Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

Title: The Edge of the Abyss

Series:  Abyss Surrounds Us #2

Author: Emily Skrutskie

Publication Date: April 18th, 2017

Publisher: Flux

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Summary: Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart.

But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?

Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?

Why I’m Desperately Waiting:  Where do i start?!?! I am so ready for this book that i needed as soon as I finished TASU  A YEAR AGO! And at that point I didn’t even know if the sequel was going to be a thing. Look, this book has practically everythign, a POC MC, LGBT MC AND SEA MONSTERS and PIRATES. What is cooler than that? When i read TASU, I inhaled it. It immediately pushed itself to the group of books i think of as my all time favorite books.   Sign me up for book 2!

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Hunted

24485589Title: Hunted

Publication Date: March 14th, 2017

Publisher: Harper Teen

Author: Meaghan Spooner

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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Summary: Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
Yeva x Beast
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Yeva
Needed BROTP: Yeva & Doe-Eyes
Fave Quote: “She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. she reminds us of what we used to be.

She reminds us of what we could be.”

Actual Review: It seems that this is the time for evereyone to release and read Beauty & The Beast Retellings with the live-action being released.

Hunted is one of the latest retellings to grace our shelves and I do quite like the uniqueness of it. The first thing that sets it apart is that it is not just Beauty and the Beast being retold but it’s being given tie ins from Russian Folktales, specifically The Gray Wolf & Firebird. NOw i don’t know very much about Russian Folktales so I won’t be able to say if it did the folktales any justice but I thoroughly enjoyed the melding of these tales.

The protagonist of our story is named Yeva or “Beauty” by her Father and two sisters. When a buisness arrangement goes south, leaving them penniless, Yeva and her family must move to her father’s old hunting cabin in the woods. There her father steadily declines though the girls do not see it much as he is always out hunting. But when one day he doesn’t return home but the hunting dog does, Yeva sets out to find him despite the protests off her sisters. For you see, Yeva was taught all that her father knew about hunting. It’s very Allison Argent vibes.

Yeva is what we call a very non-girly girl. She would prefer hunting over society and doesn’t really think about love at all. She is very goal focused and can suffer from tunnel vision. But she never lies to herself or often to others.

The Beast is an interesting one. There is sporadicaly a page in dark handwritten type ink that shows what he is thinking at the stage of the story. But the most intriguing thing is his use of We. It gave me alot of Smeagol/Gollum feels but i wont dive much more because it’s really important to the plot.

Now i know some other reviews have touched on the whole Stolkholm thing that haters bring up for B&TB and whats really intriguing is the book actually addresses this in a conversation. Yeva does not suffer from any kind of blind love. She addresses her thoughts and how she hated Beast for the longest time and planned on killing him.

The setting and side-plot of the forest within a forest that i belive brings in the Russian Folktakes was really intriguing. I love things with subtle magic, so i was an aboslute sucker for this kind of magical world that is hidden within our own world.

The message near the end was really awesome and it’s something that i think everyone needs to hear and understand.

Thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend to B&TB fans and fans of all fairy tale retellings.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: The Rose and the Mask

34510120Title: The Rose and the Mask

Publication Date: March 17th, 2017

Author: Victoria Leybourne

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary: Faustina is a beauty and a thief, not necessarily in that order. She doesn’t believe in magic, just luck, and hers has run out. The last thing she needs is to get roped into a ridiculous revenge plot by her brother—especially when that brother is Giacomo Casanova, Venice’s most notorious libertine.

Benedetto Bellini has never been particularly lucky. The fact that he’s under a beastly curse proves that. Now he’s got a second problem, one that’s washed up on his island in its undergarments and attempted to steal his silverware. He finds Faustina intriguing and infuriating in equal measure. And, thanks to the curse, he’s stuck with her.

Faustina doesn’t know what to make of the sweet, shy and deeply irritating man holding her captive. Does he have something sinister in mind, or is he just trying to keep her safe? And why won’t he take off his mask?

Set against the striking backdrop of eighteenth-century Venice, The Rose and the Mask is an affectionate reworking of the timeless tale of Beauty and the Beast.

