Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Like Ashes

Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date:  October 14th, 2014
Publisher:  Balzar +Bray
Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Pages:  416
*Book one of a series*


Summary (Goodreads);
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own

Snap, crackle, and pop- this is a GOOD book.  I mean, it has speedy pacing (which could be good and bad I guess?), (mostly) well written characters, and chemistry.  SWEET SNOW- the chemistry is strong with this one- until the ending that is.  But I'll get to that later.

The best thing about this book is its writing.  Smooth, beautiful, and powerful- this author knows how to write (granted, every author should, but...this thought would be best left unfinished for today ;) ). Every few pages I would get shivers and goosebumps- it was THAT good. I honestly can't get over how pretty the writing is.

Now, with Meira I'm conflicted.  On one hand, I love Meira.  Strong, complex character-wise, and trying to find her place in the world- I clicked with her instantly.   It's not so much her situation was anything similar to mine (I don't where I would start with the dissimilarities LOL), but it's just her feelings of wanting to feel like she has a place in this world, that she has a purpose in life, oddly resonates with me as I prepare for college and to go out into the "real" world.  It helps tremendously that this author's writing is SO powerful. On the other hand, I REALLY  hated the Chosen One complex in this book.    I totally knew she was the One.  I suspected it from the beginning, but I just didn't know how it was going to all work out (I kinda expected Mather and Meira to be related- which EW).   For once, I wanted a heroine who isn't the ONE (I mean the Chosen One trope does work sometimes, but other times....), but I guess if wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets.  BUT UGGGGGGGGGH.  I totally called it.  And those flashbacks make it super obvious.  Also, by the end, I could feel the author losing her steam, and everything was a little rushed.   The plot, the character growth, everything- so it seemed like Meira had a bit of a (bad) personality shift at the end.

This love triangle. ASDDSFJLKDSF. *Excuse me, while I bang my head against this wall.* WHY BOOK!?!? WHY!?! YOU. DON'T. NEED.  ONE.  OMG . Way to ruin a perfectly good relationship- and it was nearly perfect.  The chemistry between Mather and Meira is SO GOOD. It's honestly one of the best written relationships I've come across in a looong time.  MY GOODNESS.  The attraction is undeniable, but their friendship is stronger,  and ARGH.  There's angst, but it's balanced out by the little moments. AND THEN THERON WALTZES IN (quite literally actually) AND RUINS IT.  He's not super underdeveloped as a character (sorta kinda), but he doesn't have the same chemistry with Meira as she did with Mather.  Their relationship is really rushed and totally un-needed.  UGH.  This was just bad. Bad. Bad. Bad.  UGH UGH UGH UGH

Finally, the plot.  It was a good plot- well, hmm, okay. I found myself totally immersed in it (the world-building JUST KILLED IT); however, at the same time, it was very... heavy? A LOT happens in this one book, and the pace moves at breath-taking speed.  I didn't think this was a bad thing until the end where everything was a bit rushed and lots of things were left unclear (for the purpose of the second book of course ;) ).

Overall, a nice story (excluding that love triangle and the Chosen One thingamajig), maybe a bit rushed at the end, but I would definitely recommend.  Ready for that second book yo. ;)

Thanks for reading! :)

Rating: 3 out of 5

Waiting on Wednesday Wk 41

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by the fabulous Jill over at Breaking the Spine!:)
(A bit late this time sorry!)
What I'm waiting on this week:
Plot blurb:
Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy-a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?

From author Teri Brown comes the thrilling story of one girl’s journey into a deadly world of spycraft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.

KYAAAAAA! It's been so long since I've read a book set in World War I. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!

Releases October 20th, 2015.
What are you waiting on this week? 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cover Reveal: Seeking Sorrow by Zen DiPietro

Welcome to the cover reveal for Guardians of Terath: Seeking Sorrow by Zen DiPietro! This is a modern fantasy with sci-fi and romantic elements. It is being published by Soul Mate Publishing on March 25 and will be available for preorder on March 14th.
*I don't usually read Adult, but this one sounds pretty good! And it's clean! :)*

About the Book:

An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable mana event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth, it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.
The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about manaeven as they learn to trust one another’s abilitiesThey must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same. 
Even success comes at a price.

