Wishlist Wednesday (#142)

Wishing on Wednesday is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Dani @Pen to Paper where we’ll post about one book that has been on our wishlist for some time – or recently added – and which we can’t wait to get our hands on.

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Crow Moon[Crow Moon #1]
Anna McKerrow
Publication Date: March 5, 2015

Danny is a fun-loving 16-year-old looking for a father figure and falling in love with a different girl every day. He certainly doesn’t want to follow in his mum’s witchy footsteps.

Just as his community is being threatened by gangs intent on finding a lucrative power source to sell to the world, Danny discovers he is stunningly powerful. And when he falls for Saba, a gorgeous but capricious girl sorceress, he thinks maybe the witch thing might not be such a bad idea…

But what cost will Danny pay as, with his community on the brink of war, he finds that love and sorcery are more dangerous than he ever imagined?

Wickedness and passion combine in this coming-of-age adventure.

Goodreads Page | Author’s Website

Review + Spotlight: Labyrinth Lost

NER REVIEWS (labyrinthlost)

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Magic | Witches
Idiom: English
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Read: from August 19 to 23
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781492620945
(Hardcover)
Cups:
4 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

“Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic.”-Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die

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…

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Let me begin by just saying that I never read anything like this before. At first I thought this was a different kind of witchcraft, of religion and when I finally picked it up and submerged in the story, I realised I was wrong. And I loved it because it made me enjoy the story even more.

Labyrinth Lost is about Alex who is a Bruja – a specific kind of witch based on the Latin witchcraft. On her Deathday (in celebration of her powers finally appearing), she casts a spell to eliminate her powers but instead she sends her family, dead and alive, to Los Lagos, a parallel dimension where Gods, spirits, strange beings and much more dwell. With the help of a strange boy, Alex embarks in an adventure that will surely change her.

Alex was a great character to read about. Her past helps build her trepidation when it comes to her abilities but the way she develops throughout the story made up for her fears. When we first met her she’s a scared teenager who kept her powers hidden from her sisters because she’s scared of them. What she doesn’t know is that her powers are special and she’ll need them later on the book in order to save her whole family. In Los Lagos we see this other side of Alex that was hidden behind her fears and I adored watching her grow, watching her develop not only this amazing magic she has but also herself as a person.

I have to admit that I’m super curious about Nova, the boy Alex meets and tells her about what to do to block her power during her Deathday. He’s a lost soul who is trying to find himself in the world and what we find towards the end of the book was, for me at least, completely unexpected. I’m pretty sure there’s much more to his character than meets the eye and I hope he’ll be able to redeem all his wrong-doing in the upcoming books.

The romance in this book wasn’t your typical boy-meets-girl love. This book explores a romance that grew from friendship and tries to break boundaries. It wasn’t the romance I was expecting but I was so happy with what I got. I’m trying not to spoil you because I found it refreshing to discover it by myself instead of instantly knowing what it was about. Zoraida Córdova really broke some lines writing this romance and I can only respect her for doing so and doing it amazingly well.

The magic, as I mentioned right in the beginning of the review, wasn’t what I was expecting nor was it something I knew in details. This particular kind of witchcraft, more based on the Latins beliefs and religions, centred in Gods and spirits, was a gulf of fresh air. There are so many kinds of magic in the world and being able to emerge myself in a different felt amazing. At times I would be slightly lost since I am not accustomed to this particular kind of witches. But then Alex would explain it and as soon as I found the flow, it was easy to be mesmerised by it.

I dare say that even though I enjoyed this book, only when Alex and Nova enter Los Lagos did I became completely hooked in it. Los Lagos sounded like such a thrilling rollercoaster of fantasy. This parallel world was filled from top to bottom with everything fantastical. It reminded me of the movie Book of Life minus the songs.

The book ended in a cliffhanger that had me gasping for more. It ended with a figure from the past that I’m pretty sure will have a huge impact in Alex’s life. This might sound a little bit unfair but one of the reasons I couldn’t rate this book higher than 4 cups/stars was the cliffhanger. So many questions! So many theories! So little answers and I have no idea when the sequel comes out.

Zoraida Córdova‘s writing was easy and it flew with the story. The author managed to give Alex a voice that some of us could relate to and at times her sarcasm was a delight to read. The little bits of excerpt from songs, prayers and others at the beginning of each chapter was a nice touch since it connected really well with what was going to happen.

Overall I think Labyrinth Lost was a great read set in a different spectrum of magic. There is loads of fantastic elements to the story, some creepy moments, characters that are unique since they are so different and a lesson at the end that I think pretty much everyone will relate to. I recommend this book if you want something magical yet different and if you like pure and raw fantastical adventure in a completely different universe.  

Book Spotlight

NetGalley and Sourcebooks were kind enough to send me material to host a Spotlight for Labyrinth Lost and I’m super excited to share an excerpt of the book and a giveaway. There’s also the booktrailer to present you to this creepy and magical world😀

In the meantime, if you guys like colouring like I do, check out the amazing colouring page that Sourcebooks has available for Labyrinth Lost here. Need to print my own so I can colour it! If, or when, you have coloured it, leave me a link down below on the comments so I can see it😉

Praise for Labyrinth Lost:

“This work is a magical journey from start to finish… A compelling must-have for teens” –School Library Journal, STARRED review

Córdova’s (the Vicious Deep series) magic-infused, delightfully dark story introduces readers to an engrossing, Latin American–inspired fantasy setting and an irresistible heroine” –Publishers Weekly

A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno.Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.” Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper

 “Labyrinth Lost is more like reading Paradise Found. Zoraida Córdova brings us a new generation of witches, enchanting and complex. And every page is filled with magic.” Danielle Page, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die

Córdova’s world will leave you breathless, and her magic will ignite an envy so green you’ll wish you were born a bruja. Delightfully dark and enchanting. An un-putdownable book.” -Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and Shiny Broken Pieces

“Córdova’s rich exploration of Latin American culture, her healthy portrayal of bisexuality and her unique voice allow this novel to stand out among its many peers.” –RT Book Reviews

“Cordova draws inspiration from Ecuadorian, Spanish, African, Mexican, and Caribbean folklore and mythology to craft a page-turning tale about a young bruja unsure of her place in the world.”Bustle.com

“Córdova pulls elements from Greek mythology and Spanish and Latin American legends to craft a memorable world in Los Lagos, a supernatural realm that is as fascinating as it is threatening. The history and customs of Alex’s family’s type of witchery are also carefully constructed, giving readers a complete world to sink into with satisfaction and wonder.” -Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This succeeds with its lush use of Latin American mythologies, an unexpected love story, and, above all, in Alex’s complicated relationship with her family. Alex is a necessary heroine, and this dark fantasy nicely” -Booklist

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.”

Book Trailer:


About the Author:

zoraida-head-shotZoraida 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.

