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Sunday, 28 June 2015

June SST: The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen, Interview + GIVEAWAY!

Hey guys! I am very happy to be participating in The Sunday Street Team, a street team organized by Nori from Readwritelove28, which spotlights different authors monthly. Today, I have the honour of interviewing Rachael Allen, author of The Revenge Playbook and there's also a giveaway attached to this interview so enjoy!




Cover of The Revenge Playbook

Title:The Revenge Playbook
Author:Rachael Allen
Publication Date:June 16th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

Goodreads|Amazon

In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

Don’t get mad, get even!

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.



Interview with Rachael...

1) What inspired you to write a novel with the central focus being the intricate, anxiety-inspiring and sometimes, comical hierarchy of high school?

This story is a bunch of ideas meshed together. The scavenger hunts my friends and I used to do in college. Articles I had been reading that made me want to write a book where girls are taking on boys (and the world). Football movies and shows like Varsity Blues and Friday Night Ladies. Girls power movies like John Tucker Must Die, Pitch Perfect, and Thelma and Louise. It’s not like I set out to be like any one thing, but I think each small piece has it’s influence.


2) Nothing good ever comes from revenge that's blinded by teenage heartbreak so I'm sensing some bumps in the road for our four leading ladies. Are there any particular lessons/messages that you wanted to impart on your YA readers from reading this novel?

I hate to tell people what to think about any of my books, but I would love it if my book inspired girls (and boys too) to speak up, to make a difference in their community, and to support each other.


3) Of Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane and Ana, who is most similar to you personality-wise?

Peyton is the most similar to me in personality of any character in any book I’ve ever written (but I gave her different interests and life experiences). I’m actually really relieved about this because people would always wonder or assume I was like Claire from 17 First Kisses, and now I can say, “No, see, I’m like this one!”


4) What was the most fun part about writing this novel? Any interesting memories?

This book was so much fun to write because of all the shenanigans and girl power and sneakery! One memory was of being at a writing retreat with my critique group, and reading part of the scene where Melanie Jane gets dumped, and getting to laugh about how feisty she is with all my best writer friends. Another funny memory the glittery David Bowie goblin king scene. I felt so silly when I sent the manuscript to my editor and agent, that I added a “P.S. - Just so you're warned, David Bowie as the goblin king makes an appearance. I swear I am not on mind-altering drugs.”


5) Hypothetically, if there's a zombie invasion and you're allowed to choose two characters from The Revenge Playbook to be on your apocalypse survival team, who would they be and why?

Oh, man, it hurts to leave any of them behind. I’d probably choose Peyton, because she was the only one who wasn’t scared to climb the ladder in the barn (I feel as though climbing ladders is an important zombie survival skill). And I’d definitely choose Ana, because she’s a fighter and because she probably has all kinds of knowledge about swords and stuff from being a huge Game of Thrones fan. Plus, she has the keys to Jake’s, and the first order of business would be to barricade ourselves into the shop and eat all the ice cream before it melts. Obviously.


6) Following up on that last question, you find out that the only way to appease the zombies is to feed them the world's entire collection of books! You're only allowed to keep one. What book would you choose and why?

Only one?! You’re killing me!! I would cheat and keep a compendium of the Harry Potter series. I could read that series over and over and over again forever.

7) How did you choose the names for your characters? Were they random or was there some deeper meaning?

I get most of my name ideas from this site: http://www.behindthename.com/top/lists/united-states/2014
I scroll through the names and pick ones feel right for my characters. For Melanie Jane, I gave her a double name because I wanted her to sound super Southern. And for Ana, I chose names that are relatively common in Brazil because that’s where she’s from. Her full name is Juliana Fernanda Oliveira Cardoso, with two given names and two family names.

8) What is your favourite genre to read?

YA Contemporary. Hands down. Though I also read other genres within YA. I rarely ever read books for grown ups ☺

9) What was the most difficult part about writing this novel?

