This Savage Song.
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake.
“The beautiful thing about books was that anyone could open them.”
This book was not even nearly perfect (structurally).
This book had quite a few typos (yes, I know it's petty, but I notice these things).
BUT, this book kept me invested from cover to cover. I stayed up reading till 2 am one time, and that says a lot, as I very much love my precious sleep time!
It made me feel sad for Kate.
And fall in love with Ilsa.
But most importantly it gave me THE FEELS! And it's been a while since a book has done that. FEELS so strong that they got my heart pounding. And I loved it!
“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”
August Flynn is a precious dandelion. August Flynn deserves all the love in the world. August Flynn is a monster. August Flynn is fictional...
“He wasn't made of flesh and bone, or starlight.
He was made of darkness.”
Kate is a character that I would have normally hated. But somehow Kate was a character that I loved.
“She cracked a smile. "So what's your poison"
He sighed dramatically, and let the truth tumble off his tongue. "Life."
"Ah," she said ruefully. "That'll kill you.”
I absolutely adored their chemistry and their conversations.
AND I was so, so thankful that there was no romance.
Ilsa is a precious little star in the universe of darkness that she alone inflicted.
“Nobody gets to stay the same.”
At the end of the book I had some questions, and I really hope that they will be addressed in the next one.
Why Kate's monster rose at that location? Why does it look like her? She didn't do anything at that house, didn't kill anybody. If anything I expected the monster to rise from where she shot her father. Why did the monster take the name Alice. Was it a cruel, cruel joke? Why didn't Sloan have a heart and was un-killable?
END OF SPOILERS
“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all.
Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul."
Our Dark Duet
THE WAR HAS BEGUN.
THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.
Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.
Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?
Since This Savage Song was such a hit for me I was expecting one of two things happen after I read Our Dark Duet.
1. I thought that this duology has a potential to go on my permanent favorites shelf.
2. I thought that this book was going to break my heart.
Neither of these two things happened. Instead:
3. Major disappointment.
Once again, just to mention, this book had quite a few typos (petty, petty things, but they bother me. It just feels undone, when typos are present in the final draft.)
If I had to describe Our Dark Duet in one word, I would say underwhelming.
This Savage Song made me feel things. I was scared. My heart was racing. I felt sadness for August. I felt Ilsa's emotions.
In Our Dark Duet I just didn't feel anything. It's like the book was missing its soul. Maybe it was because August was so cold and emotionless in this one. Gone was a boy with feelings, and dreams, and stardust... New August was a killing machine. Nothing more.
“I didn't stop fighting," he said, the words so low he worried Kate wouldn't hear them, but she did. "I just got tired of losing. It's easier this way."
We had new characters introduced in the beginning of the book, I can't say that I liked them, as they didn't get enough page time to be completely developed. And they were very briefly mentioned at the end of the book, so I guess they weren't that important anyway.
Prosperity wasn't mentioned in the end either, which was odd to me, since Kate spent so much time there. Verity was 'free', but what about the fates of other cities?
Sloan wasn't a very good villain. I had the hardest time guessing what his final goal even was. He was so driven to find Katherine for most of the book, but then he just gave up that idea in a span of a second. What was the point of killing EVERY HUMAN he could find? What happens after they all are dead? What would the monsters EAT? From a predator's point of view, Sloan wasn't the brightest.
Sloan also got his own POV, but it wasn't very necessary. I feel like the only reason for that was - to bring more gore and gruesome scenes into the story. But plot wise, he added very little. So did Alice. She was either killing humans for no reason, or sitting on the countertop of the penthouse kitchen.
A new character, Soro, a third Sunai, basically a poor replacement for Leo, was barely a character. Maybe he was meant to be so mysterious, but to me he just felt underdeveloped.
Which brings me to an interesting question.
Soro is a monster. Monster is not a human. So, if Soro was gender neutral, wouldn't Soro be called 'it' ? Instead, a proper new nomenclature for a gender neutral human was used 'they'. Which could have had two reasons:
1. To give Soro a hint of humanity? Although he never displayed any yearning to even be human.
2. To include more diversity (which is always a great thing, but it felt pushed, as technically Soro wasn't human, so 'they' wasn't a necessary term to describe a monster with.
Our Dark Duet took GoodReads by storm, and a lot of people absolutely loved it. I felt largely underwhelmed by it (which made me quite sad, as I was expecting amazing things from this book).