Author Website | Labyrinth Lost Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Author Tumblr | Labyrinth Lost Tumblr | YouTube

Giveaway:

  • 2 (two) copies of Labyrinth Lost with signed Labyrinth Lost bookmarks (ends September 19th – US & Canada only)

Rafflectoper Logo

Ner

Wishlist Wednesday (#141)

Wishing on Wednesday is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Dani @Pen to Paper where we’ll post about one book that has been on our wishlist for some time – or recently added – and which we can’t wait to get our hands on.

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The Last Magician
Lisa Maxwell
Publication Date: July 18th, 2017

Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Tessa is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Tessa can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Tessa’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1901 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Tessa to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

Goodreads Page | Author’s Goodreads Page | Author’s Website

Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 296 (Paperback)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Magic | Fantasy
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from August 4 to 13, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781503935600 
(Paperback)
Cups:
3 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and 47North for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

At first glance this is definitely my kind of book – magic, fantasy, ghosts, etc… But when I first started reading this book it turned out to be quite different from what I first thought. It ended up being a little bit more complex than a simple fantasy and magic book and in a way I really enjoyed it. But I think that since I was expecting something different, I ended up not fully appreciating Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet.

This book is about Maire, a young woman who doesn’t remember anything from her past but has a gift: she can infuse her cakes with whatever sort of emotion she wants. One day she’s capture by a band of raiders and sold as a slave to this stranger named Allemas. He wants her for her power, making her cook and selling her talents. At the same time, Maire is being visited by a ghost who might hold the key to her past. 

Maire was a character that I really enjoyed. At first the fact that she doesn’t know anything about her past might be a little uncomfortable but you get to know it with her, at the same time as Maire. And she’s a strong character; with Allemas she does through so much but never once falters and keeps going, keeps surviving.

The ghost, Fyel, is an enigma. It’s certain he knows Maire and that he could help her remember. But he can’t tell her everything, always speaking in riddles and never once giving her a straight answer. He can’t, actually. At first you don’t really know what to make of him but as the story unfolds and Maire begins to slowly remember her past, we also begin to understand who Fyel is.  

As for Allemas, at the end I wasn’t expecting his true identity, his true propose. During the whole book he is this strange man who seems to be having a battle with himself. Almost like a child in a grown-up man’s body. But the truth is so different from what I could come up with. It explained a few things about him but others I was left a little bit in doubt.

The story on itself was deep and complex, not at all what you first thing when you start reading the book. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet ends up being a book about something far greater and grander than simple magic. It is magic, but a different kind of magic that goes beyond simple witchcraft.

The writing was easy to follow and it flew after a few chapters. I struggled slightly in the beginning since I wasn’t actually managing to set the story straight. But when I began to understand Maire’s voice, understand the background setting around her and got involved in the story, it was a rather fast and easy reading.  

There was a small part of the story that I really like and you can say it’s only details – they don’t actually add nothing to the story only to help Maire’s powers. Twice in the book Allemas tells Maire to use her abilities to other people and it ended up being connected with a few fairytales/classics. I’m not going to tell you because it’s fun to realise it as you read Magic Bitter Magic Sweet. But I can tell you that when I connected the dots, I found it quite intelligent.

Overall, Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet was a good book but the complexity of it made me enjoy it but not love it. It has magic, a really good character and a plot that was definitely not what I first expected but in the end, despite all the qualities of it, it was only a book I enjoyed. And, as I mentioned before, the fact that I was expecting something different and was kind of disappointed (perhaps disappointed is a strong word but the lack of other) with how it turned out to be, I couldn’t rate it more than 3 cups/stars. Still, it was a nice book with a twist in the end I liked and a bit of a lesson in the end.
Ner

Review: And I Darken

NER REVIEWS (andidarken)

Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Pages: 484 (Paperback)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Historical | Romance
Idiom: English
Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
Read: from July 16 to 25, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780552573740
(Paperback)
Cups:
4 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a while to come to terms with myself when it comes to this book. And I Darken was a book I couldn’t rate straight after finishing it because I was conflicted. I mean, I liked it, a lot, but there was something I couldn’t put my finger on that just didn’t allow me to rate it. I had to distance myself from it in order to organise my ideas. And, now, after almost a month, I can say that this book was amazing!

Before advancing into the review, I need to say that I felt a little bit bipolar while I was reading this. If you follow me on Goodreads and have been up to date with my reading status there, you might have noticed that while I was reading And I Darken, I kept switching from “not entirely sure about this” to “ok, this is getting super interesting” in a matter of pages. I think it just took me a while to get into the writing style, to follow the voice of the narrator and the story itself. In the end, I couldn’t actually see this book written in any other way.

This book is pretty much the beginning of Vlad the Impaler’s story but with a twist – it’s a gender swap story and it’s Lada the hero. Set in the Ottoman Empire in the fifteen-century, Lada and Radu are pretty much abandoned by their father in this huge and intimidating Empire, leaving their home, Wallachia, behind. As they grow up, Lada begins to plan her revenge and a way for her to reclaim her home back. Until she meets the Sultan’s son, Mehmed, and Radu and Lada are torn between their home and their friendship.

Lada was a character that I found hard to understand at first. I mean, she’s a kick-ass character indeed, managing to be more than a woman in such a close-minded empire where women pretty much don’t have any right. She loves her brother Radu and would rather hurt him to protect and save him than let him enter her heart and see him in pain (she prefers to be the one hurting). When she meets Mehmed, she becomes more of a determined young woman than a scared child. And when she falls for Mehmed, she reveals another side of her that spent most of her life locked. But for me, the best aspect of Lada was her want to be a warrior, her determination to be more than a concubine in a men’s world – she wanted to be someone worth following. Her insecurities are part of her will to protect both her brother and Mehmed. Under her mask of bad-ass hero, she’s a human being trying to save those she loves.

Radu was, in my opinion, the most developed character in the story. He is the opposite of Lada. He’s frightened, pretty much her shadow while growing up. Until he meets Mehmed and his determination is to save, protect and love him. He grows into this young man that is no longer afraid. And though his relationship with Lada has its ups and downs, there’s always this bond between that is unbreakable no matter what.

Actually, Radu’s story ended up hooking far more than Lada though I enjoyed both of them. Why? Radu has a secret that in such a medieval period and part of the world is pretty much tabu – Radu falls in love with Mehmed! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a twist I admit I did not see coming. And somehow it was a twist that made the story and the relationship between siblings so more interesting and intense. Was it a weird love-triangle involving siblings? Yes, but the fact that both of them love the same person in different ways was very interesting and gave Radu such depth I couldn’t help but feel for him.

Mehmed was the character that helps the siblings as they are thrown into this new world where they’re nothing more than leverage. He helps Lada and Radu have a place, a meaning and even though he wasn’t my favourite character, he played a big part in their lives. Without Mehmed, Lada and Radu wouldn’t develop the way they did and wouldn’t grow up to become such powerful players in this big empire. I think his character has a lot more to offer in future books and I’m waiting for him to understand Radu a little bit more.

The writing at first sounded strange to me. The narrators voice sounded off, distance. Only when Lada and Radu finally meet Mehmed and their friendship blooms, I began to feel the narrator’s voice. I guess that was one of the main reasons I was, at first, reluctant in continuing reading this book.

