Retelling Challenge 2016. Wrap Up

Saturday, 31 December 2016

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

Another challenge that comes to an end with the end of the year. I was really hoping to have read more retellings that I did -but I was also hoping to read 70 books and I only ready 56. Sadly, Mel won't be hosting this challenge next year, but I really hope someone hosts it (I'd, but my blog is so small that no one would join in). Well, so this year I read 16 retellings, less ten that I wanted to, and I got the Wise Princess badge.

Fairytale Retellings:
Mythology & Folklore:
Classics Retold:
Ps. The answer to the puzzle is: Once Upon a Time

End of the Year Book Survey. 2016 Edition

This tag was created by @ThePerpeturalPageTurner. All images belong to her.
Today is the last day of 2016 and as I don't expect to finish reading another book before the year ends, I thought today would be a great day to share with you my answers to 2016 End of the Year Book Survey. Here it goes.

Number Of Books You Read: 56 books
Number of Re-Reads: 2 re-reads
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (isn't it always?)

1. Best Book You Read In 2016? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist) Even if I broke it down by genre, I’d still be cheating because I don't think I can place A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo on different genres. Or can I?

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Sadly, I'll have to go with Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr. Wicked Lovely is one of my favourite series, so I had to read Marr's new series. However, I felt so disappointed. I really thought I was going to love it.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? Probably the same books answered on the first question. And, of course, it was in a good way.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? I keep telling people to read Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier. Now, if they read it or not, I've no clue. Ps. If you haven't read this book yet, you should add it to you 2017 TBR pile.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016? Best series I started this year was Six of Crows. Now, for best sequel I'll have to go with A Torch Against the Night. And, best series ender is Crooked Kingdom (no matter how much the last pages pages broke my heart).

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016? Without a doubt, Leigh Bardugo. She's now part of my top five favourite authors.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? As I've mentioned before, I don't usually read sci-fi. However, this year I read the Starbound trilogy and I loved This Shattered World. It made me realize I need to read more sci-fi. Any recommendations?

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? One thing I loved about Six of Crows was how action packed and full of twists and surprises it had.

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Probably none. I don't usually re-read books (I know, some people think it's a waist of money to buy a book only read it once). Maybe I’ll revisit the Six of Crows world? But I know in 2018 I’ll be re-reading An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night (which was read this year) because only then book number three will be released.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016? *goes to Goodreads* How can I choose? There were so many beautiful covers? *.*

11. Most memorable character of 2016? I could go with Elias but we first met in 2015 in An Ember in the Ashes. So, I'm going to go with Kaz Brekker (so disappointed Santa didn't leave him under my tree as I asked).

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016? It's between A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston and The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016? I'm so sorry, but I've no answer for this one. I probably read too much fantasy...

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? Can I really chose only one? Okay, then Six of Crows it's.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? I'm sorry again, but I can't only choose one. Take a look at the reviews I wrote to see some of my favourite quotes/passages.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016? The longest book was Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The shortest was The Shoemaker's Holiday by Thomas Dekker.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.) It's a tie between A Torch Against the Night and Crooked Kingdom.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Elias & Laia from A Torch Against the Night [sequel of A Torch Against the Night]
Kaz & Inej from Six of Crows
Jubilee & Flynn from This Shattered World

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year. The relationship between the Dregs from Six of Crows duology.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously. Easy as pie, A Torch Against the Night. But if I had had time to read Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier, it would be more difficult to find an answer.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure. I was recommended The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016? As I mentioned above, I was really hoping Santa would leave Kaz Brekker under my Christmas tree.

23. Best 2016 debut you read? Of all the debuts I read, I think The Star-Touched Queen was the best.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Why can I always only choose one? I'm sorry, but I'll once again refuse to answer. I mean, how can I choose between A Torch Against the Night and Six or Crows? Or between The Star-Touched Queen and A Thousand Nights? Or This Shattered World?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? There is only one book that fits this category: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall. It seems I rarely read happy/funny books. This cute contemporary told is many different voices is the closes thing I've to book that put a smile on my face or was fund to read.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016? Confession time: books don't make me cry. No matter how emotionally invested I'm on a story, I don't cry. I mean, I should have cried with Crooked Kingdom and I didn't (but I guess it was kind spoiled to me by the own author, so the scene didn't have the same impact).