To me it just felt rushed. I feel like if a little more time was spent on the book it could have been phenomenal. Which is why I think that publisher's deadlines are a cruel, cruel thing.
Writing a book is an art. And art takes time.
This Savage Song is definitely staying on my favorites shelf. But sadly, Our Dark Duet, will not be joining it.
Maybe I am just too picky?
I must be getting very picky, as this is the very first book by Agatha Christie that I did not enjoy.
Usually, I just generally like them - they are all nice and cozy little mysteries, but apparently not this one.
It started out well enough, but then the writing became choppy and confusing. Pages were filled with useless blabbering and unnecessary conversations. There was very little actual detective work in it. And in the end many, many questions were left unanswered.
It felt rushed and unfinished.
There was also a lot of "you are an old woman now, you will never find a man" nonsense. I understand that times were different in 1920's, and getting a rich husband or a rich wife was literally everybody's goal, but it was just too much. Almost in every chapter somebody would either tell the main heroine, or any other woman around the age of 30, that they are now 'old maids'. That they have missed their chance in life on finding a husband. That basically, their life might as well be over. The book kept beating on this idea like a drum, and I really didn't like that.
I suspected the correct murderer from the very start, but then I started suspecting bunch of other people too. But still in the end - it was all just very anti-climatic.
There are many GREAT mysteries by Agatha Christie, I mean she wrote over 250 books.
But this is not one of them.
On a side note I was very surprised to see drastic similarities between Katherine Grey, the main character of this book, and Tessa Gray, the main character of popular YA novels, The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.
Besides an obvious that they both have basically the same last name, Katherine and Tessa were very much alike. Both had those big grey, knowing eyes. Both were very proper ladies. Both were very new and unexperienced at love.
I can't help but wonder if Tessa was modeled after Katherine in any way, or if it's just my imagination.
"Another secret of the universe : sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer morning could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder."
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe is quite a masterpiece, and I didn't think I would ever say that about a contemporary. I am just not a big fan of them, at least till I read this.
It is a masterpiece, but it is far from perfect. I found things I loved, and I found things I hated. But I guess that's just how it work in life, right?
And this book is full of life.
"Fifteen year olds don't qualify as people."
Sometimes I feel like scanning some of the pages and hanging them on the wall, just so I can look at all my favorite quotes from this book anytime I want to. And this book is full of amazing, heartfelt quotes.
"I thought it might be a great thing to be the air.
I could be something and nothing at the same time. Could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me."
If that is not one of the most beautiful things I've ever read, I don't know what is.
Aristotle, or Ari, has made my list of favorite characters ever, from his very first pages. I have never read a character that I could have relate to so much.
Ari was angry, Ari was lost, Ari was angsty, Ari was an introvert and a loner, Ari was brilliant and profound.
"Maybe I was a little superior. But I don't think I was superior. I just didn't understand how to talk to them, how to be myself around them. Being around other guys didn't make me feel smarter. Being around guys made me feel stupid and inadequate. It was like they were all a part of this club, and I wasn't a member."
"Reding my own words embarrassed the hell out me. I had to be the world's biggest loser, writing about hair, and stuff about my body. No wonder I stopped keeping a journal. I was keeping a record of my own stupidity. Why would I want to do that?"
I really enjoyed Ari's relationship with his mother. It is very rare to find a good son-mother relationship in a book. Everybody is either portrayed as an orphan, or they hate their family. This book was full of family love and understanding. Ari and his dad was a little different story, but it bloomed into an amazing relationship, and it warmed my heart.
Dante's family was beautiful even more so.
Family dynamics portrayal was one of my favorite things about this book.
"My mother and father held hands. I wondered what that was like, to hold someone's hand. I bet you could find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand."
While I adored Ari, I was not a Dante's fan. Dante was...too much for me? To put it in Ari's own words
"What the hell is wrong with that guy?"
That is what I thought most of the time. But the reason I ended up disliking Dante by the end of the book was because I saw him as an extremely selfish person. I loved that Dante always stayed true to himself,
"It wasn't honest. And anyway, I always got found out. And I felt like a liar and an idiot. I was ashamed of myself for being ashamed of myself. I didn't like feeling like that."
but I didn't like how he treated Ari because of it.
When Dante told Ari that he can't be his friend anymore because this platonic thing is not working out for him I was crushed. I was devastated. I was enraged. Dante was ready to give up being Ari's friend because Ari didn't return his feelings? Dante was Ari's friend. His ONLY friend. But because he wasn't comfortable anymore he was ready to end the friendship? How selfish is that?
