November releases and TBR

Hello everyone. It’s again that time of the month when I started checking out fictfact for books that will be released next month.
I am also way behind on my Goodreads reading challenge so I decided to get a little organized and create my TBR for November.

tbr

November Releases

I only have two books that I am especially excited about on my November list, and one of them is a short ebook.

  • 10 November
    Winter (#4 in Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
    The fourth book in Lunar Chronicles will be out next month, and I am excited for it. On the downside, I actually have to read Scarlet and Cress before reading Winter. Ha. I will read those, I will conquer this series! As a matter of fact, I’m putting Scarlet on my TBR for November. Baby steps, right?
  • 17 November
    Angels Twice Descending (#10 in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy) by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman
    The last story in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is also coming this November. From what I understand, Simon will ascend, get his memory back, become parabatai with Clary, and go on hot dates (plurals) with Izzy. All in one short book. Okay, that might not be 100% accurate, but I take anything close to it. It’s a bit bittersweet for me because I might not get another story from Simon’s perspective after TFTSA, but it’s the perfect time to wrap it up. Plus, I’m super excited for Lady Midnight.

November TBR

I need to read at least 6 books next month. That might not sound like a lot, but I’m a very moody reader. I read when I’m in the mood, but there are times when I’m simply not. Hence, the list.

  • Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon)
    Read and heard so many good things about this book. I’ve read a free sample from google play and I was hooked. So I’ll be reading this next month.
  • Chasing Forgiveness (Neal Shusterman)
    Because it’s Neal Shusterman’s book and he never disappoints me (so far).
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty (Jenny Han)
    Have been wanting to read Jenny Han for a while and I saw Trisha @ thebookgasmblog posting a lot about Jenny Han so I finally decided to dive in with this one.
  • Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)
    I really like Cinder, but somehow never thought to buy Scarlet. (I know, I’m awful. Also forgetful)
  • Angelfall (Susan Ee)
    Read some good reviews about this book and the whole series so I figure I’ll give it a try.
  • Angels Twice Descending (Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman)
    Duh.
  • Career of Evil (Robert Galbraith)
    IF I could find a bargain price for this book. This books is actually at the top of my TBR list, but it’s way too pricey at the moment. I totally enjoy the first two books and I cannot wait to read this one.

News round-up

book news round-up
Hello people! I hope you’re all well.
This week, I found out about some book news/updates that I’m excited about and I just have to post them here! I also got some news regarding my blog so stay tuned for that too.

Book News & Updates

First of all, The Stormlight Archive update. It’s not exactly news, but an excerpt has appeared in the wild. During his Shadows of Self tour, Brandon Sanderson has graciously read a part of an ongoing Dalinar chapter in Book #3 of The Stormlight Archive. It offered us a view of younger, more bolsterous Dalinar, hungered for the Thrill, and very very good at battle. Read it or hear Brandon read it to you here. Anyhow, Book #3-currently titled “Oathbringer”-should be released some time in 2016 even though I need to read it now.

Another thing I’ve learned about this week was “A Gathering of Shadows” Fanart Contest. You can send in fanart in form of painting, drawing, sculpture, or even cosplaying. What’s the prize you ask? Why, it’s only a SIGNED ARC of A Gathering of Shadows, among other wonderful things. Unfortunately for me, it’s only open to US and Canada residents (not like I’m going to win anyway). Learn more about the contest here. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab will be out on February 23, 2016.

Speaking of wonderful things, the lovely Cassie Clare has announced that the first book in The Dark Artifices, Lady Midnight, will have special first edition. These first edition books will have stamped rune on the first page and an exclusive short story about the characters from TMI and TFTSA. Lady Midnight’s release date is currently set for March 8, 2016.


Blog Updates

Because of I am so excited for A Gathering of Shadows, I have decided to re-read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. It is one of my favorite books in 2015 and since I never gave it proper review, I will instead do a weekly re-read post on my blog. I am thinking to do it by part and there are 14 parts in ADSOM which means I will have finished it on the first week of February (just in time for the second book!). I am going to post a short summary and a short (or long) commentary rambling about each part starting next week.

You are very welcome if you want to join me reading A Darker Shade of Magic. I promise not to post spoiler for future chapters so you can join in even if it’s your first time reading the book.

I will be posting my pick for November releases and TBR tomorrow. See you!

