Tag | Peculiar Tag

TAG

Today I bring you a brand new tag. I’m a bit late with this tag since I have been quite busy lately (and I’ve also been ill last week) and I had this on my drafts for a while… but here it is!!! So thank you Ana @Nerdy Bookworm for tagging me to do the Peculiar Tag. This tag was created by Jesse the Reader and you can watch his video here

Here we go:

1) Abandoned House:
A book that you abandoned but you end up giving a second chance.

Some years ago (I think maybe twelve), I started reading Dracula by Bram Stoker but wasn’t really into it and ended up putting it aside. When I had British Victorian Literature, I had to pick up Dracula again since my oral presentation was about it. I ended up loving it so much it became one of my favourite classics 😉

2) Vintage Pictures:
A book that you wanted to see illustrated.

Those of you who have read this book can understand why I picked up this book. The imaginary in this book is amazing and having it as a illustrated book – say, Tim Burton-ish style or even Guilhermo del Toro (okay, maybe they’re too dark but I love their talent!) – would be amazing 🙂

3) Loop:
A series you wouldn’t mind reading over and over again

Harry Potter of course!! I mean, once a Potterhead, always a Potterhead, am I right?

4) Peculiar Children:
An ability of a character that you would like to have

For this one I have to choose Avry from Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder. Her power is to heal people with her touch and, come on, who wouldn’t love to be able to heal people?

5) Mrs. Peregrine:
A favorite character that is a leader

Can I say Tobias “Four” Eaton from Divergent by Veronica Roth? I mean, he ends up being technically like a leader and he is one of my ultimate favourite characters (and book boyfriend!) 😀

6) Jacob:
A story where a normal boy discovers a new world

Well… this one isn’t that hard since I’m going to pick up Harry Potter, again!

7) Emma:
A brave character

You know what, I always end up picking up Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (my Master) and/or Liadan from Son of the Shadows because these two characters are definitely the strongest ones I read and always look up to. If you guys want to read about two determined, independent, strong and simply amazing characters, these two books (well, the whole Sevenwaters saga) to read!

8) Millard:
A book that looks invisible but should be read for more people

I have to pick up a book I read this month which is The Petrified Flesh by Cornelia Funke. I LOVED this book and I don’t see that many people talk about it – I know, it’s a German book and all but, come on, Cornelia Funke wrote Inkheart (I didn’t read it but even I know about that one!). It’s an amazing fantasy book that I think everyone who simply likes the genre will adore 😉

9) Olive:
A book that you bought and went straight ahead to the top of your tbr

Well, I haven’t bought any book recently but I admit that as soon as I bought Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas it went straight to the top of my TBR – though I still need to re-read Crown of Midnight before picking it up (I’ve been a slow reader lately!)

10) Hugh:
A book that you read that gave you so many feels

Despite the obvious flaws and kind of weird canon theories and all, I have to go with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child because it sure brought back a lot of feels when I read it!

11) Enoch:
A character you would bring back to life

Every single character J.K. Rowling has killed throughout Harry Potter (apart from the obvious evil ones!!) WHY DID YOU HAVE TO KILL THEM ALL?! *ugly crying*

12) Bronwyn:
A physically strong character

Of course the kick-ass Celaena Sardothien because she can literally kill you with just a glance your way and have tea five seconds later 😉

This is one of my favourite fan-arts of Celaena (Aelin) by Charlie Bowater because she looks almost exactly as I pictured her. Check out Charlie’s work here.

13) Hollowgast:
A book that you read and you didn’t liked

The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz. Seriously, WHY DOES THIS BOOK EXISTS?! I never hated a book so much in my life!

14) Wights:
A book that looks like it used all the cliches you have already seen before

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard. I felt this book was too much Twilight meets A Discovery of Witches, it didn’t feel like anything new to me!


Who I Tag:

Well, this won’t be new because, as always, I tag EVERYONE who wants to do this tag! You know the drill, just say I tagged you and leave me know you did so I can check it out 😉

Ner

Review: The Bone Witch

NER REVIEWS (theonewitch)

Author: Rin Chupeco
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Witches | Paranormal
Idiom: English
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Read: from August 23 to September 4, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781492635826 
(Hardcover)
Cups:
3 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

 

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

My Opinion

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

The Bone Witch was a rather peculiar book. I say this in a good way because, trust me, this book wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. And that was one of the best qualities of it.

And I have to warn you, before you continue reading, that this review won’t make any sense at all! It’s a rather complicated book to review which so many things I still haven’t figured out but I’ll get to that in a moment. I will try my best to explain myself properly but I’m pretty sure it’ll end up being one of those reviews were nothing makes sense!