I wrote a post about that here: http://readwritelove28.com/2015/06/21/june-sst-the-revenge-playbook-guest-post-giveaway/

10) And finally, who is your all-time favourite author and does their work influence the novels that you write today?

Stephanie Perkins. I strive to make the girls in my books the kind of girls you’re dying to be BFFs with (because that’s the way I feel about Anna, Lola, and Isla), and to make the boys just as swooney as hers.




You can purchase The Revenge Playbook on Amazon.





Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. In addition to being a YA writer, she's also a mad scientist, a rabid Falcons fan, an expert dare list maker, and a hugger. Rachael is the author of 17 FIRST KISSES.























Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway






Friday, 19 June 2015

Real Talk #3: Annotating Books? THE BLASPHEMY!


I watched a video by Ariel Bissett about two months ago where she talked about the annotation of books and it completely changed my perspective of the matter. Before I watched the video, this GIF below pretty much summed up how I felt about writing in books:
.
My Reaction to Annotations Previously

I could not fathom for the life of me why someone would purchase something as beautiful as a new book just to destroy it with a bunch of scribbles and highlighting? To me, the idea of a perfect book collection was one that was untouched, one that was pristine in every way possible and Ariel's video opened my eyes to how flawed my way of thinking was. My book collection before (and most of it still) was impersonal, just a bunch of mint condition books that said nothing of the person who owned them. My books had no staple of me, not even an inkling of my personality and it bothered me.

After watching that video, I sat down and I thought and I thought and I thought some more about books and bookish things. After a whole lot of thinking, I hastily dove for the book I was reading (at the time, it was Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo) and I just started writing. In. The. Book. With. Pen. And I can't even describe what I felt. It felt good, really good like I was Atlas, the titan and the mythological load of the Heavens had been lifted off my shoulders. I realized that I had become so consumed with the image of my books, their protection from everyone including myself that the process of reading started to lose it luster.

Visual depiction of my feelings towards annotation now:
MyThoughtsonAnnotationsNow

Then, I started to see other things past how good annotating feels. It also saves me time when I review books and it reduces the amount of books I need to re-read. When I finish a book and it's time for me to share my thoughts on it, I have but to look over the annotations that I made to be taken back to the emotional place I was in when I read it initially and for some reason, it makes it easier. Words flow more fluidly and a review that would have taken me two hours to come up with, takes 30 minutes.

I am quite forgetful when it comes to books, especially fast-paced books. I forget a lot of details during the time taken for me to pick up a book's sequel and usually this results in me re-reading the first book but not anymore. Now, it's all a matter of, like I said, previously, perusing my little notes and doodles to find out in the span of 10 minutes what the heck that book was about. Annotating is a life hack which every book blogger needs to know about because it simplifies things and I enjoy simplifying the complex. It makes me feel like I'm cheating and it never fails to get this ridiculous grin going on my face:

goofygrin

To sum up: I love writing in my books now and if I'm honest with myself, I don't remember what it was like when I didn't annotate them. My favourite thing about libraries has always been the not-knowing, having absolutely no clue who has read a book before you and finding little glimpses of those people's personalities while reading. Maybe it's a receipt in a book, or dog-eared pages or a little scribbling. I want my book collection to be that of a library not a bookstore. I do not want new. In the off-chance that someone comes into my room, takes one of my books that I've read and flips through it, I want my personality, who I am as a reader to stand out, intermingling with the plot of said novel to provide a spectacular reading experience for the next person who reads that book.

Link to Ariel Bissett's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lymm1OpFgaA

That is all for this blog post. Please share it and follow my blog if you enjoyed it. Also, tell me, what are your thoughts about annotating books? Is it something that you've considered doing before or do you think this is a form of blasphemy? Comment down below and tell me! Until my next blog post, I love you guys to...infinity and beyond!





Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Review: Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond (Lois Lane #1)

bookreview Rating:image descriptionimage descriptionimage descriptionimage descriptionimage description
Title:Lois Lane: Fallout
Author:Gwenda Bond
Publisher:Switch Press
Publication Date:May 1st 2015
Source:Won
Format:Hardcover
Pages:303

Goodreads|Amazon|Barnes and Noble|Indigo

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screen-name, SmallvilleGuy


MY THOUGHTS

I won this novel in a giveaway, all opinions stated are solely mine and I was not compensated for my review.

Lois Lane: Fallout follows Lois Lane (obviously), a teenage girl who has moved countless times because of her father's military job and plans to stay under the radar and fit in at her newest school. Her plans, however, are quickly interrupted when she witnesses firsthand the principal's unsympathetic dismissal of a girl's claims of bullying by her creepy classmates known as the Warheads. Driven by her newly acquired job at the Daily Scoop and her deep-rooted need for the truth, she attempts to fix things with the aid of her friends and a mysterious (not really) boy with an alias of SmallvilleGuy but soon finds out that the problem is a lot more complicated than it seems.

My literal reaction to receiving a book where the protagonist is not only a comic book character but one of my FAVOURITE comic book characters:


I went into this book expecting so much and I was NOT disappointed. I loved every moment of it; every sassy comment from Lois, every sardonic and grim moment involving the Warheads, everything! One of the features of this novel which just sealed the deal for me was the character development and I am just going to take a moment to talk about my two favourite characters: Lois Lane (of course) and SmallvilleGuy.

Their relationship was...weird but good! They've never met each other and their only real physical contact has been in the realms of a video game. Lois doesn't even know his name! Normally, something like this would turn me off but it was such an integral part of what this book was, it was a catalyst to many events and I would be lying through my teeth if I said I did not love it! I am a massive Smallville fan and from the get go, every time there was some small description of SmallvilleGuy that Lois could not connect, I would scream "Superman!". It was invigorating to know something that the protagonist did not.

Speaking of our protagonist, she was such a kickass lady! She was funny and pushy and strong-minded and not to mention loyal! I lived for every confrontation she had with her father or the Warheads or the principal! Her badassery (not a word, I know) was on a whole different level and when she got herself into sticky situations, she didn't need help, she was just like:


The fact that a guy she met through the internet was the only person with the ability to tame her wiliness was also, admittedly, very cute.

The plot of the book was very interesting and fast-paced. I think it took me two days to finish and I took a lot of breaks. It had a very Nancy Drew feel to it and who doesn't love Nancy Drew? Gwenda Bond took what I initially thought was going to be a very basic bullying plot line and twisted and turned it into something exciting and memorable, something very different from what I would have imagined, something that I am going to fangirl about for a really long time.

If you are a comic book/superhero nerd (like myself), you must pick this up. It is very modern twist on Superman, a turning of tables where Superman is not the hero, his girl is! It definitely shows that you do not need to be from another planet, you don't need a fancy cape or powers to be someone's hero and I quite enjoyed that message. The fangirl in me lit up because we got to see a different side of a classic and well-loved tale. It was comparable to fan fiction but so much better!

Read this! Read this! Why are you still here? You should be at the bookstore buying this! I loved this book so much and I thought it was a standalone so naturally, this was my reaction to finding out that it is, in fact, going to be a series and I will get to experience more of Lois and more of this world:





Final Sentence in the Novel
And we walked into the violently beautiful sunset together.

Favourite Lines in the Novel

  • But I still considered auto spellcheck one of humanity's greatest inventions. - Lois
  • I was never one to disappoint. Except maybe my parents. - Lois
  • Don't get people in trouble if you want them to be your friends - Lois
  • I only had one day. Desperate times called for chatting in front of the others and trying not to make any goofy faces. - Lois




Sunday, 14 June 2015

The End of the Apocalypse, The Start of the War! AHHHHH! (4)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.This meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.


The title for this blog post might have been a slight exaggeration or the complete truth. In any case, I have been going through the motions and we, my friends, have a lot of catching up to do.

