Friday, September 19, 2014

Review of The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

Title/Author: The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper
Publisher/Date published: Orchard Books, September 4th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother - the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic - steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe's power.

The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches' help to thrive.

Avery has never read a dream that hasn't come true, but a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane tells her he can help her change her fate. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected. And as she falls in love with Tane, she learns it is his life and hers that hang in the balance.

I REALLY wanted to love The Witch of Salt and Storm. I really did. There'd been a lot of hype from BEA-goers and I was all excited and then it just didn't happen for me.

The Witch of Salt and Storm is a pretty dark tale. And I really don't have a problem with that, but it all had a very grey feeling to me, I'm not sure how I can best explain it, but it was just kind of monotonous and unexciting and slightly smudged. A non-sparkly grey. (Side note: I have a big grey couch, so I don't have anything against the color in general, but for a mood it doesn't work for me).

I never really grew to care much for Avery or any of the other characters, I didn't get why she would fall in love with Tane and he with her, for me there wasn't any real chemistry, just the lack of other options for both of them. Avery's relationship with her mother was just plain weird and her grandmother wasn't quite all there either. A lot of the relationship problems that I saw with all of them was a lack of communication and just UGH FRUSTRATION.

The powers of the Roe witch are pretty impressive and what makes them into a Roe witch was interesting, but mostly the story just fell a bit flat for me. It wasn't that it was bad, it just wasn't gripping me and it took me forever to read it because I didn't feel that urge to read on while I wasn't reading it.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review of Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Title/Author: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, September 2nd 2014
How I got this book: bought it because how could I not??
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?


Ok, so this will basically be a lot of gushing, I'm giving you fair warning here.

THIS BOOK YOU GUYS! THIS BOOK! It's been a looooong time since I was this excited about a book and EVERYTHING about this book was exciting and ROWAN and just THIS BOOK!

I cannot. My words fail me. I am just hugging this book and petting it and I just want to stare at the ceiling and imagine myself in this world and revel in all the feels that it brought me and just OMG I just cannot do anything productive today basically.
I was waiting for people I was meeting to have lunch when I finished this book, hoping they were late (lucky for me they were) so I could finish the last pages and after finishing I just looked up and realised no one else was experiencing all these feelings and I literally did not know how to go on having light conversation with the girls I was meeting because I just had SO MANY FEELINGS and nobody would understand.
I'm having the worst book hangover in ages and it is GLORIOUS.

But let's talk about the book a bit. It is no secret that I absolutely love this series and Celaena and Chaol and Dorian and just this world and everything that Sarah J. Maas has created, it is amazing. And it has been SO difficult having to wait for Heir of Fire to be released and seeing all those people who were lucky enough to get an ARC and had already experienced Heir of Fire and all it has to offer in terms of awesomeness. But it was worth the wait.

So obviously Celaena is a mess after what happened in Crown of Midnight, and I liked that. I like that she isn't magically ok with things that are horrifying and traumatic and as devastating as a friend being murdered. Nehemia was so important to her and it would have made no sense whatsoever if her death or the events that followed didn't have a major impact on her. But it was heartbreaking to see what it did to her. But I seriously adored Celaena in how she handled it, even if it wasn't always pretty, I felt her pain and she really did grow as a person throughout Heir of Fire and she just has a special place in my heart for het badassness and her vulnerability and just everything. And I loved learning more about her past!

In Heir of Fire Sarah J. Maas explores Celaena's magic and her fae ancestry, which we got a hint of at the end of Crown of Midnight. And I loved that it doesn't come easy to Celaena. She has to really work for it and it costs her and it leads her to a character that I want to talk about very badly.

Rowan. Just. I cannot. You may have seen people on Twitter going all caps because of this man and all I can say is that I'M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE BECAUSE HE DESERVES IT. I really don't want to give anything away, but I've been eagerly anticipating his arrival on the scene ever since I knew Celaena was going to Wendlyn, in the version of this story on Fictionpress he was called Raonn I think? And I adored him there as well.
Rowan is just everything I could want him to be and FEELINGS and just ALL THE FEELINGS because I really don't have words to express what he does to my heart.

But mostly I just want to hug Heir of Fire some more and rejoice in this glorious book hangover and if you haven't started this series yet WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? Go forth and fall in love with this world and the characters that Sarah J. Maas has created, like I have.

