Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On My Wishlist (75)

In On My Wishlist I spotlight books that I'm really looking forward to. I know there's a meme Waiting on Wednesday and there even are others, but I'm going to rebel and do it how I want it (hehe). I'll feature the synopsis as posted on Goodreads and put a linkie to the Goodreads page of the book. This week: Oblivion by Kelly Creagh.

Oblivion by Kelly Creagh
Expected publication date: July 28th, 2015

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? —Edgar Allan Poe

The fine line between life and death blurred long ago for Isobel Lanley. After a deadly confrontation with Varen in the dreamworld, she’s terrified to return to that desolate and dangerous place. But when her nightmares resume, bleeding into reality, she is left with no choice. Varen’s darkness is catching up to her. To everything. Threatening to devour it all.

Isobel fears for her world. For her sanity and Varen’s—especially after a fresh and devastating loss. To make matters worse, the ghostly demon Lilith wants Varen for her own, and she will do anything to keep him in her grasp—anything.

Can Isobel ever find her happy ending?

Goodreads page

YES YES FINALLY! I read Nevermore all the way back in 2011, Enshadowed in 2012 and so I've been waiting for THREE WHOLE YEARS for the final book to come out. Gods, it's been so long I'm not even sure I remember what happened in the first two books. Maybe a re-read is in order? I do know I'm ready for more of the dark, twisted goodness that is the Nevermore series!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Published: May 1st, 2012 (Walden Pond Press)
Pages: 436
Age group: Middlegrade
Source: gifted by Daisy 
Series: The League of Princes, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Ever wondered who Prince Charming really was? The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is the hilarious story of not one, but FOUR Princes Charming who all have their own songs, yet nobody knows who this mysterious Prince Charming is. They stumble upon eachother and find themselves in a monster-ridden and insane witch hunt which will be sure to make you smile.

This was quite possibly the most adorable middlegrade fantasy I've had the pleasure of reading so far. Four princes, four princesses, and a whole lot of trouble along the way. Healy pulls out all the stops and throws bandits, evil witches, trolls, dwarves (please note there aren't any dwarfs in this story!), dragons and giants at our heroes. To be honest, half of the princes aren't really as big a hero as they are made out to be, which really makes for an excellent story. I adored the naivity of some of the princes. They were so innocent, it was adorable!

I loved that the princesses were feisty. Lila really stole my heart, she was fantastic. Smart and good with words, but also very caring and protective of her loved ones. I would have loved to read more about her, so I'm hoping we'll see more of her in the sequel. Ella was fantastic, and Briar Rose was so spoilt it was hilarious. The entire storyline is bordering on silly but all in a good way! I was chuckling while reading it because it's so funny how these guys manage to land themselves in all sorts of trouble.

I really enjoyed reading about Liam, Frederic, Duncan and Gustav. Their interaction was fantastic and I loved their banter. Now that they made it through all these difficulties, I'm really looking forward to reading what's in store for them next.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver
Published: March 4th, 2014 (HarperCollins)
Pages: 408
Source: ARC via Edelweiss
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ ½

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

The premise for Panic sounds thrilling and that, plus the fact that it was written by Lauren Oliver, made me want to get my paws on it. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed when I finished.

A town with teenagers who have nothing to do so they come up with a game that literally is life or death in its tasks. Sounds exciting, yes? Unfortunately, the excitement doesn't come off the pages while reading. The story is told from the perspective of Heather, a girl with an addicted mom, no father and a sister who depends on her, and the perspective of Dodge, a guy whose sole purpose in life is to avenge his sister's car crash that took place during an earlier edition of Panic. At first, Dodge is the outsider -- until Nat, Heather's best friend, takes an interest in Dodge. So they hang out together, the three of them plus Heather's other best friend, Bishop. They enter Panic all for their own reasons. The only one not participating is Bishop and he spends his time trying to talk Heather out of the game. While the story unfolds it is clear that everything surrounding Panic is a huge mystery and people are only informed of the tasks by anonymous texts just before the task is about to take place.

My main problem with this book was that nothing really came to life. The characters didn't have enough depth for me and the tasks in Panic didn't scream DANGER so much to me. They were incredibly dangerous, yet Heather and Dodge make it seem like a walk in the park. I would have liked a more realistic approach to this. Sure, these teens sign up for the thrill of it, but you can't tell me you wouldn't be scared shitless if you'd have to cross a highway blindfolded. Nope.