  • First of all, can we talk about how satisfying it feels to have my exams be over and done with? Can we bask in the fact that I now have just under three months of complete and total freedom. I am free to sleep in (though I never do that, I'm an early bird), I actually have time to work out now, I can read more and happiness is in the air. I would attribute my current emotional status to that of a valiant hero slaying the final zombie subsequently ending the apocalypse and allowing the human race to survive. Hyperbole, yes but you catch my drift.
  • This next point surely counteracts my last point about freedom because...I'm thinking about getting a job! Yay for independence and working but nay for the fact that this job (in a grocery store, perhaps) might be potentially mind-numbingly boring and diminish my free time. Then, there's also the fact that for the job that I want, you need to create a resume which is way out of my league. Whoa, I am a zebra bred and raised in captivity released into the foreign wild. I have no clue what I am diving into but like everything else that I have done, I am going to cross my fingers and hope for the best. I'll keep you all posted on this particular topic.
  • Next thing to happen to me this week. Brace yourselves...I created a Facebook page for my blog. This might not seem like such a big deal to a lot of people but it is to me. Essentially what I did was alert all of my friends and also people who aren't my friends to the fact that I own and manage a blog. Before, this was something so private, a hobby that I kept locked up tight and now I put it out there for everyone who knows me to see and honestly, it is scary. At the same time though, it is liberating. I no longer have this double life, this secret that makes me uncomfortable every time people bring it up. I am happy with my decision to create it and I stand by it. Please, please, please like my page ( http://www.facebook.com/wereallbookishhere )! It will be much appreciated. I will be posting a lot on it, sometimes with a lot of things that I don't include here, simply because I do not have the time. It will also serve as a way for me to interact more with all of you!
  • I got accepted into the Vengeance Road posse which, if you don't know, is a street team whose main purpose is to promote the book Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman. The synopsis of this novel sounds mind-blowing. It is a Young Adult western and there's murder mixed in there so I am so excited to have been chosen to participate on this team. Follow the posse's twitter
  • BLOG POSTS LAST WEEK
    BLOG POSTS THIS WEEK...HOPEFULLY
    • Review: Lois Lane Fallout by Gwenda Bond
    • Review: Evolution by Kate Wrath
    • Review: Eden by Kate Wrath (fingers crossed I can make this happen)
    • Discussion post
    • Yet Another Discussion Post
    • Top Ten Tuesday Post
    THINGS TO FOLLOW
     
                                                          We're All Bookish Here
                                                     We're All Bookish Here
What about you guys? What was your week like? Comment down below and let me know! Until my next blog post, I love you guys...to infinity and beyond!


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Release Day Blitz + GIVEAWAY : Eden by Kate Wrath (E #3)

Announcing the release of the third book in the E series, Eden, by Kate Wrath:



Cover of Eden

Title:Eden
Author:Kate Wrath
Publication Date:June 13th 2015
Publisher: Self-published

Goodreads|Amazon

THE THIRD BOOK IN THE E SERIES

Both friends and enemies are keen to get their hands on the information inside Eden’s head—information that could take down the Sentries and change the world. But there are costs that no one realized, and Eden’s not so sure she’s willing to pay them. Refusing to do so could create dangerous problems within the tribe she’s only just come back to.

Eden has her own agenda for learning Lily’s secrets. With hope refusing to die, she’s spurred forward by memories of Oscar and thoughts of finding him again. But Lily’s hold on her is greater than she knows, compelling her to chase after strange clues and confusing visions. With love and longing weighing on her, Eden must determine the reality of her fractured identity in order to decide which path to take. The choices she makes could tear her away from Jonas and Apollon, from everything she’s ever known.

Eden’s future will not be determined solely by choices. Fate has her own cards to play, and they just might take the game.



Kate Wrath on writing Eden and what's to come...
e emblem dystopian

Only a year ago, I released the first book in The E Series, not knowing what to expect in reaction or whether it would be well-received. To my surprise, the first book did incredibly well, and though it’s still relatively unknown, many of you who did read it went on to become followers of the series, eagerly awaiting the next installment.