My rating: 5+ stars

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review of The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Title/Author: The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, September 2nd 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

***WARNING: There is some ranting ahead of you, be warned***

OMG, I just cannot with this book. At first we were doing ok, I wasn't loving it, but it was interesting and it was a pretty quick read, but, and I cannot believe I'm saying this, but then we got to the romance and everything went WTF from there on.

So the whole issue with royalty being unable to have children and using surrogates with an auction system is fascinating and I'm dying to know why exactly it is that royal women can't have children, is it inbreeding or some kind of mutation and why does it affect all royal women? I cannot help myself, I am fascinated by this kind of stuff.

And Violet is ok, but she didn't seem really special to me, aside from her unusually amazing abilities with the Auguries. And that she had violet eyes, but well, that's not all that special in fictional worlds. She didn't really have any trait aside from her being awesome at playing the cello to define her to me. But I felt like I could have gotten to like her more if it hadn't been for the bullshit romance.

I mean, COME ON, isn't it time we stopped seeing this kind of insta-love? Seriously, they met for 3 minutes and already they're like 'It's like I didn't know myself until this moment' and they go from basically mostly communicating through stares to kissing and to love and I'm like WTF?? And then there's mention of them spending an hour a day together for a month but we don't get to SEE this moments. How am I supposed to believe in this love that has them risking EVERYTHING when I don't actually SEE them spend time together and get WHY the hell they would risk so much for a person they basically just met? I mean, WTF?? I like it when I'm shown things, not just told that's how it is without any evidence to back this up.

And also, on a similar subject: why does Ash not have any personality whatsoever? He's in the book from about the halfway point and I have no idea how to describe him other than he's a companion and he does insta-love.


So I'm intrigued by this world, but then the romance took over and there's just a lot of frustration and OBVIOUSLY there's a resistance (because what good dystopian novel doesn't have a resistance?) and it has the lamest reason ever for wanting to 'rescue' Violet. I really don't want to spoil anything, but SERIOUSLY? It all felt very random to me.

Ok, so rant over. If you hadn't noticed this from the general tone of the review, I'll sum up to say that this book did not work for me from the moment the romance entered, before we were doing ok, but UGH, just no.

My rating: 1,5 star

Friday, August 29, 2014

Review of It's In His Kiss by Jill Shalvis

Title/Author: It's In His Kiss (Lucky Harbor #10) by Jill Shalvis
Publisher/Date published: Grand Central Publishing, August 26nd 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: ONE KISS CAN LAST FOREVER
Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now's her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam's eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.

Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can't resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca's heart?

So I was really craving something cute and fluffy after the abomination that was our book club read for this month. And I figured from what I'd heard about Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series that it would be just the thing.

And I have to say that this first encounter with Jill Shalvis' storytelling did not disappoint! It was fun and there was tension and a good storyline for the romance to fall back on and though there was a lot more drama than I had expected, it was ok. I was really curious about Becca's past and just what had happened to make her up and leave everything behind. I liked her quirks and her spunk and how she didn't just agree with Sam when he made this annoying rule about not being with her cause she's working for him and not automatically confirming to his alpha-male-ness.

Even though this alpha-male-ness is totally hot. Seriously. He's a surfer. And sexy. And he removes spiders for Becca, which means he's the best kind of guy. That's just an automatic win in my book. He has this really big heart and I like that in a man.

Together they had chemistry and I just wanted to shake Sam every time he fell back on the 'you're working for me so we can't be together' thing because UGH just own up to your feelings already and just GO FOR IT. But it was a really fun read and I'm thinking I'll be trying for of Jill Shalvis' books in the future!

My rating: 4 stars

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review of The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson

Title/Author: The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois #1) by Joanna Hickson
Publisher/Date published: HarperCollins, August 19th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.

Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.

Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?

So you guys probably know that I enjoy reading about historical figures, they come more to life than from the stuff you read in history books and I have a bit of a Tudor obsession, so reading about the mother of the first Tudor king is just the thing for me!

And I enjoyed The Agincourt Bride, just not as much as I would have hoped to. It was ok, but it wasn't exciting, I wasn't scared for Catherine or for Mette, even when something really terrible happened to Mette. I was disgusted, but I never doubted that either of them would be ok and not only in the sense that they wouldn't die, but also mentally ok.

