Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Monthly Wrap Up 2016

   January was a busy month for me, starting up at school again after break, exams, my first Be First Book Club, plus working on the side. Not to mention my Blogiverary! So like I said, it's been busy!
   After three exams, I was finally able to relax and read Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys for the McNally Robinson Be First Book Club.  I was super excited to be able to join and participate in the group with my sister, because quite often we don't have many book related events in my city, so when we do have something I get to geek out with all the other new people that I get to meet! If you'd like to learn more about my Be First Book Club experience then feel free to check out my post about it here.
   I got my first ever OwlCrate! After having heard about OwlCrate online, EVERYWHERE, my mom decided to get me the January box for Christmas. So it finally arrived and I was in AW! In the box was a Hermione Granger Pop Figure from Funko, Book Swag designed by Evie Seo, a white chocolate Patronus lip balm made specially by @geekfirelabs, Worlds of Ink and Shadows by Lena Coakley, a note from the author, and paper dolls specially made to go with the book! The box itself and everything inside of it was gorgeous! I can't wait to read the book!
   I also finally Skyped with my Gummy Bear Crew for the first time ever, and when I say that, I
mean all of us! (Well mostly, everyone. We were missing one important person!) We did a Secret Santa and we all finally opened our presents! It was a great time!
   And that sums up my month of January! Hopefully February won't be as busy, but knowing the past years that probably won't happen!
   Now for the bookish stats


Books Read:


Book Haul:






Book Reviewed:


February Books I'm Excited For:



   That's it for this month! How was your month? Do anything special? Fun? I'd love to know!




Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Read: January 19th-21st, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: McNally Robinson/ Two Thumbs Up Program



Description from GoodReads:


   The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

   Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

   But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.


Review:


   People with secrets can't hold them forever.
   I first encountered Revenge and the Wild when Epic Reads released the cover, back when who knows when. The description had me intrigued, and the cover was fabulous. As usual people started to get ARCs, and I unfortunately did not. McNally Robinson once again came to my rescue.
   I had a sense of deja-vu when reading Revenge and the Wild, it was as if the book was written in the same style as books from when I first started my bookish obsession. (So roughly 2010). I felt as if I was back in 2010 again. I'm not sure if that makes sense at all, but that's what it was like for me.
   Revenge and the Wild was strange mix to me, it was a mix of supernatural creatures, addictions, robotics and western historical fiction. It was a mix of a lot of things, and I don't know how that settled with me. You could definitely call this one unique.
   Overall the plot was perfect, the book had me captivated throughout all of it's pages. Being Michelle Modesto's debut, I can definitely say that writing is the job for her.
   Quick, entertaining and unique, Revenge and the Wild is a must read for anyone looking for something different to read.
   

Rating:


Favourite Quote:


" Poisons were like woman, placed in beautiful packages but deadly within."


Recommend to People Who Enjoy:


Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Westerns, Vampires, Cannibals, Revenge 



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Be First Book Club: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys


   As most of you know, roughly a little bit less than a year ago I discovered McNally Robinson, a local independent bookstore in my city. With more or less discovering it, I also was introduced to it's Two Thumbs Up Program, a program where they give out ARCs to reviewers who in return give an honest opinion about the book for them to post on their site. So I've been doing that for a long time now, it's pretty much where I get all my fabulous ARCs. Anyways, I was really letting you guys know about this because in the end it the person in charge let me know about their Be First Book Club. Where once a month they hold a meeting for maybe 10 readers who, roughly a month before received an ARC to read for the club. Last Thursday my sister and I went to our first meeting! 

   For the month of January our book was Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, it was a contemporary historical fiction. It actually connected to her debut novel, Between Shades of Grey if any of you have read that one. It was a very informational and grim read.

   We went from discussing the seriousness of WW2 to the creepiness of one of the main characters. Overall it was a more serious discussion because of the topic.
   Being my first meeting, I was not expecting the turn out that we got but I was impressed with the passion that the readers had for the book. I hadn't been in a large group of bookish people in a while, so it was lovely to be able to experience that love for books again.