Review: Six of Crows

lbar
Book Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo

There are books that started slowly then build up halfway through. There are books that started slowly and never pick up. Six of Crows is neither. It hits the right note since the very beginning and keeps up the pace until the end.

Official Summary

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Story

The book began with a prologue telling the story of Joost and a Grisha named Anya. If you ever read the Grisha trilogy books from Leigh, you might be familiar with the term. Basically, Grisha are people with special gifts. There are three orders in Grisha, the Corporalki that can control living matter, the Fabrikator that can manipulate materials, and the Etherealki that can control stuff like fire or tide. The whole purpose of the prologue is to introduce the readers to the power of substance called the jurda parem. You can think of it like amphetamine but much more addictive. When given this jurda parem, a Grisha becomes much more powerful and could do things he/she could not normally do. The downside of it, for the Grisha, is that they will become addicted to it.

This book is not about the Grisha per se, it’s about 6 teenagers trying to pull an impossible heist to ‘kidnap’ the inventor of jurda parem. They were promised tons of money to do the task if they manage to do it.

The Characters

The main character is Kaz Brekker, nicknamed Dirtyhands, who is the leader of the squad. Even though Kaz is the leader, I feel that other characters were given a fair amount of space to tell their story. They are Inej, Nina, Jesper, Matthias, and Wylan. Each of them has their own problem, and this brings unique perspective to the story. Throughout the book, you’ll find that each of them has a motive of their own to do this mission. I could not tell you much more than that because I’ll spoil the story, but they are not your usual protagonists. It’s interesting because they are not heroes trying to save the world, these kids are thieves trying to accomplish a mission for money, but they’re not the bad guys either. It’s more like, “Hey, we’re just doing our jobs and you don’t want to be standing on our way.”

The dynamics of the characters is what makes this book great. This is not by any means a romantic book, although you will catch glimpses of it and it will drive you crazy and wanting for more. I like how Leigh makes them work for it. I also like how they are ‘not friends’, but will do almost anything to save each other neck.

Final Comment

I bought this book on a whim and I’m glad that I did. It’s great on so many levels. The writing is terrific, the pace is good, the characters are flawed and believable. This is my first Leigh Bardugo’s book and I certainly hope it would not be the last.

Final Score

4.5 out of 5 stars

Infinity Dream Award

Thank you to the lovely Trisha Ann @ The Bookgasmblog for tagging me with the Infinity Dream Award.

infit

This is my first ever book tag so forgive me for getting a little too excited. 🙂
First of all, the rules. You need to share 11 facts about yourself and then answer 11 questions asked to you.

Okay, facts.


11 Facts About Me

  1. I am an avid Formula 1 fan. I never miss a race if I can help it. And I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to watch F1 race live twice.
  2. I like trying out public transportation in foreign countries.
  3. I LOVE COFFEE. That is a fact.
  4. I could sleep anywhere. On the couch, in the car, on the bus, sitting or even standing (dangerous! Don’t try it)
  5. I have unhealthy obsession with fonts. I am the type or person who spend more time picking up the right font and theme than creating the content when making a presentation.
  6. My dream is to one day travel the world and see all the f1 races. And yes, that includes Monaco.
  7. My other dream is to hang out with all my favorite authors and try to pick their brains (not creepy at all).
  8. I don’t really watch tv series. Except supernatural. Because I cannot give up the Winchester bros.
  9. I have terrible spatial reasoning. I get lost in shopping malls all the time
  10. If I could, I would do all my shoppings online. I’m lazy that way.
  11. Podcast is my life saver. I listen to podcast when I commute or work out. Feel free to recommend me any podcast you enjoy, the longer the better (I have to commute for 2.5 hours a day)

And now, for the answers.


Continue reading “Infinity Dream Award”

Review: Carry On (Rainbow Rowell)

carry_oBook Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is back with her third young adult book and this time she tried her hands in fantasy genre.

If you’re hoping for an intricate plot twist or complex political drama, you’re out of luck. This is, after all, a Rainbow Rowell book. And I do not mean that in a bad way. Rainbow’s power is her strength with words. Her writing is simple yet very addictive. In Carry On, she weaved words so beautifully, and use parentheses and italic to blow your mind and toy with your feelings.
I try to find another word besides “ALL THE FEELS” to summarize this book, but I couldn’t find any.
No problem. The summary in the back cover of the book summed it up perfectly:

It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story-but far, far more monsters.