The second book, Evolution, was released in November of 2014, and took the story of E and the adventure to a whole new level as the characters undertook a trek across the dystopian landscape of the world. You’d been dying for answers to certain questions, and finally, the answers had begun to be revealed.

Now, in the third book, Eden, our favorite characters return to their long-sought-after home only to find that things aren’t as simple as they seem. This third book focuses on the relationships between certain characters, ups the heat level of the romantic thread, and yes, throws some more wrenches into the works. The end of this book, I believe, will possibly make you want to throw something at me. Questions, questions, always questions. And I know you’ll want the answers.

…Which is why the release of Jason and Lily, the prequel to The E Series is only a month and ten days away. At long last, answers. All the things you’ve been dying to know about Eden’s past are written in this volume, along with a love story that I hope will touch you as much as it touched me. But will it leave you wanting more? I certainly hope so, because The E Series is not done yet! The final volumes will bring you even more answers, including one of the biggest questions: How did the world in E come to be the way it is?

Happy reading, everyone, and don't forget to drop by the Facebook Release Day Party from 8-12 pm Eastern, today, June 13th!





An excerpt from Eden:

It seems unfair that everything I learn only makes me more confused. How do you reconcile these things? The world you knew—the world torn to pieces and reconstructed in a different shape. The self you knew, the torn self. What other things can we rip to pieces? What else can we destroy and recreate? This question weighs on me at so many levels. I've lost my place. I don't know where to begin or end. I don't even know what I want out of it all.

Morning is stretching through the window, yawning its light-filled mouth. Jonas rolls over onto his side and looks at me. Smiles gently. Touches my cheek. But it's that smile like Poor thing. She's so lost. And I am. How is he not lost? How did I whisper these revelations to him in the darkness, and by light, he's the one who seems fine?

I push his hand away, close my eyes, and roll onto my back. My shirt sticks to my side, sweaty from being beneath me. I imagine drifts of snow, crisp air. My visible breath, like smoke from a fire. I never liked the cold, when I had it. Now I don't like the heat either. I can't even make up my mind about that.

Deep breaths. Ninety-nine. Ninety-eight. Ninety-seven. The numbers fall away, and I focus deep within myself. What do I want, when it comes down to it? A fraction of a dream interrupts my soul-searching. A flash of an alligator. It's that damned alligator again. What the hell?

"Are you OK?" Jonas asks softly, and sighs when I don't respond. He rolls over and gets up.

I cling to the reptilian vision. A flash of scaly green skin and the unsettling curve of a toothy smile. And nothing. Absolutely nothing. I sigh, too, but I don't open my eyes. I frown and focus again. Deeper. What really matters?

There's an easy answer. It's been there all along. I want to find Oscar. Until I do, I won't ever really be OK. I've been putting it off, wrapped up in so many insignificant things. Worried about pretending to be someone else—why? Worried about Jonas, and some incomprehensible future where Sentries don't exist.

I have one thing I can hold onto. I fix it in my heart. I'm not going to let this go. Whatever I don't know, whatever I may not understand, Oscar is real. Oscar matters. And right at this moment, he could be suffering, could be in danger. And I'm sitting around on my ass doing nothing to find him. Vacation. Over.

I open my eyes and climb out of bed. Jonas is in the kitchen, taking out his frustrations on an orange. Slicing it vehemently. I walk to his side and watch as he grabs another and attacks it like he's cutting its throat. Then I squint at his face. "Are you mad at me?"

He glances at me, and there is definitely anger in his eyes. "No," he says. "I'm just mad."

I wait for a moment to see if he means to elaborate, but he doesn't. So I guess I was wrong that he's OK. "Do you want to talk about it?"

He stops suddenly and his eyes slice into me. He hesitates, obviously restraining himself. Jonas is always so restrained. Finally, he lets out a long breath and turns back to the orange, more gently. "We have to do this. We have to take them down."

"...The Sentries?"

His jaw tightens when I say the word. He answers in a level but deadly voice. "Yes."

