Monday, October 31, 2016

Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh - Book Review

* I received an e-ARC of this book from Orion Publishing Group via NetGalley (thank you!) for an honest review. As always, I only ever write my true thoughts *

Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh
Publication date: November 1, 2016
My rating: 3.5 stars

Note: This is the 9th book in the Guild Hunter series. Though this review is spoiler free, you might still be spoilered for events in previous books if you haven't read them (I highly recommend you read them). 

Warning: Though the protagonist is NA, This series contains adult themes (such as explicit sexual scenes, language and violence scenes. So if you're uncomfortable with such scenes, this series is not for you. Though if you survived Nevernight, you can definitely take on this series (just saying (: ).

For those of you who know me, you probably know I don't usually read NA books with explicit scenes.
I am definitely more of the YA, with the occasional non-explicit NA, kind of girl. But I'm also a lover of all things fantasy first, and the fantasy in the world Nalini Singh created... I was powerless against it. 

Let's just say I instantly fell in love with the world and characters, and before I knew it this series became one of my all times favorite.

If you thought you've seen every take on vampires and angels out there, you thought wrong. Nalini Singh takes it to a whole new - brilliant - level. 
Don't believe me?
Just pick up Angels' Blood and see for yourself.

The characters in the Guild Hunter world are so well developed, you'll want them to be your friends. 

I loved every single book in the series, and while this book is no exception, I did have one major issue with it.  

I felt like Archangel's Heart was a transition book. Like it could have been book 8.5 rather than a full 9th book in the series.
In terms of plot and character development, nothing much happened in this book. It was more of a story to resolve the mystery surrounding Elena's past.
If I knew that going in, if it was treated as a transition book rather than a full novel, my experience with it would have been much different. 

While I love Elena and Raphael, I did feel like their story was wrapped up the last time we saw them. Which is why I was a little surprised to see this book was about them and not other characters in the series. 

That being said, I did like this book. A lot.
It was fast-paced, easy to read, pulled me in from start to finish.
There is no denying Nalini Singh is a fantastic author and that I love her characters and stories.

I just loved the one interaction we got of Elena & Dimitri. Those two are way too stubborn for their own good.
Can you even imagine the epicness of Elena and Dimitri as friends? 
They can take over the world.
Or make it explode. 

Another thing I loved was all the heartwarming moments & the Aodhan screen time we got.
If you didn't love Aodhan before, you'll sure as hell fall in love with him now.
And just you wait until the last few chapters of Archangel's heart... it's going to be everything you wanted. 

I'm really sad I need to wait another year for the next book, but the way Archangel's Heart ended makes me feel the next book is going to be *so good*. 

Anyone else is dying to get an Illium \ Aodhan book?
Although a Venom book would be ever so welcomed.

Ah, I'm so excited!
Whatever the next book has in store...
I'm in. 

And, who knows, maybe I'll get lucky enough to obtain be an ARC of the next book as well ;) (Just so you know... I screamed in happiness when I was approved for an ARC of this book. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I got an ARC. How could I NOT have screamed in joy? All right, fine, so I screamed in silence. But trust me, there was a lot of screaming in my head going on.)  

"I'm not unreasonable... so long as the order is reasonable."  
-- Archangel's Kiss, Nalini Singh

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fairy Tale IRL Book Tag

What's that? Is Zoey doing a book tag? 
But that's impossible. She hasn't done one in... in... I can't even remember when. 

Hey Minna (= you all, in Japanese. Because I'm still rather afflicted by Red Winter.)
So apparently I'm doing a book tag!
How great is that?

The reason I haven't been blogging much lately (and was also rather absent from social media) is simple: life.
A fantasy reader worst nightmare. 

If I could only live inside a book.
Alas, I'm so busy trying to find a job (as a freelance writer, of all things), trying to get to terms with me already being 18 (nope, I'm still in denial), writing my first book (harsh truth: writing a book is HARD), saving for college (because I want to get there eventually) and finally... fighting my very much present and very much evil anxiety\panic attacks\agrophobia\whatever-new-thing-my-mental-health-throws-my-way. 