I did like Mette, she's thrust into the royal household just hours after she's lost her own child and manages to get through this without basically any support, I know that it probably happened more often back then, but it still feels barbaric to just expect a woman to get over it immediately and get to work. But Mette is a smart, sensible and strong person and somehow she manages. Probably also because she has baby Catherine to care for.

Catherine is sweet and loyal and has a quick mind, all things I appreciate. Sometimes I wondered if she was a bit too good to be true, but those moments passed. It's such a contradiction how she has power as a princess and at the same time really doesn't have much say in what happens in her life. I liked seeing the interactions between her and King Henry towards the end of the book, they had really sweet moments.

I think most of the excitement is probably still coming in the sequel, The Tudor Bride. There are some awful and wonderful things that history tells me are still in store for Catherine and I wonder how Mette will play her part in them.
The Agincourt Bride was an ok read but not one of my favourites so far, maybe The Tudor Bride will be.

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review of Black Ice by Susan Krinard

Title/Author: Black Ice (Midgard #2) by Susan Krinard
Publisher/Date published: Tor Books, August 12th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie known as Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

The trickster god Loki has reappeared in San Francisco, and he has big plans for modern-day Earth. With few allies and fewer resources — but the eyes of the gods and goddesses of an old world upon her — it’s up to Mist to stop him before history repeats itself.


So I love mythology and I enjoyed Mist, the first book in the series. So I had my heart set on more Norse mythology goodness!

And while I did get some of that, I felt like Black Ice suffered from second book syndrome. It just feels like it's a build-up to major events happening in book 3 and while there are several battles taking place, it never really felt like the stakes were high. I didn't feel like either of the main characters was actually threathened by the events and it wasn't exciting as it should have been.

We do meet a set of new characters, which I liked, well most of them. There are is a monster that I could have done without knowing, cause he's nasty! But I liked getting to know more of the Valkyries. I did guess pretty early on that there would be a twist about one of the new characters and what it would be, but it's pretty well done.

I felt like Black Ice didn't give me all that many answers to questions I had and I get that it can't give me all the answers as it's not the last book in the series, but I would have liked just a little more knowledge about where this is headed. And OMG I just wanted to shake Mist and Dainn and their non-relationship that's the big elephant in the room and tell them to just KISS ALREADY and stop worrying about the beast or what the beast will do or just STOP IT WITH THE BEAST OK. There was so much talk and thinking about the beast. It was kinda getting on my nerves.

I do still very much like the richness of the Norse mythology and Mist and Dainn are kinda awesome, but I just wished Black Ice would have been a little more exciting than it was.

My rating: 2 stars

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Daisy Update (55) Featuring a teeny tiny kitten!

Hi guys!

So it's been about 5 months since my last update... I've been sucking at blogging lately, but as I had exciting news to share, I'm back with this update.

Last Wednesday we adopted a teeny tiny kitten from the animal shelter and since then she's been busy exploring the living room, sleeping on my lap, playing with a feather on a string and a fake mouse, sleeping on the couch, testing the limits of where we allow her to climb on (which does not include the lamp or the table) and sleeping on chairs. Basically she's been one cute little creature and I love her! We named her Zoë :)
I love having a pet in our home again, it's just more of a home with one in it. The boyfriend was a bit hesitant about getting a pet, but Zoë is so adorable, you just can't help but love her.

The only one who doesn't much like it is our neighbours' cat, who used to just walk in and out and sit in my lap sometimes, she's not allowed in the house anymore at the moment and does not appreciate this. It's kinda hard to take a good picture of Zoë cause she's so dark, I need to get a camera with flash or something.

As for other things that have happened since I last did an update: we went to Marocco for 2 weeks, which was awesome, we had the four day walking event in Nijmegen that happens yearly and is always a lot of fun, and just so many things happen in 5 months! We had 4 book club meetings and went to see The Fault In Our Stars, which broke my heart. It was worse than the book somehow!

In 3 weeks I'll be saying goodbye to the practice I'm working at now, my first year is almost over, it's hard to believe the year has gone by so fast! Which is a little sad and exciting as well.

Now I'm gonna go back to cuddling Zoë :) Hope you're all having a great Sunday!