About the Author:

Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, a fantasy/sci-fi writer, a dancer, and a mom of two. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. Particular loves include badass heroines, Star Trek, British accents, baba ganoush, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at Very active on Facebook, Twitter (@ZenDiPietro), and Pinterest. You can also find her on Goodreads.

$15 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Women of Badassery mousepad (US)
Ends 3/5

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday Wk 40

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by the fabulous Jill over at Breaking the Spine!:)
(A bit late this time sorry!)
What I'm waiting on this week:
Plot Blurb:
For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

OOOOO! Sounds like a Romeo and Juliet tale. ;) AWESOME. 

Releases: September 15th, 2015

So what are you waiting on this week? :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Japanese Husband (still) Thinks I'm Crazy

24818723Author: Grace Buchele Mineta
Release Date:  February 16th, 2015
Publisher: Self-published
Genre(s): Comic book memoir
Pages: 188
*Book two of a series*

**Both "My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy: The Comic Book" and "My Japanese Husband (still) Thinks I'm Crazy" are FREE to download on Amazon for the next five days! I totally recommend heading on over there and getting your copy of this ADORABLE book!! ;) **

*Thank you so much to the author for sending me a copy of this book!*

Ahh so cute! <3 I've been following Texan in Tokyo (here) for a while now, having stumbled across it from another one of my favorite blogs (My Korean Husband), and I've been an obsessive reader ever since.  I LOOOOVED how there were lots of comics in one sitting because I ADORE her comics.  (They are SO cute, but also pretty informative. ) One comic a day isn't enough for me, so I really liked sort of "binge reading" a bunch at once.

The drawing style of the comics was nice and clean, and I loved all the various facial expressions. ^-^ The comics were also really entertaining to read. Some of them have text underneath that give context for the situation, and it was fun learning about Japan through Grace's adorkable perspective. There were also comics about Grace's daily life with her husband in Japan (cutest couple ever ;) ), and her imaginary rabbit, Marvin. But what made this comic book so awesome was Grace's honest and adorkable (this word is SO perfect) voice. She's funny and warm, and her voice is the heart of this comic book. :)

One thing I thought was a little confusing was that some of the comics seem to continue onto the next page, but it wasn't really clear because there were no headings.  Another thing I want to comment on is that I've seen a lot of her comics in this book from her blog.  But for people who haven't heard of this blog (here's the link!! Go check it out!!), this book is perfect. <3

This is actually the sequel (memoir-sequel?) to the first book: My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy. I'm just about finish reading it, so please look forward to the review for that one. ~ ^-^

Here's the Amazon link to buy a copy of this book. :D

(PS: Don't skip the foreword!  It's pretty adorbs. ;) )

Thanks for reading! ;) 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Boy in Her Dreams

23316911Author: Laekan Zea Kemp
Release Date:  October 31st, 2014
Publisher: Indie
Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Pages:  505
*Book two of a series*

~Spoiler Free~

Summary (Goodreads):
When Roman wakes from a six month coma, the first thing he sees is the girl of his dreams. Except Bryn isn’t confined to the dream-state anymore and neither is he. He’s awake and alive and as the memories of how he and Bryn fell in love come rushing back, so do the memories of why he’s lying in that hospital bed in the first place.

Plagued by guilt, Roman makes a decision that alters both their fates and as Bryn fights for her life in a German hospital, Roman must fight for her forgiveness before it’s too late. Because Roman and Bryn weren’t the only things to wake out of Bryn’s dreams. The shadows seem to be hunting them both and a strange side effect of Roman’s miraculous recovery may be the only means of stopping them. That is, if he can reach Bryn before she slips too deeply into the very dreams that seem to be imposing more and more on their waking lives every day.

*Thank you so much to the author for sending me a copy of this book! **

The thing that carried this book were the characters. OMG THE GROWTH OF THESE CHARACTERS <3.  I was actually a little bit wary about the whole separation thing ("I need to protect her etc etc") because that seemed a little cliche, but I ended up LOVING it.  The separation honestly helped them to grow. We get to see these characters (esp. Roman, who had immense character development yay!) independent of one another (which we hadn't really seen before), and because of that, we also get to see different sides of them.  It was the little things, like the emotions of the characters or Roman's adjustment and his past, that truly made this book. And I loved how we get to see these characters in such a realistic setting, because despite it being a fantasy, it reminds us these characters are human too.  In fact, I sort of felt the first half of this book was like a contemporary novel, rather than fantasy- and even without the fantasy aspect, I thought this series as a whole could stand pretty well (more on that later).  Can I just say how I LOVED that this book didn't have disappearing parent syndrome? It was nice to see the relationship between father and son (complex because of the past, but also mending), and mother and daughter.  Again, these are the little things that I really loved about the book.