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? I can't believe how much I loved The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. I had no expectations and it ended up being a great retelling.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? How can a book crush my soul the way A Torch Against the Night did? [SPOILERS! Elias encounter with death and the moment I thought my ship would sink... And that ending? Why is 2018 so far away?!]

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016? What do you mean by unique? Because if I think about an unique world, I have to go with The Star-Touched Queen. But, if it is about how unique the book was in terms of construction, maybe it's Illuminae.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Red Queen because of Mare. I can't understand how many people love this book when the main character is so annoying. I just wish Mare had been less childish. At the end, I asked myself if she had even learned a lesson.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017? I've been trying to read The Name of the Wind for a long time now. Hopefully 2017 will be the year I finally read it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)? A Beauty and the Beast retelling, Hunted by Meagan Spooner.

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? I think it's a debut novel, Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belezza.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017? No matter how I'm sure Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han will broken my heart, I can't wait to get my hands on it.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017? I hope I meet and connect with more book bloggers. I really try to meet new people, but I find the book community very closed. It's a nice and sweet community, but it's like there is a circle and unless you receive ARCs it seems impossible to join in. Also, I hope to finally read 70 books.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone. Sadly, I don't receive ARCs (not only I've a low number of followers, but also I live outside US and UK - publishers needs to realize international people buy their books and have no perks). So, I can't recommend any book.

TTT. My Favourite Books Of 2016

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish
This week on Top Ten Tuesday is top ten best books of 2016. I'd love to say that my list "is in no particular order", but it kinda is. A Torch Against the Night stole my heart as no book as done in many years. And the Six of Crows duology made me love Leigh Bardugo (and Kaz... and Kaz and Inej *.*). So, from top to bottom, here are my favourite readings of 2016.

A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir. All the feelings. *.* This novel was an emotional roller-coaster. I loved everything about it -I confess, there was a part I felt like throwing my copy against something, but I got over it. Sabaa Tahir created such an amazing world and I can't wait for its sequel (why is 2018 is so far away?). Also, Elias and Laia... I'll go down with this ship.*.*

Six of Crows Duology, Leigh Bardugo. This year was the first time I plunged into the Grisha World and I loved everything about Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Ketterdam was such a beautifully-dark world.This duology will always be one of my favourite readings because of all its twists, Kaz's devious schemes and my beautiful and strong Inej.

Starbound Trilogy, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner. I don't read much sci-fi and I was pleasantly surprised with how awesome this series was. My favourite book from the series was without a doubt This Shattered World. I loved Jubilee and Flynn, two star-crossed lovers who would never imagine that their soulmate was on the other side of swamp (another ship I'll go down with).

The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater. If you read my review, you know there was nothing I hated about this novel. The writing was beautifully-raw. I loved Sean and Puck and Corr -his crush on Dove was pure cuteness. *.* The worldbuilding was simply flawless (a harsh and cruel world where death hovers, but at the same time entrancing). Thank you Carla from @CuidadocomoDálmata for recommending it.

A Thousand Nights, E.K. Johnston. This retelling of One Thousand Nights is simply beautiful. There is something magical in E. K. Johnston writing that brought such a realness to the novel that I couldn't put it down. A fairytale retelling lover as me, could not help but fall in love with this story.

Stolen Songbird, Danielle L. Jensen. So sad I didn't win the giveaway hosted by the author. I really want to read the sequels. 😭 This book was such a pleasant surprise. I found the wordbuilding very original, as the trolls were not what I expected them to be. And, the romance between Cécile and Tristan was so perfect.*.*

The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi. I confess that I first fell in love with The Star-Touched Queen because of its cover. Then, because of its summary (I can't resist mythology even though my Indian mythology knowledge was -still is- little to none). And finally, I fell in love with the story and the characters and the world... Gosh, the world created by the author was mythical and enchanting and I can't wait to reconnect with it in Crown of Wishes.     

The Forbidden Wish, Jessica Khoury. This novel was another pleasant surprise. I sensed I was going to love it because I'm a retelling lover (I promise I'll try not to repeat thisas much in 2017 because you must be tired of me always saying the same old same) and the idea of the jinni being a girl was very intriguing. I loved everything about this novel and when I finished it, I wanted to read more. Can there be a sequel?