My Thoughts:
Ship:
Faustina x Benedetto
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Chiara, Faustina
Needed BROTP: Chiara & Faustina

Actual Review: The Rose and the Mask was a pleasant unexpected discovery today. I got on Goodreads to just check updates and here was someone interested in reading a Beauty and the Beast retelling I hadn’t heard of. And the e-book was just a couple dollars. so I thougt why not. WHat then happened was a very delighful and different retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I ended up reading in a day.

One of the lovely and unique aspects of this retelling is that it is set in Venice and all the names are much more foreign than other stories I’ve encountered. They all seem magical and lyrical that i just think it adds something to it.

Our Beauty is a little more rough around the edges than the typical one we encounter where she’s a thief and proud of it. So when her brother asks her to enact a crazy revenge robbing, she agrees, against her better judgement. DUring this heist, she finds herself drawn to a beautiful rose tree that is impossibly made of glass but full of detail. But of course the warning to not touch it comes after she touches it. And now she finds herself linked to this island and estate due to some curse that means if she leaves she will experience extreme pain and potentially death.

The “Beast” Benedetto is a great character. The book explores mulitple POV so we get insight into his thoughts and how much turmoil he is in over this curse and this new predicament with Faustina, our heroine and resident “Beauty”.

Their relationship is completely full and i just love how their dynamic grows throughout the story. While the cast of characters was rather small, it still had characters that seemed fleshed out even if the only appeared briefly for one or two chapters.

I thought the twist of how the curse came about was unexpected. I had given it some thougth but not enough to peg the correct caster. Though I was pleasantly surprised by the last few chapters with how the curse ended.

Also I totally saw the sequel coming as soon as I met Chiara. Just saying.

Highly recommend this to fans of Fairy-Tale retellings.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: A Conjuring of Light

29939230Title: A Conjuring of Light

Series: Shades of Magic #3

Publication Date: February 21st, 2017

Publisher: Tor Books

Author: Victora E. Schwab

Rating: ALL/5 Stars

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Summary: Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
Alucard x Rhy, Lila x Kell
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Hastra, Lila, Alucard, Rhy, Kell
Needed BROTP: Kell & Hastra
Fave Quote: “In myths, the hero survives.
The evil is vanquished.
The world is set right.
Sometimes there are celebrations, and sometimes there are funerals.
The dead are buried. The living move on.
Nothing changes.
Everything changes.
This is a myth.
This is not a myth.”

Actual Review: Well this book is just absolutely everything. LIKE I’M STILL NOT OKAY A DAY LATER.

The ending to the Shades of Magic was absolutely everything you expected it to be and so much more. The plot was thrilling, the action was amazing, the romance was almost swoon-worthy, and the twists oh the twists. My little heart can’t take it.

Schwab is offically master of the POV change. We flip through so many Points of View in this book it’s amazing. And it was one the great things about this book. It seemed to work so seamlessly, that you had to take a second to realize that it was an addition of X POV. We get insight to so many characters that it seems to add another layer to this amazing book.

The Story takes up right after the killer cliff hanger of A gathering Of Shadows and it doesn’t let up until the very last page. There is not a single page of boring or calm in this story. So be prepared for that. It is a 600+ page book of THRILL and ANXIETY. There’s betrayal and lvoe and action and back story and just so much amazingness. So many great quotes too. This is one quotable piece of fiction.

I don’t know how else to describe and review this amazing piece of story without giving away big spoilers but i can say beprepared for Death, lots of death, and lots of plot twists that will wrench your heart in two.

Do remember that Schwab has said that this ARC has ended, whereas we could easily be given more in this world. Kinda like SOC is post Grisha. So begin praying that we get that world soon because it’s barely been a day and I already miss my Londons.

Anoshe

Posted in Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Red Rising

Title: Red Rising

Series: Red Rising #1

Publication Date: January 28th, 2014

Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)

Author: Pierce Brown

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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Summary:  “I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

My Thoughts:
Ship:
Semi Spoilers
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Darrow, Mustang, Pax
Needed BROTP: Darrow & Servo
Fave Quote: “Death isn’t empty like you say it is. Emptiness is life without freedom, Darrow. Emptiness is living chained by fear, fear of loss, of death. I say we break those chains.”

