Short-Reviews 2. The Shadow Queen & Love, Lies and Spies

Friday, 21 October 2016

Title: The Shadow Queen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: February 16th 2016
336 pages

"Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen. In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart. But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose."

The Shadow Queen is a Snow White retelling and I read just right after Stitching Snow. The two retellings were unique and I loved both takings on the tale. That said, I didn't find myself wondering if I was reading the same story - don't you love when there are "thousands" of retellings of the same story, but completely different?

I found the plot of The Shadow Queen compelling. It reminded me of the original fairytale but, as I stated above, with a unique touch (Lorelei doesn't need a prince; but the same can't be said about Kol not needing a kiss to wake up from a sleeping curse -but not literally). The story was fast-paced with lots of action and so many twists that left me mouth-opened. Also, the sceneries were beautifully described. Ravenspire was such a magical kingdom. 

Now, about the characters: I really liked them. Lorelai was an amazing kick-ass princess - also, she was very strong, but knew her limits (even though sometimes she was wrong about how weak she was). Kol's determination to protect his people moved skies (he was never meant to be King and yet he adapted so well to his new role). Oh, and did you know Kol was a dragon? I had never read a retelling where the Prince Charming was half-dragon (yes, I adored the idea). Leo was hilarious [SPOILER -I understand why he had to die, but did he really have to die? His death was so heartbreaking]. Irina, the Evil Queen, was despicable and hateful (which means she was a very well-written villain). There were some chapters I felt I should feel sorrow for her, but Irina was so insidious that any reason why I should pity her didn't touch my heart. Oh, and Lorelai's falcon was as bad-ass as her - too bad she was always trying to feed everyone with mice, which was very disgusting.
On the whole, The Shadow Queen is a nice retelling - and if you love retellings, you should take a look at it - and C.J. Redwine created an alluring and harsh world (there were so many ruthless and painful scenes). I must say that I can't wait to read The Wish Granter (it is inspired by Rumplestiltskin) which may not be a sequel, but is set in the same world.

Title: Loves, Lies and Spies
Publisher: Swoon Reads 

Published: April 19th 2016
368 pages 

"Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research. Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself."

First and foremost, do not be scared by the writing! There is a Portuguese saying that goes like this: "Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se" (first you strange it, then it dives into you; it's a bad translation, but it's the best I could make). That was how I felt when I started reading Love, Lies and Spies. At first, the writing was odd and I found myself re-reading the same expression thrice, but then the more I read, the more I became familiar with the language (I can now proudly say that I know what 'friday-face' means). The language used shows that Cindy Anstey did an extensive research, creating a Victorian society that felt very real.

Now that that is off my chest, I say how much delicious romantic this novel was. *.* Love, Lies and Spies was a very enjoyable reading. I enjoyed the plot (even though it took some time to be revealed what kind of spy-job Spencer had in hands) and it even had a surprising twist. I loved some characters, hated others (can I slap aunt Phyllis and Vivian?) and some I simply found them idiots (yes, I'm looking at you Maxwell Pyebald). The romance was written perfectly. There was attraction, but not insta-love. And, most important, no love triangle.

Spencer is a swoon-worthy gentleman (see what I just did here?). Juliana is adorably clumsy - but it doesn't mean that can't take care of herself. A most unfortunate event (or maybe not) brings these two together and soon a friendship turns into love. However, of course, love is never easy and these two have no intentions of being touched by the Cupid as Juliana is captivated by her lady beetle research and Spencer is trying to discover a traitor. But these distractions only make their building romance even more lovely. I was rooting for them since the first time Juliana laid her eyes on Spencer's blue eyes.

All in all, the debut novel of Cindy Anstey has all the ingredients of a fluffy and eye-catching historical romance set in the Regency period. If you haven't read Love, Lies and Spies yet, I recommend you to do it. Just go to your nearest bookshop and buy it.

Waiting on Wednesday. Den of Wolves

Wednesday, 19 October 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 Den of Wolves by Juliet Marilier. I'm going to repeat myself for the hundredth time: I LOVE Juliet Marillier. Everything she writes goes straight to my can't-wait-to-put-my-hands-on list. So, of course, I impatiently waiting the supposedly last Blackthorn & Grim novel (let's cross fingers and hope for a few more books). The book will be released on November 1st.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"The “powerful and emotionally-charged” fantasy series from the author of the Sevenwaters novels continues, as Blackthorn and Grim face haunting secrets and old adversaries...

