Tuesday, September 13, 2016

{Blog Tour + Giveaway} Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

I cannot even express how ridiculously excited I am to a be a part of the Empire of Storms blog tour! I devoured the book and finished it a day after it came out and I half hate myself for reading it too fast. Now I just feel like my life is a void waiting to be filled by TOG6 (the wait is already so painful). And if there's one thing I am definitely sure of, 2017 is going to be one hell of a ride. (ACOTAR3 and TOG6 in the same year? How will we survive?!)

Here's a cool fact: September 13th isn't just the date of my tour post, it's also the 6 month anniversary of Sarah's visit to the Philippines (last March 13th). It's a day that will always hold a special place in my heart and I am so grateful to have been able to meet Sarah when she came over. If you want to read about my experience, click HERE for my even recap (beware: there is a whole lot of fangirling). And another fun fact: the 13th is an incredibly apt date for my post because I'll be talking about Manon and her Thirteen (some of my absolute favourite characters in the Throne of Glass series). But first, some info about the book...

Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: September 6th 2016

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Meet Manon and her Thirteen

Art by PhantomRin
Art by PhantomRin

Also known as the Blackbeak heir and Wing Leader, she acts as the head of the Thirteen. Ruthless and cunning, Manon is a fierce leader that continuously leads her Thirteen to glory.

Manon's second and her cousin, she is free- and wild-spirited but has overcome insurmountable hardships. She is incredibly loyal and fearless.

Art by PhantomRin
Art by PhantomRin

Manon's third, she grounds the Thirteen with her calm and collected attitude. Sorrel gives Manon sensible and tactical advice and acts as a balance to Asterin's wildness.

The seductress of the Thirteen, incredibly beguiling, Vesta uses her  beauty and wit to ensnare her prey. She is also one of Manon's fallback sentries.

Art by PhantomRin
The most knowledgable and well-read of the Thirteen.
Raised with humans, Ghislaine is valuable for both
her supreme intelligence and her skills as a warrior.

Art by PhantomRin
Art by PhantomRin

Also known as the Shadows. They are distant cousins of Manon (bearing the same moon-white hair but dyed black because of conspicuous they were), they were borne of the shadows and raised in darkness. They are the spies of the Thirteen.

Art by PhantomRin
Art by PhantomRin

Also known as the green-eyed demon twins, they are some of Manon's fiercest warriors.

The lovers of the group,
they are bound by the centuries of hunting
and flying together.

Never called by her full name "Linnea",
(because if anyone dared to, "that person would wind up
with missing teeth at best, and a missing face at worst"),
Lin is also one of Manon's fallback sentries.

Not much is known about Imogen.
(Most likely one of Manon's fallback sentries.)

"We are the Thirteen, from now until the Darkness claims us."

Be sure to enter this super epic INTERNATIONAL giveaway for a signed copy of Empire of Storms plus some awesome swag!

Follow the Empire of Storms blog tour!

September 7 - Katie @ Polished Page-Turners
September 8 - Steph @ No BS Book Reviews
September 9 - Sarah @ What Sarah Read
September 12 - Kelly @ Belle of the Literati
September 13 - Louisse @ The Soul Sisters (You're here!)
September 14 - Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs
September 15 - Andi @ Andi’s ABCs
September 16 - Gina @ Behind the Pages
September 19 - Jaz @ Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
September 20 - Mel @ The Daily Prophecy
September 21 - Betty @ Book Rock Betty
September 22 - Rachel @ Hello Chelly
September 23 - Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books

About the author:

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel, will release on September 6th, 2016.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

You can stalk find her here:

Website || Blog || Twitter || Pinterest || Tumblr || Instagram ||

So many thanks to the fabulous #MaasThirteen ladies for including me in the tour!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

ARC Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Colleen Hoover's books have been a hit or miss with me lately, I think the last book of hers that truly "hit" me was Hopeless so I was a bit wary diving into this one. But seeing the overwhelming response to It Ends With Us was what urged me to read it, and after reading it, I understood what all the hype was about. Before writing this review, I honestly did not know what to rate this book, there were so many incredible parts but there were moments that were just to weird for me, and I felt like those moments outweighed the special moments of the story.