While I was okay with the way the book ended, I still wished that it would end differently. That Ari and Dante would have only stayed friends. I would have wanted to see how that dynamic would work out? Would Dante abandon him? Probably... Would Ari abandon Dante if Dante got a new boyfriend? Maybe...
I just wanted more of the friendship. Them becoming a couple at the end was too easy. Too predictable. Too cliche?
END OF SPOILER
Speaking about friendships, the one between Ari and Dante was a beautiful thing. It has been ages since I have read a book where two boys could be such good friends, without anybody labeling them as 'gay'.
"I don't know why I was yelling. The yelling turned into sobs. I fell into Dante's arms and cried.
He held me and didn't say a word."
Yes, they were gay, but when they were smaller, they din't have any pressures on them, they weren't pushed into a mold to be somebody that society saw them to be - so they bloomed into their own, on their own. And it was beautiful.
While I thought that their friendship was beyond beautiful, it wasn't very believably portrayed though. They didn't act as 16 year olds, they acted more like 10 years olds, in my eyes.
"But the worst part was that those words were living inside me. And they were leaking out of me. Words were not things you could control. Not always."
I really enjoyed the writing. It was unique. It was short, and choppy and different. But it was somehow beautiful. It held emotion.
Sometimes it was weird when boys would talk about ordinary things such as drinking, smoking pot, masturbating and sex. Those things were like little slaps in the face amidst all of the lyrical writing. But then again, the book is about teenage boys, and that's what boys talk about. It was more believable that way. Raw even.
"They were just trying to help me. But I hated them. And I hated Dante too.
And I hated myself for hating them. So there it was, my own vicious cycle. My own private universe of hate."
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe is a great read. I believe it would speak differently to different people. And I never thought I would recommend a YA contemporary, but I do. I recommend this one. It's great. Get your heart a little broken, and then heal it too with this book.
“Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.”
I have been having such a great success with my beta-reading services - meeting so many talented authors and reading so many amazing manuscripts - that I have decided to expand my services a little further.
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What can you expect from me as your alpha reader
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Picking up exactly where Avatar: The Last Airbender left off. The Promise takes Aang to a Fire Nation colony in the heart of the Earth Nation, where tensions between neighbors threaten to shatter the world's newfound peace--putting the Avatar on a collision course with one of his closest friends, Fire Lord Zuko!
The Promise is a quick and entertaining read about Aang's adventures after the war was ended.
It's very nice to see all of the characters, and humor is great as usual.
Aang and Katara calling each other 'sweetie' gave me the oogies though.
Aang and Katara work tirelessly to prevent a dispute between Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei that could plunge the world back into war! Meanwhile, Sokka helps Toph prepare her hapless first class of metalbending students to defend their school against a rival class of firebenders!
This was even better than the first one.
Full of lessons that were so prevalent in Avatar, The Promise part 2 is a treasure for all of the true Avatar fans.
Can't wait to see what the conclusion brings.
Sokka is the greatest, just saying.
The Harmony Restoration Movement has failed, and the world is plunged back into war! In the midst of the battle, can Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko mend the rift between them, or will Aang be forced to take actions that can't be undone?
Yes! What an awesome finale.
I loved Zuko's everlasting battle with evil within.
I love Sokka's...I just really love Sokka.
I love how Aang loves who he is and where he came from. I love his philosophy.
I love Katara, because she keeps everybody in check, and because she's a waterbender (and so I am according to a quiz I took).
I love Toph because she's badass to the core.
A wonderful addition to the Avatar series. Full of humor and heartfelt truths.
I would definitely recommend this mini series to all fans of Avatar- The Last Airbender. The art is great, the story telling is wonderfully done and the humor is top notch.
Who loves free books? Pretty much everybody, right?
And who loves free books that haven't even been published yet? Well that's just a dream come true!
However, in my experience getting ARC's (advance reader copies) is not an easy task. It involves a lot of web searching, a lot of website registering, form filling and a lot of luck. At least that's how it was for me.
I don't necessary have a lot of sources, but I finally feel like I have found and tried out enough of those sources to be able to share them with you.
None of the links are affiliate links, this is all my personal research and experience, I only talk about and recommend websites that I have tried out myself.
Keep in mind that I have been blogging from this platform for 7 months now, and have a decent number of hits and visitors per month. This is important, as many websites (but not all) will require you to submit your stats to them to even be considered.