Now the plot, I was a little iffy on. As a whole, I thought the plot was pretty good. It was fast-paced (maybe a little bit too fast?), and it was really unique (an Olive Oyl in a sea of Betty Boops? Can't remember where I read that from, but I love Olive Oyl xD ).  However, I started getting lost at some parts (esp. towards the end), and there were a couple of places where I thought the logic leaped a little too soon.   I think this had to do with how there was so much action crammed into one book (with revelations shooting up especially towards the end of the book). If you even skim a little bit of the book, you'll get lost.  I didn't, and I still was a little lost by the end (which hints at a third book??? :D). But even with the confusing bits, it was still enjoyable because a) once you start piecing it together, it's like WHOA ^0^ and b) the writing was REALLY strong.  There were a few places where I thought the writing was a little awkward, but as a whole, I really loved the writing; at some parts, it gave me chills.

I thought the world building was lacking, though, and there was an info dump in the book (which was where I mostly thought the logic was shaky).  I mean, I was happy that my questions were answered (because the build-up to the actually revelations was SO GOOD), but at the same time, I didn't like how the information about the Dreamers and such were just handed to us like that. Also, there was a TON of cursing in this book.  Whenever it was Roman's point of view, the F word was used A LOT- and I think that's the only curse word used. I personally do not like cursing, and I honestly thought that that wasn't necessary.

If you take out the fantasy parts, this book would have made a great contemporary novel.  I thought the fantasy bits were sort of a background thing in the first book, and, for the most part, this book as well.  What really shined through were the characters, their growth, and their relationships.  The fantasy aspect didn't really start kicking until the middle half of the book (which I think contributed to the info dump), and it just made me a little confused.

But overall, it was a nice read, especially because of the characters. Can't for the next book!! ;)

(And can I just say I thought it was so cute how Roman marked his toes? ;) )

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Manga review: Hana to Akuma

6019613Author: Hisamu Oto
Genre(s): Shoujo manga
Summary (Goodreads):
Ten years ago Bibi, the demon, decided to leave the demon realm and come to the human world. There he found an abandoned baby and on a whim decided to keep it. Since then he lives together with Hana...but having a 14 year-old girl around you, is it really that simple?

*I wrote this review a while back, but it got buried under all my other to-be-edited posts LOL. * 


So before I say anything else here are the facts:

1) I don't usually read manga- in fact this is the first manga I've read.  Ever.  I've only recently (very very hesitantly) started watching a few (EDIT 2/13/15: AHAHAHA "a few" she says) anime (only because there's been a lull in the k-dramaland   > .<  But I will be going back soon....).  And my friends have taken that hesitant toe dip into the anime/manga pool and grabbed my whole leg....

2) This will most likely be the first and only time I will review a manga, simply because I don't read them, and I only read this one to try out manga(s). (EDIT 2/13/15 : SAYS THE GIRL WHO IS NOW CURRENTLY READING 7 MANGAS. OMG. SEND HELP).

Now that I've laid down the facts, here are the opinions. ;)

In a nutshell: I liked it at some bits, I didn't like it at some bits (I thought the romance bits were off putting) and the ending was very nice (welllll it made me tear up a bit xD).

 I stumbled across this one when I typed up similar animes to Toradora (even though this isn't an anime, and I'm not sure how Toradora and this manga are even similar LOL), and I thought, from the short blurb, it was sort of going to be like Usagi Drop (the anime- I haven't read the manga, but I heard it gets a bit weird... so NOPE), where we see a sweet relationship between a father figure and adopted child.

I was too naive.

