Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (23) - RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Waiting on Wednesday
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard 
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: January 10th 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.
A. G. Howard brings the romantic storytelling that Splintered fans adore to France—and an entirely new world filled with lavish romance and intrigue—in a retelling inspired by a story that has captivated generations. Fans of both the Phantom of the Opera musical and novel, as well as YA retellings such as Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, will devour RoseBlood.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

[Review] Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf #2) by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #2
Rating: 5 stars
Version: ARC Paperback
Release Date: November 1st 2016

If there's a gif that sums up how this book made me feel in the end...

I wanted to cry. I just couldn't. I felt so incomplete. This is what duologies do to me - make you want a third book so you can be with the characters once more.

It takes place promptly where Wolf by Wolf left off, after Yael realizes that Hitler isn't exactly Hitler, and she's on her way to make a quick escape... Luckily (or unluckily) for her, she's got someone tailing her. 

Blood for Blood had a different vibe from Wolf by Wolf; with no race involved, and more of a focus on our trio of Yael, Felix, and Luka, I felt like I was able to understand their motivations and characters more. Ryan Graudin did occasional interludes called Three Portraits to flashback to their pasts. This made me connect to Felix and Luka a lot more - while Luka definitely was a charmer, he wasn't a rebel without a cause. And Felix had his reasons for being an arse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

[Review] Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 3 stars

Release Date: November 1st 2016

Goodreads Synopsis: 
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. 
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.
As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

[Review] Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: October 4th 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:
Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.
Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

Fear the Drowning Deep is like a gender-swapped darker Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen did have its dark moments, after all.

Bridey lives on the Isle of Man, which is an island near England. She fears the sea after the death of her grandfather and yearns to be free of her small town and travel. During the summer, she starts her work as an apprentice of the rumored town witch, Morag. She also ends up rescuing a boy from the waves, whom she names Fynn. Fynn has no recollection of his life before he was rescued, but he also holds dark secrets. The two of them work together to solve the mysterious disappearances of the town's girls.

Isle of Man lore was fascinating to read about, as it's not something you see very often. To be honest, I didn't even know where the Isle of Man was until I wiki-ed it. The Manx language is quite unique too.

Fossegrims, serpents, and glashtyns are terrifying, yet astounding creatures. I wish that Marsh delved more into them, because their origin was a tad bit confusing. Spoiler: Fynn is a glashtyn (basically a monster sea horse), but he has the ability to turn into a human.

The romance with Fynn, I compare it to the Little Mermaid, so expect to experience some weird insta-love I didn't really comprehend that went from strangers to "I love you" within 100 pages. But it was nice that the love triangle I expected resolved itself fairly calmly, without much conflict.

Bridey herself was a cool heroine. Glad it was her doing the killing of monsters and not Fynn, because you get lines like:

"Well, I killed the fossegrim during Mally's wedding feast with a carving knife. I'm ready to slay bigger monsters, like King Arthur's knights did in the old stories. You can call me Sir Gawain."
"Not Lady Guinevere?"
I wrinkled my nose and frowned. "She never got to do anything important." 

The pacing was odd - I wasn't sure if days or weeks were passing by, but it was summer. That I knew. The beginning was really boring to me, and until the disappearances and the mystery-solving started happening, I was wondering when something will happen, and where the story was going.

Fear the Drowning Deep definitely did hit its mark though with keeping me interested in the latter of the novel. It is more interesting than the Disney Little Mermaid, but it still retains that romance you might be wary of. Regardless, I found it to be a full of tension-ridden moments, which will keep you reading on.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

[Review] 100 Days by Nicole McInnes

100 Days by Nicole McInnes
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 4 stars

Release Date: August 23rd 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:
Agnes doesn't know it, but she only has one hundred days left to live. When she was just a baby, she was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare disease that causes her body to age at roughly ten times the normal rate. Now nearly sixteen years old, Agnes has already exceeded her life expectancy.
Moira has been Agnes’s best friend and protector since they were in elementary school. Due to her disorder, Agnes is still physically small, but Moira is big. Too big for her own liking. So big that people call her names. With her goth makeup and all-black clothes, Moira acts like she doesn’t care. But she does.
Boone was friends with both girls in the past, but that was a long time ago—before he did the thing that turned Agnes and Moira against him, before his dad died, before his mom got too sad to leave the house.
An unexpected event brings Agnes and Moira back together with Boone, but when romantic feelings start to develop, the trio’s friendship is put to the test. 

When you think of progeria, or Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome in technical terms, perhaps you've heard of Adalia Rose. She was definitely who I thought of when I found out one of the main characters in this book has progeria.

Those with progeria have a lower life expectancy than most people. Yet Agnes manages the impossible and is currently 15-going-on-16. Despite all obstacles, she tries her hardest to live life normally, even though most people treat her like a pity-party. Her best friend, Moira, sees her as more than that, and tries to shield her from harm. As they go through sophomore year, they run into an old friend, Boone, and the trio work together to face the many hardships of teenage life.