October – December Book Haul

Hello! I know that I haven’t been posting in the longest time (longer than usual), but I have been busy with work and life in general. I haven’t even had enough time to read! Anyway, this is what I got in October:

 

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Harper Collins Fall Preview Tour to gain product knowledge about the new fall releases of 2016. Because of this tour, I was able to learn about more about books I haven’t even heard of before; it also opened my eyes to two YA books I wouldn’t have considered picking up (but you’ll see them further down in this post).

The HC team was nice enough to provide everyone with a swag bag filled with goodies. Kenneth Oppel also made an appearance to talk about his new book Every Hidden Thing and had a meet and greet/book signing afterwards. It was great! Finally, now onto the books:

(synopses linked to Goodreads)

Every Hidden Thing

Carve the Mark

Closed Casket

Map of Bones

Dragon Springs Road

 

As for November, I purchased these books for my birthday. I didn’t have any time to get them in October (when my actual birthday is. Also, Blood for Blood came out on November 1st) so I bought them all at once.

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Gemina and Blood for Blood were some of my most anticipated sequels of 2016. Both books had phenomenal first novels and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their sequels. The Midnight Star was also one of my most anticipated books of 2016. The series is over and I’m scared to see how it will end. When I first heard about Something in Between, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The main character’s name is Jasmine and she is Filipina. I mean, THAT’S ME! MY NAME IS JASMIN AND I’M FILIPINA. What are the odds? I’ve never read any books with filipino characters, let alone a filipina protagonist! I am so excited to read these books. Here are the books that I bought in November:

The Midnight Star

Blood for Blood

Something in Between

Gemina

December books:

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The Female of the Species and Girl Mans Up are the two books that I picked up after hearing about them during the Harper Collins Tour. They both deal with topics that aren’t really talked about a lot in YA. I bought this version of The Book Thief because of how beautiful it is. I’ve heard some mixed reviews about Heartless but I want to give it a shot myself to see how it will go. I finally got around to buying the illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books; it was a Christmas present to myself from me. HAHA.

The Female of the Species

Girl Mans Up

The Book Thief

Heartless

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


 

And that’s it for now. Thanks for sticking around, and I’ll see you in the next post! Take care of yourself.

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Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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Title: Truthwitch (#1 in the Witchlands series)

Author: Susan Dennard

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis: (Synopsis from Goodreads)

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

My Thoughts: Although the world building was a bit messy in the beginning, I thought that this book was very solid. I do wish that we had spent more time discussing the background and history of this world. All that we are told about the Witchlands is that there was a war before the story took place and that their 20 year peace treaty is about to end. I liked the magic system, but having more clarification with it would’ve been great as well. I thought that having a power and having it branch out to sub-classes was really cool. For example, an Airwitch can control air, create tornadoes, take the air out of someones lungs, etc, but a Windwitch can only manipulate the wind and air currents. My only gripe about the magic was that I lost track of a lot of them because there were so many different types. There is also this thing called “cleaving” that happens sporadically in the book. I’m still not too sure about what causes it or how it even began. I hope that that gets cleared up in the second book.

The characters were by far the best aspect of this book. But at the start of the novel, I had a hard time remembering who was who and who did what; the connections between a few of the characters flew over my head quite a few times.  There were so many uncles, emperors, and guild masters’ names thrown around I didn’t know what to do with them. As for the characters I did enjoy reading about, Safi, Iseult, Merik, and Aeduan were all stellar. Safiya and Iseult are both amazing separately as they are together. They are the perfect balance for each other; Safi is impulsive and headstrong while Iseult is calm, collected, and she thinks things through before she acts. I do prefer Iseult over her counterpart just because I feel like she is a lot more interesting with the storyline that she has. Iz has a lot more going on with her family, and her situation with the Puppeteer; I feel like she is a piece in a game bigger than anyone expects. Although I really like Safi, I found her a little bit annoying at times; I just didn’t like how they were constantly put in danger because of her being so reckless. I am in love with their friendship; they have one of the strongest bonds that I’ve read about in my books. As for Merik, I liked him for the most part. He is a guy who just wants what’s best for his country and will do everything in his power to make it that way. The one thing I didn’t like about Merik was how quickly obsessed he became with Safiya. That was just too fast for me. I can’t even describe how much I enjoy reading about Aeduan, the bloodwitch that is out to get the two girls. He is such a complex character with interesting morals. I started out thinking that he was just a typical villain (the kind that is bad for the sake of being bad) but, he is much more than that. I’ll go into more details about everyone in the spoiler section. Also without giving out too much, just know that I love Iseult and Aeduan separately and together hehehe…