Merry Christmas!

Review 25. Say Her Name by James Dawson [Twelve Days of Reviews]

Friday, 23 December 2016

Title: Say Her Name
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Published: June 5th 2014
287 pages

"Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror... five days... but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before... A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted 'Queen of Teen' author James Dawson.

Dear James Dawson,

I love horror, but finding good horror stories is very difficult. Thank you for writing Say Her Name because it had everything a horror story needs to make the heart beat faster. If I already was terrified of Bloody Mary, I now do my best to avoid every mirror.

Writing: You know a horror story is well-written when you find yourself thinking you hear drip-drop coming from your own bathroom. Of course, you then realize you forgot to turn off the water because your cats like drinking from weird places. Nonetheless, the goosebumps were real and I wasn't very happy about leaving my bedroom to turn off the water.  

“Bobbie wondered if that's how long you truly live for - until the last person who remembers you, until the final bouquet on your grave.”

I think the writing was what I loved the most about this horror story. The words are so well-woven that they bring the fear to the surface -and also those emotions that make you want to crawl into your bed and hide under the blankets.

Characters: I can't say I loved the characters. Not only they just aren't that memorable but also I didn't connect with them (okay, maybe our fear connected us, but that's all). Besides there were just too many clichés in Pipper Hall -the mean girl(s), the I'm-too-plain-and-shy-to-be-noticed-by-a-boy main character, the pretty best friend that overshadows everyone with her looks...The characters were all clichés in my opinion.

Oh, and the relationship between Bobbie and Caine felt a bit forced -but maybe when you have a bloodthirsty ghost after your, your emotions are all over the place and it's easier to create a romantic bond. But not really something I'd like to experience (I mean, who would like to have Bloody Mary after them?). But if you can overcome all these clichés, as I did, you can enjoy this spooky story where you never know when Bloody Mary is going to show up and creep you out.

Worldbuilding: As it's obvious, Say Her Name is based on the urban legend Bloody Mary. If you've never heard about this urban myth then you should watch season one of Supernatural (can't remember the episode's number), but there is a huge number of other sources you can find online. That said, I enjoyed how the author chose this urban legend and gave it a twist of his own. Mary was a Piper Hall student that suddenly vanishes and slowly her story is revealed. I really liked how alike and different Dawson's story was from the original.

If you love a good horror story, Say Her Name is a must.

Review 24. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo [Twelve Days of Reviews]

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Published: September 20th 2016
Pages: 546 pages

"When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

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 badly weakened, 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 the Grisha world."

Once again, dear Leigh Bardugo,

Thank you for creating such a beautifully-dark world. The Six of Crows duology will always be one of my favourite readings. All its twists and devious schemes and heartbreaking moments will stick with me forever. Ps. Can I've a Kaz Brekker under my Christmas tree? 😋

Plot: The story starts right off where Six of Crows ended. Kaz and his crew are trying to find a way of getting Inej back from Jan Van Eck's claws without having to give him the secret of jurda parem, a dangerous drug that enhances Grishas´powers. And, of course, they are also trying to receive the reward they were promised for breaking in -and out- the Ice Court, a heist told impossible. And, because nothing comes easy to these outcasts, there is a price on their heads and everyone -every nation- is after them. As in the first book, the development of the plot is intricate and the story is full of twists and action-packed. There isn't a slow moment and there are so many twists that make your jaw drop -or bring tears to your eyes (how could you, Bardugo? How could you?!).

Writing: If you read my Shadow and Bone review, you know I think Leigh Bardugo's writing has evolved since her debut novel. And, Crooked Kingdom just proves that. The quality in the Six of Crows duology is higher than in the first book of the Grisha series; you almost can't believe they were both written by the same person. In Crooked Kingdom the writing is very fluid, there is attention to every little detail and the characters are very well-developed.

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”

Following different POV's can always be complicated, but Bardugo does is so perfectly that there is no way you can mix up a character to another. Every character -Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper and Wylan (yes, there were chapters in Wyllan's POV this time)- has their own and unique voice.