   Next month's ARC is Riders by Veronica Rossi, the meeting is going to be on the 18th of February.  So expect a post a little after that date! I just know these book clubs are going to be something to look forward to each month!

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys


Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Philomel Books
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages



Description from GoodReads:




   In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

   Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.


Check out Ohana Reads' Review of Salt to the Sea.



   Are you in any book clubs? What about book discussion groups? I'd love to hear about them if you are!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Read: January 8th-19th, 2016
Publisher: Philomel Books
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Source: McNally Robinson/ First Reads Book Club



Description from GoodReads:


   In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.



   Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.


Review:


   Guilt is a hunter. Fate is a hunter. Shame is a hunter. Fear is a hunter. 
   Serious topics make for serious books, and that's exactly what Salt to the Sea was, a very dark and grim read. Knowing exactly what I was getting into before starting Salt to the Sea, I prepared my heart for dark waters.
   Salt to the Sea is told between four narratives, I instantly gained a favourite and a not so favourite within the first couple chapters. Each narrative came with a different story, and a different perspective on World War 2, each character having to face one of the many different struggles that Hitler put them up against. From being Polish descent, to having a disability. With these different perspectives you were enlightened when it came to the truth of it all. Most of the time you only hear about the Jewish who were slaughtered in WW2, people often forget that many others were also put on Hitlers kill list. This book tells their story.
   I went into Salt to the Sea thinking that the novel was just another made up story to go with WW2, I was wrong. The ship was real, the statistics are real, thousands of people really died. Going with with what I said above, I had never heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff. You'd think that such a large number of people being killed during an attack would be taught in schools, but it isn't. I'm sad to say that I hadn't heard of the Wilhelm Gusloff until reading Salt to the Sea, but I'm glad to be aware of it now, to be aware of the losses. Even if our history is horrific, one should still honour the losses that our mistakes made.
   Salt to the Sea was a grim novel about harsh truths of WW2, leaving you tormented with the wrongs of our past. Ruta Sepetys' writing makes you relive the horror of it all.
   If after finishing this novel you feel like you still need more, check out Sepetys' other novels Between Shades of Grey and Out of Easy. Between Shades of Grey and Salt to the Sea are actually connected by a character and their family, so it'll be perfect cure for that bookish hangover.


Rating:


Favourite Quote:


"Sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself"

"Survival had it's price: guilt."

"Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realize that somehow you still have more to give."


Recommend to People Who Enjoy:


Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, War, Adventure, Survival, WW2, War Stories



Friday, January 22, 2016

Recommendation Fridays: The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole


   This series is an obsession of mine, the idea of the Arcana Cards fighting to survive against the world, and against each other is my favourite. I have yet to experience another book based on Tarot cards, and so The Arcana Chronicles have filed that hole in my heart.
   The powers, the apocalypse, the characters. It's all fabulous, Kresley Cole is an already experienced author who knows everything she needs in order to write a novel that'll break you. Honestly, who could ask for more?


The series would probably be best for people who like the following books:
 Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Urban Fantasy, Fight for Survival



Poison Princess by Kresley Cole


Release Date: July 9th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Arcana Chronicles, #1
Format: Paperback, 369 pages


Description from GoodReads:



   She could save the world--or destroy it.

   Sixteen year old Evangeline"Evie" Greene leads a charmed life--until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future--and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

   But she can't do either alone.
   With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

   Who can Evie trust?
   As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side...



Endless Knight by Kresley Cole


Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Arcana Chronicles, #2
Format: Paperback, 336 pages


Description from GoodReads:



   Shocking secrets 

   Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who've been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It's kill or be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

   Unexpected allies 
   With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals.

   Gut-wrenching treachery 
   When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she's drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history, one that Evie can't remember--but Death can't forget... 



Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole 


Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Arcana Chronicles, #3
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages


Description from GoodReads:


   Heartbreaking decisions 
   Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

   Uncertain victory 
   Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

   Two heroes returned 
   There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first...? 