I know that look of grim determination. I know how Jonas is when he makes up his mind. Cards begin to fall into place in my mind, a deck that tells our future. I see the beginning of the path. But I'm not sure I want to take it. Too many questions, not enough answers. I have only one answer, and for now, I'm sticking to it.



You can purchase Eden on Amazon.





Kate Wrath lives in the Southwestern US. Much like other authors, she has both a [family] and a [pet].

[family = three crazy-but-lovable, exceedingly adorable people with longer eyelashes and better sense of humor than Kate]

[pet = lovable-but-crazy giant German Shepherd who seems to be able to read, but pretends not to understand when something is required of him]

Kate is the author of the E series: E (Book #1), Evolution (Book #2), Eden (Book #3, June 13, 2015), and Jason and Lily (prequel, July 23, 2015). She has also written two fantasy novels that are soon to be released.

Kate believes in literature as an art form, world peace, and animal rights, but aspires to write total trash that is full of senseless violence, with characters who eat house pets.























Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway






Stacking The Shelves (8): Signed Books!

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted over at Tynga's Reviews that allows us to highlight the books that we've acquired throughout the week.

Hello everyone!

During my hiatus, I did not actually purchase any books and I want to proclaim that the reason behind that was my total focus on exams but the truth is, I am trying to save for two things: a new camera and for food. Is that weird that I am saving money for food? Slight. Let me explain. I'm on a fitness kick, one that I am hoping will become normal and an integral part of my life and if you've ever tried to get healthy before, then you'd know that healthy food is REALLY expensive so yes, I'm saving for food. Though I did not buy books during this period of time, I did win three giveaways which is pretty awesome! Even awesomer (yep, I just made that a word), they're all personalized to me by the authors.

Side notes:
1) This book haul is just for my period of hiatus and anything that I bought or received after this time but before this post was uploaded will be included in next week's post. Was that confusing? I hope not.
2) I apologize in advance for my crappy af photography. Like I mentioned before, I need a new camera so...forgive me. :)

That is all. Hope you enjoy reading this and seeing the books that I won. Comment down below and tell me what books you've added to your bookshelves in the past week! Until my next blog post, I love you guys...to infinity and beyond!



WOOT, WOOT!

And look at the beautiful spines!

And now, INDIVIDUALLY! :)
I've wanted to read Angel for so long. Bypassing the creepy and mysterious cover, it sounds intriguing and though I have had no luck with any Angel books before, I'm hoping that this one is different.


                                           
Don't you just love when you remove the dust jacket of a hardcover book and the underneath is not some plain, solid colour and it's a repeat of what's on the dust jacket? Because I do. I really do. I think I only have one other book that's like this and I love this. Also, I love the premise of this novel. It is, quite simply, a contemporary superhero retelling revolving around Lois Lane in her teens and I believe that she is the hero and Clark Kent might be her sidekick. I'm not too sure but that's what I got from the back. I love superheroes and Marvel so I think that I will enjoy this one.

Before we even talk about how excited I am to read I am Her Revenge or how eerie I think the cover is, could we talk about the fact that this hardcover book is not only signed by the author but is also annotated? Besides that, Meredith included a signed bookmark, bookplate and signed cards with gorgeous illustrations. I think the fact that the novel is annotated is fitting because I only recently got into annotating my books and I love doing it so I'm happy that I get to read the author's personal annotations. I do not know much about this novel to be honest, just that it was an April release and that it centers around a girl going to a boarding school to get revenge for her mother. Idk, it sounds cool, I'm excited to read it.

Won
PB Angel by L.A Weatherly (Angel #1)
HC Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond (Lois Lane #1)
HC I am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore



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Friday, 12 June 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)

bookreview Rating:image descriptionimage descriptionimage description
Title:Red Queen
Author:Victoria Aveyard
Publisher:HarperTeen
Publication Date:February 10th 2015
Source:Bought
Format:Hardcover
Pages:383

Goodreads|Amazon|Barnes and Noble|Indigo

MARE BARROW'S WORLD IS DIVIDED BY BLOOD—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except... her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.


