Sunday, 23 July 2017

My Bookish Life. I'm Back! Did You Miss Me?

I'm so sorry for not being around for such a long time. I promised myself I wouldn't let this blog be inactive ever again, but the last months of my master degree took all of my time - I had little to no free time. Even my Instagram account suffered from lack of photos because I could not find a moment to breathe. 

But great news: I finished my first year with flying colours (I'm happy to say that I'm proud of myself; it has been a long time I since I felt proud of my accomplishments). However, I've been freaking out lately because I can't decided a theme for a thesis. I'm an indecisive person by nature, and if I'm allowed to choose the world, I can't make up my mind. 🙈 I've been doing lists and more lists in hope I can find that one theme that I can compromise myself with, but it's being so freaking hard. Maybe this weekend after reading From Puritan to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature and another book related to American Literature I will have an idea. Fingers crossed? Or does anyone know a way to find a thesis theme? Any websites/book recommendations?

In other news, my @mybookishsecret t has grown a lot in the last months - even if in some months I didn't share no more than three photos. It is true that I still haven't broke the 2k followers barrier that I'm hoping for to do this year, but I've met wonderful people and became a rep for two companies. It has been more than a month since it happened and I'm still over the moon. I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!🙈

So, to which companies did I became a rep? Here it goes:
  • First, I became a Mini Backdrops rep (from July to September) and I couldn't be more exited. It was the first time I was chosen to be a rep for any company. I'm loving the opportunity to promote them, since their backdrops are made of vinyl and they look amazing on photos. If you would like to acquire one, you can use mbsecret for 15% off (you won't regret it).
  • Then I became a rep for Owlcrate through the month of July. I was trying to became a rep for them for such a long time. It has always been one of my favourite subscription boxes.  But if you use SECRET for 15% off on your first order, I may stay longer with Owlcrate. Just so you know, I'm on my knees begging you to use it! I truly am. 😛  
Also, in the last months, I found some new cute shops. I made my first order from Literary Emporium run by Rio (she is so kind and nice and lovely) and I got my first physical ARC from Illumicrate  - another amazing subscription box. I'm starting to sound like a shopaholic.

I confess I'd rather to share the books I read, but I haven't read that many - and lately it has been very difficult to read any book. And for that reason I must apologize to Blaze Publishing. I have been an awful rep, but hope I will be able to make up to you this Summer. Nevertheless, here it goes a very short list with some of my favourite readings since I took a forced break.
  • The Diviners, Libba Bay (this novel made me fall in love with the crazy 20s. One of the reasons why I'm thinking about writing my thesis on the Lost Generation; but then I don't think I can bring anything new to discussion). 
  • World After, Susan Ee (has she published any other series? Because I'm afraid of reading the last novel in this series and be left with no more books from Ee).
So, here it is a very brief sum up of the last three months in my life. What have you been up to? 🌝

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Cover Reveal. Shadow Rise

Once again, as a Blaze Publishing rep, I've the pleasure to reveal to you the cover of Shadow Rise by Audrey Grey. Sequel of Shadow Fall (which I still have to read 🙈), the characters of the first novel are back. So, what do you think of it? In my opinion, the cover is gorgeous. I'm completely in love with it.

If you'd like to have an opportunity to receive a ARC of Shadow Rise, just click here for an opportunity to join Blaze Publishing Review and Promotional Network.

Shadow Rise is expected to be released on November 14th 2017.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Terrorist. Rebel. Traitor.

One rash decision during the Shadow Trials led to unspeakable horrors that left innocents dead, friends injured and hunted by the Empire, and Maia Graystone imprisoned in the Tower at the Archduchess’s mercy.

Unsure if Riser Thornbrook survived, Maia must find a way to battle the Empire from within its own walls and escape so she can fulfill the promise to her father and stop the asteroid. But when she breaks free and joins Nicolai's Rebel army, she discovers she’s been branded a traitor. With war between the Rebels and the Empire looming, old alliances shifting, and suspicion hanging over her head, she must fight in the Rebel Blood Courts—and win command—to regain their trust.

Only problem is, first she has defeat the reigning champion, someone she knows all too well. Will Maia’s emotions lead to her defeat, or will she rise up and claim her victory?

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Monthly Recap. March 2017

Has March really ended? Who can believe three months of 2017 have already passed? Time loves flying... Well, March was another busy month. But at least I got some good news (check it in Random & Randomness), Hunted was released (my most anticipated 2017 book release) as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them DVD. Oh, and I finally have Funko Newt and Tina - they are simply adorable.

Some months are great, but others not so much. I was super happy for having read seven books in February and I was hoping I could get closer this month, bu sadly things didn't work out as I hoped for. I read three books. Nonetheless, I'm currently reading Roseblood, Everyman and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • Angefall, Susan Ee
  • Digging in the Stars, Katherine Blakeney
  • Cosmopolis, Don DeLillo [for my master degree]
      I think Susan Ee is now part of my favourite authors list. I loved Angefall so much - I loved it so much that as soon as I finished it, I immediately ordered its sequel. This week was Digging in the Stars release and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC. Read my review to know how I felt about this sci-fi novel.

