Sunday, November 29, 2015

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard ARC Review + Giveaway

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard
Paperback ARC, 440 pages
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Glass Sword is pain and suffering incarnate. If you're looking for a book to break your soul, this is the one. I really enjoyed reading more about Mare's character arc; her descent from Mareena to Mare—the symbol of the Red Rebellion—reminds me a lot of Adelina in The Rose Society. I did find Glass Sword to be more predictable than Red Queen and even found myself bored at times. Although I enjoyed reading it, Glass Sword was missing the factor that would have made me love it. I am still extremely curious about what's going to happen, but I think I need to read a lot of happy books before book three comes out.

1) Cal goes through a lot of crap during the course of Glass Sword's plot—and I mean a ton of crap. You really get to know him better throughout this book through all of his struggles and turmoil. I can't say that I always agree with his choices, but he's so well-developed that he feels like a real person. He has the most normal reactions considering everything he has to deal with in this book and I honestly just love him.

2) Shade is ever-present throughout the book, and his relationship with Mare is just so adorable! He puts up with her hasty decisions and is always around to support and protect her. You get so much more of him in this book, and it's great. I can't say much more about him without spoiling things but guys, be prepared for pain!

3) I ship Cal and Mare so hard. I mean, these two just need to get over the rebellion together (instead of separately) and just admit that they love each other. You get to see more of their struggle regarding their feelings for one another and you see them trying to piece together their relationship, despite what's going on around them. I just need more of these two.

4) Aveyard knows how to world-build in a way that makes it easy to picture everything in your head. Especially during the action scenes, I felt like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book.

5) PTSD is so well-described and executed throughout this entire book. Considering all of the pain and suffering the characters go through, Aveyard never lets that pain disappear. The characters have nightmares, can't sleep, hallucinate, etc. Every ghost and traumatic experience haunts the characters, and in turn, it haunts the reader as well.

1) There were long chunks of time where I was bored. Since this book has a lot of training and rebellion planning, there isn't a lot of action. You get information on new red soldiers and their powers, but I didn't feel attached to any of the newcomers. Also, since this book is even more predictable than Red Queen, I wasn't surprised by anything.

2) I kind of liked Kilorn in Red Queen but in Glass Sword, he just got on my nerves. He couldn't really do much and at times, he was pretty judgmental. Although he's best friends with Mare, it doesn't seem like he really accepts her and that really bothers me.

3) I had a hard time understanding the way Mare thinks and reacts throughout the book. Even though she has a lot to deal throughout Glass Sword, her way of thinking and reacting doesn't always match up with what is happening. There were times when she was mad about one thing, but later on in the book when something similar (but even worse) happened, she wasn't mad at all. I felt like I just couldn't figure her out for a large portion of the book.

I'm safer than I have been in days, surrounded by the people I love most, and yet I've never wanted to cry more. For them, I hold back. I curl inward and bleed alone, inside, where no one else can see.
Cal's eyes flicker, out to the trees. But he's not looking at the leaves. His gaze is in the past, to something more painful. "She killed my true mother as well. And she'll kill all of us if we let her."

The words come out hard and harsh, a rusty blade to saw flesh. They taste wonderful in my mouth. "Not if I kill her first."

For all his talents, Cal is not a violent person. He can kill you in a thousand different ways, lead an army, burn down a village, but he will not enjoy it. So his next words take me by surprise.

"When the time comes," he says, staring at me, "we'll flip a coin."
"If you die, I'll kill you."

He smiles sadly. "Likewise."
"What's wrong now?" I ask, laying my head on his shoulder. So I can see the map better, I tell myself.

"Besides Maven, his mother, the fact that I hate rabbit, and the layout of this hellhole of a prison? Nothing at all, thanks for asking."

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.

Isn't the cover gorgeous?! I can't stop looking at it! Besides that, we're looking at a book that promises romance, magic, and a strong leading lady. That makes it an automatic add to my TBR. I also love that this was inspired by Indian mythology!

Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling.
Connect with Roshani: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads |

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace ARC Review

Paperback ARC, 358 pages
Published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 26th, 2016
Pre-order It: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

A year after her death, a teenage girl named Breezy wakes up in a grave, having no idea how she died or why she has been brought back to life. All she knows is that she is able to sense whenever someone near her is a killer, and that she feels an unexplainable and incredibly strong urge to seek murderers out and give them exactly what they deserve. It isn't long before she finds out that she is no longer a human—she's a monster, and there are many others like her, scattered and in hiding all around the world. Then she discovers a group of humans who are seeking out and cruelly killing creatures like her, which is when everything spirals out of control.