But when I finally got into the narrator’s flow and found its voice, I began to enjoy the book so much I was pretty much hooked. 

The historical aspects of And I Darken were somewhat knew to me since this is part of history we barely know that much and getting into this new world was slightly strange. The Ottoman Empire really gives the story such a complex background to the book that it makes it even more interesting.

Overall, And I Darken is a great book filled with action, political intrigue, religion diversity, secrets, betrayal and history. I dare say this is an intense book that will make you curious about history, determined as Lada and cunning as Radu. I became attached to the siblings and will be waiting for the continuation of their story. I cannot wait to see Lada as the Impaler.
Ner

Book Haul | August

Book Haul

Hello wonderful people!!

Another month, another book haul!! Even though I didn’t buy any book this month, I managed to get a few through NetGalley that I’m super excited!! 

-NetGalley/Edelweiss-

  • Summerlong – Peter S. Beagle (As soon as I saw this book, I knew I was going to request it no matter what. The cover alone made me want this book without even knowing what the story was all about. Of course that after reading the synopsis, I knew I was definitely going to request it because it sounds amazing!! Really pumped to pick this one up and I hope I’ll be amazed🙂;
  • Omega [Omega #1] – Lizzy Ford (I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while and when I saw it on NetGalley, I thought it was the best chance for me to finally have the opportunity to do so. And I’m super excited it got approved since I have the prequel (got it on Amazon for free!) and can know what the hype is all about🙂;
  • The Petrified Flesh [Mirrorworld/ Reckless #1] – Cornelia Funke (I’m so excited for this book. When I saw the name of the author – she wrote Inkheart and though I’ve never read it, I saw the movie and really enjoyed it – I had to try my luck. It sounds amazing so I couldn’t resist :D);

Ner

Monthly Wrap-Up | August

Wrap-Up

Well, we must say goodbye to August and say hello to September!! I just hope autumn comes fast because I can’t stand this heart any longer! I miss the chilly weather and wearing a coat over my tops!! Yep, you can definitely tell I am an autumn person!

If you have been following my reading progresses then you have noticed that August was an okay month! I didn’t read everything I wanted but I read a few good books! So, I’m happy with the progress of this last month though I wish I have read more than only thee books but it’s better than none, right? Still, July was the best month so far for me!

Wrap-Up | August

  • Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet – Charlie N. Holmberg (3/5 cups) GR | TBD | Amazon
    • This was a strange book at first! I was expecting something a little bit different from the synopsis but it was still an enjoyable reading;
  • City of Fallen Angels [The Mortal Instruments #4] – Cassandra Clare (3/5 cups – review to come) GR | TBD | Amazon
    • I was a little bit scared in going into this book because everyone told me it was horrible. But, you know what? It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t the best in the saga but it wasn’t that bad! I liked the fact it was more centred on Simon and Alec and Isabelle had more action scenes, but overall it was only an okay book in the saga. Still, I enjoyed it despite what pretty much everyone said about it! Bring me more!;
  • Labyrinth Lost [Brooklyn Brujas #1] – Zoraida Córdova (4/5 cups – review to come) GR | TBD | Amazon
    • I really enjoyed this book! First, it was about a kind of witches I’ve never actually read anything before. Second, the romance. Third, I really liked Alex!;

And that’s a wrap!!!

Ner

Book Blitz: Heartborn by Terry Maggert {Excerpt + Giveaway}

Lumiere

Book Blitz
Excerpt  + Giveaway

Heartborn

Author: Terry Maggert
Publication Date: September 1st, 12th, 2016
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Buy Book: Amazon | Barnes & Nobels

Synopsis:
Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

Excerpt – Chapter 1:

The Leap

The relentless wind cooled his skin as he mustered the courage to jump. It was a long way to fall, and he’d been poised on the edge for nearly an hour. It wasn’t fear that kept him rooted to the spot, but the effort of reaching through time to see what consequences his action might bring. To think of leaving was akin to dropping a boulder in the pool of his own history; there was no way to foresee what the ripples might cause. Or the waves, since this would make waves, not ripples. It was all an undiscovered thing.

No one had done what he meant to do; at least not in the memory of his House.

Under the points of his boots, featureless mist curled away to reveal an enticing glimpse of color and life so unlike his own home. Gray, he thought. I am so very tired of all the gray in these clouds. The longer he looked at the myriad of colors below, the more acute his hunger to see what mysteries rolled beneath him, unknown and vibrant. The land looked like a fairy tale made real, its hills and rivers gleaming like a promise in the early morning light. The sheer distance and appeal of it all clutched at his chest like a physical thing, making him cover his heart. His body fizzed with excitement and fear, and he liked it.

“You won’t go, you know.” His brother’s voice was bored to the point of insolence, a tone he’d perfected from years of practice. Like others who kept their face an impassable mask, he’d lost much of the joy in his life, if ever he knew it. Brother Garrick appeared from the sullen gray mist that hid the secret columns and towers of their home. Walking toward Keiron, a smile quirked at the cruel lips, so unlike his own. “We’ve already been to the edge of the scrying pool. You won’t go. It is known to us.” A look flickered across the impassive face, something ugly and hot. His control was slipping. That was new, as was his belief that he was equal to their parents. Or older siblings, at that.

“Yes. I will.” Keiron’s voice sounded small in the silence. Even the wind died out of respect for what he was about to say, and if his resolve held, what he would then do.

A sad shake of the perfect head said that was a lie. Garrick was beautiful to the point of distraction. His pupils were nearly colorless in a face framed with fine blonde hair that called sunlight to mind, so different from his brother. Garrick was light, while Keiron was dark, with skin golden from the sun and eyes the black of a starless night. A long, aquiline nose gave him a regal quality that Garrick, for all his perfection, could not possess. His hair was curled and ebony to the point of being liquid, a black mass that he pushed back with irritation at Garrick’s verbal assault. Keiron was lean and tall, and in the stages of bloom where men first leave boyhood behind when they are no longer concerned with a young man’s things.

Garrick spoke again, substituting arrogance for wisdom. “No. There is no escaping that which has passed. Even if you were to—”

A swift cut of Keiron’s hand broke the thought. His brother looked shocked, then amused, and then angry.

He didn’t like being spoken to that way. “I can, and I will. I know how to shift the light of days, and I know when to do it, too.”

“Really? A secret of that size, and you, a minor son, have figured it out? Do tell, fledgling.” He loved using Keiron’s youth as an insult, even though he was barely a year older.

“If you paid attention to anything other than yourself, you’d know that there is logic behind the Moondivers. There have been others, you know.” A hint of smugness colored Keiron’s defense, but his brother had it coming.

The reaction was volcanic.

Real anger spat forth from Garrick now, contorting his features into something crude and ugly. It was, Keiron thought, the first honest thing he’d seen of his brother in all these years. It was the face of fear and rage, and he knew why. This entire outburst was about power, or the lack of it. To control time was the province of elders, not some child who thought that he could move the forces of worlds to right a wrong. It was arrogance of a kind unlike anything he’d ever embraced, and his brother’s hate for him grew by the second because he knew that for all his perfection, the younger of them was more pure. The elder boy was ambition personified, but without courage and purity he would never control the clocks. For that matter, Garrick would not even control himself, a fact that dawned on him as he sputtered with rage.