As for the writing, I couldn’t get enough of it. The way that Susan Dennard writes is so addictive.The action sequences are orchestrated so well, they keep you on the edge of your seat. The plot of this book, on the other hand feels like your standard fantasy novel; the main character has a “special power” that everyone wants to have control over for about a half of the book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. For me, I like how the other half of the story deviates from the standard with the other storylines involving the side characters intertwined within it. Just hearing something new while also grabbing hold onto something familiar was refreshing. I kind of wish that a few things were explored a tiny bit more. If you are in the mood to pick up a lighter high fantasy book, then this should keep you satisfied.  This fast paced story coupled with its captivating characters, and an interesting plot, is a solid read. I’m excited for Windwitch and will be getting it once it comes out. Don’t expect too much, just enjoy the journey that the story takes you. And now for the spoiler section.

 

 

**SPOILER SECTION**

 

I want to say something about each character and their relationships + other things.

Safiya: I’m really curious as so to what Safi will have to go through while being with the Iron Queen Lady. Towards the end, she really matured and had some character growth; she no longer thinks of herself as much as she did at the beginning of the novel. I am also interested with how her power works. I want to know why it doesn’t work when people believe that they’re telling the truth. She is also so strong physically and emotionally; Safi can really hold her own. She was so fun to read about. I love her relationship with Iseult so much! They would honestly do anything for each other… to a fault. I think that her relationship with Merik is very interesting. It’s like it has a little bit of instalove because of how long they’ve known each other, but I adore their banter so much. This story takes place over like a week or so.

Iseult: She is probably my favourite character in the whole series so far. I love how she is a thinker. She takes time to assess her surroundings before she acts. Iz is the one with a plan, she is the left handed purse-cutting action in comparison to Safiya as the right hand distraction. Iseult isn’t always as calm and stoic as Threadwitches are “supposed” to be, and I like that about her. She is definitely something else. Her smarts aren’t the only thing that is great about her as well. She is such an amazing warrior; she won’t ever go down without a fight. The fact that she took Aeduan on her own and destroyed him was incredible. But, what made me lover her even more was when she showed him mercy and kept him alive. Speaking of Aeduan, I LOVE HIM AND ISEULT TOGETHER! Even though they tried to kill each other, I knew that it was the beginning of a hate-to-love kind of thing. I want to know more about her backstory involving Evrane and what went down in the past between them. Although her power is very cool, I’m still confused as to how it works sometimes. In the next book, I need to know what will happen with the crazy cult leader guy who can take away powers, if she will see her mom again, her storyline with the puppeteer, and her situation with Aeduan. I LIVE FOR THE SLOWBURN.

Merik: He is a very cool guy. Merik is unlike any other prince that I have ever read about. Most of the time, the characters I read about spend most of their time talking about what they’re going to do to help their peoples’ situation, but Merik actually does something about it. He does what is best for the greater good and sacrifices so much for his crew out at sea. I loved his relationship with Kullen. It showed me an excellent example of a relationship as strong as Safiya and Iseult’s. I do wish that we got to see more from them together but that’s not going to happen because Kullen is dead. I think that his Windwitch powers are super cool and are appropriately useful because of his situation out at sea. I think the one thing I don’t like about him is how fast he became obsessed with Safiya. To me, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about their relationship. I thought it was kind of absurd after the one dance that they shared, he was hooked. And by less than a week, they kissed already. Now, I’m not saying that there should be a schedule as to when people should or shouldn’t kiss, but everything moved pretty fast between them. I do admire their back and forth retorts towards each other and I liked reading about their tension, but I just wish that they kept that tension running on just a little longer into the next few books rather than ending three quarters of the way into the book. I also respected how he put Safi in her place when she was trying to get the healer for Iseult. She put everyone in danger and that just wasn’t okay. Although he was very firm in his punishment, I feel like it helped Safi grow a little bit. I think that is all I can say about Merik. Out of the main four, he is my least favourite.

