Saturday, 29 August 2015

In My Mailbox #44


In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren which allows us to share the books we’ve bought, borrowed and received.

(these are just the print copies)

I'm super excited about everything I got this week! This haul includes books I got in the past two weeks as well, I think. So many new HC titles I can't wait to read.

Gifted


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
The Calling by James Frey

I got these for my birthday earlier this month. I dove right into Throne of Glass, and I loved it! I read the next books in the series too, and I'm now a huge fan. I can't wait for Queen of Shadows to release in a couple of days! I haven't read The Calling yet, but I hope to soon - it sounds so intriguing.

For Review




The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas^
Light of Day by Allison van Diepen^
Illuminate by Tracy Clark
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor*
A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann*
Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan*
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine*
Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers*
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan*
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima*
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins*
Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie*

^ARCs sent by HarperCollins International (thanks Megan!)
ARC from NetGalley (thanks Entangled Teen!)
*ARCs from Edelweiss (thanks HMH Books and HarperCollins!)

Wow. I adore HC for putting up so many titles on Edelweiss! I'm so excited for all of the eARCs - also, they're mostly fantasy, which I love.

I can't wait to dig into these! If you're auto-approved for HC on Edelweiss, go download them :)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #106: The Rose Society

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...


The Rose Society by Marie Lu


Title: The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2)
Author: Marie Lu

Release date: October 13th 2015
Publisher: Putnam Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

From New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes the second book in the exhilarating Young Elites series.

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

We're so close to reading this one! I cannot wait to get my hands on it, after the volcano of amazingness that was The Young Elites. Also, I know quite a few people don't like the cover but I for one am a fan of it. The wolf eyes give it a sinister sort of look, which I'm sure matches the tone of the book.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)
Author: Rae Carson

Release date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 313

Source: Edelweiss

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance.

I was really looking forward to this book, with the whole historical setting as well as the fantasy embedded within. But it didn't really live up to my expectations, and I ended up being a little disappointed by it. Sure, it's a good book and a potentially intriguing story, but it just wasn't for me.

Leah can sense gold around her, and that's pretty much how her family gets by. She finds tiny gold nuggets or gold dust, and though they can't flaunt it, they live comfortably. Until both her parents are murdered. Leah sets off to find gold in California, because gold was recently discovered there and that's where everyone is going. This book of the trilogy follows Leah on her journey to California.

Leah - or Lee, as she is called - is a pretty good protagonist, and I liked her. She's courageous, determined, and an all-round likeable character. But we get almost no information about her ability to sense gold. There doesn't seem to be much curiosity in her, either. Why is she the only one? Where does it come from? What else can she do? We don't get to see any of this fantasy element apart from Lee finding the occasional gold nugget.

There is a bit of a romance between Lee and her best friend Jefferson, which didn't really seem to work. At least to me. It felt awkward and there's no chemistry between them, they're just really good friends. I don't think it's a good idea to smush the two of them together as a couple just because it's convenient.

Another thing I was iffy about is the overall plot and the minor characters. Nothing really happens on Lee and Jefferson's journey to California, and yet it fills up this entire first book of the trilogy. They travel in wagons and on horses, usually with a group of other people and families, which is where the minor characters come in. None of them are explored beyond what's on the surface, and I can't even remember any of their names. They were all pretty forgettable. Leah is the only character who's sufficiently developed. Not even Jefferson is three-dimensional enough in this book. I really hope that changes in the sequel.

I liked the fact that this book is set in the Gold Rush era, because that's unique in YA literature. Also, though I'm not familiar with the history of this era in the US, I find it really interesting. And with Leah's gold-sensing ability, there's so much that can be explored, and so many stories that can come from it. I hope that happens in the next book, since they reach California by the end of this one.

I didn't get as much out of this book as I wanted to, so though I enjoyed it, I still kept having the feeling that it fell short. I know a lot of others who've loved this, so maybe it's just me. I do like the premise, though, and I will probably pick up the next book to see how Leah's ability is explored and what happens in California.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Review: The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant

Title: The Tattooed Heart (Messenger of Fear #2)
Author: Michael Grant

Release date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format: eARC
Pages: 212

Source: Edelweiss

The games continue in New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant’s sequel to Messenger of Fear: a haunting tale for fans of Stephen King that combines fantasy with real-world horror stories.