Keiron squared his feet and repeated his intentions like a prayer. “The days will bend for me. I can feel it, and your anger will not change the truth.” His words rang with a kind of surety that made his legs shake, if only briefly.

It was something Garrick would say, and for that he was frightened and proud, since unlike his brother, Kieron meant every word of it and aimed to see it through.

In two long strides, his brother came close enough that he could smell the wind herbs on his breath. They were sour with hate, just like the expression contorting his face. “She’s already dead.”

Keiron went rigid, but fought mightily to gain control of the anger that bloomed in his chest. Heat spread like sunlight, and he took three long breaths to contain his next words. “She is now, but she won’t be when I get there. I told you. I can do it.”

“You think falling through time and distance can save her? Landing in that mud-spattered wallow that they crawl about in like feral swine? You don’t even know why they were driven from the land, let alone if death awaits you. What about you? Who can save you?” His brother barked with laughter, a short noise of jealousy and fear. “What if she doesn’t want to be saved? You’re a child. A favored pet who is loved because of his youth. You’re nothing but an amusement to this family.”

The wind blew harder as spots filled Keiron’s vision. He could not lose control, not now. He worked his jaw to let the words out. The sounds followed each other, chastened by the force of his will. “I have watched. I have learned. And I tell you, I am going, and she is worth saving.”

Garrick shrugged as the boredom returned to his face, now a mask of beautiful disinterest. “You actually care about them, don’t you? Those things down there? Those glorified cattle? Do you think they’re even capable of understanding us? We are not the benign, soft creatures that have been reshaped by their pitiful legends. We were born for war, not love. We are made to hurt, not heal.” He shook his head with a mocking grin. “You’ve always been weak, but this is beyond anything the family expected. It’s practically—”

“It’s decent, that’s the word you’re looking for.” Keiron’s voice was like iron, despite a small quiver at the end of his words. His jaw set again, and for an instant Garrick saw their grandfather’s stern profile there, lurking like a boulder under the surface of a still pool.

“You’re not even worth saving, let alone one of them.” Garrick’s eyes flicked down to the vista that unspooled under their feet, or perhaps it was above. It was difficult to tell with the curving horizon and shifting light. Part of what he saw was green, unlike their home. There were blue rivers, brown and green fields, and stony places worn by wind and weather. It was alien, but enticing. He let a woven cord of animal hide fall into his hand. On either end, a heavy molar prized from the jaw of a Windbeast acted as a weight. The teeth were well worn, and tied in with strands of fine leather. It had been a mature beast, killed to make things that the people of the wind needed. Like teeth. And rope.

“Then I belong with them, don’t I?” Keiron’s question was rhetorical.

Again, Garrick shrugged, this time with one shoulder. His lips peeled back to reveal perfect teeth, but there was no kindness in the gesture. “Fine, but you’ll need to know something first.” The cord spun outward from Garrick’s hand in a blur, spinning around Keiron’s wings with brutal efficiency. The weight of the heavy teeth spun the strand tight to bind him, flightless, as Garrick drew his sword and cut downward in a wicked blow that sent Keiron’s wings spinning away into the clouds below.

Paralyzed by pain and betrayal, Keiron stood swaying as Garrick stepped calmly forward, placing both hands on his brother and pushing him into a chaotic tumble from the ledge of House Windhook. Spatters of blood swept up and away in the swirling winds, the last sign of a boy who had been bound, and cut, and sent into the sky in less time than he had to register the sensation of being flightless and wounded.

Keiron’s stomach raged upward as glare and shadow coursed around him in a never-ending circle of dizzying light, and he began the long, cold fall through layers of sky and time that tore the scream from his throat even as it began.

From above, he heard Garrick’s last words, mocking and fat with poisonous joy. “Let us see if you can truly fly.”

About the Author – Terry Maggert:

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. 

I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of– well, for a while.

Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. 

Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You’ve been warned.

Website | Facebook | TwitterGoodreads

Giveaway:

Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
  • $25 Amazon gift card

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Good luck everyone😉


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Ner

Wishlist Wednesday (#140)

Wishing on Wednesday is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Dani @Pen to Paper where we’ll post about one book that has been on our wishlist for some time – or recently added – and which we can’t wait to get our hands on.

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The Thousandth Floor [The Thousandth Floor #1]
Katharine McGee
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Goodreads Page Author’s Twitter

Ner

Bout of Books 17 {Wrap-Up = Total Fail}

Bout of Books

Participant 228~ Ner @A Cup of Coffee & a Book

Okay, I should’ve posted this before but, to be fair and honest with you all, I kind of forgot! And, as you can definitely see from my updates and progress, this Bout of Books was a total fail for me! Why? Well, because I spent two days running errands and then I was lazy because I was so tired – and also had a few University stuff to gather before unrolling! Not to mention that I lost all my progress because I decided to reset my phone – I had all my reading progress on my memos – and it kind of unmotivated me. 

Also, The Bone Witch is such a complex book I need to pay close attention to it in order to fully understand it so, whenever I picked up the book I was so tired I barely managed to read more than 10 pages a day! 

So you could say that this is just a small wrap-up to let you know that I’m a failure!

I actually thought this read-a-thon was going to go smooth but it ended up the contrary! Only the first day was an achievement but it all went down-hill from there! Oh well… maybe next time!!

In the meantime, here’s the books I read:

BoutofBooksWrapUpTotalFail

So, I finished Labyrinth Lost which I really liked. Wasn’t expecting it enjoy it as much as I did! And then I started The Bone Witch and even though I’m really enjoying it, it’s a little but more complex than I initially thought. I’m pretty sure I was around 45% done Sunday but since I lost all my progress, I can’t be certain! And I must have read around 300 and something pages total!

Overall, I’m not happy with this Bout of Books since I am the one to blame for my total failure. Hopefully next time it will be better but this one sucked great time for me!

I hope all of you who participated had a blast and read everything (or close to it) you had challenged yourselves to read. Also, don’t reset your phone during a read-a-thon if you’re writing down your progress there – I normally write it down on a separate piece of paper but this time I was stupid to trust my phone alone… never again!

