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Monday, 26 September 2016

Cover Reveal. Always and Forever, Lara Jean


HAPPY belated COVER REVEAL! This cover is as cute as the cover of To All The Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. I just love how adorable the covers of this trilogy are. *.* I confess I'm dying to read this book, but I'm terrified at the same time because of the future of Lara Jean and Peter (please, don't break them apart). Because, let's face it, high school relationships don't last forever and the tittle kinda suggest a break up.  

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is expected to be released on April 4th 2017.
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"Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
"
Saturday, 24 September 2016

Cover Reveal. A Million Junes


I've not decided yet if I like this cover or not. The background has some interesting details, but the silhouette seems terribly drawn and the yellow... well, black/grey and this splash of yellow don't look very nice together. I probably had very high expectations because the cover of The Love That Split the World was simply beautiful.        

A Million Junes is expected to be released on May 16th 2017.
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"Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry's brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.

June O'Donnell—a.k.a. Junior, a.k.a. Jack, a.k.a. Jonathan O'Donnell IV, a.k.a. the first female O'Donnell first-born—has always been haunted by her family's mythic but complicated legacy. As she prepares to begin her final year of high school, June is itching to leave behind her ghosts in Five Fingers, Michigan, and travel the world.

And then, just like it always happens to the O'Donnells, a painful glimmer from her past returns to mess everything up. Enter Saul Angert, the eldest son of Eli Angert, a.k.a. June's late father's mortal enemy, back in town from a prestigious writing program to care for his ailing father. June can't seem to avoid Saul, whose very presence makes her ache with grief over her father, and soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn't exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic, and strangely tender boy whom she was born to loathe.

When June and Saul accidentally stumble into a bit of the forest magic, they are allowed a glimpse into the past at the fateful, horrible moment that started all the trouble between their families. Now June doesn't know if this new discovery means she should hate the Angerts even more or if it's finally time for her—and all of the O'Donnells before her—to let go."
Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Waiting on Wednesday. Fear the Drowning Deep

"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 Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Gleen Marsh. I first added this book to my wishlist because of its cover (I know it is nothing special, but I loved the colours). Then, I fell for the summary - a mysterious sea, a witch, etc. - and now I can't wait to read this stand-alone. The book will be released on October 4th.


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"Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.
"
From Goodreads
Saturday, 17 September 2016

Retelling Challenge 2016. Update [2]


The (Fairytale) Retelling Challenge 2016 is hosted by Mel @The Daily Prophecy.

It's time for a new update! =D Since the last time, I've read nine more retellings and most have been five stars readings. I'm having so much fun finding and reading all of these retellings. However, I'm still far behind from my goal -as you all know, I'm aiming for the Cheshire Cat badge (I'm eleven books away from it). I now have the Evil Queen badge *insert evil laugh*.




Fairytale Retellings:
Mythology & Folklore:
Classics Retold:
If would like to read the tale of Snow White (the tale from where the Evil Queen comes from), written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, you can find it here
Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Review 21. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund


Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Published:
June 12th 2012
Pages:
407 pages

"It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.


But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it."

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a dystopian retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, one of my favourite classic novels. With an alluring cover, it follows the story of Elliot North, a Luddite, and Kai, a Post-Reduced, in a post-apocalyptic world.

Characters: I saw Anne i
n Elliot. Her big and caring heart, her strength in a quiet way, her broken heart by Captain Wentworth. I admired her courage for staying behind, taking care of the Reduced on her estate instead of running away with Kai, the boy she loved. I enjoyed how much she grew through the story - she learned how to stand up to everyone who bullied her. However, at the end, I think Elliot acted out of character, but I can forgive her because I'm a huge sucker for love

“Envy hurt exponentially more than heartbreak because your soul was torn in two, half soaring with happiness for another person, half mired in a well of selfpity and pain.”