Another thing that didn't work for me was the lack of chemistry between the characters. Where Oliver really shines in terms of chemistry and relationship development in Before I Fall, the story of Panic lacks exactly those qualities that made me love her debut so much. There was a bit of banter between Heather and Bishop, but it didn't come alive. I didn't feel it. So no, I didn't ship it. I was kind of shipping something different, but eh.

For me, it felt like Heather had it too easy while performing the tasks. Too many things just happened to be there, or happen in a particular way that was beneficial to her. If she's in a game that's designed to test your bravery, you'd best be brave. Terrified, but brave. It all worked out a little too perfect for my liking.

So to sum it all up; I liked the idea, and it wasn't all bad. It was okay enough for me to finish, but that's all. To be honest, the more I think about it, the less I like the book. It wasn't for me, but hopefully my next Lauren Oliver book will restore my love for her writing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On My Wishlist (74)

In On My Wishlist I spotlight books that I'm really looking forward to. I know there's a meme Waiting on Wednesday and there even are others, but I'm going to rebel and do it how I want it (hehe). I'll feature the synopsis as posted on Goodreads and put a linkie to the Goodreads page of the book. This week: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Expected publication date: May 5th, 2015

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.

Goodreads page
While I did not particularly liked Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, I'm pretty intrigued by this book. I love a good fantasy and I think Maas can definitely write. If only I could shut out the Hunger Games parallels I drew in ToG.. I'm also in desperate need of a good fairy book so definitely giving A Court of Thorns and Roses a chance this year! The reviews have been awesome so far so MY BODY IS READY.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Published: May 20th, 2014 (HarperTeen)
Pages: 376
Source: ARC via Edelweiss
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★★

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

I think Debby has been subtly, uh, recommending The Art of Lainey for at least six months when I decided to give in. While I wasn't even halfway through I realised she was right: this is my kind of book. It's banterfluffy contemporary goodness, bound to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I know that's how I felt when I finished it. I even went out and emailed Paula about how much this book punched me right in the heart, something I never do (but after reading her wonderful response, I will definitely do this more often!).

It's the ultimate banterfluff plot: two people who pretty much only know of eachothers excistence decide to "fake date" eachother to get back with their exes. Lainey and Micah rarely talk to eachother at work, but decide to team up for this plan. Only, after some dates and a lot of banter it appears this is not just a deal to get back their old relationships. It feels like more than that, but they had set up specific rules against that. So now what?

So now all the banter turns into banterfluff and ahhhhh I was fangirling. The chemistry between Micah and Lainey is spot on and pretty much perfect. There were two particular scenes that made my heart ache, and omg it hurt so much but I enjoyed all of it. Sure, at the beginning of the book Lainey is very very very clingy to her ex-boyfriend. We as readers of course see that he's the ultimate a-hole, but hey, who are we? I loved seeing how she transitioned from spoiled clingy brat into a fun character with plenty to say. She really grew as a character, as did all the other characters. They really get closer and I loved their interaction. Another thing I absolutely loved about The Art of Lainey was that every single character was realistic. They weren't perfect, they felt real. Their talk was real, the way they behaved was real. They all had their own quirks and flaws and it was fantastic.

But again, what stands out is the chemistry. Gods, it was so perfect I am unable to even. It was like the tension between Lainey and Micah came sizzling off the pages, that was how good it was. From the moment of their deal to the very end it was a rollercoaster of feels and honestly, I cannot wait to jump back on this ride. Stokes knows how to write. She GETS it. She knows how to get the feels across, make you swoon and make your heart break in all the right ways. For me, this is exactly what I'm looking for in contemporary books.

If you like contemporaries, and more specifically if you enjoy BANTERFLUFF, this is a must-read!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This by Patrick Ness
Published: September 10th, 2013 (Candlewick Press)
Pages: 480
Source: bought
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this...

We read More Than This for book club all the way back in October of 2013, but I spent so much time going back and forth with this review that I never actually posted it. It has been sitting in draft for well over a year, waiting to be posted. This book has really messed with my head so it's actually quite fitting that it took me so long to actually post this review.

First up, let me start off by saying this was probably the hardest review to write in the history of EVER because it messed with my head so much I didn't actually know what to think when I finished. That made it an excellent start for book club, because there was so much to be discussed. But honestly, my brain really didn't know what to do with this one. There were things I didn't (fully) understand, whether that was Ness' intention or not. More Than This just really got into my head and messed it up -- I made a 'mindfuckery' shelf on Goodreads for this book alone. Nuff said, right?

