28. stu 2014.

Bookish Problems #16 - All About DNF


      One of the things you can read in reviews on Goodreads lately is: "DNF at 30%" (or some other percentage). Are you one of those readers?

      DNF or "did not finish" is a absolutely legitimate right of every reader  - not to finish reading a book because for some reason, we didn't like it. I have my share of DNF books, even review copies that I got from publishers and authors. Some would say that it is not okay not to finish a book that you were gifted in exchange for a review, but in the last year or two I realized that I do not have time or patience to waste my time on something that doesn't keep my attention or I have no interest in. Yes, I did learn not to request or accept books for which I know aren't my cup of tea, but still sometimes I do make a mistake. I blame it on my eagerness to help spread the word about debuts and new authors, but there were few occasions when book failed to deliver what was promised in book summary.
      I am even more sharp-tongued when it comes to the books that I bought, borrowed from library or got as Kindle freebies. Back in the days when I was still in school and, later, uni I thought that I had to finish every book. Some of those were required reads for my classes and others were not. Nowadays, I realized that I am getting to old to waste my time on the things I do not enjoy, so I feel zero guilt for not finishing something I don't like.

Fellow bookworms,
what is your opinion about DNFing books? 
Do or don't? 

Love,

26. stu 2014.

Waiting on Wednesday (#123)

You know the story. This is a meme created by Breaking the Spine and every week we pick books we're waiting for. Here are our picks for this week.

We can't wait to read...


 There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.


The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

Publication date: February 10th, 2015

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17285330-the-last-time-we-say-goodbye?from_search=true

Cynthia Hand and contemporary young adult novel? Of course we will read it! Hopefully, it will be even better than Unearthly trilogy. 

What did you pick this Wednesday? 

Happy reading,

 

25. stu 2014.

Nocte ( The Nocte Trilogy, #1) by Courtney Cole

 By the book:
Author's:

My rating: 3 stars

Book summary:

"Save me and I'll save you...

My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole.
My other half-- my twin brother, my Finn-- is crazy. 
I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me.
I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline. 
Dare DuBray. 
He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me. 
He has the power to destroy me. 
Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt. 
Why? Because of a secret. 
A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. 
You won’t either."

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23312692-nocte?ac=1

       One of the books I have been anxiously waiting to read this November was new Courtney Cole novel, Nocte. After so many mysterious teasers and no actual synopsis until the very end, I was so curious to see what it will be about. Am I happy that I read it? Absolutely! But was it what I expected? Sadly, no.

It was unexpectedly expected.

      Maybe the problem is me and not the book. This year I've read several novels with the same general idea but different approach. I won't talk about what Nocte is about, because everything could be possible spoiler and trust me, you do not want even a hint of the spoiler if you wish to enjoy reading this book. I know - I was my own damn spoiler. I guessed what is the big secret and what could have happened. Funny thing - when you read enough stories that should leave you with your mouth hanging open and buzzing in your ears (maybe even a little bit of terror and repulsion), you figure out pattern of those stories. That shocking moment is never really a surprise for you.

Bad writing.

      I was talking with my friend about this book and she asked me to explain what was the biggest no for me. It wasn't the fact that I new what would happen - actually, I really enjoyed reading it despite that, I was curious to see how will everything unravel. Thing that annoyed me the most was writing. Cliche and repetitive, making it impossible to get into the fictional world and forget everything else. 

I'm wondering...

...what will other two books be about, since Nocte is the first book of the trilogy. I will probably read them because of, as I already said, I did enjoy reading Nocte and I'm wondering what is a deal with Dare.
Should you read it? Definitely yes if you enjoy suspenseful and angsty new adult stories. 

Happy reading,

24. stu 2014.

(ARC Review) The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

Buy the book:
 Author's:
Publication date: November 25th, 2014
My rating: 3 stars

Book summary:
"Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete."

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21938168-the-shape-of-my-heart?from_search=true

      Third and final book new adult series, 2B Trilogy by Ann Aguirre, was a pleasant enough read and I believe that fans of this kind of books will be satisfied with story about Max and Courtney. One thing I have to admit is that I expected much more from this story.

      Max. I was looking forward to reading his  story because he was such a strange guy in previous two books. Mix of two completely opposed images - he is emotional and vulnerable young man, cuddly and sweet, but only in front of his roommates. For everyone else, he turns into player and womanizer, friendly guy who seems to get along with everyone. I knew that there would be a darker story about his past compared with other characters and that was completely fine by me. Unfortunately, it took turn into overly melodramatic and not so dark after all. More like "Cinderella and evil stepmother" or similar black and white reasoning. 

      Courtney. Probably one of the most original female characters -  because of the fact that she is bisexual. I have never so far read new adult (or young adult) with bisexual character. So many wasted possibilities! Don't get me wrong, I did like her, but I felt as if that part of her portraying was thrown into the mix just to make her look more interesting. Whole part about Courtney liking girls and interacting with her ex was unbelievable. Story quickly turns into regular new adult boy/girl romance.

