Monday, June 30, 2014

Review of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Title/Author: Ruin and Rising (The Grish #3) by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt and Co, June 17th 2014
How I got this book: bought it because HOW COULD I NOT??
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


So you guys, I have finished Ruin and Rising... And I feel. Empty. And sad and just WHAT DO I DO WITH THE REST OF MY NIGHT and how will I survive not going on new adventures with Alina and Mal and Nikolai aka Sturmhond and even the Darkling???

So this actually says review at the title of this post, but it will probably be more me rambling. Just so you're warned.

It was a special kind of torture being away on vacation while this book was coming out and KNOWING that it had been delivered at my neighbour's house and knowing I'd have to avoid all things even remotely spoilery because I just needed to experience this final book in the series for myself and not have heard anything about it before reading it. And it was GLORIOUS.
I was both dreading this and eager to get my hands on it because you just never know ok? That last book in the series can either make it the most amazing thing you've ever read or just leave you going what just happened to all this promise in the first couple of books??
And I'm very happy to say that I shouldn't have worried so much, because Leigh Bardugo delivered with Ruin and Rising. It was full of high stakes and amazing dialogue and heartbreak and she just ruined me with this book ok?? And I am NOT OK. I want to re-read the whole series and not let go of these characters because I just cannot. I'm not ready to be left here while they go on their off-page adventures and lead out the rest of their lives and I AM NOT A PART OF IT.

I feel very strongly about this book and the series as a whole, if you hadn't noticed before.

Basically, this is me right now:


Do I actually need to talk about the content other than my feelings? Ok.

There's the Grisha lore that I've come to love over the course of this series and that I'm still itching to learn more about. There's Alina, who although she has come out of her last battle weakened, is stronger than she was before. There's the boy who in my eyes redeems himself, even though I already know that not everyone will agree with me on this. There's the ever charming and clever Sturmhond who stole my heart and who I wished we'd had even more moments with. There's an evil and humanity in the Darkling that were both astonishing to see. There were mindblowing revelations and twists and heartbreaking moments and just, Leigh Bardugo's ruined me ok? I just cannot do anything productive today anymore and I will probably end up hating my next read because Ruin and Rising was JUST THAT GOOD.

Sturmhond is infinitely quotable, but I will leave you with this one that I LOL-ed over:
"Saints, Alina. I hope you weren't looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret."

It might take a while for me to be ok again. I have major series hangover.
Also, jut after I'd finished the book, Ordinary Love by U2 came on the radio and if you've read the ending of the book, you'll know why that was kinda perfect.

But basically what I'm saying is that Ruin and Rising was everything I never even knew I wanted it to be and it was amazing and if you haven't read this series, you should. Because it's awesome.

My rating: 5+ stars

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review of Awkwardly Ever After by Marni Bates

Title/Author: Awkwardly Ever After (Smith High #4) by Marni Bates
Publisher/Date published: K-Teen, June 24th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: It's prom season at Smith High School and love is in the air... for some people.

Melanie Morris knows she shouldn't keep flirting with her best friend's brother, Dylan Wellesley, even though the last thing she feels is "sisterly" around the cute soon-to-be freshman. But attending prom with somebody else might mean losing him for good...

Isobel Peters accepts the fact that she's a huge geek, but she never expected renowned player, Spencer King, would want to get his hands on... her reputation. What begins as a bargain could turn into something real - or a Notable disaster!

Corey O'Neal is dating the boy of his dreams, rockstar Timothy Goff. But it isn't easy to trade in anonymity for instant celebrity status, especially now that swarms of protesters want them both banned from prom. Dating Prince Charming in real life is a whole lot harder than it sounds in fairytales.

Happily ever after? Try awkwardly ever after!

So I really liked both Invisible and Notable, though Notable had a slightly unlikely plot, so I was expecting some light fluff with these 3 stories and that's what I got.

I'd already 'met' Melanie in Invisible and if I remember correctly, her being in love with Dylan was already hinted at there, but as everyone knows, falling in love with your best friend's younger brother is pretty much a no-no. Except that it worked here. I liked Dylan, I liked that he was willing to put himself out there and be with Melanie, even if she wasn't really encouraging him so much. I thought Melanie should man up and own up to her crush to her best friend and I was a bit disappointed that part isn't in the story, so I hope that somewhere off-page that is actually happening.

I really liked the story about Isobel and Spencer King, because let's face it, Spencer King is hot. And Isobel is pretty awesome, she calls him out on his bullshit, even though she's somewhat afraid to admit to her own feelings. I think they're good for each other. I was actually kinda sad that this wasn't a full length novel, because I think a lot more could have been written about these two and their developing relationship and it was just a whole lot of cute.

So I was all ready to dive into the last story, the one about Corey and his boyfriend, but sadly, my ARC malfunctioned and I couldn't read more than 5 or 6 pages into this story, which was a disappointment.

It was pretty cute and fluffy, but it didn't make me squeal in happiness with the cuteness of it, and I have a couple more questions instead of closure, but I liked what Marni Bates did with these characters.