Mara has learned to punish the wicked as the Messenger’s apprentice. Those who act out of selfishness and greed, and others who become violent because of prejudice and hate, pay the ultimate price. But Mara is constantly reminded that Messengers are serving their own kind of punishment—for every person who is offered justice, they wear a tattoo that symbolizes the heart of the crime. As Mara delves deeper into her harsh reality, she will discover that in spite of all the terror she and Messenger inflict, caring in this world is the hardest part of all.



The Tattooed Heart is a lot more substantial than the first book, and we finally get some backstory on Messenger. The issues brought up here are on a larger scale than we've seen before, and I think are also more serious. I really liked that we get to know the characters more, and though it's still a short novel, it was very satisfying.

Mara and Messenger are following new people, trying to give them the justice they deserve. Mara's grown to accept what she is and who she will become, but it's still really hard on her. She knows now who she used to be, and she's not proud of that. But she's trying her best to make up for it. Mara knows what her responsibilities will be, but she's just begun to realize the consequences of all the rules - especially the one that says Messengers are not to be touched.

I really admire how Michael Grant brings up so many things that are wrong with this world through this YA series. And it makes me wish that Messenger was real, so that the wrongdoers could actually be brought to justice. It's terrible how so many of these people go free, and the victims' lives are ruined forever. This is one of those books that really makes you think, and I don't see that very often in YA, so I'm really happy about that aspect.

Mara isn't as desensitized as Messenger is, not yet. But she's getting there. Messenger still feels emotions but he just doesn't show them as much as Mara does. He's kind and compassionate and he really cares about Mara. I sympathized with him a lot regarding his lost love, Ariadne. We also get to find out more about her, by the way. And how she and Messenger got dealt the cards they ended up with.

I adored the way the book ended, and I'm really curious to see what happens next. Mara's been given a lot more responsibility, and I'm eager to see how she deals with it. As for the minor characters, Oriax and Daniel, they're still a bit enigmatic. Well, we find out a lot more about Oriax. But Daniel is still a mystery, and I hope we get to see more of him in the next book.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

Title: The Next Together (The Next Together #1)
Author: Lauren James

Release date: September 3rd 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 356

Source: Pansing

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different...

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.
"Matthew, I'll let you in on a secret. I don't think there are any true heroes. Just people who ignore their survival instincts long enough to do something incredibly foolhardy."
The Next Together is definitely one of my top books of the year so far! And I have a good feeling it's going to stay up there. This book is magical, guys. It's sweet and funny and sad and exciting all mashed together. It's nothing like anything I've read before, and I'm so stoked about that. I loved every second of this!

This book is split into several different 'time landscapes', all of which feature Katherine and Matthew. The two of them are brought together and then torn apart over and over again, only to be reborn in another time to do the same thing all over again. But why does this keep happening? They need to figure it out so they can stop the cycle once and for all.

I've got to admit, this novel is nothing like what I expected. The synopsis is kept vague on purpose, I've realized, so that we can go into this with a fully open mind. And you're going to need that open mind while reading this, because man is it complex! Super confusing at times, and we still don't even get all the answers in the end. But it's oh so amazing to go on this journey with Katherine and Matthew. The time landscapes are spread out pretty well, with two being very historical and two in modern times. My favourite, I think, is the one in 1854. I just liked those versions of Kate and Matthew the best.

Speaking of our protagonists, these two are the star-crossed lovers everyone roots for. We see them in so many different stories, and in each of them they're drawn to one another like magnets. And in the modern timelines, these two just felt so real to me. The way they act with one another is hilarious, and their constant good-natured banter made me laugh out loud at times. I love how courageous and spunky Kate is, and how sweet and goofy Matt is. They complement each other perfectly.

I really don't want to say too much about what happens in the book, because I want everyone to go in with the same anticipation I did. Because of course there is something that ties all the timelines together, and the ending will just about blow your mind. I was left reeling by the end, and I just want to sit down with Lauren James for about an hour and ask her everything I possibly can about this book. She's created a truly incredible story, and I just can't emphasize enough how much I loved it.

So bottom line - read this as soon as you get your hands on it. You will not regret it. The Next Together gave me chills every time something big happened, and got my heart racing at each action scene. I cannot wait to see what we're going to get in the sequel, but I sure hope it'll be just as fantastic as this one.

*Thank you to Sasha at Pansing for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 5/5