Ner

Bout of Books 17 {Day 2/3/4}

Bout of Books

Participant 228~ Ner @A Cup of Coffee & a Book

Hello everyone and I’m so so sorry for my lack of updates in these last two days but I was running some errands and pretty much didn’t have time to come to the computer. But today I’m here and I’m going to update you on my (slow) progress and post all the challenges I’ve missed so, please, bear with me😉

Day 2: Tuesday – 23/08

Progress:

Reading: Labyrinth Lost – 100% done – page 327  (PDF), 315 (book) | The Bone Witch – 6% done – page 28 (PDF);
Pages Read: 62 pages;
Books Read: 1/4;
Total Pages Read: 176 pages;

Tuesday was a pretty slow day since I had a lot of things to do and barely had time to sit down and read. And when I got home I was so tired I read around 16 pages and fell asleep!! My feeling of accomplishment went downhill from here :S

Challenge:

The Nickster hosted at Bout of Books – Mix ‘n Match

Instructions: Pick out 10-15 books from your shelf, from your local library, or from a local bookstore. They can be any genre, any language, and any length. In each book, flip to a random page and pick the 1st word (articles such as “the”, “and”, “an”, “or”, etc. don’t count as the 1st word). Use all these 1st words to try to create an actual sentence. If the books are in different languages, feel free to translate them to all one language or leave them as they are! also, you can add in some articles, such as “the”, “and”, “an”, “or”, etc., if you want to make the sentence flow better. 

I had a hard time with this challenge since all the words I got barely managed to create a proper sentence. So I took a little bit of liberty and instead of one sentence, I ended up with three that don’t make any sense.

So, here are the books and the words I got:

20160825_165054

  • him;
  • staring;
  • freeze;
  • into;
  • oldest;
  • sound;
  • even;
  • long;
  • resemble;
  • learning;

And here is the sentences I came up with:

“The oldest sister was staring into his eyes and they resemble(d) the past long forgotten. She felt herself freeze as the sound of his heartbeat was close to her. She was learning how to control her even breathing but failing at that since she was in love with him.”

See, how pathetic does this sounds? And it doesn’t make any sense at all! But it was the best I could come up with since I’m not that inspired today😦

Day 3: Wednesday – 24/08

Progress:

Reading: The Bone Witch – 20% done – page 87 (PDF);
Pages Read: 59 pages;
Books Read: 1/4;
Total Pages Read: 235 pages;

If Tuesday was a slow day for me, what can I say about Wednesday! I think you can gather just how bad it was but I have to be honest, I simply couldn’t read because I was so tired my eyes actually hurt and I didn’t want to force them.

Challenge:

Show Off Your Shelves Photo Challenge – Bout of Books

Wednesday’s challenge was to show-off my bookshelves so it was an easy one to do! So, here are my bookshelves:

20160825_165405

20160825_165427

I’m missing a few books in these last shelves that are on my mum’s room!! Also, I’m sorry how blurry the pictures are. They looked fine when I took them and only when I uploaded them did I realised they looked horrible :S

Day 4: Thursday- 25/08

Progress:

Reading: The Bone Witch – 20% done – page 87 (PDF);
Pages Read: 0 pages;
Books Read: 1/4;
Total Pages Read: 235 pages;

Can you believe I haven’t read anything today?! I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch after posting this but so far zero, niente, rien! 

Challenge:

Titles in the Tabloids – The Book Junkie

Instructions: 

  • Think about the book you are reading or one that you finished during Bout of Books 17;
  • Create a “tabloid” type headline.  Make it fun, feel free to use sarcasm liberally;

Okay, I’m going to use Labyrinth Lost for this tabloid. Here we go:

“Hormonal teenager sends her family to limbo and blames her dead pet.”

Wow, doesn’t sound at all like the story but this was as close as I could get to a fun title without giving too much away from the story!

Ner

Wishlist Wednesday (#139)

Wishing on Wednesday is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Dani @Pen to Paper where we’ll post about one book that has been on our wishlist for some time – or recently added – and which we can’t wait to get our hands on.

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The Alchemist of Loom [Loom Saga #1]
Elise Kova
Publication Date: January 10th, 2016 

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Goodreads Page | Author’s Goodreads Page | Author’s Website

Bout of Books 17 {Day 1}

Bout of Books

Participant 228~ Ner @A Cup of Coffee & a Book

Hello everyone and welcome to Day 1 of Bout of Books 17!!!

Day 1: Monday – 22/08

Progress:

Reading: Labyrinth Lost – 82% done – page 281 (PDF), 269 (book);
Pages Read: 114 pages;
Books Read: 0/4;
Total Pages Read: 114 pages;

Started counting as soon as it was midnight (it was around 1am actually) and I’ve got to admit I’m feeling pretty accomplished.

And I also have to say that tomorrow (day 2) and Wednesday (day 3) might be a little bit slow since I have to run some errands and might not be able to read that much. But I’m determined to finish Labyrinth Lost today and start The Bone Witch so there’s that😉

Challenge:

Book to Movie Adaptation – Writing My Own Fairy Tale

So, I said I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate in any challenge this time but today’s challenge is so easy I just had to do it. 

In this challenge you have to share your favourite and least favourite book-to-movie adaptation. You can share the reasons why or simply leave the names here. Pretty easy, right? So, here we go:

Favourite book-to-movie adaptation:

Stardust (Neil Gaiman) | Stardust (Matthew Vaughn – 2007)

Stardust

I might be cheating on this one since I first saw the movie and then read the book but it’s one of my ultimate favourite fantasy books and movies. They’re different, that’s so sure; there are things in the book that don’t appear in the movie and vice-versa. But I think Matthew Vaughn managed to transport into the big screen the wonderful story that Neil Gaiman created, remaining faithful to the source material, but also adding a few new things to make it even more interesting (yes, Captain Shakespeare for instance). In a whole, I think book and movie complete each other🙂

Least favourite/most hated book-to-movie adaptation:

Beautiful Creatures (Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl) | Beautiful Creatures (Richard LaGravenese 2013)

Beautiful Creatures

Oh man!! You guys have no idea how hyped I was for this movie. It movie had the perfect cast (Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson AND Viola Davis… really, simply perfect!) and I really loved the book so it had an amazing story to be a perfect movie! But they had to ruin everything! And when I say everything… I mean it! They changed the whole plot, there were things that didn’t make any sense and the ending… the ending!!! I left the cinema so upset, angry and sad… Why do they have this urge to pick up a book and change the whole story? It reminded me that time I went to see Eragon and left the cinema wanting to punch the director! 

Even though Stardust is different from the book, the main plot, the main characters, the essence of the Neil Gaiman’s amazing book is there. As for Beautiful Creatures (and Eragon now that I’ve mentioned it), lost everything in their poor executed movie that had everything to be a blockbuster and the next Twilight/Harry Potter. 

What about you guys? What is your favourite book-to-movie adaptation? And your least favourite?

Ner

Bout of Books 17 {TBR}

Bout of Books

Participant 228~ Ner @A Cup of Coffee & a Book

Happy Sunday everyone!!

Today I’m bringing you my Bout of Books 17 TBR – all the books I’m planning on reading during this next week’s read-a-thon – the read-a-thon kicks-off tomorrow and you still have time to sign-up if you want (just click on the button above :D).

I’ve decided not to try to be too ambitious with my list since I always end up not reading all of the books I challenged myself. So, this time, I picked up only four books; one of them is to actually finish and other is a re-read.