If there's one widely known fact about CoHo's books, it's that there is always a twist in them. A twist that will alter the middle half of the story and either elevate the rest of the book or mess it up. And in this case, it was both. I won't go too deep into how the story went because I'll spoil it but I felt like the direction the story was suppose to go became forced and it just didn't make a lot of sense.

As a book, I didn't particularly enjoy It Ends With Us, the characters were flat and out of character at certain times, (Lily was a confusing MC and she was pretty much a reflection of all of CoHo's other MCs except with different baggage)  the pace of the story was way too fast (CoHo insta-love at its finest) and the ending was pretty self-serving and kind of a cop out. Don't get me wrong, the writing was beautiful, I found myself crying at a lot of scenes and I was a wreck throughout most of the book but if it weren't for CoHo's writing and well-written lines, I wouldn't have been able to go through the book.

That being said, I delved deeper into the surface, below the writing and the characters and the superficial stuff and it was... an interesting experience. There was a lot of meaning to this book, given the fact that It Ends With Us is such a personal story to CoHo, and I couldn't help but be affected by the message that she was trying to convey with her story. I just wish that CoHo had executed this story better. I'd still recommend people to read It Ends With Us because there is depth to this book and I'm sure an average CoHo fan would love it. It just wasn't my cup of tea, unfortunately.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Title: The Unexpected Everything
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 3rd 2016
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / National Book Store

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

The Unexpected Everything was an unexpectedly delightful and heartfelt read. I admit that I was a bit daunted by the 500+ page Contemporary read because Contemps tend to get boring after a while, but I was happy to find out that it was the opposite for this novel. The first six-ish chapters were a bit dragging but as I slowly found the rhythm of The Unexpected Everything, there was nothing that could have stopped me from devouring its words; and by the end of it, 519 pages were not enough.

Andie was, admittedly, a difficult character to connect with. There was something so heavy and nonchalant about her that I couldn't really grasp her emotions, especially when it came to anything about her father or boys, she was very, for the lack of a better word, clinical. It took me a few chapters to really know her and when I did, I found myself reflected in Andie. There are aspects of myself that I saw in her, buried deep and waiting to be unraveled. I still don't really understand what's up with her and only staying with guys for three weeks (or her seemingly constant stream of past boyfriends/her relationship with Topher) but aside from that, everything was good. I found her quirks quite charming (like her Type A-ish personality) but of course, there were moments that those parts of her, don't always work out in her favor.

Okay, so... Clark is definitely going in my list of top book boyfriends everrr. Other than the fact that he gives a whole new meaning to adorkable (like, a really hot meaning to it), he's insanely down to earth and just the type of guy you'd want to be with. Sure, he has awkward moments but those "dorky" parts of him add so much to his charm. I was literally half in love with him (and Bertie) a few pages into meeting him. Clark was a huge part of The Unexpected Everything and he gave so much meaning and depth to this novel. My heart melted pretty much every conversation between him and Andie, they are so shippable, I swear. But more than their amazing relationship, they both have their own merits and independent personalities. I dare you not to fall in love with Clark (you'll fail, lol).

I absolutely adored the dogs featured, they gave the book a lightness that it needed. (And they were all adorable!) I also really liked Andie's "squad": Palmer, Bri and Toby. To be honest, I liked Toby least because there were moments I wherein she was so self-centred and all "boo-hoo" and no one called her out on it because they felt too bad for her. Even to the end, I still felt iffy towards her. But otherwise, their group's dynamic was really good and their text conversations are đŸ‘Œ. (You'll get the significance of emojis in the book.) Also, the growth in Andie's relationship with her father made me tear up at times, their special moments together were so lovely, the rebuilding of trust and everything was so well done. Safe to say, I got all the feels.

I don't think I've ever had so much fun reading a Contemporary book before. The Unexpected Everything is packed with first love, adventure and all kinds of unexpected magic, it was such an amazing experience; and I enjoyed every moment of it. I cannot recommend this book enough. (Guess I'll be reading Morgan Matson's other novels now.)


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (56)

Waiting on Wednesday/s are hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine in which you choose a book or books that you're excited and waiting for.
This week's Waiting on Wednesday book is...