Okay, here we go:

One of the main reasons I really wanted to read The Bone Witch (apart from the extremely beautiful cover… I mean, look at it!), was the premise. A young girl who finds out she’s a bone witch, a witch who can resurrect the dead and then leaves home in order to become a rather powerful witch? Yes, please! It sounded just like up my alley and I couldn’t stop myself from requesting it on NetGalley when I got the chance.

So, the book starts with our main character, Tea, telling her story to this bard who wants to write a book about her. So she’s starts by telling him about when she found out she had the power to resurrect people. And she found it out by resurrecting her dead brother – who later ends up having this amazing capacity to joke about his death and being “dead” that is hilarious. After being pushed aside by her family and her village, another bone witch finds her and takes her away so she can train to become a proper bone witch with the asha – women with magical ability. 

And this is where things become messy. This book is complex guys, trust me. There are a lot thing I’m still not sure I fully understood the concept. Somethings I’m quite sure I didn’t grasp them entirely.

So, we have the asha who are witches who can use any elemental ability and then you have the dark asha who are the bone witches – these ones are kind of rare. Each one trains in order to become this sort of Geisha but also train to fight against these monsters – the daeva – who are dead but once in a while resurrect – the bastards! But only the dark asha can truly kill them. And you also have the deathseekers who are the like the male version of the asha – apart from the geisha part – they’re more like soldiers trained in magic.

Then there’s these heartglasses that contain a person’s “heart” and some people can read their emotions through their colour – Tea is one of them. And there’s the forger and his apprentice who can create people’s hearts by using someone else’s memories – this is a topic I’m still not sure about but I do like the whole heartglass concept in general.

Then, the most complicated part for me since I feel like this part of the story was simply thrown out at us readers instead of properly explained; the Faceless and the False Prince. As far as I could gather, the Faceless are the followers of this False Prince but who the heck this prince is, I have no idea. Maybe in the upcoming books – or book – we’ll get to know him and his history properly but for now I’m kind of lost.

Alright, I think this covers the things I’m still slightly confused about but, and despite the fact I didn’t fully grasp the idea Rin Chupeco had intended to express, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the action of the book. 

In my opinion, a person can enjoy a book even if he/she didn’t fully understand the main universe. As long as the main plot and the characters are interesting enough, I don’t see why you can’t enjoy it.

Anyway, moving on to the things I did like.

Tea from the future telling her story to the bard. I loved it! It makes you super curious about what the heck happened that eventually led to Tea being where she is.

Tea and Fox’s – her brother – bond and relationship. The fact that she resurrected him created this deeper bond between then that allows each other to know what the other feels and thinks. And Fox turned out to be one of the best characters in the book due to his sense of humour.

Tea’s “sisters” who help her train alongside her mentor, Mykaela. Those two, Polaire and Althy were, perhaps, my two favourite characters in the whole book, before Fox! Their humour, their opposite personality and abilities just made the story so much lighter. I hope to read more about them in the upcoming books!

And something that happened at the end of the book, a discovery that has to do with Tea in the future (or is it the present?) that had me surprised and so excited even though I saw it coming like miles away.

Anyway, the first half of the book dragged a little for me because it was a fantasy YA version of Memoirs of a Geisha (totally stealing it from the blurb and since I saw the movie but never read the book, I think I can compare the two of them!). It was more centred around Tea’s duties as a servant first and then as an asha in training – the practising her dance moves, singing, etiquette, history and whatnot.

But then you had the magic element to the story where Tea trained how to fight against weapons and magic alike, how to control her ability as a bone witch and how to use herbs and all.

There isn’t much I can say more about The Bone Witch to be honest  and I feel that my review did little to express my true feelings about the book.

I mean, I’m pretty sure you are thinking: “but you have so many negative – negative might be a strong word here – things about this but ended up rating a 3 cups?”

But, trust me on this when I say that this is one of those books I cannot explain why I kind of liked it despite those negative things – I can only say: “read it!”. It’s a sort of book that you simply have to be the one judging – a review, or someone else’s opinion, won’t be that enlightening to you.

In the end, The Bone Witch was a rather interesting and peculiar read. It’s also a book that I think will make you think and will move your feelings in strange directions. And despite all those things I didn’t grasp – which I’m hoping to understand upon a second reading and/or with the sequel – I understood t enough to realise the potential of it, how great it can become. I will definitely continue reading this series.
Ner

Tag | This or This? Book Tag

TAG

Happy Sunday people 🙂

Today I’m bringing you something I haven’t done in a while: a tag!!