Aside from that, I'm great!
I mean it.
I'm not letting life beat me down.
I'm reading, I'm writing and I'm living (sort of).
The only thing I'm lacking right now is blogging, but I'll get the hang of it - I'm sure. 

But what am I blabbing about?
This is a book tag, for crying out loud. Not a tell you my life story tag.

This tag was created by... I actually don't know.
I do know it was inspired by Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz. I saw Regan from PeruseProject doing it, and I fell for this tag. 

The rules:

  • For each question, choose a fitting contemporary book. 

It's really new and...
Yeah, I hope you'll love my take on it.
Here goes: 

Fairy God Mother:
 Give an example of a great motherly or fatherly figure
that gives our main protagonist a lot of advice

Warren from Maybe Someday
I just love his relationship with Sydney and Ridge.
Especially Sydney... how they turned from strangers to friends was just so wonderful.
Warren is hilarious, charming, funny, and such an amazing guy. He would always be there to protect his friends.
If I had to choose a real-life fairy God Mother, it would be him.  

Prince Charming:
 Name a character that had to go on a journey
 to help the person that they love

Victor from Kids of AppetiteHis father - dead. His mother - about to get re-married. And him - with a rare disability.
Victor runs away from home, joins a bunch of troubled kids and goes on a journey to fulfill his father's last wish.

Victor is the perfect example of a character that isn't afraid to take risks and go on a journey for the people that he loves most.   

Forbidden Fruit:
 Name a character that gave into temptation,
 or was struggling with temptation

Warning: I'm about to cheat here. (Sorry! I just can't help myself! It's the perfect answer. it's not my fault it's no exactly a contemporary novel)

Baz from Carry On.
First things first... you should probably know I: LOVE BAZ.
And that he's: one of my favorite characters ever.

Poor Baz. He was struggling with temptation for years until he finally caved. He is like the equivalent of temptation.
I can't say more, as this is a major spoiler of Carry On.
I highly recommend you reading this book.

When the Clock Strikes Midnight:
                               Name a story that has an event that's impending &                                            is creating fear in a group of people

Basically all events in The Naturals & The Fixer series. 
(side note: what those teenagers have to go through is INSANE!) Those books are so intense. The best YA thrillers you'll ever read (or at least that I ever read).
Nerve wracking it sure is. 

The Big Bad Wolf:
 Name an antagonist (real or metaphorical)
 that the protagonist struggles against

Social anxiety in The Avery Shaw Experiment.
To say I connected with Avery would be an underestimate. It was like I was Avery. I got her so much it hurt. I couldn't even write a review about it with how close to home this book hit me. 

Now don't get me wrong, this book isn't a sad one.
On the contrary, it's a hilarious romance-comedy story. In it, our protagonist (Avery) struggles with serve social anxiety.
Which, for me, is an ultimate big bad wolf. 

The Power Within You:
 Name a character that felt ordinary
 but ultimately found an extreme strength within themselves

Amy and Dan from The 39 Clues.
Oh, how I loved this series when I was younger.
It made me feel like everything is possible.
After all, surely if orphaned siblings Amy & Dan found themselves on a hunt across the world for the ultimate treasure, something amazing could happen to me too. 

Amy and Dan are poor, orphaned, ordinary siblings who barely get by.
That is until their grandmother dies and leaves the first clue to the most dangerous and amazing treasure hunt in the world.
Little did Amy & Dan know going on this hunt would be the best and worst thing that could ever happen to them. 

I just loved the strength Amy and Dan found in themselves and each other across this series. 

The Grand Ball:
 Name an event or a situation in a story
where a character had a major outing in trying to fit in

I hated how Miles from Looking for Alaska started smoking and drinking  the moment he met Alaska and the gang. I hated how he did it just to get closer to Alaska and be one of them.
I just really didn't like how it happened and how John Green handled it. 