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: May 3rd 2016
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Target

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

Reasons for why I am super excited to read this:

1) I absolutely LOVED A Court of Thorns and Roses, it was actually the second best of I read last 2015 (the first being Queen of Shadows, obviously). I am really looking forward to seeing Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, and Rhys (him, most of all) again and finding out what they're up to in this one. I can already imagine ACOMAF to be grittier, more angsty and steamier than ACOTAR.
2) Sarah mentioned how the map gets more filled out in ACOMAF and I'm very excited to explore the world of Pythian even more and see what adventures and dangers lay ahead, as well as see the rest of the Courts and meet their respective fae members. If there's one thing I love about Sarah's writing, it's her incredible world building, every word in every sentence is written to make a reader truly experience the different settings, textures, and feelings. You should check out Sarah's Pinterest board for the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, it's filled with sooo many pretties and will legit tease you about everything. You can see it HERE.
3) A Hades and Persephone retelling? I AM ALREADY THERE. I have always been in love with the Hades and Persephone mythology and I know that Sarah will do the concept justice. Looking forward to seeing how she portrays that in ACOMAF.
4) Major, major cover lust! The covers of the ACOTAR books are my absolutely favourite amongst all of Sarah's novels. And from what she's been hinting, there are some secrets buried in this cover itself and I just cannot wait to uncover them.
5) I will 1000000000% read anything by Sarah J. Maas. Anything. She could write a version of the phone book and I'd still read it.

What are you looking forward to this week? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (32)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews! It's where bloggers can share what they got for review, bought, borrowed, won or gifted (both physical and eBooks may be included! :D)

Here are the awesome bookish things I got recently:


An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir (Goodreads)
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski (Goodreads)
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski (Goodreads)

For review:

Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi (Goodreads)
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian (Goodreads)
*ARC* Ruined (Ruined #1) by Amy Tintera (Goodreads)
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (Goodreads)
*ARC* Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (Goodreads)
*ARC* The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash (Goodreads)
*ARC* Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh (Goodreads)

So many thanks to the amazing people at Tor, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins International and Fully Booked! Incredibly excited to dive into these awesome reads.

What did YOU get in your mailbox this week? Let me know!

Friday, April 22, 2016

ARC Review: Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Title: Down with the Shine
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

There's a reason they say "be careful what you wish for." Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for "balls of steel" and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late-after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade...
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I had so much fun reading Down with the Shine, the events that transpired in the book were unexpected and outrageous that I just couldn't help but enjoy myself. This is actually the first novel I've read written by Kate Karyus Quinn and from what I've seen of her other books, they seemed really dark and gritty which are characteristics that can also be seen in Down with the Shine but layered with an ounce of absurdity and snark that shifted its dark themes into something lighter and wholly funnier.

When I first read the blurb I thought that the story would only revolve around Lennie trying to fix all the crazy wishes that were granted but in actuality the plot was deeper and more mysterious than that. I don't want to get too much into the details because I feel like the purpose of the vague synopsis is to really shock the reader and I don't want to ruin that "holy crap" moment for anyone. All I'm going to say is that Down with the Shine is an enigma, don't let its weirdness fool you. This book is far from refined or perfect but the way Kate Karyus Quinn weaves the story is so wack that everything makes so much sense.

What really made me like this story was how trippy everything was (I'm on a roll with all these trippy books, I swear). The craziness didn't start when the wishes started happening, nope, everything went down as soon as the first chapter passed. Lennie's whole life is a twisty mess of thrills, magic and moonshine. The consistence of the oddness of the story added to its appeal and I liked that Kate Karyus Quinn didn't do anything half-assed, it's like she decided that if the story was already going to be weird, might as well keep adding to that quickly growing heap of awesome mess. The concept of wishes meshed with moonshine was so far out and so unique and I knew as soon as I read that bit about Down with the Shine that this book would be incredibly interesting, and I was right.