Characters: What more can I say about the characters that I hadn't said before? Kaz is still vicious and keeps plotting. His cunning mind never stops and he's always a step ahead everyone else. Inej is still the perfect Wraith. I still admire her strength and her faith. And, yes, I currently ship Kaz and Inej a lot more than I already did.

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn't walk, I'd crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we'd fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that's what we do. We never stop fighting.” 

Nina, even though she is fighting the effects of taking jurda parem, is the same old same Grisha who loves chocolate cookies and Matthias. And, Matthias is still a soldier at heart, but because of Nina's love has started to understand that not everything is white and black. Jesper is still facing his gambling problems along with Kaz's (kind of ) indifference. But he has Wylan, who we finally get to know a little bit more. He's so much more than a merchling.

Worldbuilding: Leigh Bardugo knows how to craft a perfect world. I loved Ketterdam and it will be difficult to say goodbye to its streets full of secrets and dark corners. I guess all I can add is that the worldbuilding is perfectly-flawless.

There is only one word to describe the Six of Crows duology: a masterpiece!    

Waiting on Wednesday. Dawn Study

Wednesday, 21 December 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 Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder. I don't think I've to explain the reason why I'm impatiently waiting for this book. By now, I already explained in a thousand different ways how much I love Yelena and Valek and their adventures and the world of Ixia and Sitia. Seeing the series concluding will be very bittersweet, but I can always go back to this fantasy world. The book will be released on January 31st 2017. Ps: *GIVEAWAY ALERT* I'm currently hosting a Twelve Days of Reviews. Clink in the link to participate.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything."
From Goodreads

Review 23. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald [Twelve Days of Reviews]

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Title: The Great Gatbsy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster - Scribner
Published: October 1th 2012 (first published in April 10th 1925)
Pages: 180 pages

"THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature. "

Dear Fitzgerald,

When I first read your masterpiece, I hated it. I really hated it with all my heart! I did not appreciate it as I should have and I feel bad for it. The Great Gatsby is one of the most beautifully-woven novels I ever read -everything is crafted carefully in this book. I apologize to you, Fitzgerald, because now that I re-read your outstanding novel, I can see all its allure and enticement.

Writing: I'll probably sound very corny, but Fitzgerald writing is magical (I just had to read this novel a second time to realize it). Everything seems what it's and what it isn't. Do you understand? I mean, the green light is not just the green light. The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg are not just the eyes of a forgotten add. East Egg and West Egg are more than a geographical representation of where the characters live. Everything is crated to the detail (not a single thread is forgotten) and that is why the writing is so perfect.

Characters: What a bunch of mean characters... Daisy is not as innocent as she wants everyone to believe she is. Tom is racist and has no problems cheating on his wife. Jordan didn't achieve her victories fairly. And, Gatsby is not the person he wants everyone to believe he is. However, from this set of characters (not counting with Nick, of course), Gatsby ends up being the most noble of them. Why? Everything he did was to achieve his dream, being with Daisy. He had no malice in him, he simply wanted Daisy and the "love" they once share. Maybe he should have followed another path to find a way to be with her. However, Daisy only had one care in the world and that was not to love and be loved in return.

Nick, who is the narrator/observer of the story, is the only person who has nothing to hide. What you see is what you get. Nick went to West Egg looking for a new life; a life away from his family and away from the West (where, to him, nothing happened). Of course, Nick got a lot more than he bargained for, realizing that maybe his place was not in the middle of people so vicious and unscrupulous. By the end, he is the only one who learns something from the events in The Great Gatsby because he sees what's behind the masks everyone wears.

Worldbuilding: I don't think any other book depicts the Jazz Age as well as The Great Gatsby. There are the crazy late night parties; you can see how important it was to people to own a car; the flapper girls are represented... It shows the good and the bad of a new world that was built after the First World War. It's a world of lights and music and glamour - but also of lies. If you want to know the crazy twenties, this is the book for you.

TTT. 2017 Books I Can't Wait For

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish
This week on Top Ten Tuesday is top ten books you're looking forward to for the first half of 2017. Because I'm currently short on time and I've not yet created my book releases calender for 2017 (which means I don't know which books will be released on the first half of the year), I've decided that it's easier to show you the ten books I can't wait for to be released in 2017. Here are they:

Hunted, Meagan Spooner. I love retellings (as you all are tired to 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.  