Kai brought to surface all those feelings I felt when Captain Wentworth was around (those feelings that made me want to smack some sense into him). Nevertheless, I found Kai a bit more vicious than Wentworth, which I guess was because of his upbringing because being treated as a Reduced when he was a Post-Reduced (able to think and protect himself) must  have been very difficult.      
Romance: I'm not fond of abusive relationships (no one in his right mind should be). However, no matter how harsh Kai was to Elliot, I don't see it as an abusive relationship. It resembled a lot the relation between Anne and Wentworth - the Captain felt hurt by the woman he loved (and never was able to forget) and wanted her to feel as hurt as he felt. That said, I enjoy friends-to-lovers-turned-to-foes-due-to-a-misunderstanding relationships and that's the kind of relation between Elliot and Kai. The angsty relationship between them was really heartbreaking. If I hadn't read Persuasion before, I would have been on the edge of my seat to know what was in store for Kai and Elliot. 

Worldbuilding: At
the beginning, the worldbuiling was confusing. Luddites, the Reduction, the Children of the Reduction (CORs)... all these terms were used from the first page and I felt confused because they were no explained. But then, the letters exchanged between Elliot and Kai (which were a very nice touched that reminded me of the original novel) slowly unravelled this new world and how things came to be. If at first I was dubious, then I came to enjoy this vicious world for all those who were not Luddites (and, sometimes, for those who were *cough Elliot cough*). For Darkness Shows the Stars's world grew on me and I couldn't wait to know more about this well-woven dystopia. 

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a charming retelling of Jane Austen's Prejudice with a post-apocalyptic and dystopian twist.
Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Waiting on Wednesday. Crooked Kingdom

"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 Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I don't think I need to explain why I'm impatiently waiting for this book. I loved Six of Crows -I felt really ashamed for not having read anything from Leigh Bardugo before- and that cliffhanger... I must know what happens next! Also, Crooked Kingdom has red stained pages. *.*  The book will be released on September 27th.


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"Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world."
From Goodreads
Tuesday, 6 September 2016

My Bookish Life 5. Diversity in Books


"Diversity: the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, colour, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc."


*Beware, spoilers ahead! If you haven't read the book mentioned, you should skip it.*

I've been wanting to write about Diversity in Books for some time and I decided to do it now because in the last few days I've seen people discussing diversity a lot more than it's usual in the bookish community. As I'm not from the United States of America (I've noticed that most people addressing the theme were from there), I do not know what started the debate this time, even though I've been looking for (if you know it, please share with me because it's driving me crazy not finding the reason).

As I stated above, I'm not from America. I'm from Portugal -for those who don't know, it's one of the European countries responsible by the enslavement and because of it sometimes it's awkward for me to discuss certain diversity issues. However, I'm getting over this awkwardness because I believe diversity is considered an issue because we keep it a taboo -we don't share our opinion because we are afraid of the other people's reaction. 

Firstly, before I share my opinion about diversity in books (and I believe I'll get a lot of heat for it), I have a couple of questions:
  • If a character is blind, is there diversity? 
  • If a character has a mental disease, is there diversity? 
  • If a character is an orphan, is there diversity? 
  • If a character is poor, is there diversity? 
  • If the character had red hair, is there diversity? 
  • If the character is Romani, is there diversity? 
If I was asked all of these questions, I'd answer "yes". For me, all of these situations represent diversity.  However, I feel that most people when they talk about the lack of diversity in books nowadays they are only focused on the lack of representation of LGBTQ characters (which has been growing, but not as much as it should). But diversity is a lot more than a different sexual orientation! Following the definition above, diversity in books is about writing characters from different countries, with different skin colour, with different religions, from different socioeconomic stratums, with a different sexual orientation...  

Now, I confess that I find that diversity in books isn't a big issue as it was years ago. *and the heat starts* Why? Nowadays, people are more open-minded and they are not afraid of speaking out or writing about themes that years ago were not possible. I'm part of a generation that grew up aware of different ethnicity cultures and that every person, no matter how different I found it from me, deserved a place in the society; deserved the right to be represented in a book

While growing up I read every kind of stories/tales (before I knew how to read, it was my mother that read those stories to me). Back then, my favourite genre was Fables. Looking back, there are no stories with more diversity than fables. You could choose to be the turtle or the hare; you could choose to be the fox or the stork. And at the end, there was always a lesson: be tolerant, be respectful, help those who need. I understand parents want to read their kids stories about interracial families, same-sex parents, disability, etc, because it's good to have someone you can connect with. I agree with these parents (in Portugal, I can say there is little to none of children books that address these themes), and step-by-step, the Publishing Industry is writing/publishing children books full of diversity, but there are so many stories that give children all the tools to grow into a caring, tolerant and open-minded person (and those stories don't even feature people). If a child is raised with these values than diversity will just become another word and diversity in books will become something natural and not an issue. 