   What do you think? Sounds fabulous right? Will you be picking up The Arcana Chronicles? 




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blog Tour: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk


   Welcome to the Arrows Blog Tour! I'm so excited to be able to introduce you to Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk! I'm happy to say that Arrows was my second 2016 published book that I've been able to read so far, and by golly if all the books are as great as this one, then we are definitely in for a treat this year! 
   Today I have for you my review of Arrows, a interview with Melissa and finally a giveaway for you all! So I hope you guys enjoy!

Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk


Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Read: December 15th -16th, 2015 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: N/A
Format: ARC, 240 pages
Source: McNally Robinson/ Two Thumbs Up Program


Description from GoodReads:



   People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. 

   Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.



   A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?



Review:


   Don't you want to be happy?
   At first glance I thought that Arrows was going to be a full hearted contemporary, but when reading the description I was happily surprised to find out that it involved Greek Mythology! Cupid to be exact! It didn't take much after that for me to go out and get myself a copy!
   Although Arrows had its fantasy elements to it, it still had a very important topic in it, that topic being abusive relationships. Karma our main character is forced to be in an abusive relationship and has to live with it in her everyday life. With these kinds of relationships it's not like she can just leave him, she thinks she loves him so she'll take whatever Danny throws her way. I liked how Gorzelanczyk represented this topic in her writing and how she approached it. She made it so that her readers understood that it was a serious problem and that it's not always easily dealt with.
   Unfortunately with Karma, I felt that she might have been just a little too obsessed of a character, I understand that she loved Danny and that she would always make excuses for him because of their relationship but even if she was supposed to be his girlfriend, she acted a little too obsessed.
   Finally I felt like there were some unanswered questions in the end of the book, what was the purpose of the rebellion in Olympus? Why was Phoebe necessary? The connection to Olympus left me with more questions then I would have liked.
   Arrows was a fun, lively read that give me more perspectives on abusive relationships as well teaching me a bit more about professional dancers. I most definitely recommend picking up Arrows in 2016 when it releases!

    You can find my review on McNally Robinson's Two Thumbs Up review page here.

Rating:



Favourite Quote:


"I don't love you anymore."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:


Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, Mythology, Greek, Cupid


 


   Karma lives with the struggle of being in a abusive relationship, even though her relationship is toxic she just can't seem to stay away from Danny. What do you recommend for people in a similar situation to do?


   Have you ever known someone who is madly in love, yet you can’t figure out why?
Maybe you’ve felt uncomfortable by the things your friend has said or done to keep the relationship together. Your friend tries to make everything seem normal. “He promised to change.” “He said it won’t happen again.”

   You wonder…

   Why does she love this person?

   He’s the reason she’s always crying.

   The answer in Arrows is because my main character, Karma, is under the spell of cupid’s arrow.

   The answer in real life isn’t so simple.

   I’ve told this story before. It’s the heart of Arrows. 

   I am the oldest of six. My four sisters are my best friends. Two of them have experienced relationship abuse, one of them for the most part in secret for more than ten years.
Thankfully, after ten years of silence, my sister decided to take her life back. As is often the case with abuse, she left her then-husband with no control over her life. She had little money, no real work experience. No car. He had used these things to control her for a long time. Since she had never applied for her own apartment, she needed a co-signer—at age 28.

   But she did have the courage to say, “No more.”

   Three years later, she is thriving. She is becoming the person she was told she could never be. A strong, independent woman worthy of true love.


Resources: 






Please contact Melissa if there are more links you think she should include here.


    Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine years old when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. She is a member of the Class of 2k16, the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.


1 winner will receive a finished copy of Arrows and a swag pack that includes postcards, mini buttons, mini bookmarks, and a mini bow and arrow set, US Only.


   Thanks so much for stopping by! I can't wait for you all to read Arrows, I hope you guys all love it!










Week One:

1/20/2016 - Ohana Reads
1/21/2016 - The Best Books Ever


Week Two:

1/25/2016 - Bookish Lifestyle
1/27/2016 - DanaSquare