Shallow Graves had me completely hooked me from the first line—and I could barely put the book down! Not only was it dark and eerie, the writing was perfect! It was witty, engaging, and so fast-paced that I devoured the book in no time. I never could have guessed what was about to happen, and Breezy’s voice was so believable that I could easily see her as a 17-year-old girl. I especially loved the dialogue between the characters, and how much it helped develop and build upon their relationships. It is one of the best horror books I have ever read, and I would recommend it to absolutely everyone, especially to those who are looking for a spooky read!

1) I have never been a huge fan of horror books, but Shallow Graves was perfect! Not only did the entire book have an amazingly dark and creepy vibe, it constantly gave me goosebumps, because even the concept itself is chilling.

2) The writing is smooth, fast-paced, and witty. It was so incredibly detailed that I felt like I was the one standing in Breezy’s place and experiencing everything she was. The descriptions of the world, setting, and surroundings were one of the things that made this book so great.

3) The plot was surprising and I could never guess what was coming. I never knew what was right around the corner, and this kept me hooked and unable to stop reading. There were constantly new questions springing up, and the answers were always unexpected and satisfying.

4) If you woke up in a grave and found out you died a year ago, what would you do? That question seems impossible to answer realistically, and yet Kali Wallace manages to do just that! Breezy is easy to relate to and understand, even in a totally crazy situation that isn't.

1) None xD

“ What’s your name? Will you tell me that, or do I have to keep thinking of you as Smelly Girl?”

“ Breezy.” I said…

The woman laughed. “ Hey, I’m not judging. You can call me Rain.”

“ Great. Together we can be the weather report.”
“ Your parents won’t mind?” I asked.

“ It’s just me and my brother.”

“ Your brother won’t mind?”

“ I don’t know. He might.”

“ And if he does? ”

A shrug. “ We get dinner for a week?”

“ Oh my god.” I said, but I couldn’t help but laugh. “You can’t make jokes about eating dead people if you actually eat dead people.”
“Were you born like this? A, uh, ghoul?” 
Jake was surprised by the question. “Well, yeah.”

“Oh. How does that even work?”

He laughed. “Do you need me to give you the talk about what happens when a mommy and a daddy like each other very much?”

I was going to need a hobby. Learn to knit. Get a library card. Join a Warcraft guild. Take up vigilantism. There are so many more hours in a day when you don’t spend a third of them sleeping.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye Manuscript Review Worshipping

Format: Uncorrected Manuscript, 388 pages
Published by Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Привет, друзья! I am here to tell you that you are not prepared for the majesty that is The Crown's Game. You need to know that when you look at that cover, you are looking at a FIVE STAR book. There is magic, romance, a complex plot, drool-worthy guys, and Russian prestige. I. LOVE. IT. It's definitely one of the BEST books I've ever read, and I meanwe're talking Leigh Bardugo levels here, people!

I'm always nervous when I read a book that is set in Russia because often times, the language is incorrect or something is not depicted properly. However as your Russian representative and a member of the Tsar's Guard, I can assure you that Evelyn Skye has executed the Russian culture, language, and mentality to a T.

If you get a manuscript or an ARC, please be advised that Evelyn has added on the "a" at the end of the last names of the female characters in the book, but the change was made after the ARCs were already printed.

A note about Russian last names:
The endings of surnames are a key not only to a person's nationality but also to their gender. Most Russian surnames change their ending in the feminine: usually the letter "-a" is added at the end (Ivanova, Sorokina), or "-sky" changes into "-skaya (Moskovskaya). However, last names ending in "-ich" and "-ko" are gender-neutral, with the female version not changing its form even when the name is declined (names ending in "-ko", which are particularly common in Ukraine, remain unchanged in all cases, irrespective of whether the person is male or female). Source 
Now that our Russian grammar lesson is done for the day, let me get back to telling you how much I love this book. The Crown's Game was everything I wanted it to be and more. The entire time I was reading, I was flipping out over every pageand we're talking actual shrieking, and jumping up and down. Guys, the book love was intense.

The Crown's Game beyond exceeded all of my expectations. Everything from the plot, the writing, the characters, and the magicoh my god, the magic! I am in LOVE.

I was a flailing mess the entire time while reading this book. Not just because it made me swell with Russian pride, but also because it just kept wowing me.

The plot is incredibly intricate with really well-developed characters. You get each character's backstory without feeling overwhelmed. Plus, all of them are so lovable that I got incredibly attached to all of themeven the "bad guys." 

I can confidently say that The Crown's Game is one of my favorite books of ALL TIME and all of you need to read it!

1) As I've already said, I'm so impressed and happy that Evelyn nailed details of Russian culture. She has us described perfectlyat our best and at our worst.

2) I adore Vika. She's independent, badass, powerful, and she has a big heart. She has no problem standing up to authority or asking the hard questions. I loved being inside the head of such a strong and relatable character.

3) The bromance between Pasha and Nikolai is just precious. I mean, forget female romantic interests, these two should just get married. When they're together, they are just a couple of foolish, adorable boys who care about each other deeply . . . It's just beautiful.

