Monthly Recap. July 2016

Sunday, 31 July 2016

I can't believe July has ended. Time loves flying! Before going through this bookish month, I'd like to share some good news. As you know, last month I lost my beloved Mufasa. I think about him every day and I miss him dearly. I thought I wasn't ready to love again, but on July 12th I found a little kitten in an animal shelter and he is the spitting image of my Mufasa. I simply couldn't leave him - not after having to let Mufasa go.

So, I'd like to introduce you Iago. He has been cheering my days up and making sure I get up from my bed every day. He is always running and jumping and being adorable. He is helping me healing. Iago has become a little sunshine in my life. Now, isn't he adorable? *.* 

July was a good reading month. I can't recall the last time I read seven books. I know a few were easy readings, but I'm really proud of myself. Hopefully, I'll read more in August. :)

  • Stolen Songbird, Danielle L. Jensen
  • Defy, Sara B. Larson
  • Signs Point to Yes, Sandy Hall
  • A Little Something Different, Sandy Hall
  • Dreamology, Lucy Keating
  • Stitching Snow, R.C. Lewis
  • Flawed, Cecilia Ahern
My favourite readings were Stolen Songbird and Stitching Snow. These novels were really nice surprises (especially Stitching Snow, as Spinning Starlight didn't impress me) and I can't wait to read Hidden Huntress [The Malediction Trilogy #2]. A Little Something Different was such an original and cute contemporary. The story of Lea and Gabe is told by twelve different POVs - and this includes the POV of a squirrel and a bench.
Defy was a utter disappointment. I couldn't stand the main character and I had issues with the writing (it was a little repetitive). The world building of Dreamology and Flawed was interesting, but I felt there was something missing at the end (also, the main characters had a few eye-rolling moments).

I think I got too many books this month. Okay, I don't think, I'm sure I bought too many books this month. =P It was my way of dealing with loss. New books cheer me up. 

I read To All the Boys I've Loved Before last year and it's one of my favourite books (in fact, it's one of my favourite series). I thought it was a good time to finally own a physical copy because Always and Forever, Lara Jean is coming out next year. This Savage Song came with this month's Owlcrate (I don't know how they do it, but they always choose books I want). I was eyeing Asleep (a dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty) for a long time and when I saw that the price dropped, I bought right away. Angelfall and Shatter Me were on my wishlist for a long time, so I finally decided to give these series an opportunity.

Now, this is going to sound bad, but all the other books were cover buy. Have you seen the cover of Illusions of Fate? *.* And the cover of Stitching Snow? *.* Okay, this one is a retelling, so my love for retellings had something to do with me buying it too. Well, but as I was saying, they were cover buy [The Chaos of Stars, The Unexpected Everything, After Alice] and they happened to have an interesting summary. Win, win. Oh, and Prince of Shadows was so cheap that I just had to get it. It would be insulting not to buy it at a such low price.

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 book love . This week I also share TV series and videogame love.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Funko Pop! Vynil - Have you seen the figures? Aren't they adorable? *.* When I saw the announcement on Pottermore on my birthday (July 7th), I knew I had to get my hands on the magical creatures set. I was a bit disappointed when I heard they would be sold on SDCM, but then there was a partnership with Barnes and Noble and I couldn't resist ordering the Cornish Pixie, Mandrake and Grindylow. *happy dance*  
  • Stranger Things - I'm addicted to TV series and this month I fell in love with Stranger Things. This series is all kind of awesomeness. Set in the 80's, it brings the nostalgia to surface. Nerdy kids, Dungeons & Dragons, ET, monsters, mysteries... I recommend you to watch it.   
  • Gravity Rush 2 - I'm also a gamer and Gravity Rush 2 has been one of my most-waited releases. This month its release date was announced: November 30th! *counting the days*
  • My review of Their Fractured Light and Stolen Songbird.  

Review 19. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Title: Stolen Songbird [The Malediction Trilogy]
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Published: April 1st 2014
Pages: 469 pages

"For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for...

Forget everything you know about trolls. In Stolen Songbird (one of the most perfect titles ever), Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and dragged to the city under the broken mountain, Trollus. She is forced to marry the Prince of Trollus, Tristan, in order to break a curse. But when everything goes horribly wrong, Cécile finds herself looking for a way back home; however, how can she do it when trolls are everything but what she was expecting them to be?   

Writing: Stolen Songbird was an amazing surprise. The prose is simply magical. Danielle L. Jensen's writing is detailed, making the settings feel real. Her words created an enticing world and I could feel myself walking in the darkness of Trollus.

 “To be bound is a burden, but it is the actions we freely take that cause us the most pain.”

The story is told in the POV of Cécile and Tristan (mostly in Cécile's). I enjoyed how their voices were different and how it gave an opportunity to know the real Tristan. In the beginning the story's pace was slow, which I usually dislike, but it just felt right. I needed to know Trollus and inhabitants and stories and magic before the action could speed up. 

Characters: May I start by saying I loved how Cécile wasn't a damsel in distress? Minutes before her forced wedding, as soon as she had an opportunity, Cécile tried to escape from the trolls and return to her family. I instantly liked her! Cécile is strong and smart - it doesn't stop her from making mistakes, but she learns with them. She knows she is weaker then the trolls, but she doesn't stay quiet waiting for a shinning knight; she keeps plotting her escape. Tristan is introduced as an arrogant and spoiled prince, but slowly his true nature is revealed. Tristan is brave and has a big heart. He is ready to sacrifice himself to protect Trollus; to protect his people. He wants to put an end to his father's reign of fear and he doesn't care what it may be taken from him.    
Romance: First and foremost, NO love-triangle. Now, I felt worried that there was going to be insta-love when I realised what bonding meant, but no such thing. NO insta-love too! Cécile's and Tristan's relationship goes from enemies to allies to friends and, finally, to lovers. The evolution is simply perfect, not rushed... I just love when romance is written correctly.   