      This was a really bad month. I got myself too many books (however, I did use a 10% discount code from Book Depository). But the worse part is that I that I think I'm not keeping track with all the orders I received. 🙈

      • Caraval, Stephanie Garber
      • Hunted, Meagan Spooner
      • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling
      • Newt Scamander - A Movie Scrapbook (this book is so gorgeous 😻)
      • World After, Susan Ee
      • Empress of a Thousand Skies, Rhoda Belleza
      • The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden
      • Magic Under Glass, Jaclyn Dolamore
      My Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them collection keep growing... Which book shall I buy next?

      Random & Randomness, as the name indicates, is about random bookish stuff. Inspired by a few blogs, I decided to create this little space where I share some bookish love. Probably a lot more happened this month, but I can't remember. 🙈
      • Beauty and the Beast Film Release - Why haven't I watched it yet? 😿 I want -no, I need!- free time. I'm dying to watch this film.
      • Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them DVD Release - I'm completely jealous of Newt's bag special edition (I can't get it in Portugal), but I got myself the Blu-ray edition with Niffler on the cover. 😻 And, I got some extras too. See? My collection does keep growing. A LOT! 😸  
      • Game of Thrones Season Seven Promo - I'm part of a small group that is happy about the new season of Game of Thrones only coming out in July. Why? Well, uni takes away all of my time and in July I'll be on holiday which means that I'll be able to watch the new season without interruptions. 
      • Blaze Publishing Rep - For those who don't know it, this month I was chosen to be a Blaze Publishing rep. I was so happy when I was told I was now part of the family. So, for all your Blaze Publishing news visit my blog. 

        Tuesday, 28 March 2017

        Review 27. Digging in the Stars

        Title: Digging in the Stars
        Author: Katherine Blakeney
        Publisher: Blaze Publishing [thank you for the ARC]
        Published: March 28th 2017
        368 pages 

        "A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has just disappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.

        Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.

        Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents staged by the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant façade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claim the lives of everyone she loves.

        "She dreamed of faces concealed by long-nosed masks, of voices murmuring like water, and place figures swaying among bubbles of fragrance. Then her throat was filled with ash, and she could smell nothing but smoke." 

        Plot: Carter, named after the famous Howard Carter, is in a mission: find her best friend Conrad who went missing in Thor, a planet where technology doesn't work and where a great civilization was lost after several volcanic eruptions. In order to reach Thror, Conrad lies to her Archaeology classmates and professor, who delegated her the task of booking the trip to their apprenticeship in Magnus. However, Thror is not what meets the eye. The planet is a mysterious wasteland with secrets hidden at every turn and Furry Giants who created a touristic empire, but have no record of Conrad's existence - even though they were the ones who informed Carter about his disappearance. 

        I won't lie. It is clear to see that this is Katherine Blakeney's debut novel (it was something that could also be seen it in Leigh Bardugo's first novel and look where she is now). The writing is flawless, but I had a few issues with the structure. Some scenes don't seem to be in harmony with the rest of the story and, during my reading, I felt that sometimes there would be a jump, I mean, it was if some scenes were left in the middle or were cut (bear in mind that I read an ARC; most novels are edited even after ARCs are distributed). Although the main character is sixteen, the story in Digging in the Stars seems more turned to middle-graders than young adults. 

        Characters: If I had to choose a favourite character, it would be Professor P. I enjoyed her sarcasm and how she dealt with the over-friendly Furry Giants (at the beginning, the ways these creatures flirted with the Earthly women was funny, but after a few pages of flirtation it felt a bit annoying). Through the story, I felt over the fence with Carter because of her behaviour. Conrad, her best friend -and potential love interest- was missing and probably dead, yet, one moment she was worried about him, the next moment she thought Conrad wanted to steal her destiny (superiority complex, much?) and in the next one all she wanted was to find King Loreval's tomb and Conrad was all forgotten. Nonetheless, Carter is a brave girl who fights to reach her goals.

        Then, there is the rest of the archaeology class, which I found kinda of flat. There were a few times I did mistake Allison for Bryanne (or maybe it was the other way around). Their personality is very similar. However, Lizzie showed personality with her snarky observations. For most of the novel, Gioconda was not around, which is disappointing because of her hippy persona was more interesting than Allison/Bryanne personality. 

        Worldbuiling: The worldbuiling is the strongest suit of Digging in the Stars. There is so much to be learned and discovered in Thror's wasteland. The planet is crafted down to the tiniest detail, from its history to its mythology, which is slowly unraveled by the Golden Vial League; from the Furry inhabitants and their souvenir markets to their lost ancestors. An entire planet was brilliantly created from the scratch. Extraterrestrial archaeology was something I never saw developed in any other book and I found the idea intriguing and unique. I ended up loving all the archaeology references and little bits. 