Always and Forever, Lara Jean, Jenny Han. I started reading contemporaries because of To All The Boys I've Loved Before. So, I couldn't be more excited when Always and Forever, Lara Jean was announced. However, I'm terrified of the future of Lara Jean and Peter (please, don't break them up, Jenny). Because, let's face it, high school relationships don't last forever and the tittle kinda suggests a break up... Am I the only one who fears this?

A Crown of Wishes, Roshani Chokshi. The Star-Touched Queen was one of a my favourite readings of this year. The world created by Roshani Chokshi was mythical and enchanting and I can't wait to reconnect with it. You can read the first chapter here.    

Empress of a Thousand Skies, Rhoda Belleza. The genre sci-fi/fantasy has been growing on me eand the Starbound trilogy just made me love the genre a lot more. So, when I read the summary of this one, I just added it right way to my wishlist. And, the cover is beautiful. *.*
Sillence Fallen, Patricia Briggs. I've not yet read Fire Touched, but it's Patricia Briggs. I'm going to love it (Patricia Briggs never disappoints) and I'll keep following the series.

Caraval, Stephanie Garber. Apart from the Hunted ARCs that have been sent to some bloggers, this is the other ARC that is making me jealous. Why can't I read it now too?! Games of love, heartbreak, and magic? I want to read it too!

Leigh Bardugo's new Duology. I don't know it the first book of this new duology will be released in 2017, but my fingers are crossed. I'll still have books from her to read, but I currently addicted to Leigh Bardugo and I need my fix. =P

The Wish Granter, C.J. Redwine. I read The Shadow Queen this summer and it was a nice Snow White retelling. C.J. Redwine created an alluring and harsh world and I must say that I can't wait to read this one that is inspired by Rumplestiltskin. It may not be a sequel, but is set in the same world. 
Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge, Lisa Jensen. This is another Beauty and the Beast retelling. Of course, it had to make my list. Now, can the cover be released? 

Dawn Study, Maria V. Snyder. Last, but not least. Did you really think Dawn Study wouldn't make this list? I love Yelena and Valek and their adventures too much to forget about them. I need to know how everything ends - but does it really need to end?

Which books can't you wait for to be released in 2017?

Review 22. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo [Twelve Days of Reviews]

Title: Shadow and Bone
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Published: June 5th 2012
358 pages

"Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Dear Leigh Bardugo,

I met you for the first time this year and you just became one of my favourite writers. I felt ashamed of not having read your beautiful stories before. After reading Six of Crows, I plunged into the Grisha world and I fell in love with it. Shadow and Bone is the beginning of Alina's adventures and can't wait to know how her story ends.

Writing: Maybe I shouldn't be comparing the writing style, but I can't avoid it. I read Six of Crows back in January (I know, I always do everything backwards) and I confess it took me sometime to go through the pages of Shadow and Bone because the writing was not as fluid as in Six of Crows. But it's a good thing, right? Because Leigh Bardugo's writing evolved a lot since her debut novel. 

Characters: I may have had a love-hate relationship with Alina. Why? Sometimes she was strong and not afraid of speaking her mind, but sometimes she acted as a damsel in distress for no reason whatsoever (I understand she had jut learned she was Grisha, but she was a powerful Grisha that could kick ass without anyone's help). Sometimes Alina was able to see what was right in front of her, but then she doubted herself (and this is probably what annoyed me the most). But, at the end, Alina was relatable. Her little imperfections (such as, the dark circles under her eyes) and her search to find a where she belongs, made Alina a lot more real to me.

“I'm sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.”

Now, about the love interests ([LOVE TRIANGLE ALERT] yes, sadly there is a love triangle, but by the ending of the story I felt the triangle came to a closure and maybe, just maybe, it will be over by the next novel). The Darkling, the most powerful Grisha, was very mysterious and it was never easy to understand what his intentions were. One moment he was viciously murdering someone, but then all of the sudden he was all soft words and kind smiles. Mal was Alina´s best friend. They met in the orphanage and then they joined the Second Army (allof this made their friendship a lot more credible). He was loyal and would do anything for her - but now that I think of it, the Darkling would also go through hell to protect Alina; but both of them had very different reasons to do so...