    Final judgement? The Shape of My Heart is satisfying conclusion to the trilogy with few original ideas and even more typical new adult premises.

Happy reading,
*Copy of the book was provided by publisher, Harlequin HQN, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*

23. stu 2014.

The Sunday Post (#34)

Hello all. Well, as some of you know Sundays are always reserved for Sunday Post which is a meme created by lovely Kim @Caffeinated Book Reviews!

Hiya! Well, it's another Sunday and it's time for a little update. Nothing new here, at least weather-wise. We have got a really nice autumn weather. But we have seen different reports coming from States and you people there stay safe! We hope that you are warm and enjoying some amazing reads. We have been busy as usual. Tanja is still doing her midterms and well it's gonna be a tough week. Glass in the meantime is enjoying some awesome books. So let's see what we have for you next. 

  • The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguire (ARC Review) 
  • Nocte by Courtney Cole (ARC Review) 
  • Waiting on Wednesday (#123)
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • Bookish Problems - All About DNF
Glass' haul 
Thank you: Balzer + Bray, HarperTeen, Katherine Tegen Books, Greenwillow, PocketBooks, HarperCollins! 

Until the next time, 

21. stu 2014.

Bookish Problems #15 - NetGalley vs Edelweiss

Hello dears. I got inspired for another Bookish Problems post and this is actually a question that's been coming to my mind from time to time. Please note that I'm not favoring either because I get approved there more or anything, just my view of the both.

NetGalley 

I'll start with NetGalley as I have been there longer. So, first thing that grabbed me when it comes to this site is organization and how easy it was to navigate it. Because I really tend to keep everything around me organized this was a really important thing to me. Another good thing it that you have your profile there where you can check your stats, which I couldn't find at Edelweiss. I really pay attention to this as I try to read all arcs I download so I really love that thing about NetGalley. Still archive date always works for me as it helps me organize (I'm an organization lunatic as you can see) my reads. But let's face it when it comes to YA book there are many that aren't available there. Which now leads us to Edelweiss.

Edelweiss

I resisted and avoided this site for quite some time. I had profile there for years but I started requesting books there just last spring. Main reason for that is that it's not easy to find your way there. It took me some time to get used to the site and how to find what I was looking for. You have epiphany once you get to look around and search for some books as you get a really great list of titles and some amazing books offered that you cannot find at NetGalley. I was also really surprised how easily I got approved there as I haven't been active for years. Downside is that I don't get to see my stats and this will sound weird but there is no archive (as far as I have seen). I'm always "nah, I'll read it soon" and then I end with that book on my Kindle for months.

Final verdict: Both. Yes I might be better familiar with NetGalley but Edelweiss offers some amazing books that you cannot miss. So,

So penny for your thoughts. Which one do you prefer and why? I always love to hear your opinion so share! I don't bite. Promise!

Until the next time, 

20. stu 2014.

(Series Review) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor



Buy the books:
Author's:

Book summary:

"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"

http://www.goodreads.com/series/67386-daughter-of-smoke-bone

      I am so happy that I waited for all three books to be published before picking up Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor is a queen of killing you slowly with cliffhangers. Even the final book leaves you with more questions than answers.

     First book of the trilogy was the weakest, in my opinion. Mainly focused on the romance and full of unbelievable portraying of Czechs - more like literary caricatures than actual characters - Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a book that slowly drives you crazy, no matter the fact that you keep reading it because you just have to see what will happen next. The most appealing thing about it, as one of my friends described it, is its weirdness. Yes, this is a love story with a paranormal twist and most of it can be labeled as the usual archetypes of the genre, what makes it easy for a reader to predict in which direction will story go, but, at the same time, you are pulled into this crazy whirlwind of emotions and mythology.

     Days of Blood and Starlight was a pleasant surprise - when it comes to trilogies, second book tends to be the weakest link, one that has all standard "middle book syndrome" issues. There is no middle book syndrome here.  Laini Taylor managed to redeem herself because she moved the focus of the story from the romance to the political intrigue, building of the fictional (fantasy) world - and here we come to the part where I realized what was the big no for me in the previous book, but also generally in fantasy literature. There is no "world will end if the star-crossed lovers don't end up together" storyline. I was sure that something along those lines will happen in the rest of the series, but thankfully, it did not.

     Dreams of Gods and Monsters was the most exciting book of the trilogy. Every chapter was like a cliffhanger for itself - it was a pure, enjoyable torture to read it. Full of angst and drama, unexpected twists and turns, final installment keeps you on your toes until the very end. And the second end. Also, the third one. You're confused, right? I know, I was, too. Dreams of Gods and Monsters started so good, but ended in the massive cluster of hints for what would come in the fantastical world of Eretz after we close the book and quick solutions for mysteries that popped up along the way. Imagined like the explanation of all whys and hows and how comes, it overwhelms a reader with amount of information, mythology and science mix up and constant switching from one point of view to the another. Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a book that should be read slowly - not in one sitting - take a breaks, process what you read and then continue. (Jessica from Rabid Reads explained this perfectly.)