Down with the Shine is like nothing I've read before, and though the plot was really odd, I enjoyed it. There was so much going on but the different aspects of this book went so well together even though they normally wouldn't have (props to Kate Karyus Quinn for the cohesiveness of the story). The ending felt a little like a cop out for me though but it was okay, nothing as impressive as the actual story. I'm actually looking forward to reading Kate Karyus Quinn's other novels and seeing how different her writing is per book because I just know that is this different from her typical style; and if you're looking for a little romance, a lot of thrills and even more craziness, then you definitely need to try this one out.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What I love about A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES...

It's that time of the year again, the time when Sarah J. Maas is about to drop a hella awesome new book. The second book of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Mist and Fury, comes out May 3rd so Bloomsbury decided to host the #ACOTARreadalong (follow the hashtag on Twitter and join the conversation)! I'm here to share what I love about A Court of Thorns and Roses and I have five reasons for you.
  1. The details are INSANE...ly gorgeous. I absolutely love how Sarah's paints intricate pictures and sceneries, especially since Feyre is a painter herself. Seeing things through her artistic eyes gives a depth and uniqueness to her environment. The way she describes texture and notices the different shifts of light and even the features of the people she meets makes her experience in Prythian all the more real and grounded.
  2. A quiet yet headstrong heroine that finds her strength within herself. Feyre isn't your typical super badass YA/NA heroine, she's vulnerable and wary and not too impressive but as the pages go by and you truly get to know her, you'll see a spark inside of her that isn't normally seen in other heroines. Her vulnerability is where she draws her strength and there is so much courage in that.
  3. ACOTAR is hot, hot, h-o-t. This book crosses the boundary of Young Adult to New Adult because of the intense sexual tension between Feyre and Tamlin. And trust me, there are some really spicy scenes in this book that will make you want to chug a glass of cold water to cool off. (*cough*Chapter 27*cough)
  4. I feel like Sarah J. Maas is the queen of hot fae men because holy Batman, the guys in this book are smoking. From the brooding High Lord Tamlin to the snarky, foxy emissary, Lucien, you will not run out of guys to choose from. (I am personally incredibly partial to Rhys, my Night Court High Lord bae. It's a mouthful... but that's what he is. Hahahahaha.)
  5. Other than the characters being insanely good looking, there's a complexity to them that you won't find anywhere else. Each character has their own backstory and agenda and the brings the plot to a whole new level (oh, Lucien...). Even more than that, ACOTAR will completely take you by surprise. The first half is amazing but buckle in your seatbelts because it gets even better. Sarah J. Maas elevates the Beauty and the Beast fairytale and completely owns it, you will not be disappointed.
And there you have it, my reasons as to why I loved ACOTAR (and why YOU need to read it, if you haven't yet). Also, do join my friend, Nicola, and I for #ACOTARQuizNight on April 30th; there'll be fun questions and great prizes! See you there!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

{Blog Tour} ARC Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: April 5th 2016
ISBN: 9780399552939
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Fully Booked

What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I've never been a big Contemporary fan but I couldn't help but smile, laugh, cry and just enjoy my time while I was devouring this novel. There were so many aspects to this book that made me pause and just think about everything. Here are three things I really liked about Tell Me Three Things and reasons as to why you need to read it:

1. The struggles Jessie went through were so real and so relatable. There were even moments where I found myself nodding along to what was happening because I have felt and experienced those things as well: I've found myself not understanding my parents and estranged from them, fighting with my best friend because of a misunderstanding and most of all, feeling alone but managing to find someone to hold on to. There was so much depth to Jessie's story and her vulnerable moments made her so human and I couldn't help but build a connection to her character. I found traces of myself within her and because of those similarities, I was able to truly feel the message of Jessie's life and Tell Me Three Things even more. Trust me when I say that we'll all find pieces of ourselves in Jessie and that will give more meaning to this story for you (it's all very subjective).