Worldbuilding: I loved the world created by Bardugo, but I must say I felt disappointed when I finished reading the final page. I wanted to know more about Ravka (Six of Crows mentions Ravka, but it's a lot more about Ketterdam and the Ice Court). Apart from the Little Palace and the Shadow Fold there wasn't much more worldbuiling. Hopefully, the following sequels will weave this a world to a little more detail because I felt there were so many possibilities and I got stuck between a court intrigues and a terrifying and full of secrets dark sea.

PS: The killing of the stag was very heartbreaking. I'd rather a thousand humans to die than the poor innocent stag. Can it now happen again, Leigh Bardugo? 

Challenge. Twelve Days of Reviews

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The end of the year is quickly approaching and if you are like me, you read more books than those you reviewed. In an attempt to change it, I decided to create this challenge where all you have to do is write and share reviews. From December 13th to December 24th, I'll be hosting Twelve Days of Reviews (if there is something alike out there, I apologize in advance). Inspired by  the song Twelve Days of Christmas, to participate you have to publish a review (on blogger, wordspress, goodreads, Instagram... wherever you usually share your reviews) per day for twelve days, catching up with all those missed opinions. The more reviews you write the better are your chances of winning, because there's going to be a giveaway. The winner will be chosen on December 25th and will get a book of her/his choice up to 15 euros. 

Who wants to join me for Twelve Days of Reviews? You can share your sign up post and reviews on the comments section.

Rules to enter the giveaway: You must be a participant (add the link to your sign-up post). You must be older than 18 or have your parents permission. Open internationally, so long as The Book Depository ships to you. Also, the reviews must be published between the 13th and the 24th (I'll be checking the dates).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday. Frostblood

Wednesday, 7 December 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 Frostblood by Elly Blake. I always love fantasy (any kind of fantasy) and this one called my name and I couldn't resist adding it to my wishlist. I know the summary is similar to so many other books, but Elly Blake loves fairytales and owls, so I need to giver her an opportunity. The book will be released on January 10th 2017.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.
From Goodreads

Monthly Recap. November 2016

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

"Santa Claus is comin' to town." Happy belated December (uni is killing me; I barely have time to breath, but I refuse to let my blog die). Can you believe December is already here?! Not too long ago 2016 was beginning full of promise (mine was not full of it and it seems my karma is getting worse) and now it's *finally* coming to an end. It seems it's time to start making the list of my favourite readings of 2016 and which books I can't wait to be released next year and see if I can reach my Retelling Challenge goal (which is something I certainly won't be able to).

How awful was this month when it comes to reading? Very awful! 😿 [since when does blogger have emojis?] I'll more than certainly have to change my Goodreads reading goal...
  • Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell [read for my masters]
  • The Tempest, William Shakespeare [read for my masters]
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald [read for my masters]
  • The Giver, Lois Lowry [read for one of my masters final essays]
    I know, I read five books and I should be happy, but let's remember that two of them I started them back in October. And, then four books I read were for my masters - The Great Gatsby was a re-reading. Oh, and I started reading Crooked Kingdom (which I'm slowly getting through because between tiredness and hyper-active cats, it's difficult to read more than twenty pages before feeling sleepy).

    November was not a bad month for my bookshelf and wallet. Well, I did buy some books for Christmas, but those will only be part of December's haul. So, these are the books that arrived at my shelf (the pictures seem to be blurry, but that is not how they look on my Instagram account):

    • Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier 😻
    • The Giver by Lois Lowry 
    • Heartless by Marissa Meyer [Owlcrate]
    • Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast [Nerdy Bookworm Box]

    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.
    • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Premiere - When will I be able to watch it? 😿
    • Beauty and the Beast Trailer - OMG! I need it now! 😻  
    • Pokemon Sun and Moon Release - I don't know if you already know, but I'm a Pokemon fan since the beginning, so a new game is always reason of happiness - even though this one is kinda childish. I like they tried to do something new, but what happened to the PokéGyms?!
    Probably a few more things marked the month of November, but I can't remember them now. =P