Carry On is a romance book. It is also a book about discovering yourself, a book about friendship. With magickal boys and girls and ghosts and villains and supervillains. Watford School of Magicks is the setting of (most parts of) the story, and yes since you ask, the book will remind you about Harry Potter. Rowell herself has mentioned that the reference to Harry Potter is intentional. As for me, after the first few chapters, I was able to let go the HP comparison go. I love these characters as who they are and not who they were like in HP. I read this book way into the night because it’s so compulsive and I just cannot put it down.

The magic system

I’d like to talk about the magic system because I feel it’s one of the strength of Carry On. Instead of complicated magic summoning, or using of Latin words as spell, all the spells in Carry On are English catchphrases and idioms. I was in fits of laughter when one of the characters use, “Doe. A deer.” (guess what it does). And another one pulled jedi mind trick with “These droids aren’t the ones you’re looking for.” My only regret is the lack of “Carry on my wayward son” spell in this book (sorry! Supernatural poisons my brain).

The characters

Rainbow Rowell said that Baz is her favorite character she ever written. I have to agree with her. Baz is so hilarious with his sarcastic self-loathing alternating with this-world-is-not-worthy-of-me behavior. Simon Snow is also adorable with his don’t care don’t ask attitude. Penny is your genius quirky sidekick. She talked a lot and love Simon unconditionally. Agatha was Simon’s girlfriend, but she is also more than that. She represents the ugly side of magic world, how it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. In short, I fell in love with them.

Final Words

Was Carry On perfect? No, it’s not. There are plot holes and I feel that some parts of the story are glossed over, but Carry On is so sincere, they don’t bother me.
If Rainbow Rowell ever write another Simon Snow book, you bet I’m going to pick it up.

Final Score

4 out of 5 stars

A Gathering of Shadows: read the first two chapters

No idea how I missed this when it was announced, but the first two chapters of A Gathering of Shadows is now up on tor.com. The first two chapters were told from Lila’s perspective. I adore her so this excerpt is a major treat for me.

If you never heard of A Gathering of Shadows, it’s the second book in A Darker Shade of Magic series, by V.E. Schwab who also goes by the name Victoria Schwab for her young adults and children book.

Let me tell you a bit about ADSOM since I never actually reviewed it here.

A Darker Shade of Magic is a high fantasy book set in Londons. Yes, you read it correctly, there are more than 1 London in this book. There’s the prosperous Red London where magic is plentiful and brought to (mostly) good use, the White London where magic controls people that led to fights for magic, our very own Grey London where magic is no more, and the long-lost Black London where magic was once so powerful it destroyed the people and the city.

Our hero, Kell, is from Red London, and our heroine, Lila, came from Grey London. Kell is a Traveler, one of the few remaining people who can travel between these parallel worlds using blood magic. Lila, on the other hand, is a bold thief always looking for trouble. Long story short, Kell smuggles things and once, he smuggled something dangerous that made him a wanted person and set him on an adventure to fix his mistake while escaping for his life. He met Lila, although met is not the proper word, ‘robbed by’ is more appropriate. He saved her life, she saved his, then they embark on a dangerous journey to bring the item back where it belongs.

Okay, that is a long summary, I apologize.

I think Victoria could sum it up better than me.

A short list of things in ADSOM:

–Magic
–Cross-dressing thieves
–(Aspiring) pirates
–Londons (plural)
–Sadistic kings (and queens)
–A royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness
–More magic (blood magic, elemental magic, bad magic, etc. etc.)
–Epic magicky fights scenes
–Angst!
–And coats with more than two sides.

via Victoria Schwab blog

So, yes, you should read it, and then you can sit here with me impatiently waiting for the second book.

REVIEW: Queen of Shadows

Book title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J Maas

Summary:

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

That was the official synopsis of the book. Now, here is an accurate summary of this book from a goodreads review. Okay, let’s begin. *deep breath*

*SPOILERS WARNING FROM BOOK #1 – #3*

The good

The new characters. If it’s wrong to love Manon Blackbeak, then I don’t wanna be right. Her and Asterin’s relationship is part of the reasons why I kept on reading even when I sometimes want to stop. It’s rare for an author to successfully introduced new characters that could be accepted by the fans, but I think Sarah J Maas managed to do just that. Fans already liking Rowan from the previous book will love him even more in here. I don’t really care about him, but many do ship him with Aelin so that’s a success in my book. Manon, Aedion, and the fabulous Lysandra are other major new characters introduced in book #3 (and #4) and their story continued here.