MY THOUGHTS

Red Queen is centered around a world in which your worth to society is determined by the colour of your blood. On one hand, we have the Silvers who are rich, noble and afforded the best in life because of the peculiar talents that they possess and then, we have the lowly Reds who bend their knees to serve Silvers and are severely disenfranchised. Our protagonist, Mare Barrow, is Red and she has been all her life, having no unique gifts or so she thinks before she has a horrible accident which should have resulted in her death but actually helps to reveal a hidden power within her in front of a court of Silvers. In order to appease the questioning Silvers and explain her gift to them, the king and queen decide to make Mare pretend to be a long lost princess and she is forcefully thrown into the practised, lavish life of court but soon finds out that the perfect facade is not all it seems.

I liked Red Queen, I didn't love it as much as some people but it was a fair read.

I enjoyed the plot of the novel very much with all its twists and turns, the smoothness of it and the fluidity of the writing but at the same time, it was nothing special. Just another dystopian book about a girl breaking the system, discovering some hidden talent and falling in love along the way. While reading, I was able to draw many similarities between this book and other fantasy/dystopian YA books that I've read namely Shadow and Bone and it bothered me a little. This isn't to say that I did not have fun reading it because I did! It had my heart pounding and it was so action-packed and fast-paced and I did not expect ANY of those plot twists. However, I find myself tired of the traditional dystopian book route. You know, underprivileged girl...or boy (let's not be sexist) is different from the pre-determined structure of society and decides to rebel against it, usually with some poorly crafted love interest at her side. Things go from bad to worse, there's danger and in the end, things either work out fine or they're bitterly killed off by the author (yes, I'm talking about you, Veronica Roth).

I did not appreciate, at all, the inconsistency with Mare's character. I'm not sure if anyone noticed the shifts in who she was but I did. At the start of the novel she is this sarcastic, badass thief who will do anything to protect her family. We move to court and she suddenly loses all skill and needs saving literally every two seconds. She joins the Scarlet Guard, aids in the assassination of people and then bitches about how cruel assassination really is. Something bad happens and she doesn't care that killing is cruel anymore, she wants to do it. Trouble descends on her and instead of being the sly pickpocket that she was at the beginning of the book, she becomes this helpless shell that wants to curl in on itself.

I don't understand...why?! And it has nothing to do with her adapting to changing environments. No, this girl has multiple personalities and instead of starting a revolution, maybe she needs to just take some pills.

At the center of RQ, we have this confusing love...quadrilateral? Because it consists of four people: Mare, Kilorn, Cal and Maven. The reason for its inclusion in the novel eludes me because it is pointless. On one hand, Mare feels for Kilorn, her best friend since childhood whom she would protect with her life. Then, she has this weird relationship with Cal, the boy who showed her kindness but is also slated to marry her worst enemy. Next, we have this awkward developing relationship throughout the novel with Maven and...it was too much for me.

I must admit though, I like the thought of Cal and Mare, even though I wanted to kick Cal where the sun doesn't shine throughout most of this novel.

Even though RQ is as cliche and overhyped as they come, I am still excited to read book two for two reasons: 1)Cal and 2)THE FREAKING PLOT TWIST/CLIFFHANGER AT THE END!! OMG! I would recommend this book to fans of dystopian even though it might just be a regurgitation of everything that you've read before but hey, dystopian's your thing, you're probably used to that.




Final Sentence in the Novel
I will kill him.

Favourite Lines in the Novel

  • It's cruel to give hope where none should be. It only turns into disappointment, resentment, rage-all the things that make this life more difficult than it already is.



Thursday, 11 June 2015

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy #1)

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Title:Shadow and Bone
Author:Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:Square Fish
Publication Date:June 5th 2012
Source:Bought
Format:Paperback
Pages:368

Goodreads|Amazon|Barnes and Noble|Indigo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


MY THOUGHTS
This is less of a "review" and more of a visual collection of my thoughts on this novel.