So, let’s see what I have decided to read for this next week:

TBR:

BoutofBooks17TBR

All page numbers are according to Goodreads – they might actually vary with the book itself (since apart from Throne of Glass, they’re all earcs from NetGalley!)! As for Labyrinth Lost, I’m not entirely sure how many pages I have left but on Day 1 progress (tomorrow!) I’ll let you know😉

I’m still not sure if I’m going to be able to participate in all challenges since I really want to mostly read and not spend all my days updating my progress. But it’ll depend on the challenge and how much I have read. We’ll see how that goes😉

For everyone participating or not, good luck with your reading ^_^

Ner

 

Bout of Books 17 – Sign-Up Post & Schedule

Bout of Books

Participant 228~ Ner @A Cup of Coffee & a Book

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

***

My first read-a-thon in what feels like AGES!!! Seriously, apart from my own read-a-thon last year, I haven’t signed-up for any and I kind of miss it. And one of the reasons I’ve decided to participate in this one has to do with me being a little bit slow with my reading! I have only read two books total this month and it’s already August 19th!! So, I’ll be using this as a motivation to read even more!

As for my TBR, it’ll come around Sunday once I sort what I want to read during the read-a-thon!

So, who’s participating?

Schedule:

Monday 8/22
Writing My Own Fairy Tale — Book to Movie Adaptation (My challenge)

Tuesday 8/23
Bout of Books — Mix ‘n Match

Wednesday 8/24
Bout of Books — Show Off Your Shelves Photo Challenge

Thursday 8/25
The Book Junkie — Titles in the Tabloids

Friday 8/26
Janey Canuck — Book in a Song

Saturday 8/27
FREE DAY!

Sunday 8/28
FREE DAY!

Twitter Chats
(chats last approximately one hour)
TZC = Time Zone Conversion
Monday: 8pm CST (TZC)
Saturday: 10am CST (TZC)

Ner

Wishlist Wednesday (#138)

Wishing on Wednesday is a weekly book blog hop hosted by Dani @Pen to Paper where we’ll post about one book that has been on our wishlist for some time – or recently added – and which we can’t wait to get our hands on.

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The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle
Janet Fox
Publication Date: March 15th, 2016

Something is not right at Rookskill Castle, a rundown Scottish manor shrouded in mystery. The castle is a temporary boarding school for children escaping the Blitz, but soon it’s clear there is something terribly wrong. There are clues hinting that a spy is in the house, and there are undeniable signs of a sinister magic.

When the children in the castle’s temporary boarding school begin disappearing one by one, it’s a race against the clock for twelve-year-old Kat Bateson, her two younger siblings, and their new best friend.

Goodreads Page | Author’s Goodreads Page | Author’s Website

Review: Zenith

NER REVIEWS (zenith)

Author(s): Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Publisher: Mirabel Inc.
Pages: 62 (epub)
Format: epub
Genre:
 YA | Sci-Fi | Fantasy
Idiom: English
Series: The Androma Saga #1
Read: June 1, 2016
Source & Shelf: Kindle App | Kindle
ISBN: 9781311167606

Cups:
3,5 Cups
GoodreadsKoboAmazon

Synopsis

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

There is darkness sweeping across the stars.

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

From internet sensation Sasha Alsberg and author Lindsay Cummings comes a new serialized space opera, full of action, fantastical intrigue, and steamy star-crossed romance.

For fans of popular sci-fi books and fantasy books for teens such as Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Wool by Hugh Howey, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: I wrote this review before the news of Sasha’s and Lindsay’s announcement concerning the future of Zenith – the book is going to be published through Harlequin Teen in 2017. In the meantime, congratulations to both :) 

As a fan of Sasha Alsberg‘s BookTube channel, abookutopia, I had to get my hands on her debut book alongside friend Lindsay Cummings (also the author of The Murder Complex). And, let me tell you, this was an amazing book. But it was so short… I mean, I want more.

For those who don’t know, Zenith is a serialised book series, meaning that the authors will be publishing the book in individual parts. And this first part was an amazing kick-off for what I can already see as a kick-ass series. 

Zenith is about Androma, or Andi, and her all-female crew who are space pirates. Yes, you read that right, space pirates. They are travelling space in their ship the Marauder until they are on their way to a mission but get caught.

Andi was such a kick-ass character to meet. She’s also called the Bloody Baroness and the name really suits her – she is deadly. I am really looking forward to know more about her past, to know her better and to simply continue exploring this character that has the potential to be one of the best female characters in YA. Sure, there is a Celaena Sardothian vibe to her but I managed to skip that and enjoy Andi.

The rest of the girls were also kick-ass characters but as of right now, because of how short this was and was mostly centred on Andi, I didn’t connect with them. But I’m positive that with the rest of the series we might get to know them better and deeper.

There were perhaps a little bit information to construct the background information of the story that let me slightly confused. The world building was, I felt, thrown at us as if we were expected to already know it. However, since this was so short, I’m expecting to get the opportunity to know more about the galaxies.

I admit being super curious about Valen and Nor. These two characters were really mysterious and there wasn’t that many information about them. And I admit that there was very little of Valen, I can see him as a potential favourite character of mine in this series.

I have to admit that even though I truly enjoyed this book, I also feel it was too short for me to be able to review it properly. It was a nice introduction to this saga I give you that, but trying to review just half of a story doesn’t actually feel right. Still, for a 62 pages book, it was actually good.

The writing was easy and had some beautiful sentences. The only negative point is what I already mentioned about the world building.

Overall, Zenith was a short and sweet debut for Sasha and a nice introduction to this new YA series. I will definitely be looking forward for the continuation of this saga and hopefully, as it builds up more plot, it’ll introduce us to a lot more kick-ass moments.

Ner

Monthly Wrap-Up | July

Wrap-Up

August is here!! How on freaking hell is it August already? Though I felt that July was the slowest month to pass, I still cannot believe it’s August! And I still need to go to the beach!

And I’m sorry this post is super late. I had a quite busy last week of July and first week of August but now I’m back!!

Anyway, this last month I had a pretty quite interesting month when it comes to books! I’ve read four out of the six books I had planned to read and added a special one in the mix because… well, you’ll see! But I’m quite pleased with how July was a reading month and I have high expectations for August. In the meantime, take a look at the books I read last month:

Wrap-Up | July

  • Zenith [The Androma Saga #1] – Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings (3,5/5 cups) GR | Amazon
    • I quite enjoyed this one but I thought it was indeed too short! I think that if Sasha and Lindsay had waited a little bit longer and had released this book with a story that had a beginning, middle and end, it would have been amazing. But, still, I quite liked it and will be waiting for more parts to be released;-);
  • Tower of Thorns (A Torre de Espinhos -PT Edition) [Blckthorn and Grimm #1] – Juliet Marillier (4/5 cups – no review) GR | TBD
    • Even though I LOVE Juliet, this isn’t my favourite series of hers. Still, I enjoyed this one much more than the first book and I’ve also realised that I can’t write a proper review for her books. Why? Because my love for Juliet normally blinds me to the negative aspects of her stories – yes, she also has flaws; she’s human – and I always end up writing a review that mainly says ALL the good things about her books. And I think that’s not fair!;
  • And I Darken [The Conquerors Saga #1] – Kiersten White (4/5 cups) GR | TBD
    • I still don’t know what I feel about this book. I really liked it but there is something I can’t put my finger on! I mean, it’s an amazing book but I can’t still give it a proper rating! I’m giving it 3,5 cups but I can’t write my review for now… gonna wait a while before trying to review it!;
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child [Harry Potter #8] – J.K. Rowling & Jack Thorne & John Tiffany (4/5 cups – no review) – GR | TBD
    • OMG!! THE FEELS!!!!! I can’t control my emotions guys, you have no idea!! I read this book in one day – ONE WHOLE DAY!!I bought it and then read it in one sitting and that never happened before. And even though the book has its flaws and it was a weird HP reading experience – because it is the script of the play and not a novel – I enjoyed the book and the plot. Many people didn’t like the whole twist and turn and everything but I did. I liked how we managed to not only see our favourite trio as adults but also meet Scorpius and Albus and still be connected to the whole Voldemort plot – though I do admit some things felt slightly far-fetched even for Harry Potter. But, overall, having the opportunity to read this, to have one more story set in the HP universe was so well worth it. Even if it felt like a weird fan-fic, it was worth it and I’m sure as a play, it’ll be amazing!! Now I can only  waiting for a live DVD of the play or a movie because I know I won’t be able to actually see the play! 
  • Clockwork Angel [The Infernal Devices #1] – Cassandra Clare (4/5 cups – review to come) – GRTBD
    • Now I get why everyone loves TID! I admit it… it’s prety awesome! I loved meeting all these new characters and being able to connect it back to TMI and I adore Charlotte and Henry!! As for the main trio – I’m super curious about Will’s past because there’s a lot more going on, Jem is super sweet and I love him, and as for Tessa, I was hoping to be blown away by her character but so far she was only okay. I mean, I liked her but I’m hoping for much more from her in the upcoming books. Also, I loved that Magnus appears in this book because I freaking love him (and that bit about his favourite combination being black hair and blue eyes – MALEC ALERT!!! *swoon*);

And that’s a wrap!!!

Ner

Blog Tour Stop: Guest Post + Excerpt: Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes by Keira Gillett (+ Giveaway)

Blog Tour Stop:
Guest Post + Excerpt + Giveaway

Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes

Hi guys! Today I’m bringing you a stop for Keira Gillett‘s Blog Tour for Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes. If you don’t know, I’ve been following Keira’s adventure of Zaria and her friends throughout Norway and I love this trilogy. So when Keira asked me if I wanted to be part of this tour, I immediately accepted!

There’s a guest-post where Keira shares with us some fun facts about the third book in the Zaria Fierce series, an excerpt and a giveaway at the end – keep an eye out on that!

My review for the book can be read here if you want to know what I thought about this last adventure. To be honest, I just highly recommend you pick up these books if you like fantasy, Norwegian folklore (or would like to know), friendship, adventure and magic! And you can download the first book – Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest – on Kindle for FREE till August 9th. Go get your copy here (you won’t regret it, trust me :D)

Zaria3Author: Keira Gillett
Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan
Narrator (aubiobook): Michele Carpenter
Release Date: July 1st, 2016
Publisher: Keira Gillett
Pages: 300 (Kindle)
Format: 
Epub
Genre:
 MG | Fantasy | Adventure
Idiom: English
Series: Zaria Fierce #3
Get the Book:

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Synopsis

“Nothing can save you now, Princess.”

How can anyone be tricked twice? Isn’t there even a saying about that? Zaria Fierce is determined to get things right this time and with the Drakeland Sword in her possession she’s ready to take on trolls, dragons, and whatever else may come… but first she and her friends are going to have to figure out just how much trouble they’re in at home.

Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes (Book #3):

“That’s the great thing about the Zaria Fierce trilogy: adventure is fast, furious, and loaded with Norse mythology, but the friendship between Zaria and her group of friends is the heart that drives this story.” Rosemary, Mom Read It

“I think the Zaria Fierce series mixes together all the things that I love about reading fantasy books, there is a sense of good versus evil, strong friendships, dragons, gorgeous illustrations, a captivating world, a perfect middle-grade book for someone looking for an action packed story filled with Norse mythology.” – Brenda, Log Cabin Library

“Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes was a spectacular conclusion to a great trilogy (though the ending left the door open for more adventures). Filled with magic, a great story line, amazing and real characters, wonderful settings and beautifully explored themes, Keira Gillett created a trilogy that I will always cherish and will visit anytime. If you like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Spiderwick Chronicles or simply love a book filled with Norwegian folklore and fantasy, then this is the ultimate series for you to read, devour and lose yourselves in.” – Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book (that’s me guys ^_^)

Guest Post:

10 Fun Facts About Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Shoes:

Good day everyone! My name is Keira Gillett and I’m so glad to be invited back to talk more about the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. Briefly, the trilogy is about a young girl who moves to Norway, meets a troll, and goes on a quest to save her friend. Ner’s asked me to share some facts with you about the final instalment, Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes. I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look. Let’s dive in!

1. The first draft of Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes was completed in eight months on 2/5/2016. According to the document information I spent a total of 3 days 3 hours 3 minutes writing time on the book. How funny is that? I couldn’t have planned that. LOL;

2. The ending sequence in the epilogue is there purely because I have amazing beta readers who demanded more from me and the books than where I had originally left it. They wanted more and on reread I agreed, so I gave it to them. The final result? They were so right!! The book is so much better;

3. The Gjallarbrú Bridge in folklore is a covered bridge with a gold roof. If you’ve been to Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, Switzerland the bridge will feel familiar to you. Crossing the water is a beautiful covered bridge and it was my inspiration for the bridge in the book.

4. I wrote Hector’s scene down in the Under Realm before anything else in book three. About halfway through the book I jumped ahead again and wrote half of Zaria’s encounter with Koll. These scenes just demanded to be written and wouldn’t wait their turn!;

5. The palace grounds for the Under Realm are based on a real place, called Uranienborg Castle. The grounds are shaped like a quatrefoil, which coincidentally is also one of my sorority’s symbols. It’s super fancy looking with four circles and a large central diamond. It was a no-brainer to add it into the books;

6. I’ve actually tried cloudberry preserves. The description Zaria applies to them in the book is exactly how I think they taste. I’m glad I didn’t go with the flavors others were ascribing to them on the web, because I didn’t think it tasted that way at all. Of course, maybe that’s the difference between eating them fresh in the field and eating a preserve. I found that they’re very mild for a berry. I’m also told that it’s great served warm on vanilla ice cream. Have you tried it?

7. My dog Oskar was a big help although we both didn’t know it at the time. His behavior and personality inspired pint-sized Vingar’s behavior and personality. If you knew my dog, you would agree. I saw it clearly during the edits and added a few more antics to seal the deal. He’s a cheeky fellow – playful and mischievous.

8. 16 gorgeous illustrations are in the third book, just like the first two books. Eoghan actually did 18 drawings, two each of Granny and Hector. I thought all four drawings were great! I had a tough time choosing the version for each character that would be in the book. The Granny I picked reminds me of my cousin’s grandma with her apple cheeks and sweet smile. I absolutely adore them both.

