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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Waiting on Wednesday. The Tiger's Daughter


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week on WoW is The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera. I found this book a few weeks ago on NetGalley and I really liked its summary. As soon as I read the word "demons", I just know I have to read the book in question. Also, the cover is so entrancingly mysterious.The book will be released on October 3rd.

GIVEAWAY ALERT. I'm currently hosting Halloween Book Bingo [click here for more information]. I'd love you to join it. Also, there's not a single entrance, so you chances of winning are pretty high.



Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.
"
From Goodreads

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Halloween Book Bingo



Welcome to Halloween Book Bingo! Everyone loves Halloween. Trick-or-Treat, hocus pocus, jack-o'-lantern... It's the scariest time of the year. This year, I invite all book dragons to celebrate Halloween with a bookish bingo.

Halloween Book Bingo will take place between Wednesday 27th September to Tuesday 31th October, 2017. Everyone is encouraged to register their interest in the sign up form below, which will be open from now until October 7th. Everyone registered will be eligible for the giveaway

I must confess I'm a little bit proud of the spooky bingo card I created. I hope you like it as much as I do. So, here it is:

You should read one book for each square -the same book can't be used twice, sorry. If you don't know what to read for a certain category, every Sunday I'll write some fun Halloween inspired posts and I can make some book recommendations.

GIVEAWAY

The winner will receive a book of her/his choice up to 15 euros (I know it is not much, but I'm the paying for it). The winner will be chosen November 7th.

How to gain entries:
  • One entry for signing up (you can use blogger, wordpress, twitter, instagram and so on for your sign up post).
  • One entry for every book you finish between 27th September to 31th October. Maximum of ten entries. On November 1st, I'll open a new form where you can share with me your wrap-up.
  • You can win an extra entry by using the hashtag #HalloweenBookBingo on Twitter.   
Rules:
  • You must be a participant (once again, don't forget to register).
  • You must be older than 18 or have your parents permission. 
  • The giveaway is open internationally, so long as The Book Depository ships to you
SIGN UP


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Waiting on Wednesday. An Enchantment of Ravens


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week on WoW is An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. By now, my love for pretty covers is well known. The cover of An Enchantment of Ravens is gorgeous. *.* However, the summary is even better. Magic, faeries, forbidden love is everything I need for a book to be perfect. I know I shouldn't because I may end up disappointed, but I've really high hopes for this one. The book will be released on September 26th


Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There's only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
"
From Goodreads

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Review 29. The Surrendered by Case Maynard


Title: The Surrendered
Author: Case Maynard
Publisher: Blaze Publishing [thank you for the review copy]
Published: September 20th 2016
Pages: 340 pages 

"After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.
"

"Most times I try really hard not to think about what’s happening out in the world beyond the fence, but today this really gives me pause. Could it be The Tax has become so burdensome that families—even those who were once willing to do whatever was necessary to save their children—have given up on even trying? I hope not. Too many children have witnessed the horrors of slavery already."

Plot: After a financial collapse having destroyed the United States, a new government led by the Commander arose and created the Tax: every parent must pay a fee for their offspring. Those who can't pay, must surrender them. Vera "Vee" Delancourt and her twin brother, Oliver, were surrendered when they were ten and sent to the Mills. Six years have passed since that day and Vee's life in the Mills is a living hell -as the life of any other child/teenager. Impulsive and not afraid of speaking her mind, Vee always finds herself in trouble. One day, she stumbles upon one of the Mills' most disturbing and darkest secrets and finds herself fleeing for her life.

I did find The Surrendered plot interesting -Vee running away from the Mills with Ramsey and her little sister, Jane, and the events that succeeded after she is out of the fence for the first time in in six year. Case Maynard's writing style is flawless, catching up one's attention from the first page to the last. Also, the story is very fast-paced and there are so many twists and surprises that you do not see coming. To sum up, the kind of story I love.

Characters: As I wrote above, Vee always stands up for what she believes. No matter how much pain it would bring her, Vee would not conform to the slave system created by the Commander. However, due to her impulsiveness, I found myself rolling my eyes at her. Sometimes, she simply acted, not thinking about the consequences that could rise from her actions. Hopefully, in the following sequels, Vee has learned from her mistakes and doesn't make so many rash decisions.

When I first met Carson, the love interest (happy news: there is a love triangle -at least in the first novel- and the romance doesn't overshadow the plot), I disliked him. He was a brute and very rude.  But as I got to know Carson, I warmed up to him. And, when his past came to surface, I just wanted to hug him. He lost so much! Another character that made my heart ache was Ramsey -no one should have gone through what she did. How many lifes the Tax ruined...

Worldbuiling: In spite of having read many Young Adult dystopias through the years, I still found the world created by Maynard unique -from the Tax who affected the life of millions to the new leading order and those who wish to overtake it. This America ruled by the Commander that obliges parents to pay taxes for their children is ominous. Moreover, in this world, all that matters is the survival of the fittest -I don't know who I hated the most: the Master and his minions or the Southies raised their children to be amoral soldiers. I can't wait to plunge into this terrifying world again.

TRIGGER WARNING! There is mention of rape as well as of physical and physiological abuse. 
Monday, 11 September 2017

The Nerdy Corner. TV Shows + 📚



September is here which means our favourite Autumn TV shows are coming back (as well as the most anticipated novels of the year are being release). 🍁 To celebrate it, inspired by Penguin's latest newsletter, I've decided to recommend books based on some of my favourite series. 

If you like Jessica Jones, you should try Wonder Woman:Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. I've two words for you: women empowerment! Also, super-heroines. Who doesn't love them?



If you like Lucifer, you should try Angelfall by Susan Ee. Angelfall is a apocalyptic dystopia with angels, fallen angels, demons and lots of Heaven politics -God does not like to reveal His plans.