Fairest of Them All:
                         Name a situation where there is the pressure of outer beauty
                           and how it clashed with the perspective of inner beauty

Both Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars are not the picture of health or beauty (for tragic reasons).
Specifically in The Fault in Our stars, there isn't really pressure of outer beauty on them (as this is a story of romance and survival), but this story is focused so much on the inner beauty of people, and it's just not something you see all that often in life. 

(fun fact: I wasn't able to say Okay for weeks after reading this book

The Evil Stepmother:
           Name a character or a situation where a character is stepping into a role       which is causing a lot of resentment and anger on the behalf of someone else

Samantha from Before I Fall.
Smantha is not a nice person (at least, not in the beginning of the story). She's the popular girl, the one everyone admire and fear. She's the one who steps over the "weak" and surrounds herself with the "strong".
But then something happens.
And in 7 days everything changes.   

The Happily Ever After:
 Name a set of characters or character who had a rough road but ultimately found happiness

The Flat-Out Love characters.
Celeste in particular.
Reading about what she - and they - went through was just so rough to read.
But then again... they wouldn't be here on this Happily Ever After question if they didn't ultimately found happiness (:

And that's it for the Fairy Tale IRL Book Tag!
I really hope you enjoyed.
Also, what do you think of the pictures and logo? I hope they fit the mood of this tag. I had fun times searching them through google images (:
If you read this, consider yourselves tagged!
I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please share them with me.
Until then...

"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different."  
-- C.W Lewis. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Red Winter by Annette Marie - Book Review

* I received this book from Netgalley & Barclay Publicity for an honest review. As always, I only ever write my true thoughts *

Red Winter by Annette Marie (author)
 & Brittany Jackson (Illustrator)
Publication date: October 21, 2016
DNF at: 51%

Emi, our protagonist, has been chosen from the young age of 8 to serve as the Kamigakari of Amaterasu - a human host to her goddess.
Now, 10 years later, Emi's time to unite with the goddess is drawing near. That is until she finds out a horrible truth about the union. A truth that was kept hidden from her. A lie she was told to keep her obedient.

That's when Shiro comes in - a cursed Yukai (a demon\supernatural monster) with a past shrouded in mystery.
Both him and Emi seek to escape their destinies. They don't trust each other, but they need each other.
Together... can they do it?

As you may know, I don't typically review books I didn't finish. I also don't rate them, because I feel it's unfair to the book.
But in this case, Netgalley & Barclay publicity were ever so kind to send me an e-ARC of this book I really wanted. I feel it would be unfair to them and the author not to review Red Winter.
And so, I decided to share my thoughts. 
This review is spoilers free. 


My biggest problem with Red Winter was that I found it to be way too descriptive. Not just the history behind it (which I can understand, as it's the Japanese culture and not something that is very known in the YA book world), but also of places and situations. 
It wasn't boring per se, but I did find myself, countless of times, with the urge to skip those too long paragraphs of descriptions.

Despite finding it to be too descriptive, I didn't necessarily find this book slow-paced or boring. It was a book I could see myself reading and finishing, but not thinking it was wow. 

Emi was a likable character and I liked Shiro's playful personality, but... I didn't really connect with them. I didn't much feel for them. 

I found Emi to be a little bit too logical and timid. Which I could understood as we got to hear about how she grew up. She was not allowed to do much of anything other than pray. No wonder the girl, even at 18, was way too timid and sheltered for comfort. But I  did feel it prevented me, the reader, from connecting with her.  

Also, it felt like it took way too long for Shiro and Emi to meet.

If I had to describe how I felt about this book in one word, it would be: neutral.
Which isn't bad but also isn't good. 

I felt like I could finish the book (which is a good sign, as I'm not the type to finish a book I really don't enjoy), but I didn't feel the need to finish the book (which is a bad sign as a good book means a book I feel the need to come back to whenever I put it down. Which I did not feel with Red Winter).