When I find more reliable sources of where to get ARC's I will update this post. Please share it with your bookish friends.
The website where I had the most luck at getting arc's is LibraryThing (the button above will take you to the website).
Their program is called Early Reviewers and you have to register for the membership, but don't worry it's FREE. After you have registered you will be taken to a monthly updated list of available books to choose from. You can choose as many books you wish, but you can only request each book once. I haven't been a big fan of their book selection lately, but hopefully soon it will change.
Your chances at winning depend on many factors, including:
Getting your books may take up to 8 weeks, as they come directly from a publisher. I had some books get to me in less than a week and some took almost 2 whole months.
I have been with LibraryThing since January 2017 and have won 4 books so far. From what I gathered you can only win one book per batch (a new batch comes out every month). So I have won 4 months out of 7, and to me those are pretty good odds. You are not required to write reviews for the books you win, but writing reviews and posting them on the LibraryThing website amps up your chances at winning more books. Plus, it's just a common curtesy to actually read ARC's - that's what they are there for :)
The books you see on Story Cartel are all free in exchange for your honest review. Discover your next favorite book and support the community of authors.
Story Cartel is probably the easiest way to get digital books. The registration is super short and easy, and you don't even have to be approved - you can start downloading books right away. However, they are not all ARC's, as they mostly have finished copies of books.
There is a catch though:
- There is a time limit at which you are required to read and post your review to Amazon. You are usually given about a month or a couple of weeks for that. Now I don't know what happens if you don't make a time limit, as I always made sure to read it on time.
- Story Cartel focuses on authors who self-publish, so you won't find any big name books there.
I have used Story Cartel a few times, but since they only give out digital copies (and I am an old fashioned physical book type of gal) I haven't visited it in a while.
But if you love digital books and just want to read a lot of FREE books and write your opinions on them then Story Cartel will be your best friend.
Blogging for books gives away free copies to bloggers, librarians and different media outlets in exchange for an honest review. They offer both digital and print books.
The registration is a little bit more involved as they ask for your blog information and stats, but nothing out of the ordinary.
I have been registered on their website since January and only recently have I scored one copy of a book. From what I gathered it's a time thing - if you are fast enough to snatch a copy then you get it. I wasn't checking the website often enough, so I wasn't too lucky. I have to say that they ship it to you very fast, that was very nice.
Blogging for books REQUIRES you to read the book and then POST a review on their website. If you don't, then you cannot request another book till you do so. It can be annoying, but it also makes sure that they only give free books to people who actually READ them, so I can definitely respect that.
Since you can only request one book at a time - make sure you choose wisely.
Getting ARC's from Goodreads is very hard (in my experience). Registering and entering into the giveaways is a breeze - it's being the winner that's hard.
I have been entering into on Goodreads giveaways for about a year now, and only about 2 weeks ago I won for the very first time. I won a very good one though, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.
Goodreads winnings are random, so it's all up to luck. Pay attention to the number of copies that are being given away - the more copies they have - the better your chances.
Goodreads offers many different books in their giveaways - ARC's, already published books and e-books.
It is not required of you to review them, but if you score an ARC's you probably should.
Penguin Teen offers ARC's for bloggers (they specifically state on their website that if you are not a book reviewer then you should not be asking for ARC's from their website).
There's an easy form to fill out, and they do ask about your blog stats.
There's also a form to fill out for specific book titles (I haven't used that one yet, as I never know what to request?)
I have filled out the blogger form, but have not had any luck actually getting books from them. Yet. Still hoping.
Read it Forward offers weekly giveaways. Sometimes it's for an ARC, sometimes it's for a whole bag full of books and goodies.
There's no need to register, you just have to fill a submission into the giveaway form, every time you want to enter.
Giveaways change weekly, so make sure to check in often. They send you an email to notify you if you have won or not. If you don't win, they send you a digital bookish poster, to consolidate you :)
Epic Reads has ARC's giveaways.
There's no need to register, but you have to fill out a form every time you enter.
It's very quick and easy, but alas I haven't had any luck with them yet.
Giveaways change pretty often, so make sure to check in.
Fierce reads offer ARC's to bloggers as well.
The website works very similar to the Epic Reads. There are few rules:
Fierce Reads also has a giveaway option, but they link it to Goodreads. You can see which books are being offered by them though the Goodreads platform (which is helpful if you don't want to peruse thousands of giveaway pages on Goodreads). Here is the link:
I really enjoy the way their website works, but haven't had any real luck with them yet.