I was so bored when I initially started reading this. I was deep in a major reading slump, had heard so much about this one, decided to try it out and it was a bit too slow for my taste. Immediately, we're plunged into this world of people with names that are really difficult to pronounce, weird powers and a protagonist telling all while secretly pining for her best friend. *eye roll*

Fast forward 40 pages and it just got me like:


Strange just got really strange and the novel took a turn from slightly mediocre to WTF just happened?! We've got weird skiffs moving across dark, barren wastelands, dinosaur-like creatures eating people and a mysterious, handsome stranger called "The Darkling." Colour me intrigued.

Then, we're thrown into the world of the Grisha when Alina discovers her hidden talent and has to adapt to new surroundings. Surprise, surprise, she's extremely powerful, she has the Darkling's favour and is making frenemies and flat-out bitchy enemies everywhere. The image below is me in reaction to how cliche that was:


My basic reaction to anything about the Darkling:


What can I say? I just have a thing for bad boys who can cut a bitch in half if need be.

Then...stuff gets real and I lose it! I was shocked, I wanted to punch something and kick and scream. I. WAS. NOT. READY.

Visual depiction of how not ready I was:


This insensitive crushing of my heart by Leigh Bardugo did have two upsides. One was that I got to see our main character, Alina, in a whole new light. For the majority of this novel, I was apathetic towards her, she was...meh. And this thing (not telling what it is) brought to life a fire inside of her (quite literally as well). She became strong and gave me reason to like her!

The other thing was Malyen and Alina, Malina! At the start of the novel when Alina was head over heels for Mal and he didn't notice her, I could not deal. The one-sided relationship bothered me and it irked me even more when she was taken by the Darkling who had discovered her gift to Os Alta. The best friend-protagonist romances in YA literature always suck because we never get much exposure to the "best friend" and I believe that person is majority of the time disadvantaged in the love triangle. We get a glimpse of them for honestly five seconds and then the main character is whisked away on some journey with a sexy stranger whom readers get maximum exposure to so obviously, we ship them.

I was insanely happy that this thing that happened happened and I was able to meet Mal and learn more about who he was and how he interacted with Alina. I loved it! I love them! And I feel like I am going to get attacked by all the Darkling lovers but let me explain. I love the Darkling but...not for Alina. The relationship between Mal and Alina seemed more natural and less tense and a lot of the time had me like this:


Turns out the really insane thing was just a warm up for the really really insane thing and OMG, this was me:


Reaction to this novel being over:


The ending left me with so many questions that I guess are going to have to be answered by the other two books in the trilogy which I am extremely eager to pick up.

Bottom line: this was not a perfect read. There were many moments that had me face palming and rolling my eyes to the Heavens but there were also a lot of moments that made me smile and scream and flat-out fangirl. This novel made me feel...everything, a whirlwind of emotions it was. I am not a Fantasy expert, I rarely read that genre because generally those books focus a lot on world-building which drowns me. This, however, had a lot of world-building weaved in with the plot of the story and you would learn more as it progressed so it was not an information dump for which, I was very grateful. I feel like it was...not to be rude...quite honestly, dummy Fantasy. You know, a guide to Fantasy for the beginners and I quite enjoyed it.

Side note: Do you enjoy when I do reviews like this one with a lot of GIFs because the process of finding images to use and deciding how I'm going to place them to me, is a lot more fun than when I write continuous prose. What do you think? Should I do them more often? Comment down below and tell me! Until my next blog post, I love you guys...to infinity and beyond!



Final Sentence in the Novel
They are orphans again, with no true home but each other and whatever life they can make together on the other side of the sea.

Favourite Lines in the Novel

  • If a creature as gorgeous as Genya could fall for a skinny, studious Fabrikator, there might be hope for me yet.
  • He had scraggly gray hair and a gruesome scar across his neck where someone had tried to cut his throat. I spent the next two hours cursing that person for not doing a more thorough job.
  • "The horse has speed. The bear has strength. The bird has wings. No creature has all of these gifts, and so the world is held in balance"
  • "What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men."