I'm not sure if it's a bad habit, per say, (maybe a pet peeve lol) but I HATE not finishing what I started- esp. when it comes to books. (I think the only time I'll put down a book is if it gets too racy or explicit.) I HAVE to finish a book and see how it ends no matter how much I don't want to. While Hana to Akuma wasn't one of those books where I was forcing myself to finish it, I found myself power reading through it to get to the guaranteed bittersweet ending (as promised by my friend).

And boy, did the ending deliver.  It was very bittersweet (made more so by the fact that I felt like I went on a journey with this manga), and yes, I did feel a semi-bond to all these characters.  What I really liked about the ending was how it satisfyingly tied together a big message of the manga (time is fleeting and fragile, much like a flower).

I just... REALLY didn't like the romance (...which was a good chunk of the manga actually lol).  Hana is 14, but she acts like she's 8, and the demon dude is like 200 years old (with the appearance of like a 18~20).  I guess the author (or translator?) was trying to emphasize her innocence (which I think was plenty emphasized by her actions and way she was drawn... but just my opinion) by having her refer to herself in third person- which made her seem a lot younger than her age.  Would I still have minded the age gap even if they were older/Hana acted her age? Yep.  I was expecting lots of heartwarming father-daughter bonding moments, but I got absolutely none (and the tags told me nothing...I didn't think the romance was between him and her...).  The closest we get are flashbacks to when Hana used to follow Vivi around like a shadow.  That was pretty cute.  But other than that their relationship was pure romance.  I guess my main iffy came from the fact that I was expecting one thing... and got something totally entirely different.

But as whole, this manga is touching, esp. because the message of fleeting time is so emphasized throughout.  Besides the ending, I liked the symbolism of the flowers and how Hana always gave him flowers, even if it wilted. That was really sweet.  

So I guess you could say I have VERY mixed feelings about this one.  There were good parts (the ending was so sad/ it's touching) and bad parts (the romance), and neither really outweighs the other for me.

Thanks for reading!:)

(No number rating for this one just because I was all over the place lol.)

Happy Valentine's Day! :)

(Credit: NASA)

Not bookish related, but I thought this was so cute. ;)
Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful day! :)
Warmest wishes,
Kyendwarrior <3

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Fault in AP Econ

(Disclaimer: Not sure of the accuracy of the pun LOOOL  #ramblingsofsleepdeprivedAPstudents #APeconpickuplines  xD)

Hope this tickles the fancy of any book-loving economists. ;)

Warmest wishes, 
Kyendwarrior :)

Waiting on Wednesday Wk 39

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by the fabulous Jill over at Breaking the Spine!:)
What I'm waiting on this week:

Plot blurb:
Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls.

There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life.

When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.

October 13th, 2015

So what are you guys waiting on this week? ;) 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Book Title Poetry #1

(What better way to show off my new book haul than with poetry? :D)

If I stay
Just one day
Like moonlight at low tide
There you'll find me
The Lost Girl

(I promise next week's poem will be better lol. xD)

Technically, only The Lost Girl and Ensnared  (which I actually bought, but became impatient, and checked out the book LOL :D) are my part of my latest haul. I tried to make poetry with books that just came in the mail, but I gave up (no verbs!) and threw in some of my other books. ^-^  My book-buying ban was recently just lifted(YAY!!), so I might have gone a little crazy with the book ordering... xD.   As they all slowly trickle in, I'll try to make poetry with just the books I receive- but we'll see. :)

(PS: If any of you guys have done some book title poetry, I would love to see them! Comment below with a link! :) )

Warmest wishes, 
Kyendwarrior :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday Wk 38

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by the fabulous Jill over at Breaking the Spine!:)
What I'm waiting on this week:

Plot blurb:
In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.

Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her. 

Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither is willing to lose.

Releases April 21st, 2015

It sounds intriguing, but I feel I need to approach this book with caution.  In the hands of a shaky writer, this book could potentially be messy... But we'll see! :)

So what are you waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

365 Days of YA: A 2015 Reading Calendar


Here are more detailed shots of it :)




(Source: Epic Reads)

According to Epic Reads (to whom I give a GINORMOUS thank you!!!), the best way to use this is to print out a copy and rotate it as you go  (which I am totally doing XD).  

If you want all the books divided into list form (by season, month, week, or day), click here for the official page.

Which books are you most excited for? ;)
(For me, it's Magonia with its GORGEOUS cover!)
Happy readings everyone!