Overall, this book was an enjoyable read. 
I also absolutely loved the illustrations. They were magnificent and so much on point that I felt like they came our of an anime.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking to relax with a YA book surrounding the Japanese folklore.

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. 
-- Elie Wiesel  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan - Book Review

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Publication date: October 4, 2016
My rating: 4.5 stars

This book...
*shaking my head wordlessly*
I shouldn't be surprised I loved it as much as I did. This is a Rick Riordan's book, after all. But before reading it, I was terrified of reading this book. 

Long story short, I had some major issues with the first book in the Magnus Chase trilogy. 
I still ended up enjoying it, but the shock of not absolutely loving it was just too hard for me to handle. 

So when it came to anticipating The Hammer of Thor, I was cautiously excited. I readied myself for the possibility I wouldn't love it. 
And then...

It was incredible and beautifully done.
Rick Riordan... you're amazing!

If you, like me, had your issues with The Sword of Summer, worry not! For this book will take it all away.  

In this book you may (or may not) find: 

  • A gender fluid shapeshifter who is also a love interest. 
  • A goat killer assassin. 
  • A talking sword that loves to sing. 
  • A wedding. 
  • A psychotic god trying to escape 
  • Overall craziness
  • Some fun times.
  • Some hard times
  • Some sad times
  • Some awesome times.
  • Some times in general.

Isn't this reason enough to read this book?
No need to thank me as long as you read it. 

And now that we got the ones of you who haven't read it covered, let's talk spoilers!

*Full Review (with spoilers)*

This book, you guys...
This book. 

'Just like the good old days: marching together into the unknown, searching for missing magical weapons, and risking painful death. I've missed my buddies!' 

Magnus Chase: 

Oh, Magnus. I loved him so much.
This time, he really stood on his own. He didn't feel like a pale copy of Percy anymore. He was Magnus Chase, the brave healer with the talking sword.

While Magnus does know how to fight, I loved that Rick didn't make him an all capable warrior or an expert in sword fighting.
Our protagonist is more of a healer than a fighter, and I found that I liked it just fine. 

Samirah al-Abbas (a.k.a. Sam): 

Our fierce Muslim Valkyrie.
She, as well, didn't feel like a pale copy of Annabeth anymore. 
She dealt with so much in this book (possibly more than anyone), but she pulled through. As hard as things got, she didn't give up.
Sam is a strong female protagonist and I admire her capabilities. 

Hearthstone (a.k.a Hearth): 

I just love this elf so much! I want to give him a hug and tell him everything is going to be okay. 


Ah, I like this draft. 
I'm so glad he's not dead. 


We finally got some Amir time in this book!
And it was so good. Aside from him almost freaking out to the death, that is.
This guy deserves a medal. He's willing to do anything - anything - if it means staying with Sam. So cute. 
Also, I'm starting to see why Sam loves him so much.

Alex Fierro: 

All hail Alex Fierro!
The awesomest and craziest shapeshifter alive (ergg... well, depends on your definition of "alive"). 

For the risk of repeating myself: I just loved her SO MUCH.
Him too. 

Yeah, sorry, I'm still a bit Magnus-confused at how this works. 
But as she was, for most of the book, a she, I'm going to refer to her as a she for now.    

Don't you just love how effortlessly Rick combines diversity into his books?
He does it like he does magic. 

I also somehow became a hardcore shipper of Magnus & Alex over the course of this book. I can't imagine them not together. Just like Amir & Sam, the two of them are meant to be. 

I'm definitely not scared of the third book anymore. Also not of the second book in the Apollo series.
Rick Riordan is officially back and I just want more more more! 