9. Michele Carpenter is finishing her narration of the third book. I got to hear a preview with Granny. LOVED IT. Her voice is perfect and cracks me up every time I hear it;

10. Michele also told me she started a new process to keep track of all the voices she’s using for the series so she’d be able to draw upon them again quickly for this book and the next books in the series. I think that’s so cool, and yes, that does mean there are more books coming! Yay! The next books focus on Aleks Mickelsen, but all our favorite characters will be back.

Thanks for having me! This was great! If you stick around there’s giveaway information at the end! One lucky person has a chance to win a Zaria Fierce audiobook package.

Thank you so much Keira. I loved knowing all these facts about book 3; it makes the reading experience far more interesting when knowing certain details about how the author wrote it. Am I right fellow readers?!

Also, the bridge in Lake Lucerne looks so beautiful – adding it to my endless list of places to visit. And your dog is the cutest; can I adopt him?!😉

Excerpt:

Hector was right that the group wasn’t far from Malmdor. They reached the entrance before night fell, and in the gloomy dusk that slipped around them like a cloak, they reached the edge of the forest and stopped. Below them in a wide clearing was an abandoned quarry filled with water.

The lake was nestled at the bottom of a deep, steep pit. Its deep blue water was smooth and glassy, protected from wind by the rocky walls and surrounding forest. Zaria could see the lakebed in the shallower areas. Something large swam in the center, too deep to see clearly.

“What is that?” asked Filip, having spotted the creature at the same time.

Hector said, “It’s a water-wyvern.”

“Is that like the Loch Ness Monster?” asked Christoffer. “Cool. No wonder they can’t find it in Scotland.”

“You haven’t seen a winter-wyvern,” Zaria said. “I bet it’s more like Norwick.”

“The flying snow leopard-bear-bat thing you told me about? Even better,” Christoffer said, rubbing his hands together in glee. “Do we get to meet it?”

“Is it friendly?” worried Geirr.

“The beastie is not friendly,” said Hector, grimly. “And yes, we will be meeting it. Water-wyverns are wild, unpredictable creatures. This one is particularly nasty. It was captured and transported to this quarry lake over a century ago. It can’t escape – water-wyverns aren’t able to live out of water for very long. This makes it very angry. The lake is too small for him.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Geirr said, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “So, can it eat us?”

Hector nodded. “It once devoured an entire legion of dwarf handlers because they smelled bad. They’ve showered regularly ever since.”

Geirr looked at Zaria. “Why?” he moaned. “Why do we have to meet it?”

“Look on the bright side, mate,” Filip said, clapping Geirr on the back. “Maybe we get to ride it.”

Hector shook his head. “The water-wyvern is the guardian of Malmdor. Its job is to keep out all trespassers.”

Christoffer sighed, disappointed. “Too bad. I would have loved to ride him.”

“Will we have to feed it to get by it? What does a water-wyvern eat?” Aleks asked, readjusting his backpack and bow.

“It eats whatever it can catch,” Hector said forebodingly. “We’ll have to be careful as we near the shoreline. A water-wyvern might not have much in the way of limbs, being adapted to the water, but it has enough leg-power to propel itself onto the shore and attack.”

“At least it can’t fly,” said Geirr, relieved. “Small favors.”

Zaria and her friends gasped as it breached the surface, blowing out a large stream of air. The water-wyvern was magnificent with a gray-and-white pattern. It had a seahorse face, with a long snout, and no ears. The top of its head bore a wavy crest that trailed down its neck.

As the creature dove beneath the water, it flipped its body into the air. There were no scales anywhere on it, as far as she could see. Zaria half-expected a whale fluke, but its tail looked like an eel’s. The thing was massive, at least four times bigger than Norwick, and hideous.

They stood there, watching the shifting, undulating, shadow in the water. Aleks wore a pensive frown, his brown eyes narrowed. “Does it have a name?”

“The dwarves call it Vingar.”

Giveaway:

One lucky winner will win a Zaria Fierce Audible Package (codes for the first two books) – INT (Ends: 14th August)

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Good luck everyone🙂

About:

Keira Gillett (Author):

Keira_Gillett_Author_2Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author.

She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting.

From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader.

Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest 

Eoghan Kerrigan (Illustrator):

Eoghan_Kerrigan_Illustrator_1Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures.

He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects.

He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website Twitter | Facebook

Michele Carpenter (Narrator):

Michele_Carpenter_Narrator_2Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting.

She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey.

Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too.

It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read.

“We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
Ner

UNITED Launch Day Blitz (+ Giveaway)

UNITED Launch Day Blitz!

UnitedLaunchPic1

Hey there, booklovers!

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of UNITED, the final book in the Alienated trilogy. Our star-crossed lovers Aelyx and Cara have overcome some heavy obstacles to be together—riotous mobs, alien hybrids, and worst of all, high school on two planets. Now to stay together they’ll have to unite their people against a common enemy, a threat more deadly than they ever imagined. (NBD, right?) I’ve written an ending to this trilogy that makes my heart happy, and I hope you’ll love the conclusion as much as I do!

What do reviewers have to say? 

“The author’s storyline is out of this world.” –VOYA on Alienated

“The unusual plot and world building are ingenious.” –Library Media Connection on Alienated

“If [the third novel] is as entertaining as this tale, it can’t come soon enough.” –Kirkus Reviews on Invaded

“A fun genre-blending series that will only gain traction as it continues.” –Booklist on Invaded

If you love hot aliens, snarky humans, and wild sci-fi adventure, make sure to pick up a copy of UNITED today. It’s now available in stores and online.

Amazon | iBooksBarnes & Noble | TBDIndie Bound

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a set of all 3 mini-posters in the Alienated series—signed by me! The giveaway is open internationally.

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Best of luck, and happy reading🙂

About the Book:

UnitedFinal

Title: UNITED
Series: Alienated #3
Author: Melissa Landers
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Publisher: EverAfter
ISBN: 9780997086805
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Synopsis:

*Might contain spoilers Alienated and Invaded*

After thwarting a deadly coup and saving the alliance between their worlds, Cara and Aelyx have finally earned a break. Their tiny island colony is everything they dreamed it would be―days spent gathering shells on the beach and nights in each other’s arms.

But the vacation is short-lived.

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened an ancient force that threatens to destroy them all. The Aribol, mysterious guardians charged with maintaining interstellar peace, deem the alliance a threat to the galaxy. They order a separation of the races, decreeing humans and L’eihrs must return to their own planets within the month or face extinction. In fact, they already have agents in place on Earth, ready to begin.

With the clock ticking, Aelyx and Cara assemble a team of colonists and race back to Earth, where they unite with old friends to solve the mystery of who the Aribol are, what they want, and the real reason the alliance has provoked them. As tensions build to a full-scale war, Aelyx and Cara must fight harder than ever―not just for their future, but for the survival of both their worlds.

About the Author:

Melissa1

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds.

A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids.

She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.”

For more information, or just to say hello, visit http://www.melissa-landers.com.

Ner