I was tagged by Ana @Nerdy Bookworm so THANK YOU SO MUCH ❤

Basically, this is a book battle where you choose from my wining book and the books I picked up the one you prefer or are curios about. It sounds kind of complicated but when you start reading my post, you’ll get the hang of it. Also, any questions, feel free to ask 😉

Here are the rules:

  • Mention the blog who tagged you in the beginning of your post;
  • The first book is the book that won the battle of the person who tagged you;
  • You have to follow the order of the book’s list the other person has gave you, explain why you chose the book;
  • Once you have your wining book, you chose 7 books for the people you tag.

Okay, let’s see how this goes:

1st Round:
The Girl on the Train vs. The Longest Ride

I have to choose The Girl on the Train because Nicholas Sparks‘ romances aren’t exactly the sort of book I enjoy reading. Also, The Girl in the Train sounds like an exciting thriller 🙂

2nd Round:
The Girl on the Train vs. The Casual Vacancy

2ndround

I pick The Casual Vacancy for this one because it’s a J.K. Rowling book and I actually started it once but had to put it aside because I still had Harry Potter as the ultimate Rowling’s writing style. And I want to be able to say that I’ve read something different by J.K. Rowling 🙂

3rd Round:
The Casual Vacancy vs. City of Glass

3rdround

Well, this isn’t fair but I’ll go with City of Glass! Not only because I really liked it, I’m currently trying to finish The Mortal Instruments series and because of MALEC!!!! Enough said xD

4th Round:
City of Glass vs. Everland

4thround

Even though Peter Pan is one of my favourite classics, I have to choose City of Glass again!! Everland sounds pretty interesting but it doesn’t have MALEC!!!!

5th Round:
City of Glass vs. Death with Interruptions

5thround

Oh boy!! Again, City of Glass. My experience with José Saramago wasn’t the best one and even though this book sounds amazing – my sister actually owns a copy of Death with Interruptions and even started reading it and enjoyed what she read so far – I’m not emotionally ready to try Saramago again :S

6th Round:
City of Glass vs. Socrates in Love

6thound

Again, City of Glass!! I admit that I’ve never heard of Socrates in Love before so that might be to blame :S

7th & Final Round:
City of Glass vs. Paper Towns

7thround

Damn!! City of Glass again! I’m not very keen on trying John Green anytime soon because contemporary isn’t my favourite genre and between urban fantasy and contemporary, fantasy will always win!

Winner: City of Glass

3777732

My books:

  1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas;
  2. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner;
  3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky;
  4. The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker;
  5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare;
  6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë;
  7. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer;

I tag:

Have fun everyone 🙂

Ner

Monthly Wrap-Up | September

Wrap-Up

Hello earthlings, how are my favourite people in the world?

Yes, I am trying to apologise with cotton-candy words for your guys to forgive me for my total lack of news! I started classes, I’ve been working on my “novel” and I’ve also been super lazy/tired. Not that much of an excuse but you guys know that I always come back, right?

So, September was the worst month for me! I only read two books, started the third one (which I’ll try to finish this weekend!) and I have no idea what to read in October!

Anyway… check out them out: 

Wrap-Up | September

  • Re-Read: Throne of Glass [Throne of Glass #1] – Sarah J. Maas (5/5 cups – old reviewGR | TBD | Amazon
    • I’ve been planning to re-read Throne of Glass for months now and it finally happened in September due to the release of Empire of Storms. I was actually going to dedicate myself to the three books I own of the series but unfortunately I haven’t been able to! But I will be definitely be re-reading Crown of Midnight in October – hoping to but Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms for my bday 😀 – Also, second time reading this book was way better than the first so I bumped it up that half-star I had previously not given to it… it’s definitely a 5 cups/stars book!!;
  • Summerlong – Peter S. Beagle (3/5 cups – review to come) GR | TBD | Amazon
    • This was a peculiar read. Overall I enjoyed it but I guess I was expecting something else and I was slightly disappointed with it. It’s one of those books I have quite of mixed feelings and can’t really know for sure how to put in words my thoughts about it. I’ll try to write my review for it but I won’t promise to be quite coherent about it;

 

And that’s a wrap!!!

Ner

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.

 alt=

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.

 alt=

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

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

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.

 alt=

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

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.

 alt=

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 {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.

 alt=

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:

atmbaddbook70x25Amazon

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)

Rafflectoper Logo

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

Wishlist Wednesday (#137)

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.

 alt=

Wintersong
S. Jae-Jones
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

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