"First we need advice," I said. "About sailing across magical waters, fighting weird sea monsters, and not dying at the hands of a bunch of angry aquatic gods. Strangely enough, I know just the person to talk to." "Your caousin," Sam guessed. "Yeah," I said. "Annabeth." 
Annabeth smiled. "I don't know the ocean very well, but my boyfriend does. I think it's time you met Percy."

*Dying of squealing*
Magnus and Percy meeting?
Percy making another appearance?
This is going to be:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Most anticipated books of October 2016

October is here!
Time sure does fly, huh? 
But you can hear all about that in my September wrap up (coming soon).
As of right now... we're going to discuss our most anticipated books of October (do I hear squealing?)

October is another huge month in the new releases department. Here I have to show you 6 books I'm dying to read.
Because here they are. 

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Coming out: October 4, 2016

Opening our October is non other than The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan!
As you may (or may not) know, I didn't absolutely love the first book in the Gods of Asgard trilogy (as one would expect me to love a Rick Riordan book). I had my... issues with it.

That being said, I'm still SO excited about The Hammer of Thor. Yes, I was disappointed with the previous book, but not in levels that will prevent me from reading the second one. I mean, it's Rick Riordan. I'll be reading his books into eternity. 

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Coming out: October 4, 2016

I was only mildly excited about this book at the beginning.
That was before all the gushing reviews started pouring in. 

I'm not even sure what this book is about because the synopsis sounds really weird. But also really interesting.
All I know is that this is a YA fantasy-paranormal historical-fiction romance-mystery book.
My favorite genres combined.
Yes, I'm reading this.

Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Coming out: October 18, 2016
My rating: 4 stars

No-no, you are not mistaken. I have indeed already read Gemina (one of my most anticipated books EVER).
I was lucky enough to win a giveaway of an arc of Gemina and a hardcover of Illuminae. And you guys... they are so beautiful. Both inside and out. 
I cannot wait for you all to read Gemina so we can talk all about it! 17 more days now - stay strong. 

Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen
Coming out: October 18, 2016

A couple of months ago I read Tim Floreen debut novel Willful Machines, and very much enjoyed it (you can check out the review in my July Wrap Up). Now, Tim Floreen is back to us with another LGBT sci-fi YA book that sounds like something no one should miss out on reading. 

So excited about this one!

Red Winter by Annette Marie
Coming out: October 21, 2016

This is a Japanese YA romance folklore story.

The story follows a girl named Emi. Emi is destined to serve as a human host for a goddess. This is the only thing she ever knew. That is until she saves the life of Shiro - a Yokai (demon) who is an enemy to the goddess - and ends up accidentally binding him to her.  

A short excerpt from the book (shown in the Goodreads synopsis): 

"Ah, yes, you did save me, and I am very grateful." He idly tugged at a lock of his hair as his gaze slid down her and back up again. "I am in your debt. Tell me your desire and I will fulfill it." 

"My--my desire?" She chocked. 

He smirked again. "A favor, little miko. I am saying I owe you a favor." 

Right, so... this book sounds SO GOOD. I can't even. 
As someone who is obsessed with everything Japanese related, this book sounds like everything I could hope for. Can't wait!

Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins
Coming out: October 25, 2016

Rachel Hawkins is the brilliant author of the Hex Hall trilogy and Rebel Belle (read them - read them now).
Journey's End is her first MD book, following following a girl named Nollie in her adventure in the town Journey's End. 

I don't usually read MD books and the synopsis doesn't sound like something I would go for, but I've known Rachel Hawkins for 4 books now and I trust her.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing what she has for us in Journey's End. 

And that's it for our October new releases!
All those books coming out this October sound so amazing, don't they?
Which one are you most excited for? Is there any new release I didn't mention here that you are anticipating? What's your favorite book cover? (Mine is definitely Red Winter).
Let me here your thoughts! You know how much I love to (:
I'll see you in my next post!
Until then...

"We've tried to kill each other, fought ghouls, and kissed a lot. I'm pretty sure we're married in some cultures."  
-- Spellbound, Rachel Hawkins