Worldbuilding: Jensen wove this beautifully dark world perfectly. The worldbuiling of Stolen Songbird is very original, as the trolls are not what the reader expect them to be. The author twisted the lore and crafted a new world. These trolls aren't brainless creatures; they are smart and always have something under their sleeve. These trolls aren't ugly (at least, not all of them); they have beautiful faces and captivating silver eyes.

“I think it is our nature to believe evil always has an ugly face,” he said, ignoring my question. “Beauty is supposed to be good and kind, and to discover it otherwise is like a betrayal of trust. A violation of the nature of things.” 

Would I like living in Trollus? If there were no human haters trolls, yes, I would love to live in this world under a broken mountain. I'd probably miss the sun, but phantom lights and glass gardens? Beautiful waterfalls with hidden secrets? The beautiful darkness and the magic of Trollus would definitely make up for the sun. 

Stolen Songbird is the alluring beginning of The Malediction Trilogy.

Waiting on Wednesday. Kingdom of Ash and Briar

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

"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 Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West. A few months ago, while reading Waiting on Wednesday posts, I found this beautiful retelling. Not only is it a retelling of fairytales as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty but also is inspired by Jane Austen's Emma and the legend of Mulan. This is my dream novel. Also, isn't the cover to die for? *.* The book will be released on August 30th.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince's band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.
From Goodreads

Cover Reveal. Silence Fallen

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Late cover reveal! *hides in a corner embarrassed* The cover of the 10th adventure of Mercy Thompson is completely different from the other covers in the series. And, I confess that this cover must be one of my favourites. The colours, the native American references, Mercy's face... Love it! *.* Silver Borne is my favourite cover, followed by River Marked's cover and now Silence Fallen's cover just took the third place.        

Silence Fallen is expected to be released on March 7th 2017.
"Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Review 18. Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Title: Their Fractured Light
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: December 1st 2015
425 pages

"A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch. Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost. When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Their Fractured Light is the exciting conclusion of the Starbound trilogy. After the events in Avon, there are more people than ever wanting to unmask the LaRoux Industries. In Corinth, Sofia Quinn and Gideon Marchant are trying to take down LaRoux when they first met. Each has their own reasons to be in a revenge quest, but their destinies are intertwined when a security breach ruins their attempt to infiltrate in the LR Industries. Forced to work together, Gideon and Sofia get one step closer of exposing La Roux and his dark secrets.   

Writing: What more can I say about the writing? As I wrote before, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are genius! If they ever decide to co-write another series, I'm all in. As I wrote about These Broken Stars and This Shattered World, their writing is simply delicious. I loved how, once again, they linked the plot with the previous events. My jaw dropped with all the twists (Kaufman and Spooner are the queens of twists *all hail the queens*). Their Fractured Light was a delightful reading, even though I felt the story by the end was a bit dragged.  
But free will is what it means to be human, and no one can determine the path you take through this universe. Choice is our greatest right, our greatest gift-and our greatest responsibility.”
Characters: I wanted to love Sofia and Gideon as much as I loved the characters from the previous novels. I really wanted to, but compared to them, Sofia and Gideon felt lackluster. And then [Spoiler Alert!] Lilac, Tarver, Jubilee and Flynn show up and Sofia and Gideon take back seat to me. Maybe if these four hadn't been a huge part of the story, I would have ended up embracing Sofia and Gideon. 

I liked Sofia in This Shattered World, but in her own story I found myself annoyed by her. I understood why she wanted her revenge, but the-means-to-justify-the-ends attitude was not my cup of tea. Sofia used Gideon's feelings to get what she wanted and I wasn't okay with that. Gideon was funny and positive (in the middle of so much horror, it was great to have someone positive). I felt he didn't deserve to be used!
  • Relationship: As always, the romance was well-done. No insta-love. No love-triangle. However, there was a small thing that bothered me: Gideon and Sofia didn't trust each other and yet they spent a of time kissing. How can you be with someone without trust?  
World Building: Kaufman and Spooner introduce us to another world, Corinth. While Avon was still in process of terraforming, Corinth is already developed; while Avon was a decaying world, Corinth is an evolved world - a technological world where people are divided by sectors according to their wealth. In Their Fractured Light, the writers create a new world, offering a new side of the complex society of Starbound

The Starbound trilogy is enticing and is with sadness that I say goodbye to this world created by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. 

Waiting on Wednesday. A Torch Against the Night

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

"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 A Torch Against the Night by  . I can't believe the wait is almost over! This is my can't-wait-to-be-released book. Gosh, I've been waiting for it for more than a year. An Ember in the Ashes was my favourite reading of 2015 and I just can't wait to know what happens next to Laia and Elias. The book will be released on August 30th.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.
From Goodreads

Cover Reveal. Hunted

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Isn't the cover pretty? *:* I love retellings (as you all know by now), but Beauty and the Beast retellings hold a special place in my heart. Because of such, I can't wait to put my hands on this novel which has been written by the co-writer of one of my favourite series, Starbound.      

Hunted is expected to be released on March 14th 2017.
"Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters 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.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of 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?
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Waiting on Wednesday. The Shadow Hour

"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 The Shadow Hour by  . I read The Girl at Midnight a few months ago. It confess it reminded me of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I enjoyed it. So, of course, I'll be reading its sequel. The book will be released on July 12th.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Everything in Echo's life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.

The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.

Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she's already overcome.

She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.

Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature--or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what's left of her world to the ground?

Welcome to the shadow hour.
From Goodreads