For those who read Young Adult, New Adult or any kind of genre that is written for an older audience and still struggle to find diversity: I think some readers are picking the "wrong" book (yes, there is never a wrong book, but I'm explaining what I mean with it). If you want to read a story set in Regency Period or Victorian England, you can't expect to find that much diversity. But if you want to read a story set in a high school from the 21th century, you can expect to find diversity.

I became a more active reader in the last six years and I've come across so many amazing and different characters (and sadly, many readers didn't take a moment to realize the diversity in these stories). Here are some examples from books I read recently:
  • Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles (I've only read Cinder yet) has prostheses (both in her left hand and leg) and has a mixed ancestry, Asian and Caucasian. Also, Prince Kai has Chinese ancestry.
  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a really cute contemporary and Lara Jean, the main character, has Korean ancestry (she is half-Korean and half-Caucasian). Also, she, her sisters and her father try to keep Korean traditions alive in their home. 
  • A Thousand Nights, The Forbidden Wish, Rebel of the Sands, The Star Touched Queen are books that feature a main character that has olive/dark skin and that is from the Middle East or India. Yes, these books are recent, but take a look at The Chaos of Stars or Defy.
  • Sandy Hall always features in her book a set of diverse characters. In A Little Something Different, Lea is Asian, one of her best friends is homosexual and [big SPOILER ahead] Gabe after an accident is left almost deaf and his struggle to learn how to live with this disability his followed throughout the story. In Signs Point to Yes, Teo is Latin and Margo is bisexual and she's trying to figure out how to tell it to her parents. And Been Here All Along... well, just read the summary.
  • Luna from Reign of Shadows is blind and even though she can't see, it doesn't stop her from wanting to help the others or wanting to live an adventure.
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo has a set of diverse main characters. Also, there are various kind of relationships (different sexual orientations; interracial relationships; positive female friendship).    
"But you are only mentioning books that were released after 2010!" I can pick up a few books that were released before 2010 and portrayed a diverse society (and one of them is very popular).
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. These books are about the Afro-American experience in America (and at the end, you understand that it's about something more) and there isn't a racist representation of the characters. 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has so much more diversity than initially meets the eye (yes, most people are Caucasian, but as I stated above, skin colour isn't the only criteria to say if a book has diversity or not). First, one of the favourites characters from the series, Tyrion,  is a little person. Second, it has different religions (the Old Gods, the Seven, the Drowned God, the Lord of Light) and different sexual orientations (Renly was even in the run to become the King of Westeros). Third, women may be portrayed as sexual objects a couple of times, but who runs the world? Girls like Daenerys and Cersei. 
  • In City of Masks by Mary Hoffman, Lucien has cancer and his struggle is followed in a reinvented Italy. 
  • Cassandra Clare introduced Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood in City of Bones, and they became of the most admired and loved same-sex couple. Also, Magnus not only is homosexual but he also has Chinese ancestry.
  • Katniss from The Huger Games has Native-American ancestry (most people overlook it because of the films) as well as Mercy from Mercy Thompson.
I could mention a few more books and authors (such as Melissa Marr and Anna-Marie McLemore), but I think this text is already long enough and probably whoever is reading it is already feeling bored. I just want people to realize that there is more diversity in the books than they initially think.  

Do we read more books where the main characters are Caucasian? Yes. However, does it makes us love a book more? No! We love a book for being well-written and for its ability to captivate our attention and to make us fall in love with fictional characters. At least, that's what I look for in a book. And if it features a diverse set of characters and mentions certain themes, it's a plus that shows how the world is embracing diversity more and more every day.  

P.S.: I apologize for any grammar mistakes. English isn't my first language. 
Thursday, 1 September 2016

Cover Reveal. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


This cover is simply magical! So freaking pretty! *.* I confess I did not care about the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. However, I'm excited for the release of the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them - as well as I'm excited for the film and for the Funkos Pop Vynil! Can it be November already?          

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay is expected to be released on November 19th.
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