If you like Quantico, you should try Broken Sky L.A. Weatherly. Conspiracy. Wrong culprit. Plot twist. And more conspiracy.  


If you like Stranger Things, you should try Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.This one seems a little bit far-fetched, but both show and book feature a group of adorable misfits. Well, in Six of Crows is a dark-adorable group of misfits. 


If you like Supernatural, you should try Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. As Dean and Sam, Cas is a hunter -a ghost hunter that travels America to put an end to the dead. Spooky!


If you like The Expanse, you should try Starflight by Melissa Landers. Lots of space travelling and new planets to meet.


Any TV show/book you find alike?
Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Waiting on Wednesday. One Dark Throne


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week on WoW is One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake. I read Three Dark Crowns at the beginning of this year and I enjoyed it a lot -which was not surprising since I love Kendare Blake. I'm dying to know who will take the throne (I got the feeling this will not the last book in the series, thus the wait will be long). Anyway, who is your favourite queen and why? Mine is Mirabella because of the love she has for the sisters that want her dead. The book will be released on September 19th


Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.
"
From Goodreads

Monday, 4 September 2017

Review 28. Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh


Title: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published: May 16th 2017
Pages: 393 pages 

"The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
"

Although I never read The Wrath and the Dawn duology, I've wanted to plunge into Renée Ahdieh's writing for a long time. Thankfully, Flame in the Mist, a perfect blend of magic and darkness, lived up to my expectations and I can't wait for its sequel, Smoke in the Sun.

Writing: Every page of Flame in the Mist is filled with mystery and is action-packed. The settings are captivating -from the Junkai Forest to a magical feudal Japan. However, I must confess, it took me a bit to get into the story because of the writing style. Don't get me wrong, the story is beautifully written, but I found myself struggling to follow the prose. 

One of the things I loved about this novel is that it conveys a very powerful message: women can be strong in different ways. Thank you Renée Ahdieh for showing that women can be portrayed in a million different manners and still be strong; they do not need to fit a certain female role to be compelling.

“I’ve never been angry to have been born a woman. There have been times I’ve been angry at how the world treats us, but I see being a woman as a challenge I must fight. Like being born under a stormy sky. Some people are lucky enough to be born on a bright summer’s day. Maybe we were born under clouds. No wind. No rain. Just a mountain of clouds we must climb each morning so that we may see the sun.” 

Just a quick warning: if you are expecting a Mulan retelling (I've to say it was the main reason why I picked up this book from my TBR pile), you may be a bit disappointed. I don't think this novel should have been sold as such. It does indeed have a few elements of the original tale, but, for example, Flame in the Mist is not set in China and Mariko disguises herself as a boy for different reasons than Mulan.

Characters: If dressing up as a boy and track the Black Can down to find why someone was sent to murder you, doesn't make you brave, I don't know what does -okay, maybe Marik's rushed decision could make her be seen as stupid too. Something I loved about Mariko is that she uses her mind to fight her battles and she does not back-down. She speaks her mind and no matter how much the Wolf bit, she would always bite back.

Talking about the enigmatic and secretive Wolf... I first feared an "abusive" relationship -the kind of relationship that no  matter much a guy mistreats a girl, she is still attracted to him- but I can gladly say my suspicions were wrong.  I enjoyed the development of the love-to-have relationship between Mariko and Okami -particularly because Mariko was dressed up as a boy and I could not wait to see how Okami would react when discovering her secret.

Worldbuiling: The world woven by Ahdieh is bewitching. The Junkai Forest with its Jubakka trees and forest spirits; feudal Japan full of secrets and betrayals. There is bloodshed and darkness, but there is a charm in this world that can't be denied. The little details and beautiful descriptions (even though confusing a few times if you do not speak English) made Mariko's world feel alive.
Friday, 1 September 2017

Monthly Recap. August 2017


Monthly recap is back! Can you believe it already is September? Four more months until the year end. Time flies! 😱 Looking back to the past eight months, I feel that I haven't accomplished anything I wanted for 2017. Well, not maybe everything since I finished the first year of my masters with flying colours (one of the few things that makes me feel proud of myself). However, it did left me emotionally and physically exhausted. And, now I'm struggling to find a theme for my thesis -a thesis I need to start working this month! *take a deep breath and do not freak out*


I really wanted 2017 to be the year I read 70 books, but I think I'll be falling short of my goal. There are still four months to reach it, but not even in my wildest dreams would I be able to read seventy books. Although this month I read a lot more than I thought I did - thank you Bout of Books 20
  • The Valiant, Lesley Livingston
  • The Flame Never Dies, Rachel Vincent
  • Our Dark Duet, Victoria Schwab
  • Broken Sky, L.A. Weatherly
  • Flame in the Mist, Renee Ahdeh (short review on my Goodreads page)
  • Starflight, Melissa Landers 
I also started reading Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza and Maplecroft by Cherie Priest. Hopefully, I'll finish them before the weekend ends.

Ps.: Our Dark Duet pierced my soul and shattered my heart. 💔😭 If you have not read it yet, have a box of tissues by your side when you do it.


Great news: I didn't order a single book in July. Bad news: I ordered too many books in August I'm still waiting for a few to arrive, but here are those that reached my doorstep this month:

From my Instagram account
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote (because of my mother, I've a crush on Audrey Hepburn and that's the reason why I brought this book)
  • The Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide
  • The Love Boat and Other Stories, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Flamecaster, Cinda Williams Chima 
  • An Ember the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir (although I already own this novel, I decided to get myself the UK edition)
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Leigh Bardugo & Nyxia, Scott Reintgen (Illumicrate)

Which books arrived to your bookshelf in August?