5. lis 2015.

ARC Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

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Book summary:
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.
And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.
Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.
         We can all take a moment and ask ourselves: "Would you buy this book based only on the cover?" My answer is yes, I would for sure. That's I guess how this book ended on my approved NG list. Anyhow, some things this blurb doesn't tell you. First of that it carries the idea of One Thousand and One Nights. While not a retelling, still too much of it rings a bell if you are familiar with The Arabian Nights.

         So, here we are with our main characters, nameless girl and I will simply call her "she". So she is a girl who is a potential bride for Lo-Melkhiin. She is not the only one, as her sister (the prettier one) is also in danger of being taken away by Lo-Melkiin. Only our main character being a good sister goes through "the ugly duckling" phase and transforms into a beautiful swan. After making it into harem she starts fight for her life. She uses her knowledge of storytelling and all the stories she herd to distract Lo-Melkiin from killing her. It then starts to turn into much bigger story and more complex than it seemed at the start.

         That all aside, I must say that this book is really weird. Don't get me wrong. I had a decent share of weird reads and all but this one is just "I don't know what to think of it" weird. While yes it's nicely written and certainly fast read, still pretty much pointless. You don't have any idea about the main character as there really isn't any characterization here, nor there is any romance to be frank. There is a great idea and all but lacking a way of connecting with it.

       I like to refer to this kind of books as "lost in translation" books. It was interesting to read, but still didn't give me anything to connect with and there was lack of any sort of feelings, which disappointed me the most.

Rating: 2.5 stars. 

Until the next time,
*NOTE: Copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review. Thank you!

19. ruj 2015.

ARC Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

My rating: 4.5 stars

Book summary:

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.


      Every once in a while I stumble upon a book that reminds me of something my favorite collage professor told us, back then first year literature students, about the art of reading. About it being interactive process. It is not just you holding this seemingly harmless object in your hands, following words on paper and converting them into the pictures in your head. Books can be dangerous things. Break the rules. Bring down oppressive societies.  Make people think with their own head and stop being part of the zombiefied mass. Tell the truth. And if you read just so you can escape reality and live in the la-la land of fairy tales (which are again construct of various ideologies), you are burying your head in the sand. Literature shouldn't only make you feel content and happy. Literature has to be brutal. Honest. Cruel. Make you feel angry and horrified.It has to push the lines. Protest and rage. 

      Aaron Hartzler wrote a book like that. 

      The rape culture and slut-shaming. Social media sites. These are basically topics of What We Saw. Based on real events. Real. As in this happened somewhere to somebody. What We Saw made me feel angry. I am still angry. It made me obsess over things we do not take seriously - like our children walking around with smartphones and not knowing basic rules of what is polite, safe and sending them into the big (virtual) world thinking that they are going to know to make difference between right and wrong, and pick right, hopefully, every time. That is where parenting stops. That is where murky world of modern society takes hold. And everyone hides behind the screen of the pone or computer, not realizing what "empathy" means. Turning real people into pixels, hashtags and number of likes and shares.  

      I have to be honest and admit that I wasn't completely won over by this book when I first started reading it. I was annoyed with main character, with how shallow and mindless she is sometimes. I am so happy that I read this now. What We Saw is the book we should make our kids read - no matter if you are a parent or a teacher. Make them read it. And talk about it. Talk, talk, talk. That is the only way to make a difference.

*ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.*

18. ruj 2015.

ARC Review: The White Rose by Amy Ewing

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Book summary:
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.
But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.
But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?
The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.
          It's been a while since my girl Emma and I did a read-a-long so when we figured out that we both had this book, it was easily decided. While we both enjoyed some parts of this book, I'm quite sure that Emma loved it more than me. It wasn't a bad sequel there were just some things that bothered me here. But more about that in our little discussion (if you're new to our read-a-long, the idea is that we come up with questions and then both of us answer them, thus forming a review).

You can check out Emma's answers at Never Judge a Book by its Cover

The feelings you expressed after finishing this book? 
Honestly, mine were torn. While on the one hand, I really enjoyed how this world building developed and some secondary characters really surprised me, somehow I couldn't enjoy this book fully because of Violet. She is a cliche character and at that very predictable which made some part of this story predictable too.

What part of the world-building did you enjoy the most? 
For sure the whole idea about Auguries. It's such an interesting concept and while not new, it was a bit different here. As soon as we left The Jewel and got to the island I really liked how it expanded and the whole background of it.

Speaking of it, which Auguries would you want to be able to control? 
Third one for sure. The first two are about the appearance and while I don't say it is not important still the last one controls what truly matters.

Your thoughts on Violet's character? 
Here is where it gets tricky, as she is the main issue for me here. There is so much about here that was cliche and that bothered me a lot. It influenced the story as well and therefore I couldn't enjoy it fully. It's always hard when you cannot connect with the main character.