Aeduan: Oh my goodness. Aeduan is my second favourite character, so closely behind Iseult. He struggles between doing what’s right and what his father wants him to do. But above anything else, he is loyal only to money. When he has a job to do, he finishes it quickly, precisely, and without any unnecessary killing of innocent people. So yes, he is a monster, but he isn’t the worst person out there. Aeduan has an interesting moral code. He also believes in life debts and repaying them. I loved how he saved his mentor, Evrane with such urgency; he really cares for her even if he says that he is “just settling life debts”. I seriously thought she was going to die but thanks to his scary, cool powers, she lives. His powers reminded me of bloodbending in Avatar and Heartrenders in the Grisha Trilogy/ Six of Crows Duology. Bloodwitches are so scary and are very hard to kill. I adore how he repaid his “debt” to Iseult by getting her to safety during the crazy Cleaving attack. I really want to know where his story will take us. I want to know if Safi and Iz are the prophesied Cahr Awen. So far, it is pretty obvious that they are, but if it is true, then that means Aeduan has to be their protector. I am so excited. His connections to his dad in the other land will for sure come into play in later books. I just want to know more about him.

Discussion things in question

  • Connections between Iseult – Puppeteer – Aeduan’s dad – Aeduan
  • More background with side characters (Leopold, Evrane, etc)
  • What Safi is going to do with the Queen
  • Merik’s country after his trade agreements with Safiya’s uncle
  • What the hell cleaving is (seriously though, what?)

 

 

**Spoiler Section Over**

 


 

All in all, this book was an exciting read to pass the time. I hope that the issues in this book get resolved and improve in the next one. As always, thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the next post!

Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Took You the Longest to Finish

 

t5w

I’m back with my take on this week’s Top 5 Wednesday. The topic for this time is: Books That Took You the Longest to Finish. T5W is hosted by Sam over at ThoughtsOnTomes and the Goodreads group’s information will be linked here. I’m not saying that these books are bad in any way, they just took me a really long time to get though them. My choices are in no particular order so LET’S BEGIN!

 

Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler

I don’t even know why, but I think it took me a month to read this book.  Out of these 5 books, this one is probably the easiest to read. It’s pretty much a story of a girl talking about all of these items that she accumulated throughout her relationship and why she’s giving it back to her significant other. It was an interesting read because every time she would talk about a new item, there would be a full page illustration of it and the story of how it came about in their relationship. I think that I just lost interest in the book at about halfway. It felt repetitive; from what I remember, it was a bunch of “I got this item from when we went to this place and whatnot. Because of that, this is why we’re breaking up” for most of the book. I think that is what kept me from finishing this book quicker.

The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken 

I was so hooked on concept of this book that I think I liked it better than the actual novel itself. I remember reading this book and then dropping it for 3 months, only to come back to it super disinterested. I was more than halfway and I forgot what happened, but I didn’t want to restart the book so I just went with it. By the end of it, I didn’t even care about starting the next book. I’m sure I would’ve liked it better if I read it all in one go, but I didn’t. This is one of the series that I won’t be continuing.

A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin

I think this book took long for me to finish because of how lengthy it is. I picked the book up and put it down over the span of 5 months because I kept restarting and stopping. I was so used to how fast paced the show is compared to the book. I just wasn’t reading fast enough. It was still a great read!

The Hobbit – J R R Tolkien

Normally, a book this size would’ve taken me a day or two to finish. This wasn’t like the other books. The Hobbit started out so cool and adventurous, but something kept distracting me. Sleep. Every time I cracked this book open, I would be asleep within 10 minutes. I don’t think it was the books fault! I read this during my senior year of high school and I barely got enough sleep during that time; I would usually sleep extremely late and wake up super early. It was still an interesting read.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

This was one of the biggest books that I’ve read last year; it had 600+ pages and moved in a slow pace. With those major factors, this book took me longer than expected to read. Although it was a great way to end the series, the journey from beginning to end took so incredibly long! I was also working during the holiday season as well, so I barely had time to read at all.

 


 

And I think that this is all for now. As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next post!

Stranger Things Book Tag

Stranger Things is one of the best new TV series that I saw this year so when I saw that there was a book tag going around, I had to make it ASAP. This tag was made by Sarah over at Sarah Sunbeemz. The link to her video is here. Let’s get started!