Feather bright and feather fine, None shall harm this child of mine...

Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the recent ordeal she and her companion, Grim, have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life.

Despite her personal struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada in taking care of a troubled young girl who has recently been brought to court, while Grim is sent to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task—repairing a broken-down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems—the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies...

Back at Winterfalls, the evil touch of Blackthorn’s sworn enemy reopens old wounds and fuels her long-simmering passion for justice. With danger on two fronts, Blackthorn and Grim are faced with a heartbreaking choice—to stand once again by each other’s side or to fight their battles alone...
From Goodreads

Cover Reveal. Our Dark Duet

Monday, 17 October 2016

I can't believe I keep missing cover reveals *evil stare at my master degree work* So, here it's the cover of This Savage Song sequel, Our Dark Duet. What do you think of it? I loved how the keep the violin. *.*  

Our Dark Duet is expected to be released on June 13th 2017.
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

TTT. Villians I Love to Hate

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish
It has been a while since I participated in this meme. Gosh, times flies and I don't even notice it... This week on Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Villains. Which villains make your knees tremble? Which villains make you love to hate?

The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes. I hated Keris for everything she did to Laia in An Ember in the Ashes. She was so vicious and unfeeling (she abandoned her own son to die). However, I didn't expect that A Torch Against the Night would make me hate her so much more than I already did. How dare she hurt Elias the way she did?        

Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. Is it bad that I hated her a lot more than I hated Voldemort? I must not tell lies, remember? I hated her so much for everything she did to Harry and to Hogwarts -how dare she try to ruin my dream school?

Queen Irina from The Shadow Queen. There were some chapters in Irina's perspective and I felt I was supposed to pity her, but she persecuted and killed so many that I just hadn't it in me. No matter how bad you think people treated you, it does not give you the right to murder and hunt people down.   

Mutt from The Scorpio Races. He was so despicable that I wanted to punch him.

Genevieve from To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Okay, Genevieve is more a bad girl than a villain. Her antics really hurt Lara Jean and if you hurt Lara Jean or try to ruin her relationship with Peter, you're instantly on my bad side.

I know it's a really small list, but I'm having a blank. I can't think of more villains I hate(d) with all my heart. I can think of the societies I hated (like the society from Matched and Delirium), but then I can't think of a particular person. Well, five is better than none. =P

Monthly Recap. September 2016

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Goodbye September, thank you for bringing the fall (sadly, the weather still is very hot). This month I started a new journey: I started my master degree in English Studies. I don't have much time to read as I did before (at least, I don't have much time to read the books I want to; I've a long list of mandatory books to go through) or write reviews (I can't believe I only wrote one this month). But after two weeks I'm finding my pace and soon I'll find a balance because I don't want to leave this blog to be on hiatus again - especially now that I started receiving review copies.  

As I sadly wrote last month, I wouldn't be able to keep up with my reading strike for this month. As I mentioned above, I started a new journey and I've less time to dedicate myself to my bookish ways. However, apart from the books mentioned below, I also started reading Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop and I'm almost finishing The Scarlet Letter.
  • Reign of Shadows, Sophie Jordan
  • A  Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir
  • The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas
  • The Time Machine, H.G. Wells [read for my master]
Firstly, I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about the ending of The Immortal Heights. It was the ending of The Elemental Trilogy and I still don't know if it ended with a bang or if it was utterly disappointing. Secondly, I loved A Torch Against the Night. *.* It was all kinds of amazing (even if I got mad at Laia for a couple of chapters) and I haven't written a review yet because I can't find the words to explain all its amazingness. See? I keep using the word "amazing".

Another where month I didn't go bankrupted. *happy dance* So, which new books arrived to my bookshelf in September? 

Wait?! What?! Only one book? :O Did I only get A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir that was my favourite book of 2016 so far? Okay, I got some books for my masters, but it's a list of mandatory books, so I'll write later about that book haul.

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.