The writing. The book in this series got thicker and thicker. Queen of Shadows is about 650 pages long, significantly longer than the first Throne of Glass that has around 400 pages. The number of pages is not the only thing that has improved. Her writing is also getting better and better. If you need convincing, go ahead and re-read a few chapters from the first book.

The not so good

The old characters. Why oh why Sarah? She made Chaol almost unrecognizable in this book. This was Captain Westfall, the one who loved Celaena so deeply in Crown of Midnight? That was how he’s going to welcome her back? Beloved Dorian is barely in the book thanks to the thing happened at the end of Heir of Fire, which is to be expected, but can be frustrating to fans.

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius. This book made it seems that simply disliking Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, the rightful Queen of Terrasen, is a crime. I get that she’s beautiful and fierce and cunning and interesting, but how is it that every males in the series want to be with her and all the females want to be her BFFs?

Final Words

I had such high hopes on this book, but left sort of disappointed. It was tad a bit too slow and the characters from the first book have changed so much and/or shoved aside. On a positive note, Sarah introduced new interesting characters and her writing is even better with each book. Four books down, two to go!

Final Score

3 stars (out of 5 stars)

Continue reading “REVIEW: Queen of Shadows”

Red Queen: I (tried to) love you

Please note that this is more of an unstructured rambling rather than a review about the book Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard.

Intro

I have finished this book 4 days ago, and spent the last 4 days trying to analyze what’s wrong with me. This book, since its birthday in February and even before, was one of the most hyped YA book in 2015. People love it, give it glowing reviews, recommend it to their friends, etc. Frankly, I’ve been putting off reading it because the first sentence in Amazon’s summary said:

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace.

Now, I have never read Graceling and decided to not read The Selection because I’m not interested with the premise. I was worried Red Queen will be something like reality TV shows or pageant contest or something. It wasn’t, not really. It turns out that should be the least of my worries because it might be more fun if this was actually a book about beauty pageant.

“Why do you read it then?” you said. Well, it’s simple really. I read a twitter exchange between the author of this book (Victoria Aveyard) and Victoria Schwab-whose book, A Darker Shade of Magic, I truly enjoy. In case you didn’t know, I get my book recommendations mainly from 3 sources: my sister, my favorite authors (via their blogs and twitters), and blogs. So, that settled it, I was going to read Red Queen.

Rambling

I almost DNF’d this book, but I’m glad I managed to finish it because the last 60 pages or so (almost) redeemed it.

The first 300 pages, however, felt like a strange mix of the popular dystopian and fantasy books you’ve read before. Divergent? check. The Hunger Games? also check. Throne of glass? yup. I know it’s really hard to come out with a new idea for YA fantasy book because there are so many out there, but this one really felt like a book you’ve read before.

The characters. The main character, Mare, is a strong heroine who just want to help her friend and family, but ended up tangled in a rebellion and love triangle(-ish). Sounds familiar? She came from a lower Red caste, but because a Silver prince named Cal sympathized with her, she got a job in the castle where she managed to somehow reveal her hidden power, or as they call it, ability. The king and queen decided to hide her identity as a Red because they’re afraid of potential rebellion, so she was introduced as a long lost Silver princess named Mareena betrothed to the younger prince, Maven.

The main characters tried so hard to make you love them. And I tried, tried, to like them, but they’re just too perfect. They are not bad, it’s pretty much the opposite. It’s almost like they came out of a template book for a kickass YA heroine and her love interest(s). The antagonists, on the other hand, are just pure evil, they were given no background why are they so evil, they just are. It’s kind of cartoonish. These are the bad people, those are the good ones. Even the characters who were intended to surprise you failed to do so because it was just so darn obvious.

The story. You’ve read this book before. The so-called twist is over hyped. You would more or less know what’s going to happen halfway through the book. Nonetheless, it was still fun to roll with it. Like I mentioned earlier, the last part of the book nearly saved it.