As usual - still hoping.
This might sound so silly to you, but the way I found about most of these is by googling.
Try typing things like:
- ARC giveaway
- Request ARC's
You may find author's websites that offer ARC's personally. Or request forms from other platform. It's a lot of searching and registering, but if you really want those ARC's you gotta work for them:)
Also Twitter has bunch of book giveaways hosted by bookish community. So you might want to check that out too. They usually only require you to Follow somebody and Retweet a tweet. If there's a reason to have Twitter nowadays - this is it.
There's also direct mailing to publishers, but I have never tried that myself.
NetGalley is an extremely popular website for requesting ARC's. The reason that I'm listing it last is because I haven't actually really used it. I don't care much for digital copies, and Netgalley is ALL digital.
There is a registration form, and after you register you can start requesting titles. You, however, have to wait to get approved for them. The website also wants you to keep about 80% reviewing score on your "resume" on their website. In other words - you should read everything you get approved for fairly quickly and upload a review in order to be able to be approved for more books.
They do have many new and big titles, so if you are into digital books they are definitely a good way to go.
Thank you so much for reading. Please feel free to share and recommend this blog post to your friends, who love reading and reviewing books.
Getting ARC's can be hard and frustrating, but to me, being able to read a book before it hits the shelves is always a great honor, and so much fun!
Wanted to share some books that I recently hauled. Most of them are from the thrift store and I was so ecstatic to score such great books there! Also all of the thrift books were in such a great condition, I was so pleasantly surprised!
Note: not all of the books I got are pictured in this collective photo, keep scrolling down for more. I left the most exciting things for the end.
One of my goals for this year is to read more classics, so the first book I got was a classic.
1. Villette by Charlotte Bronte.
My 'read more classics goal' particularly involves reading ALL of the Bronte sisters. I have already read Wuthering Heights, and now I got Villette by Charlotte.
Arguably Brontë's most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of Villette,flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new life as a teacher at a French boarding school in the great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy's struggle for independence is overshadowed by both her friendship with a worldly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Brontë's strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free.
2. The Thief (series) by Megan Whalen Turner.
Next I managed to snatch up 3 books of the 4-book series by Megan W Turner. I didn't know anything about these books, but on one of the covers there was a praise by Leigh Bardugo so I was sold immediately. Then I looked them up and they have pretty terrific ratings, so I am very excited. The sad part is - I got books number 2,3 and 4. But there was no book number 1. I guess that's just a downside of shopping second hand.
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.
What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
3. The lost girls by Heather Young.
Here is a synopsis of this book, because I know nothing of it, but it caught me eye. Got this one from the thrift store as well.
In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.
Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.
For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.
Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.
4. The mystery of the blue train by Agatha Christie.
In my summer tbr post I said that I wanted to read something by Christie, so I got this one. It really doesn't matter which one I read, all of the mystery books are pretty good. Some are better, some are mediocre, but still. I got such love for Agatha Christie from my mom :)
A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the Mediterranean -- ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It's the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot is the perfect detective to solve it...
You can read my summer TBR post down below.
5. Big magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I also got one non-fiction book, as this have been on my radar for a while. Something to get inspired from, hopefully. Gotten this like-new copy from the thrift store.
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
6. Forest of a thousand lanterns by Julie C. Dao
I was very lucky to have won this ARC from a Goodreads giveaway! Up till this point I didn't think it was possible to win GR giveaways :) This book has been everywhere lately, and I really hope that it proves to be worth the hype! And if not, well then look at that cover! It's beautiful. Very excited to read.
An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.
Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?
Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
7. The day the angels fell by Shawn Smucker.
Here is another ARC win, this time from LibraryThing. I was ecstatic when I got this one! The cover drawn me in immediately, and the synopsis sounds very good too.
It was the summer of storms and strays and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident. As he recalls the tumultuous events that launched a surprising journey, Samuel can still hardly believe it all happened.
After his mother's death, twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers would do anything to turn back time. Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Samuel begins his search for the Tree of Life--the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend Abra in an ancient conflict and forces Samuel to grapple with an unwelcome question: could it be possible that death is a gift?
Haunting and hypnotic, The Day the Angels Fell is a story that explores the difficult questions of life in a voice that is fresh, friendly, and unafraid. With this powerful debut, Shawn Smucker has carved out a spot for himself in the tradition of authors Madeleine L'Engle and Lois Lowry.