Actual Review: And once again Ladies & Gentlemen, I have managed to take a book that is supposed to take a decent part of a month for a book club and finish the whole dang thing in less than a week.

Red Rising is one of a more unique books i have read so far in 2017. The story includes both allusions to Greek & ROman Mythology as well as this really unique idea of a class system baesd around colors but also somehow each “COlor” is also a kind of human. You read about these specifric colors with like 8 finger per hand and other oddities. So really it’s not like our society where we are imagining the different classes where as they also have birth defects that exhibit class.

Of course there is still class strife as the Reds who mine do continue to do just that without much pay-off. But the majority of them live rather blissfully because of that adage of Ignorance is Bliss. What they don’t know does’t hurt them. Of course Darrow is of the kind that would have preferred to live in this light but due to certain circumstances has had himself thrust out of the underworld they live in and into the tricky world of the Colors on the surface. And is practically thrown into the lions den after some surgery and training. I really don’t know if you can say it is still Darrow after all those surgeries because basically everything was changed about him expect possibly his memories.

He is asked to infiltrate the Golds through their Academy so as to eventually earn a place of power where he can lead a rebellion from the inside out. OF course once Darrow get’s to the Academy the story doesn’t go at all like you expect. It is much more violent and plot-filled than you expect.

It was a very surprising enjoyable read for me. Even though it really was a big action-packed story, there was also that underlying theme of needing to use your brain that I really quite enjoyed as I read. Also if you know me, you know i’m a mythology nut so any sort of mention makes me go YAASSSS. THe story definitely made me think twice and not speed through it as I read which was enjoyable.

I quite enjoyed the cast of characters that surrounded Darrow. I am definitely with a large pile who like Sevro, he is entertaining. BUt i was more interested in the Girl! Yes there’s an awesome Girl who was house of Minerva AND IC ANT REMEMBER HER NAME! Dammit.

If you’re looking for an action-packed story with a refreshing Male-Characcter that actually thinks with the muscle that is meant to be used for thinking and a great plot with a society that does provide some commentary on our Democracy without being too angry.

 

Posted in 2017 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: By Your Side

30256248Title:  By Your Side

Publication Date: January 31st, 2017

Publisher: Harper Teen

Author: Kasie West

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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Summary: In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

My Thoughts:
Ship:
 None
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Jeff, Autumn
Needed BROTP: Jeff & Autumn

Actual Review: I would have to say that By Your Side has been my least favorite Kasie West so far that I have read. It is at the strongest a 3.5 and more likely just a straight 3 star read. It just seemed to lack that uniqueness that both PS I like You & The Distance Between Us seemed to have. I would not categorize any of the boys in this story as swoon-worthy at all.

I think one of the things that makes it fall flat is the fact it’s sold as locked in library book and really the library isn’t as big setting as it should be. Probably 40% of the way in and they are already out of the library. So no it’s not really a locked in library love story.

Autumn was a great character and something that was really unique is how she handled her anxiety disorder. She is a teenage girl, of course she is going to be extremely wary of telling her friends. But she doesn’t see it as much of a disability, she doesn’t make it an excuse of not to do things. I think she is one of the few good things about this story but yet she was also a part of why it failed.

The LI was kind of dumb. Dax isn’t really all the big of a love interest and it didn’t seem all that believable to me of a love story. It barely seemed like a good Friendship story. Dax is too Walls Up and harsh to be a swoon-worthy boy. Jeff on the other-hand is adorable and funny but Autumn has a great and believable reason as to why not be with him that has nothing to do with Dax.

The story is definitely still one of those books that you can read in one sitting. And maybe if not super in depth romances are your thing, then this would be for you. But i have read better Kasie West’s and just wasn’t wowed by this one.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

28449207Title: Strange The Dreamer

Series:  Strange the Dreamer #1

Author: Laini Taylor

Publication Date: March 28th, 2017

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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Summary: A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Why I’m Desperately Waiting: Now i have only read one of the Smoke & Bone Trilogy but i absolutely adored every word and wanted to explore that world even more. When i heard that Laini Taylor was coming out with a new story, I knew it would not only be beautifully written but also extremely interesting. And the synopsis does not disappoint. I love mythical sounding worlds and that is exactly what Strange the Dreamer seems to promise. Sign me up!