Thursday, September 29, 2016

It's not just about the books...

So, if you follow this blog you might remember that I took a yearish long break a while ago. Nothing major happened to force me to stop blogging I just kind of...got bogged down by it all - you know?

In any case, I missed it and last year I started up again and I'm loving it (again).

But...

I told myself I would take it easy, make it simple - -which, for some reason translated into review only posts.

Ok - so tour stop and book blitz posts also but really, the only content I have been 100% generating myself have been reviews.

And for a while now I've been of the mind set of 'well, there is nothing wrong with that, I mean this is a book REVIEW blog - of course it should contain reviews of books'

And I wasn't wrong...but I also wasn't right.

I guess the simplest way to state it is - I'm boring myself.

With 98% of the content being reviews...I don't feel like I'm actually sharing that much.

IRL I'm a total introvert. Very private and very shy. I don't like talking about myself and when I have to I do a terrible job and I think this has lead me to sort of hide in the shadows a bit - on my own blog!

What does all of this mean?

I'm going to try something different. I'm going to take that simple, easy, no stress, no nonsense attitude I have about reviewing and a apply it to...well...everything else about this blog that isn't reviews.

Hopefully this means more content -- content that I want to write and hopefully content that you want to read. Nothing too structured at the moment but I might need to work on that ;)

Anyway! I'm excited to take this (mostly mental) step in my blogging life.

Wish me luck?

Happy Reading everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review: Kill The Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: February 2016 by Point
Acquisition: received from another blogger

Synopsis:
Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities.”
(from Goodreads)
2 / 5 Stars

This review's going to be a be short and a bit not so sweet.

I don't like this book because of:

The way fandoms and fangirls are represented.
The hypersexual behavior.
The fat shaming.
Being ugly is used as a justification for violence.

I get it, it's a comedy and it's somewhat slapstick and it's not suppose to be realistic (that last one is an assumption).

It's also bad.

Lots of folks love it but not me.

Read only if you're a sucker for punishment or you want to know "What up with all that hate you're throwing around Emily?!" but don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Quick Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Book #1 of the Every Heart a Doorway series

Publication: April 2016 by Tor.com
Acquisition: received an ARC at ALAMW 2016

Goodreads

5 / 5 Stars

Very strange - not YA - very short - not for everyone.

Loved the idea of this all.
So many stories out there about kids falling into realms hidden to most folks.
Not many stories about what happens to the ones that return to the real world.
Totally answers the "Ok, what now?" question I've often found myself asking.

Loved the characters and how they fit and don't fit together. Loved the order and organization given to it all.

Kinda short and honestly, in hardcover, that price is a little harsh. Ebook this baby!

Or spend your money however you want - who am I to say ;)

Either way - highly recommend.

Oooo - and there will be more? Wishlisting those 2 lovelies now!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova SPOTLIGHT + GIVEAWAY

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova released this week and I've got A TON of goodies to share with you today - including a TRAILER, EXCERPT, COLORING PAGE and a GIVEAWAY!

Zoradia's first book, The Vicious Deep is one of my favorites and I was so excited when I heard about Labyrinth Lost. I started it this week and I am loving it so far!

Lots of awesomeness below and don't forget to read all the way through for your chance to win your very own copy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Goodreads | Book Website | Book Tumblr | Buy Link

LABYRINTH LOST COLORING PAGE -- seriously check this out because it is awesome!

About the Author:
Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro or visit her at zoraidacordova.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | YouTube


BOOK TRAILER

EXCERPT
1
Follow our voices, sister.
Tell us the secret of your death.

—-Resurrection Canto,
Book of Cantos

     The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.
     Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”
     But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane--wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.
     When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.
     A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown--ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.
     The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred--year--old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once--lovely face.
     Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.
     So I opened the basement door.
     Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.
     A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.
     “Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.
     Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.
     I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.
     They were dancing.
     Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.
     And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.
     Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.
     Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.
     The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name: Alejandra.
     She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.
     Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”
     There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.
     My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.
     “Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”
     I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.
     I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.
     “One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.
     Then she went back down the street--lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”

GIVEAWAY
Runs September 6 - 19th (US Canada only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

Book #1 in The Conquerors Saga series
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication: June 2016 by Delacorte Press
Acquisition: read a free eARC via NetGalley

Synopsis:
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
(from Goodreads)
4 / 5 Stars

And I Darken is a loooong story and I'm not just talking about page length. It's basically Lada's entire life - from birth to...late teens, early 20s...ish? There are time jumps - days, weeks, years but all in all it's pretty much Lada's complete story.

Some folks I think were put off by this, cause...yeah...it's really, really dense - at times feeling more like a history book then a fiction story.

I, however, really liked it. Maybe not all the time and maybe, a few times, I felt bogged down by the depth of it all and more then once I couldn't remember where the characters were or had been or why they were there or needed to go somewhere else...

Also, I think I was expecting more horror? The whole premise is, what if Vlad the Impaler was a girl - not the Dracula we all know. And maybe I've got that premise wrong but it's what I went into the book thinking and it wasn't the case. In fact, now, I can't find this description anywhere...so...maybe I made it up? No, I must have read it somewhere.

Anyway!

In any case, I was expecting something much more horror filled and messy. Not overly historic and messy. Vlad is Lada's father and now, knowing that And I Darken isn't a standalone (like I thought it was) I can see how maybe Lada gets more impaler like in subsequent books?

I really don't know.

What I do know is, I dove into And I Darken thinking one thing, enjoyed myself while mucking around in it all and was happy to have read it in the end.

And yes, if there is another book, I will be reading it. The history is dense but so are the characters, in a spectacular way. Lada has a long way to go, her brother Radu is such an interesting person and I can't wait to see where he ends up and Mehmed - yeah, maybe I could have done without him but he adds so much to the story and I'm very curious to see where he stands in book 2.

Summing it up!

YA historical fiction with lots of details, and fabulous characters!