How did you feel about Violet and Ash? 
It started off on a wrong foot in the first one. I know that many complained about it being insta love which it was back then. I'm happy to say that it progressed nicely here. It's still not something that I could say it OTP, but maybe it will get there.

What's your favorite secondary character? 
RAVEN! No words needed!

Which one did you like more: The Jewel or The White Rose? 
Honestly, it's hard to decided. While you'll notice that I gave The Jewel 4 stars it doesn't mean that it was better. I like both, but wasn't blown away by either.

Rating: 3 stars.

Until the next time,
*NOTE: Copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Thank you!

17. ruj 2015.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 5 stars

Book summary:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


 Buddy read with lovely Emma from Never Judge A Book By Its Cover.

      Nicola Yoon won me over with her debut novel Everything, Everything. Beautiful and fluid writing, intriguing story and likable characters are what makes this book so good. Young girl who spent her whole life locked inside of the same house, not being able to go out because of her illness. Empty house next door that one morning isn't empty anymore. Boy who wears all black and doesn't give up on the weird girl who stares at him from her bedroom window. Emails. Hawaii. And then everything unravels. 
      Everything, Everything does start a little bit naive, it reminds of the child's play in its emotional simplicity. But nothing is as it seems. Don't give up on it. Just read and you will see.

Dear Maddy

From: glass.amra@gmail.com
To: madeline.whittier@gmail.com
Subject: Hello

Dear Maddy!
I hope that it is okay that I sent you this email.  You seem like a really great girl and I wouldn't mind being your friend. After all, you are the fellow bookworm and us bookworms have to stick together. 
You and Olly - I approve. He's a great guy. Anyone who got through so many obstacles just to get a moment of your time, is worthy of your attention. 
I think you are brave, Maddy. You took the risk. You went after what you wanted. And you were still a little bit scared, but you didn't let something trivial like fear stop you from experiencing things. 
You deserve happiness, Maddy. I do hope that you found it wherever you are now.


Maddy writes on the inside of the book Reward If Found. What would you put on yours?

      Oh, I loved that part of the story. I?ve been thinking about this ever since I finished reading Everything, Everything. Maybe something like this:
Enjoyable picnic at the Moon (or Moon-like surface if original is not yet available) and interesting conversation that will include debate about awesomeness of Star Trek and how it relates to our modern world technology, why chocolate is the best food ever, what is the best time to read and other equally interesting topics. (If you are my boyfriend, possibility of some serious make out session is not excluded.) 

Maddy got one chance to go outside with Olly and the place she chose was Hawaii to see the state fish with weird and long name. If we had one chance where would you want to go, who would you go with and why? 

     Do I really have to pick just one place? One one person? If I really have to make a choice, I'll go with my boyfriend to Tokyo. We are both fascinated with Japanese culture and lifestyle, how different everything is from where we live. 

In the end...

     Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is brilliant debut novel you should not miss. I won't lie to you and say that I didn't have some issues with it, but all of those things were something I was able to look over because rest of it was so, so good. Extra advice? Read it with a friend. Emma and I had great time chatting about it. Make sure to check out her review as well at Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

Happy reading,

4. ruj 2015.

The Misanthrope: Stone’s Story by S.M. Boyce

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Book summary:
Before Stone trained Kara Magari or taught the First Vagabond to master the Blood loyalty, he was nothing more than a slave boy named Terric.
Terric is a curious loner hellbent on reading his master’s forbidden books. When one heist goes wrong, Terric abandons his old life and runs for freedom—only to fall prey to a ruthless man named Niccoli.
Niccoli is an isen—a creature of magic from the hidden world of Ourea—and he awakens within Terric an unimaginable gift. But this gift comes with a catch. Suddenly in control of newfound power he is forbidden to freely use, Terric realizes too late he simply traded one master for another.
In Ourea, a world dominated by the gifted, few isen dare defy their masters. Until now.
         In case you missed it somehow I'm a huge fan of The Grimoire Saga, which is actually from where the characters of this, and those to come, short story is coming from. So after the original saga ended, Boyce said that she would write the short stories for the three, for me the most interesting side characters. I was thrilled.

        That's how we got to the Stone and his story. Now in this short story we see how everything started for him and what he actually was before we get to meet him as Kara's coach in a way. His story is quite interesting one as he started as someone not that important, but his desire to knowledge led him to the place he is when we first meet him. Not to spoil things for you, he goes through a lot in order to become somebody.

       Now the thing with me and Stone is that we never had some special connection. Yes he was always an interesting character, but never really someone I couldn't wait to see in the book. So for me it wasn't really a surprise that I couldn't quite connect with him in this book. I did enjoy the story and really interesting world building, though.