        Friday, 17 March 2017

        Cover Reveal. Paintbrush

        As a Blaze Publishing rep, I've the pleasure to reveal to you the cover of Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin. What do you think of it? I'm very fond of its colours. And how the flower was conceived, the petals turning into teardrops (or maybe I'm reading too much into it). Anyway, this minimalistic cover is simply beautiful.

        If you'd like to have an opportunity to receive a ARC of Painbrush, just click here for an opportunity to join Blaze Publishing Review and Promotional Network.
        Paintbrush is expected to be released in July 11th 2017.
        Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
        "Mitchell Morrison and Josie Sedgwick have spent their whole lives at the Indian Paintbrush Community Village, a commune full of colorful characters tucked in the mountains of North Carolina, and they aren't particularly close--at least, not anymore. Josie wishes she could spend all of her time at Paintbrush planting tomatoes, hiking the trails, or throwing giant communal birthday parties, while Mitchell can’t wait to escape the bizarre spiritual sharing and noisy community dinners. Luckily for both of them, high school graduation is just around the corner.

        But when Mitchell’s mother makes a scandalous announcement that rocks the close-knit Paintbrush community, and Josie’s younger sister starts to make some dangerously bad decisions, the two find themselves leaning on each other for support – and looking at each other in a whole new light. Their childhood friendship blossoms in to something more as they deal with their insane families, but as graduation approaches, so does life in the real world, forcing Josie and Mitchell to figure out what, exactly, their relationship is – and if it can survive their very different plans for the future."

        Wednesday, 15 March 2017

        Waiting on Wednesday. Hunted

        "Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
        This week on WoW is Hunted by Meagan Spooner. I'm literally impatiently waiting for my copy of Hunted to arrive at my door step as it already was released. I was so happy when I received an e-mail telling me that this Beauty and the Beast retelling had been sent sooner. Hopefully I'll have it by Friday -or maybe by the beginning of the next week. The book was released on March 14th

        Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
        "New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner spins a thoroughly thrilling Beauty and the Beast story for the modern age, expertly woven with spellbinding romance, intrigue, and suspense that readers won't soon be able to forget. Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones--and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who's ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there's no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas...or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva's father's misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he'd been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast. Deaf to her sisters' protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory--a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva's only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?"

        Sunday, 12 March 2017

        Review 26. Three Dark Crowns, Kendare Blake

        Title: Three Dark Crowns
        Publisher: Pan Macmillan
        Published: September 20th 2016
        407 pages

        "Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

        But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

        If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

        "Three Black Witches
        All fair to be seen,
        Two to devour
        And one to be Queen."

        Writing: I'm was no stranger to Kendare Blake's writing when I first picked this book. Anna Dressed in Blood is one of my favourite horror novels and it made me fall in love with her writing style. Thus, I found myself quickly captivated by Three Dark Crows. The plot was very intriguing and I found myself flipping page after page. I especially enjoyed how Blake wrote the three sisters so differently; how Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella had different personalities. I never felt I was reading the same character.

         “In her mind, every last Queen lies at the bottom of the sea, drowned by the Goddess the moment she was done with them.”

        However, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. A few times the plot rhythm would change and certain situations would happen out of the blue, and I was left wondering what had just happened. Thankfully, this didn't happen often or probably I would not be impatiently waiting for the sequel, One Dark Throne.     

        Characters: There were a lot of characters in this story. Each chapter in the novel switches between the triplets and there was a bunch of different characters surrounding them. I don't feel I disliked any of the main characters, but there was always a issue or another that would raise my eyebrows. For example, the queens...

        Maybe my opinion is biased because I received the elemental cover, but Mirabella was my favourite queen. She became my favourite because while Katharine and Arsinoe were so obsessed with becoming powerful, Mirabella missed her sisters and worried about them. She didn't want to murder her kin. Nonetheless, SPOILER, I'm not sure how to feel about her "pseudo-relationship" with Joseph (principally because I suspect their bound was forged through magic).

        "You will need it to be true, for it is too cruel otherwise, to force a Queen to kill what she loves. Her own sisters. And for her to see that which she loves come at her door like wolves, seeking her head.” 

        On the other queens. I was really warming up to Arsinoe, but then she started being corrupted by blood magic. I don't dislike her, but her pursue to gain power made me so disappointed. Katharine's story didn't catch my attention as much and as result all I feel for her is indifference - even if her struggle with the blisters and all the consequences of the poisoning made me feel sorry for her.

        On a last note, was I the only who found the love-interests lackluster? Perhaps, I just wasn't expecting so much romance...

        Worldbuilding: I was expecting the worldbuilding to be a lot more darker. All the blood I was expecting to be shed... I blame it on Anna Dressed in Blood and on this novel's premise. However, this little detail didn't stop me from enjoy this magical and dark island. A well-developed world is always a plus and Fernbirn was splendidly crafted. The Elementals, the Poisoners, the Naturalists (loved the idea of an animal-familiar), the mythology behind the queens... I simply loved meeting a world so complex and with so much of offer.