2. The interactions between Jessie and those around her as well as the relationships built and remade were so compelling and weighty. I adored Jessie and Somebody/Nobody's (aka SN) emails/messages to each other. Their conversations gave the book a lighter feeling with a sweet touch of banter and flirtation. But it wasn't just cute moments between the two of them, there were heartfelt moments too and those were the ones that really struck me; they understood each other and in a way, their hearts were in the same place. There really was so much depth between the two of them. But even more than the Jessie and SN pairing, I have to give props to Scar, Jessie's best friend. Even though there was a big distance between the two of them, she was still there for Jessie and constantly lent her ear for her friend, even at her own expense. But honestly, out of all the relationships Jessie had built, it was the strained interactions with her father and her new family that really hit me. It was painful to see her want to understand what was happening but not being able to communicate that to her father; also, her denial over her new step-mother and -brother pulled that taut string even tighter (I did like her conversations with Theo, her step-brother, though, he's a cool guy). All the strings in Jessie's life where somehow interconnected and it was amazing to see certain strings get pulled to their limits but somehow not break. For me, the solution to most of the issues in the book was communication and being able to truly speak what's in your heart, and I think Julie Buxbaum was able to tackle that perfectly.

3. On a lighter note, while Tell Me Three Things was mostly about finding yourself and making amends and all that deep stuff, I really did enjoy the romance aspect of this book, as well as the mystery of who SN really is. I had my suspicions as to who he was and I really liked who he turned out to be. There was meaning to the journey of discovering his identity and that made the unveiling all the more exciting. There were a lot of "squee" moments for me in regards to the romance in this book; there were so many cute and awkward scenes that I couldn't help but be happy.

Julie Buxbaum was able to highlight so many parts of this book and give them all equal importance. I normally get bored with Contemporaries but that was not the case with this one, the story was so unique and so riveting that I actually couldn't stop reading. There's enough of everything to appeal to anyone's reading palette: a touch of angst, a little bit of romance and mystery, and a whole lot of depth in Tell Me Three Things. I cannot recommend this book enough.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

ARC Review: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Title: The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself enjoying The Glittering Court more than I expected myself to. What I originally thought would be a shallow and simple novel turned out to be a lot more nuanced and multi-layered. There were parts that were boring and just okay but the moments that shined made up for them; as corny as it may sound, this novel really did glitter.

The first few chapters were hard to get into because of how vapid the whole scenario seemed and "Adelaide" wasn't really interesting enough to make those boring moments better; but as the story slowly progressed, parts of Adelaide unfolded and showed deep and intimate parts of her. We've all heard stories of noble ladies wanting to escape the mundane life of being rich and finding a way to do something really exciting but with the way Richelle Mead characterised Adelaide, it made her different from the typical runaway-noble-lady trope. Sure she joined the Glittering Court to find a rich husband but the different facets of Adelaide will make you realise that there's so much more to her than being a countess. She was only able to show her wit, snark and guile when she joined the Court and those aspects of her made me like her all the more. I really enjoyed the scenes wherein she had to downplay her abilities when it came to etiquette and other courtly activities because in a way, she was also learning from her fellow Glittering Court ladies. There was really a lot of character growth in Adelaide and that contributed to the progression of the story, allowing it to be more open.

Romance wise, I liked the pacing of how the relationship between Cedric and Adelaide progressed. It wasn't an instant love, it was slow, tension-filled and insanely sweet. It was great to see how they started off as friends then pretty much became comrades sharing a mutual interest (and some secrets). And even more than their romance, I liked that Richelle Mead knew when to let the ball finally dropped, she didn't drag it for too long nor did she let it happen too fast; also, she left room for the plot to develop, she didn't completely stay in the whole Glittering Court/Cedric and Adelaide romance, there were a lot of small details that proved to be significant later into the story.

I honestly thought that this story would only be about Adelaide and her journey to love and riches but wow, there were so many more things that happened that I did not see coming (the blurb wasn't very forthcoming, which made the experience all the more enjoyable, seeing the different events unfold). There were a number of issues that popped up in the book, relating to religion, a little bit of politics and some other unexpected issues. Richelle Mead tackled them all efficiently and didn't try to micromanage everything; she gave each part room to be explained and resolved but also left some aspects of them open to interpretation.