       But for everyone who has read or plan to read The Grimoire Saga, I recommend to read this story too. It's also a different view on Ourea (I won't say more).

Rating: 3.5 stars.

Until the next time,

2. ruj 2015.

Waiting on Wednesday (#147)

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.

Our pick

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Told in alternating points of view, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Expected publication: February 9th, 2016

We'd love to see your picks so feel free to link them up.

Until the next time,

31. kol 2015.

ARC Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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Book summary:
Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie? 
When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.
What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.
          I don't know for you, but back when I was a kid Aladdin was a huge hit. It brought us a piece of orient that for me, till then, was an unknown part of the world. Now years later I got familiar with it and while I hoped that A Whole New World would add more to my knowledge of it, sadly I cannot say it happened.

         What the blurb promises you is a dark version of Aladdin and it certainly delivers. This is much, much darker version of it. There still is Aladdin and Genie and Jafar and all the characters that you've already had a chance to meet years ago only non of them are what they seemed. Better said they all were just a shadows of previous selves. It seemed to me like there wasn't really any effort to develop and create some new sides of them. They all were really plain. Aladdin is just your typical character, one dimensional and plain boring. But I could live with that I guess, if it wasn't for Genie. Remember that big, blue guy whose witty comebacks made you giggle in front of the TV, well he is not here. And that disappointed me the most.

          This book still has some unexpected twist, I will give it that. It's a really interesting idea and this idea could be really nicely done and maybe will be somewhere else. But not here. Everything just sort of happened, without any feelings or my involvement in any part of it. It was action packed so you go through it pretty fast, but in all honesty you'll forget it even faster.

          Basically, interesting idea and good promise, but really bad realization.

Rating: 1 star.

Until the next time,
*NOTE: Copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher Disney Press. Thank you. 

30. kol 2015.

The Sunday Post (#53)

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!

Morning all! Another week is behind us and September is just round the corner. Meaning, this summer is almost over. It's been a good one, but autumn is my favorite season so I'm looking forward to that. 
In the meantime our week wasn't really eventful, I'm polishing my final thesis, while Glass is still job hunting. We do get to read a lot in the meantime, but it's been quite hot here so sitting in front of a computer is not really appealing. 
How are you? Any interesting new reads?
  • ARC Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell 
  • Waiting on Wednesday (#147)
  • The Misanthrope: Stone's Story by S.M. Boyce 
Thank you: HarperTeen, Blazer + Bray and GreenwillowBooks

Until the next time, 

28. kol 2015.

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

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Book summary:
When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .
Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.
He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.
He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.
Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.
Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.
         I always had a weak spot for unreliable narrators and shocking reveals so it wasn't strange that this book got under my skin. I like being surprised and even though at moments Charm & Strange went off to places I might wanted to avoid still it gave me what I was looking for.

         Meet Win, a boy with a strange idea. Well, he believes that he may be a wolf. Just by that you might realize that this book will go somewhere between realistic and fantasy, depending how you want to see it. He tells his story from two aspects. One is Before which is actually the main part of the book and the other After, which actually reveals things for you. You get lost at the start and even though it all seems like just a story or rather imagination afterwards it gets realistic and it really shocks you. This books is much more than you expect after first few pages.

       This story is different in many ways. It tells about something I was never close to and still I felt every emotion that this book gave off. You will notice that I'm very wage about everything so don't blame me. If it get you curious and you go and read the book then my job is done. Telling you everything would just ruin the experience.

       Don't do research and read much about. Just read it. There are some things that you need to experience alone and in your own way.

Rating: 4 stars.

Until the next time,

26. kol 2015.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Buy the book at 

Book summary:
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
         In case that you're thinking that in this book Holly Black will deliver you a fluffy and lovely story about magical land where everything ends with HEA, well don't raise your hopes. Even after reading The Coldest Girl in the Coldtown I knew that this one would be different, but I didn't know by how much.

        Here we're in a place somewhere, between reality and fiction. It's a world just like ours only it's slightly different as it has fae in it. The folk of Fairfold are aware of it and while they tend to warn all tourists away from the woods, it's hard to resist temptation. Especially after the Snow White, sorry, a boy with horns is missing from his glass coffin. It triggers all kinds of change that neither Hazel nor Ben thought would ever happen. Their fantasies are close to coming to life, only what if they aren't as idealistic as they seemed in their little heads.

         For me, Holly's greatest strength beside captivating writing is that she can use any typical paranormal creature and give you a story that is all but typical. Vampires don't turn too human in here books and fairies don't make you fly, it's quite opposite as humans are more likely to become like vampires and run from fairies as far as they can. It's what intrigues me so much that I will read anything she writes.

Rating: 4 stars.

Until the next time,


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