1. EPIC INTRO. The opening sequence of Stranger Things is amazing and really grabs your attention. Name a book that grabbed your attention from the first page.

elites

The Young Elites sucked me into its world within the first chapter but by the first page, I was hooked. The book kickstarts the beginning with Adelina imprisoned, waiting until her execution that takes place on the following day. I immediately wanted to know what she did to get herself into this situation and if she could get herself out of it as well.

 

 

2. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Name a fantasy world you would like to experience yourself. 

happy-potter-and-the-philo-stone

I know that it is the obvious choice but to me, the one and only answer for this question is and always will be the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I don’t even care how common the answer will be, I just want to live in it for a little bit and see how the world works.

 

 

3. SQUAD GOALS. When Eleven met Mike, Dustin and Lucas it was a *mostly* perfect team. Name your favourite bookish group of friends.

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There are so many friendships that I could’ve chosen for this topic but the group that stood out for me the most is Blue and the Raven Boys in The Raven Cycle Series. I love all of the characters separately and also when they are all together. The way that the lot of them interact with each other and support one another is my favourite thing ever. I love Blue and Ronan’s back and forth banter; it’s always something I look forward to whenever I read about them.

 

4. ABC’s & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Joyce Byers goes mad with grief after Will goes missing. Name your favourite mentally unhinged character.

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Winter from The Lunar Chronicles. When we are first introduced to Winter, we are informed about her state of mind because of the Lunar gift that she has as well as her lack of usage for them. Winter is strong and kind; she sees the best in people even if their feelings for her aren’t reciprocated. Seeing her hallucinations influenced by the halting of her powers become deathly close to reality was incredibly scary each time it happened. I just worried for her well-being most of the time.

 

5. THE UPSIDE DOWN. Name a book that was the opposite of what you expected.

hald-bad

In the book Half Bad by Sally Green, I thought there was going to be a lot of magic involved. The story takes place in a world where there are White Witches and Black Witches and our protagonist happens to be a mix of both. I’m not sure how it is in the following novels for this series, but there was a minimum amount of magic in this first book. I don’t know, but with a book involving this many witches, I expected there to be more magic than this.

 

6. MAD SCIENTISTS. Dr. Brenner likes to get freaky with humanity. Name the freakiest dystopian government you can think of.

thg

Hunger Games had a pretty insane government. I mean, they had a bunch of children fight each other to the death on national television for entertainment. How freaky could you get?

 

 

 

7. DEMOGORGON. Name a scary bookish creature that you would not want to come through your walls.

I think I can say that I’ve lived my entire life happily if I never have a Dementor come through my walls. They would suck the fun out of everything.

8. CLIFFHANGER ENDING. name a book that left you wanting more.

tlh

The last few sentences of The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan had me wanting to throw myself out of a window. I immediately needed to know about that person’s situation and where said person was located. Thank goodness I didn’t have to wait a year for the next book to come out and that I had it right on my bookshelf. I would’ve shriveled up into a raisin if I had to wait that long!

 

 

I Tag:

Anyone who wants to do this tag!

 


 

And with that, I’m pulling this tag into a close. As always, thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the next post.

August & September Book Haul & Wrap Up

These are the books that I’ve bought this month:

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(Synopses linked to Goodreads)

Milk and Honey

The Assassin’s Blade

A Torch Against the Night

Illuminae

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The 3 Books I’ve read in August are: 

A Court of Mist and Fury – Rating: 4.75 Stars

This book was probably the wildest book that I’ve read so far this year. I don’t even know where to begin because there is so much to talk about. Since this is a wrap up, I’m going to try to keep it short. When I first started the book, I was worried about how long I was going to get into it because of how lengthy the book is; it’s literally thicker than a brick. I thought that pacing issues were also going to be a thing because of the books length. Many situations can be dragged out or rushed when you have a book this big, but this was not the case at all. Everything felt essential to the story and was well thought out. I greatly appreciated how much Feyre changed and grew as a character in this novel.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Rating: 3 Stars

Whenever I look at this book, I’m never sure how to feel about it. I have had a few people ask me about my thoughts about the novel and all I can ever give them is a shrug and an,”I mean, I guess I enjoyed it”. A few of the things that I did love about about this book is that we were placed back into the world that we want to be in with the characters that we all know and love.

Milk and Honey – Rating: 4 Stars

I’m not entirely sure how I’m supposed to rate poetry, but this was one of the books that hit me so hard in the feelings in such a short amount of time.