The minor characters in the book also contributed to its success, in my opinion. The dynamic between Mira and Adelaide was great, their friendship was subtle and quiet but definitely took up a lot of space. I'm very excited to read Mira's book and see all the stuff mentioned in The Glittering Court about her get cleared up. However, I'm still apprehensive about Tamsin, I spent majority of the book disliking her attitude so the shift in her in the latter part of the novel took me by surprise so I'm not too sure what to feel about her. The characters each had a role to play and to me, they executed their performances perfectly.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what's next in store for the girls of the Glittering Court and whose book will be next (will it be Mira's? Or Tamsin's?). I really enjoyed The Glittering Court and it's great to see Richelle Mead deviate from her typical Paranormal/Urban Fantasy genres.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ARC Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

Title: The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I thought nothing could compare to the beauty that is The Wrath and the Dawn... but I was wrong. RenĂ©e Ahdieh managed to completely outdo herself with The Rose and the Dagger, everything was a thousand times more overwhelming and more amazing and just more. I honestly just sobbed my way through this book and not because it was super sad, but due to the fact that everything was so glorious that I couldn't react any other way. My heart was so full of everything that I just needed to release all those feels (it was either cry or laugh hysterically).

I didn't think it was possible but I fell even more in love with Shahrzad in The Rose and the Dagger, her personality was the same but there were also signs of change in her. She was so brave and so sassy that I was tempted to bow down to her (#queen). But in all seriousness, Shahrzad's journey in this book was so filled with love and selfless, there was never a moment in the book that she every thought about herself, she was either thinking about Khalid, Irsa, Tariq and pretty much everyone else. She had so many difficult decisions to make and being the intelligent girl she was, she was able to navigate properly and find the right path. I really enjoyed all the scenes wherein she was working on getting to know more about herself and her gifts, it was such a treat to read about her experience (also, the carpet!). From the beginning to the end of this book, Shahrzad embodied exactly what she was, a queen.

I don't think there will ever be a couple in YA that will surpass Shahrzad and Khalid's love, in my opinion. This whole series is basically about their passion and longing for each other and you will literally feel it pouring out of the pages. It was so surreal to have experienced such a completely profound love that didn't need words to be expressed; actions really do speak louder than words. Shahrzad and Khalid's love is the type of feeling that would probably give world peace, it's the type that songwriters write about, exactly the type readers love to read about -- it was a complete blast to the senses.

Everyone in The Rose and the Dagger had their own journey, there were multiple points-of-view and they were executed perfectly (again). There were times wherein some scenes would get too much of something and the POV gets shifted in the next scene and I really appreciated that because it was a reprieve from that something and even more than that, it was an opportunity to get to know the characters in the novel. I absolutely loved reading Irsa's POV, her coming of age and finding herself was a beautiful sight to see unfold. All the characters each had a distinct role to play that will surprise anyone and everyone. Speaking of surprises...

I seriously could not take all the twists in this book. Like, give my heart a break, RenĂ©e Ahdieh! Everything was so shocking that I had to take moments to myself to absorb and process what the hell just happened (did that seriously really happen?!?!?!). A friend of mine told me to guard my heart and that is also my advice to anyone who is going to devour this book because you are NOT prepared for all the crazy and incredible and gut-wrenching things RenĂ©e Ahdieh has in store for you, I kid you not.

I love that The Wrath and the Dawn is a duology because for me, it really says a lot about an author who can control the pace of his/her writing. Reading the books has been such an interactive process because Renée Ahdieh really includes the reader in her writing, she invites whoever is reading to come up with predictions, conclusions and even world-building. It was such a fascinating thing to experience. And can I just say? The end of this book and the series was perfect. Completely and absolutely perfect. You'll know what I mean when you read this phenomenal book.

Just an aside, I remember fangirling about Renée Ahdieh and her awesome, awesome details and food and I can guarantee to you that you will experience all of that and more in this novel. The food. Oh Lord. I was so tempted to munch on the pages because everything looked, smelled and sounded so good! Renée Ahdieh really has a talent for exceptional details and gorgeous writing.

If I could pick out every single star in the sky to give to this book as a rating, I would. And even then, they would not be enough because The Rose and the Dagger is everything anyone could ever want in a book: unbelievably gorgeous writing, a headstrong heroine, minor characters who shine and a stunning and unexpected ending. I just want to thank Renée Ahdieh for gifting the world with her extraordinary duology, it has been such a pleasure and honour to read and I am so freaking glad that I picked it up. Everyone need to experience this stunning series.