My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vacation Time!

Starting tomorrow morning (REALLY early), I'll be on vacation in Morocco! I'll be seeing beautiful things, eating delicious food and just generally having a good time. At least, that's the plan. So all will be quiet on the blog until then (not that I've been around all that much lately anyway, but still).

See you in two weeks, I'm off to stuff more into my suitcase :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway of #scandal by Sarah Ockler

Title/Author: #scandal by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Date published: Simon Pulse, June 17th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher for the blog tour
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of... and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

I was really excited to be part of the #scandal blog tour because I'm always interested in reading a social media thing gone bad and while I'm not a fan of cheaters, I figured there was more to this story than the cheating. And while this wasn't my favourite Sarah Ockler book, I did really enjoy it!

Lucy isn't the popular girl and she's a little bit alternative and I liked it. She reminds me slightly of myself as a teen, the whole not speaking up for what you want included. Though I never did pine for my best friend's boyfriend. But I get how hard it is to stand up for yourself, even though I would have just liked for her to try and explain what happened to the school, even if she didn't have all the evidence. It was such a Lucy hatefest, I felt really bad for her. And I loved her sense of humor. And that she has a dog name Night of the Living Dog. Best name ever.

I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about Cole. I mean, on one hand he's kinda perfect for Lucy, but I don't really feel like I KNOW him and I wasn't all that invested in the romance part of the novel, which is a rare thing for me. He doesn't pop up nearly enough, though the banter between him and Lucy was awesome. I just wish there'd been more of it.

I wasn't really a fan of Lucy's so-called friends, these two girls are really not great friend material, and even though I get that Ellie would be hurt by what happened, she didn't even want to listen to what Lucy had to say. After so many years of friendship, that's the least I would expect. And don't even get me started on Griffin, that girl was just weird.
I liked the new friends Lucy makes a whole lot more. Sure they're the school geeks, but they're more real than the others and besides, geeks are my people.

So I pretty much figured two big things out pretty quickly, but the twists were really well done and I actually liked that I'd guessed it before the big reveal. I could see how things could get really ugly as a result of posting things on social media and how everyone always has an opinion about it without knowing the whole story. Also, teenagers are mean. Well, most of them. I was I think.

So I did really like #scandal, though I think The Book of Broken Hearts had a way bigger impact on me reading-wise. This was nice, but didn't get under my skin as much. And I would have liked to see more of the romance, as that's the whole reason why this happened, I would have liked to believe in it a bit more.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of novels for teens, including The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. Her latest, #scandal, hits the shelves in June 2014.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she's not writing or reading at home in Colorado, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.



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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review of The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

Title/Author: The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead
Publisher/Date published: Dutton Adult, May 29th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect — special humans marked by the divine — are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae — grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine — has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.


I really enjoyed Gameboard of the Gods, the first book in this series, especially towards the ends when things got a little more paranormal and I was going YES PLEASE! So I was SO excited to get approved for The Immortal Crown!

And guys, Richelle Mead did not disappoint with this sequel! It's definitely not an adult version of Vampire Academy and I like that. I like that Richelle Mead is versatile enough as a writer to go a different way and create this world and intriguing plot and set of characters! I like that the story takes off a little bit after where we left Justin and Mae and the others in Gameboard of the Gods. There's no elaborate rehashing of the first book's plot and while the finer details have probably escaped me over the course of a year, I had no problem diving right in again. Though I did trip over the word 'ego' again, before remembering it's what they call the thing they use to communicate and get on the internet and such.

So Justin and Mae dive into another paranormal mystery, a bit by choice and a bit by accident and seriously, the paranormal thing is awesome. I LOVE the little bits of mythology and at this thing that happens towards the end: I TOTALLY knew who it was before the name was revealed! Yes I'm being vague, I know. I'm getting more and more fond of the ravens inside Justin's head, they are amazing, provide insight and a little comic relief every now and then. I especially loved how Justin is coming more to terms with his role in all of it and seeing him use his talents to spread the word so to speak was really enjoyable.

Aside from all the political intrigue and the side plots, I think one of the things I loved about this book was the amazing chemistry between Mae and Justin. These two are SO good together, they fit together flaws and all and I loved seeing them grow closer and Mae seeing Justin for who he is instead of who he pretends to be. And there was this huge romantic moment and I was like YES! And obviously my YES was a bit too soon and OMG, I just need them to make it right ok?

Mae continues to kick major ass and I love her for that. It was hard for her to adjust to Arcadia's restrictive views on what a woman should and should not be allowed to do. I get it. I'm not an ass-kicker and I would have felt repressed there. I liked that I could see parallels with some modern day cultures and the Arcadian culture, even though I want to imagine we'll some day live in a world in which this doesn't exist anymore.

So Richelle Mead definitely delivered with The Immortal Crown! It was full of intrigue, excitement which kept me on the edge of my seat and kept making me want to put down stuff I was doing and just read more of it. And also: the romance was SO good, and not overpowering the rest of the story. So yes, I'll definitely be reading the third book when it comes out!

My rating: 4 stars