 

And now for my September books: 

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Continue reading

Book Event + Signing: The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E Pearson

Hello hello hello,

I attended my first book signing just a few days ago! I’m sorry if I skip out on details. I didn’t exactly write everything that went down; most of this post is going based off of my memory. On September 9th, my local bookstore hosted an event for the final book in the Remnant Chronicles, Beauty of Darkness. Mary E Pearson was brought in to talk about her newest release and the series as a whole. A lot of the topics that were discussed were about what it means to be a strong female (character and I guess person as well) and how you have to make your own choices to live out your life; both topics were greatly insightful. After she vaguely summarized what each book was about, the floor was open for a Q&A period.

It started off with an awkward silence. When Mary asked if anyone had any questions, the entire event was quiet for a good 10 seconds before anyone asked anything. We only had the chance to ask about 5-7 questions because her answers were super in-depth and we were running out of time. I remember one of the questions that was asked that interested me; one of the attendees wanted to know (something along the lines of) if Mary intended there to be a love triangle in the first book. What intrigued me the most was her answer. She said that she doesn’t see it as a love triangle, but more of a love complication. And then Mary asked the crowd if we’ve been in a love triangle before but most of us shook our heads no. It was something I never really thought about. Usually when you crush on other people, their feelings are either mutual or they’re not. It works both ways as well. When a person has a crush on us, we can either return those feelings, or we don’t. This is the case with the characters in the Remnant Chronicles; Lia and one of the guys are mutual with each other, while the other guy has more of a one sided love with her. Seeing it in this new light made me change my point of view about the character dynamics. Not a triangle, but a complication.

I also asked a question. “Out of the three books, which one did you enjoy writing the most?”. Mary went on about how she would speak to Robin LaFevers (the author of the His Fair Assassin series) between book writing about the level of difficulty each book would be to write. Long story short, the book she enjoyed writing the most was The Beauty of Darkness. There were also questions about her favourite scenes that she wrote, small things she regrets writing/things she would take back, and the involvement of her secondary characters. After the Q&A section was over, there was a little trivia section that people would answer to win prizes. The final section to wrap the even up was the book signing portion. It went buy very smoothly and quickly. I was one of the last few attendees to receive a signed poster. Mary thanked me for asking her my question and we talked a little bit about the series. She is so nice! I picked up some bookmarks and other swag on my way out and left very happily.

 

 

Here are some pictures from today (click to enlarge them and to see the captions):

 

All in all, I would say that I had a great first experience with this event. I hope that I can attend more events like this in the future so that I can post about them more often. As always, I’ll see you soon in the next post.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite First Sentences

t5w

I’m finally back with another Top 5 Wednesday after the longest time ever! I know that it says “first sentence”, but I couldn’t choose just 1. I had to include more sentences, but I limited myself to 4 at most. I’m sorry for ‘cheating’, but I couldn’t help myself. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly feature now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes The T5W’s information will be in the goodreads group here if you’re interested in participating next week. This week’s topic are my top 5 favourite first sentences in no particular order. Here we go!

5. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

“Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day. He woke in the backseat of a school bus, not sure where he was, holding hands with a girl he didn’t know.”

The Lost Hero is the first book where we see the story unfold in the eyes of brand new characters. I like how we’re thrown into the same situation as an equally confused Jason and are eager to find out what is happening.

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After.”

I just love these first few sentences; they make it sound like a typical “everything changed when this-and-that happened” story but still grasps your attention with the way the words come together through mystery and curiosity.

3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

“It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy–that guy right over there-that’s him. The him. His posture is as familiar as a recurring dream.”

This book starts off with an impulsive decision made by Isla, high on pain medication, and I love it. Immediately, I want to know about who this guy is, what his deal is with Isla, and what she plans on doing with him. Spontaneous actions are done, hijinks ensue.

2. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

“My big brother reaches home in the dark hours before dawn, when even ghosts take their rest. He smells of steel and coal and forge. He smells of the enemy.”

It is amazing how fast these words can build atmosphere. I already have a picture painted in my head everytime I read these few lines. Once again, I feel mystery because it makes we wonder what Laia’s brother was doing out so late at night smelling all funky.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“First the colours. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.”

The Book Thief is the absolute first for me for reading in Death’s point of view. I just thought that it was super interesting. I don’t even know why I love these first sentences so much. I just do!


This has been my take on this week’s T5W. As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!