4) The plot is so perfectly executed and intricate. All of the characters have their own side plots, and they are perfectly woven together. You never feel confused or overwhelmed with details, because Evelyn Skye paints you the perfect picture and you feel like you're right there with the characters. 

5) The Crown's Game is written in multiple POVs and it's beautifully done. The male and female POVs are easily distinguishable and each voice is unique. You have no unnecessary details or thoughts, but rather, you get a full and concise picture of the plot through their eyes. 

6) The Crown's Game has a lot of different types of relationships. You have friendships, father-to-daughter, siblings, best friends, etc. There are families that are bonded together even though they are not blood related and I think that this is so moving and relatable. Evelyn Skye really shows us that family is more than just blood, it's about who you love.

7) The magic in this book is like nothing you've ever read before. It's elegant and sophisticated and I was enchanted by the fantastical elements. The descriptions filled me with wonder and made my imagination soarit was truly inspiring.  

1) Ничего! ;)


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bluescreen by Dan Wells ARC Review

Paperback ARC, 335 pages
Published by Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 16th, 2016
Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.

Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.

Dan Wells, author of the New York Times bestselling Partials Sequence, returns with a stunning new vision of the near future—a breathless cyber-thriller where privacy is the world’s most rare resource and nothing, not even the thoughts in our heads, is safe.

Marisa Carnesecalike everyone else in her timelives on the internet, where she does everything including going to school, meeting up with her friends, and playing video games. This is all made possible thanks to a smart device implanted in a person's braina djinni. When a virtual drug called Bluescreen suddenly begins to spread a terrible virus that puts thousands of lives in danger, Marisa and her friends are determined to put a stop to it.

I enjoyed reading Bluescreen, and I loved the technological elements that were incorporated. Considering the fact that the story takes place in the future, the author did a great job making it feel reasonably realistic. I did have some major issues with this book though. My main problem was most definitely the (in my mind) unnecessarily long technological descriptions and explanations, because they were complicated enough to heavily distract my attention from the actual plot-line. Simply to understand what was going on, I had to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of info dumping, and at certain points, it just became exhausting and I felt strong urges to skim. 

In addition, the fact that the book had too many supporting characters was also frustrating and added to my confusion. It's also important to note that every character had a real-world and in-game name. Plus, the side characters were all very similar in personality and lacked distinct voices, so it was difficult to distinguish and remember who was who sometimes. Personally, I'd say that at least three of the characters could have been cut and it would have only helped.

Though it sounds like I have a lot of complaints, I really did love the suspense, the unexpected twists, and especially the action scenes! Though this book's concept isn't exactly groundbreaking, the technological elements feel realistic, despite the story's futuristic setting. I would definitely recommend Bluescreen to people who want an action-filled, futuristic sci-fi novel!

1) The futuristic world-building was great and very believable, and the technology was fascinating! I loved learning the history of Mirador, specifically how many people lost their jobs due to advancements in technology.

2)  The plot was intriguing, and I could really see it feasibly happening to humans in the distant future. There are always hackers and viruses when it comes to technology, and this book really managed to portray that very realistically.

3) It was action-packed, and I was never bored while reading. The author kept the story exciting with twists, suspense, and even fighting scenes.

1) I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of the people reading this book are not hackers or coders. There were far too many technological descriptions of how the characters were hacking and covering their tracks, some of which were vital to understanding the plot. As much as it was needed, I feel like the author could have been a bit more simple with the explanations, because I needed to re-read certain parts over and over in an attempt to understand them.

2) There were far too many side characters, each given a virtual reality name and a real one, and it was difficult to follow. None of them were particularly memorable or distinctive, and it left me feeling very confused every time one was mentioned.

“You play Muffin Top?”

He grinned. “There’s nothing wrong with Muffin Top, those things are delicious.”

Marisa laughed. “Are you seven years old and forgot to tell me?”

“Is that a problem?” Saif made a look of mock concern. “Well, how old are you? Nine? The other seven-year-olds are going to be so jealous.”
“But you’ve got to do it with attitude,” she said. “You don’t just fly right at it, you look the monster in the eye and say,  Tene-mos un pollito que comernos.


Marisa laughed. “Try it in English: “We have a little chicken to eat together.”

“That is…the worst threat I’ve ever heard.”

“What, like you’ve got a better one? The English phrase is, ‘I have a bone to pick with you.’ How is that more menacing?”

“Maybe it’s the other guy’s bone, and you’re going to pick it, like, out of his body or something.”

“That’s not what is says.”

“At least it doesn’t say you’re going to serve him dinner.” He looked at the manticore. “Hey buddy, watch out, in a minute I’m going to come over there and give you some chicken; I thought we could eat it together, maybe catch up on some stuff.”