Final words. It’s not terrible. Red Queen is an okay book, albeit over hyped. The main weaknesses of this book are the characters and the way it felt like a combo from other popular books. The latter reason is not even a weakness, it is why I wasn’t crazy about it, but this may be the reason why many people actually love it.

Final score. 2.5 stars (out of 5 stars).

Most Anticipated October Releases

The month of October is upon us! Okay, it’s still 16 days to go, but I’m buzzing with excitement over the possibility of new releases (books) next month.

Here are some of my most anticipated books to be released in October 2015.

October 6

I’m kicking this off with a BIG release day. Not only that Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer (the first book in the new Rick Riordan series) will be released on that day, it’s also the day when Ms. Rainbow Amazing-is-My-Middle-Name Rowell is going to drop her new book, Carry On. Two RRs (that four Rs) in one day, I think I might faint from over-excitement and exclamation points!!!

Let’s talk about them.
Rick Riordan has been one of the most consistent MG/YA author I ever read. His Percy Jackson is on my top 5 series of all time, and I also enjoy The Kane Chronicles and The Heroes of Olympus. He is one of the few authors whose companion books I still buy (PJ & The Greek Heroes, PJ & The Greek Gods, etc).

Rainbow Rowell, man, I would run of adjective to describe this lady so I wouldn’t even start. Her writing is so SO GOOD. Now, Fangirl wasn’t my favorite of hers, but I still heart it so I’m more than willing to give Carry On, which was a Fangirl spinoff, a try. See, the other thing I love about Rainbow is that she’s a badass. She was famous for writing realistic YA, but then she went ahead and published not only an adult fiction, but one with magicked telephone in it.

Continue reading “Most Anticipated October Releases”

8 Reasons Why You Need to Read Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive

I was writing a review for The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, an epic fantasy series set in the world of Roshar. Three paragraphs in, I realized that I was just raving about how great it was, so I decided to make that list of awesomeness instead.

1. The characters.
Sanderson has a knack to create characters you would not only root for, but also love or hate passionately. And it’s not limited to the main characters. In fact, many people, including me, have secondary character as their favourite.

2. The number of pages.
If the earlier books in Game of Thrones series felt too short for you, or if you’re unfazed by the number of pages in the whole Lord of The Rings series, good news! Each book in this series (there are two books out so far) has over 1000 pages. ONE THOUSANDS. Even better news? There’ll be 10 books in the overall series, which means we could expect over 10.000 pages of awesomeness. *cries tears of joy*

But, if the number of pages seem scary to you, please do not let it stop you. You wouldn’t even realize that you’ve read that much, it’s THAT good.

3. The secret. The revelation.
Sanderson drops secret on you casually. Fall asleep on one paragraph and you might miss it until you encounter it again 500 pages later. Casual, sneaky revelations that blew people minds were revealed passingly. Good news is there are many of those. Good luck spotting all of them.

4. The theories.
How do fabrials work? How does one bond with a shardblade? If you like discussing theories and plot twists, you’re in luck. There are many Sanderson fans out there, and they even have an online forum where you can discuss plot twists and characters, and found answers to many of your questions. And believe me, you’ll have many of those when you finished reading the first two books.

5. The rating on goodreads.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to trust my fellow goodreads-er (goodreader? goodreadser?). Currently, the first book is sitting comfortably sipping wine on its shelf with 4.61 stars rating from over 100.000 votes, while the second one is a 4.76 star book from over 60.000 ratings. Sure, not all the reviews are positive, as in all things in life.

6. The multiple POVs.
Multiple POVs is definitely not a new thing, but rarely it’s executed as well as in this series. Besides the main characters, you also get interludes from other characters’ POVs. It’s said that these interludes provide introduction to characters that will play major roles in upcoming books.

7. The flashbacks.
In the beginning of every chapter, Brandon inserted a short paragraph which acts as citation from references in the series. Through these citations, you could learn a lot of things not mentioned in the main story, such as the different types of knights radiant (if you’re not interested to know about this, it’s because you haven’t read the book *winks*)

8. R.A.F.O.
a.k.a Read and Find Out
RAFO

On the other hand, I must warn you. The first couple of chapters might daunt you. There are so many new terms you have no idea of and these are just mentioned passingly without any explanation. My suggestion: keep calm and read on, you’ll understand these in time (or not. I still haven’t understood much of it, but it doesn’t make the series any less awesome).