Those are all of my books that I have hauled in the last month. Very excited to read them. And very excited to go back and score some more awesome deals.
Do you shop for books at your local thrift stores?
This month has been very occupied - I had family in town and I've been blissfully busy with my beta reading. So June flew by and I only read 3 whole books. I also read one graphic novel and 3 short stories.
I have been also very slow at reading, bordering a slump even. But I'm okay now.
1. Locke and Key - Clockworks by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
This was absolutely insane! The most brutal volume up to date. I mean the first page is enough to make your eyes bleed! And it just doesn't stop! Also this volume has some of the best art. And the plot? Amazing!
The story is explained and nicely wrapped up around the time lines. So many things were uncovered and everything makes sense. It was fantastic to finally learn what exactly happened in the caves all those years ago.
Also I was really surprised to see where all the blame lays.
The moon is red and the water has turned to blood. 6th and a final volume is probably going to be complete insanity!
2. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
Sadly this conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles saga was my least favorite. While I completely adored the third book in the series, Cress, Winter was a bit of a let down.
It could also have been at least 200 pages shorter, as it felt very drawn out.
For starters there was not enough Winter in this, considering that this is HER book.
There was one instance in the book that brought me much grief. I didn't write the page of the quote but it went something like this:
Winter telling Scarlet about the girl she saved by making her believe that she was happy, so the girl won't commit a suicide. The girl did later anyway, and Winter realized that she had no right to manipulate the girl and not let her do what the girl wanted to do in the first place.
Basically, what I gathered from it is this:
Don't try to talk people out of suicide because it's not your business, and if they decide to kill themselves is totally their choice - and that made me very, very mad.
I might have understood it wrong, or read too much between the lines. But if I did there's a chance that somebody else would too.
Suicide is definitely something you should and must talk people out of!
This is always talked about. People are encouraged to talk to suicidal people, to monitor them, to be there for them, to help them though their tough times. NOT TO JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE.
I do hope that I understood it wrong. But in any case, I think that was a horrible, horrible message to put in a book.
3. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Just as with the Clockwork Angel I am left underwhelmed, bored even.
I am not saying this is a bad series, I am saying that it is not doing anything for me. Maybe it's because I read the TMI first and TID is just way too similar?
Or maybe because I felt like there was not enough danger and evil forces in this book? Mortmain was a looming treat, but they were never confronted by him directly.
Lightwood was just a jerk, not really a treat.
Mechanical creatures were not scary at all.
There were very good things that I liked too.
Charlotte's and Henry relationship. Now that is a romance I could get on board with! I felt for them so much. I think they are very underrated.
I think I would have enjoy this series so much more if I read this first. But after reading whole 6 books of TMI, I guess I wanted something more original. I might pick up a third book, sometime. Not soon though.
4. Every heart a doorway by Seanan McGuire
This book was half: the most beautiful thing I have ever read
the biggest disappointment ever.
The magical worlds were borrowed, the boarding school idea is far from being new or even interesting anymore. Yes, it is laced with some beautiful writing, some amazing life lessons and some great diversity.
“Their love wanted to fix her, and refused to see that she wasn't broken.”
But that's it. There was really no story in it for me.
There were also few very problematic and insensitive things in this book that just didn't sit well with me at all.
Read my full review here.
5. The witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo (a short)
This must be witchcraft because holy smokes it was fantastic! In few pages I was both mesmerized and creeped out.
This felt a lot like something Brothers Grimm would write : dark, delicious and traumatizing.
And I LOVED it.
This really has nothing to do with Grisha (now Shadow and Bone) trilogy. So even if you haven't read anything by Leigh read this. Give yourself a treat. A dark, very creepy treat.
6. The demon in the woods by Leigh Bardugo (a short)
A short and sad little story about Darkling's childhood. Could probably be read on its own too, but it will make much more sense and be so much more enjoyable when read together with the Grisha Trilogy.
Cruel, cruel children.
Poor little 'Eryk'. Hunted like an animal. Like a trophy.
Darkling is definitely a product of his environment. Cruel, cruel environment.
7. The too-clever fox by Leigh Bardugo (a short)
This was enjoyable, but really nothing new.
I definitely felt like I have read a tale like this somewhere in slavic folklore before.
I do really love the cover though! So pretty.
Those are all of my books and short stories that I read in the month of June. hoping to read some really good books in July, as June has been a little too mediocre for my liking.
Freelance BETA reader.