Ness' writing is excellent as always. Within the first 100 pages I was completely paranoid because of the creepiness of a particular character. I was reading while it was dark out, I was home alone, and suddenly every little sound had me on edge. I was so jumpy at one point that I was completely creeped out when I had to take a shower. Yeah, I know. But this is really an example of how much you get dragged into the story: you are there. You experience it. It gets into your head, and doesn't let go for a while after you put the book down.

I loved that pretty much anything was possible and you had no clue where it was going. I know I didn't, and I was on the edge of my seat all the way to the end, and to be honest, even after that. I haven't seen The Matrix or Inception, to which I hear More Than This is similar, so I can't say how they compare. But I can say I absolutely loved the fact that pretty much everything was open to interpretation, even the ending.

So long story short: I can't actually tell too much about the story itself because everything is a possible spoiler. The story is so well written, so carefully woven together, that you can't help but fall in face first and enjoy the ride. It'll make you paranoid, confused, it may even mess with your head. But you'll enjoy it, and afterwards you'll be left wondering.. What just happened?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On My Wishlist (73)

In On My Wishlist I spotlight books that I'm really looking forward to. I know there's a meme Waiting on Wednesday and there even are others, but I'm going to rebel and do it how I want it (hehe). I'll feature the synopsis as posted on Goodreads and put a linkie to the Goodreads page of the book. This week: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Expected publication date: April 28th, 2015

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier— and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Vow your blood and body to the empire.

Keep your heart for yourself.

Goodreads page
I am seriously starting to think that my expectations are too high for this book. Ever since I saw it for the first time, I've been excited about its release. There is just something about the cover of this book combined with the synopsis.. Let's just say I'm fully prepared to be blown away by this one. It releases in April.. The wait is going to kill me. *twitches*

Friday, February 6, 2015

Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Published: March 11th, 2014 (Egmont)
Pages: 512
Source: ARC via Edelweiss
Series: Into the Dark, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Where do I start with this one? As soon as I heard about it and the possibility of it being a Persephone retelling (or at least somewhat based on Greek mythology), I knew I had to read it. Admittedly, I waited an awful long time to finally actually read it. And when I did, I'm sad to say I was disappointed.

Daphne moves in with her estranged father and she starts attending Olympus Hills High. While there, she meets Haden, who is of course gorgeous but also kind of creepy because he immediately tries to lure her back to the Underworld because that was the task he was assigned before he got to the mortal world. When this fails, he tries to build up a relationship with her and the story evolves.

With The Shadow Prince being a Persephone retelling, it's bound to be filled with clich├ęs, and it is. I found it hard to set these aside and really get into the story. There wasn't anything that managed to hook me and lure me in, so the story never really came to life for me. Both Haden and Daphne were sort of bland, although Daphne did have her moments. There was just nothing outstanding about The Shadow Prince. The chemistry between Haden and Daphne is just okay and honestly I couldn't care less if they got together or not.

However, I still managed to finish this 500+ page book which is mostly due to Despain's story telling. Everyone who knows me know how easily I give up on books if they don't manage to engage me so there's definitely that. Though I wasn't hooked, I still wanted to know how it was going to end and what was happening. And when made it to the end, I felt like I finally arrived at the interesting stuff -- only for the book to end.

So basically, The Shadow Prince felt like a massive buildup to the story, which I assume will fully take off in The Eternity Key. I'm not sure if I want to read that because I kind of felt disappointed I had just made my way through a 500 page introduction, but I must admit it has me curious. I mean, just the mention of a quest is usually enough to draw me in, so I might just go ahead and pick it up. Sometime.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

On My Wishlist (72)

In On My Wishlist I spotlight books that I'm really looking forward to. I know there's a meme Waiting on Wednesday and there even are others, but I'm going to rebel and do it how I want it (hehe). I'll feature the synopsis as posted on Goodreads and put a linkie to the Goodreads page of the book. This week: The Exiled Queen by Chinda Williams Chima.

The Exiled Queen by Chinda Williams Chima
Publication date: September 24th, 2010

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

Goodreads page

Soo... I've read The Demon King waaaaaaay back and I've been practically pining for its sequel ever since. I know, it's my own fault. But to be honest.. 2014 wasn't really a good reading year for me. So I never actually bought the book.. BUT I will make up for it in 2015 and high up my list is the rest of the Seven Realms series. Gods, Chima knows how to tell a story. I NEEEED this book so I can ship the ship and freak out over Han and Raisa. And epic fantasy. Because of reasons, obviously.

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