Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Shadow Study (Study #4; Soulfinders #1; Chronicles of Ixia #7)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Harlequin Teen Australia via NetGalley

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked.And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.


‘A compelling new fantasy series’ – Rhianna Pratchett, SFX on Poison Study
Review by Nara

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Death Marked by Leah Cypess

Title: Death Marked (Death Sworn #2)
Author: Leah Cypess
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Greenwillow via Edelweiss

A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. But if everything she knows is a lie, will she even want to fulfill her destiny? The sequel to Death Sworn is just as full of magic and surprising revelations, and will thrill fans of Leigh Bardugo and Robin LaFevers.

At seventeen, Ileni lost her magical power and was exiled to the hidden caves of the assassins. She never thought she would survive long. But she discovered she was always meant to end up, powerless, in the caves as part of an elder sorcerer’s plan to destroy the evil Empire they'd battled so long. Except that Ileni is not an assassin, and she doesn't want to be a weapon. And, after everything, she’s not even sure she knows the truth. Now, at the very heart of the Empire—its academy for sorcerers—the truth is what she seeks. What she finds challenges every belief she holds dear—and it threatens her fledgling romance with the young master of assassins.

Leah Cypess spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Ileni's story. In the end, it may not be the epic decisions that bring down an empire, but the small ones that pierce the heart.
Review by Nara

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Title: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2)
Author: Anne Blankman
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Release Date: 21 April, 2015
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?
Review by Nara

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.
Review by Nara

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Auto-Buy Authors

I'm sure we all have at least one auto-buy author- those authors whose books you wouldn't even think twice about buying. You hear about a new book by them? Bam, preordered. You see a new book by them in the bookstore and still don't own it for some reason? Bam, bought. Well, today I wanted to show you my auto-buy authors, and hear from you about yours!

I feel like the most important thing that makes you auto-buy an author is consistency. Of course, if an author has one book that's freaking amazing and another that is absolutely terrible, you're going to have reservations about buying any subsequent releases. So most of the authors on my list have released more than one book/series.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Half Wild: Further Drowing in Further Seas of Feels

Title: Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy #2)
Author: Sally Green
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Penguin Australia

After finally meeting his elusive father, Marcus, and receiving the three gifts that confirm him as a full adult witch, Nathan is still on the run. He needs to find his friend Gabriel and rescue Annalise, now a prisoner of the powerful Black witch Mercury. Most of all he needs to learn how to control his Gift – a strange, wild new power that threatens to overwhelm him.

Meanwhile, Soul O'Brien has seized control of the Council of White Witches and is expanding his war against Black witches into Europe. In response, an unprecedented alliance has formed between Black and White witches determined to resist him. Drawn into the rebellion by the enigmatic Black witch Van Dal, Nathan finds himself fighting alongside both old friends and old enemies. But can all the rebels be trusted, or is Nathan walking into a trap?
Review by Nara

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Title: Playlist for the Dead
Author: Michelle Falkoff
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.
Review by Nara

Monday, April 13, 2015

Can We Take a Moment to Talk About Youtube?

Okay, so I don't know about you guys, but I spend a ridiculous amount of time on Youtube. One video leads to another, then another, then yet another, and you're caught in what I like to call the Youtube spiral. Obviously, this leads to a lot of productivity issues, but on the whole, I feel like it's worth it. Hence this post.

I'm going to introduce you guys to some of my favourite Youtubers. For those who don't know what a Youtuber is (i.e. those who've been living under a rock), they're basically people who make videos on Youtube, whether they be comedy, or artsy, or vlogs, or whatever. Maybe more relevant to you guys, there's a subgroup of Youtubers named booktubers, who make videos about books.

This post is going to deal with Youtubers (rather than booktubers), and hopefully I'll be able to get some of you to get into watching these people's videos, because seriously, they're the best.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Title: Ensnared (Splintered #3)
Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal/Portal Fantasy
Source: Thames and Hudson

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She's determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world--a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that's gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?
Review by Nara

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blog Tour + End of World Bucket List + Giveaway: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Title: We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Simon & Schuster Australia

Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.
Review by Nara

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Title: Confess
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Drama
Source: Simon & Schuster Australia

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…
Review by Nara

Monday, April 6, 2015

Reading Compatibility Test 3: Childhood Favourites

Basically, I'm going to give you a list of statements that you have to agree or disagree with. If you have any idea what book/series they're referring to, it means that you've probably read some of the books that I've read, i.e. our reading tastes are somewhat compatible. I thought it'd be more interesting doing this in quiz form than me just listing off some of the books that I enjoy. Really, this feature is going to be a series of disguised recommendation posts!

This edition is centred on Childhood Favourites! This was a Top Ten Tuesday topic a couple of weeks ago and I thought, what the heck, let's adapt it into a Reading Compatibility Test instead of listing some of my childhood favourites off.

So here are the statements!

1. You sometimes feel a bit disappointed when there's not a golden ticket in your chocolate bar.
2. You're still waiting on your Hogwarts letter (surely everyone agrees with this one)
3. On the first day, you eat one apple. On the second day you eat two pears.
4. You really want a blue dragon.
5. You will avoid at all costs a man with the tattoo of an eye on his left ankle.
6. You know that gold is power (and that to get gold, you need to kidnap a fairy).
7. You still wonder what a snozzcumber tastes like.
8. You would one day like to go to the 600th floor of the Empire State Building.

Let me know how many of the statements were true about you, and whether you were able to tell which books each of the statements refers to.
Otherwise, just let me know if there are any that you're unable to answer! Maybe you'll find a new book/series to read.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Review: The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Hot Key Books

Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory's life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It's only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death.

With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found -- as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. The Shadow Cabinet holds the key to everything, and it is up to Rory to unravel its mysteries before time runs out...
Review by Nara

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy (sort of)
Source: Bloomsbury Australia

Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy.
Review by Nara