s father, made it seem that it was the mermens right to do so and it was the mermaids right to behave and act docile. But there was one scene in particular that turned my stomach – when the Sea King was conversing with Zane about Gaia and how Zane was lucky to pick her early otherwise he (the Sea King and her father) would want her for himself. That was just…GAH. 

There was also this huge insta-love going on with Gaia and Oliver. She literally saw him for a hot second at a boat party when she decided to save him and thus events led to her sacrificing her own voice as well as the pain of having two legs just to be with him. Girl, you barely know the guy. I was not a fan of the romance at all and I didn’t like how Oliver’s friends treated girls either (there was one in particular that was just horrible but the other was not too bad and seemed to be decent). I just felt that there was no real depth to this romance because Oliver was still hung up on his ex and Gaia had been told to be docile all her life so she didn’t make any move either. It was all just weird. 

Literally the only good thing in this book were the amazing quotes by Ceto, the Sea Witch. That one scene when Gaia went to her to get her legs was the most memorable scene ever. There were so many outstanding quotes on what it means to be “fat”, why men call women “witches” and how powerful women threaten men. Those few quotes were the sole reason why I continued reading because I was hoping that the feminism would play a more major role. Unfortunately that wasn’t really the case. 

Overall, I did not like this book at all. I hated the men in this book (mermen and humans alike) and found the romance to be way too insta-love for my taste. Gaia was also weak and I dislike weak characters. If it wasn’t for the fact that this book went by incredibly fast and for a buddy read, I would have DNF’d it.
Review:
1/2

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos
Published September 25, 2018
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Audiobooks
Review:
THIS BOOK. Gah, so good! But I do have to admit that I took some time for me to warm up to the story because there are so many layers to the story/setting that it was confusing at first. It is probably one of the most complex fantasy story that I have read in a while because there is literally so much going on. I tried explaining this book to my roommate at one point and 10 minutes later, all she could say was “wow, that’s a lot”. There is just SO MUCH and it was SO GOOD. 

I absolutely loved Ophelia. She is so unassuming and can be misunderstood as meek due to her quiet nature but she is anything but. Instead, she is fierce, determined, strong and pragmatic. I loved how she approached situations without freaking out but instead, would assess the situation carefully before making any decisions or actions. She was incredibly likable and I couldn’t help but admire her especially when she would constantly find herself in a not-so-great position but would somehow get herself neatly out of it. Ophelia was someone I could relate with and I can’t wait to see what else is in store in future books. 

My favorite part of the book would definitely be the setting. It was so imaginative and creative – so many layers and I loved how each ark was so different from each other. There is also a very complex magic system in play here that I enjoyed figuring out. At the same time though, as stated earlier, it can be very confusing. 

The only big issue I had with this book was the pacing. I did find the beginning to be a bit rushed when Ophelia was betrothed to this mysterious man from an ark and just when I was starting to understand the world a bit better, we moved on to the ark of Pole, her fiancΓ©’s ark. Once there though, it lagged a bit and I found myself a bit distracted because it took some time for the court and political intrigue to settle. 

Overall, I’m very intrigued to find out what will happen next as the ending in the first book ends somewhat abruptly. There are so many questions that still needs answers and I am really curious to see how the relationship between Ophelia and Thorn will continue. I’m really hoping that something romantic comes out of it but I also feel that perhaps that won’t be the case. Regardless though, I am so glad I have the sequel on hand and can’t wait to dive right in.
Rating:
🌟🌟🌟🌟

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