    What is my biggest issue with the Laini Taylor's trilogy? Ending. It is obvious that this is not the open ending which is the end no matter all questions and mysteries that it includes, but the introduction to the possible spin-off series. (If the marketing division of the publishing house establishes that there is enough interest among readers/buyers for something like that and that it would bring a lot of money - you know, The Mortal Instruments scenario.)

      Final judgement? Beautifully told story about angels and demons, Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy will find its fans among readers who prefer fantasy and paranormal romance, especially younger readers who are meeting this kind of literature for the first time. For those who are spoiled by epicness of Lumatere Chronicles or don't like when trilogies are not really trilogies, this will be enjoyable read,like it was for me.

Ratings:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - 3 stars
Days of Blood and Stralight - 5 stars
Dreams of Gods and Monsters - 3.5/4 stars



Happy reading,

19. stu 2014.

Waiting on Wednesday (#122)

You know the story. This is a meme created by Breaking the Spine and every week we pick books we're waiting for. Here are our picks for this week.

We can't wait to read...


When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

(This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.)

Release date: May 5th 2015

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21570318-crimson-bound

Cruel Beauty was one of the best retellings we have ever read, so it is no surprise that we are excited for the up coming Rosamund Hodge novel. 

What are you looking forward this week? 

Happy reading,

18. stu 2014.

Series a Month Challenge

    Last month I saw great post on Book Munchies - Kim challenged herself to read at least one series a month. That got me thinking about all those series that I've started and haven't finished or I really want to read. Once upon a time, I refused to read anything other that series and then I got bored with waiting for sequels, so I decided to wait for at least three books to be published before picking it up. And now, I have so many sequels that I have no idea where to start.

Rules?


   I should probably point out that this is not an "official challenge" - girl behind this idea is Danielle, blogger from Love at First Page. She has same problem a me - standalone books because you don't have to wait for sequels - and she decided to challenge herself to read more series. Rules are that it has to be 3+ books series with at least two books already published or a completed duology.

What I plan to read?


    I won't make definite list because I don't know for sure what would appeal to me the most from my TBR list, but I have few possible candidates. Like a series that everyone read except me. I've already finished one series this month - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (you can read my review later this week). Here is a list of series that I hope I'll be able to read.


Wish me luck! 
xoxo,


17. stu 2014.

The Girl In Between by Leakan Kemp (Excerpt)

FREE AT  
Author's 

Book summary:
Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.
But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

Excerpt
“Can I show you something?” she asked.I wasn’t sure if I should follow her or even if I could but I didn’t want her to let go of me. I didn’t want her to disappear again and leave me there alone, still lost. So I nodded.We swam to the end of the dock and she untied the small rowboat. She climbed in first, reaching for the oars and holding it steady as I sat down across from her. I watched the house recede. My eyes trailed back to the road, still waiting for someone to come down it. They didn’t.“Where are we going?” I asked.“Not far.”I searched the horizon but it was empty. No land. No boats. It felt like we were headed straight for the skyline, about to fall off into nothing. The waves grew choppy and I wanted to take the oars from her but I didn’t know where we were going and for some reason I liked listening to the slow rhythm of her breathing as she fought the waves.The boat finally grinded to a stop and when I looked over the edge the water was so clear I could see tiny creatures bedding in the sand, their thin shadows eclipsed by the girl as she climbed onto the sandbar.“I went to the Bahamas once when I was thirteen,” she said. “The water was so blue. I strapped on a snorkel and spent the entire week just walking from sandbar to sandbar, face underwater watching the fish swim by.”I followed her out of the boat and a school of bright yellow fish cut between us, scales glinting.“This?” I said.She smiled and walked around to the other side of the boat. The water was a dark grey, my legs tangled in a mess of rust colored seaweed. I could barely see my feet, their shadows disappearing beneath swirls of mud.“This is the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston. I tagged along on one of my mom’s work trips. It was just a few weeks after Hurricane Ike.”I stared at the muddled outline where the two oceans converged—one light, one dark. I waited for them to mix, for that invisible seam to break free but it didn’t.We waded farther out into the clear water, another school of fish bumping against my calf, bright red coral twisting near my ankles. It was startling.“I used to come here,” she said. “When I first got sick I would stand here and it wouldn’t feel like purgatory anymore. They’re memories.” She faced the beach. “My memories.” Then she looked at me. “I don’t know why you’re here or if you’re—”“Real?” I asked.She nodded and I wasn’t so sure anymore either.“But you don’t have to be afraid,” she said. “It doesn’t have to feel like purgatory.”I watched the sunlight reflecting off the ocean and dancing against her skin. Her eyes were lighter in the sun; green churning to a soft sea foam like the waves crashing near our feet. And standing there in that invisible seam between two oceans, two worlds, she was just as startling.The tide swirled in her gaze and I watched it shimmer there, glinting from a soft grey to jade and then I said, “It doesn’t.”


Until the next time,

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