Friday, July 29, 2016

[Review] Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Rating: 4 stars

Published: April 8th 2014

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.
Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

I didn't realize Rachel Hawkins also wrote the Hex Hall series until I looked her up on Goodreads. I read the first book in high school, so reading this gave me high school nostalgia in a way. 

This was a fun read, and a unique premise.

Harper Price has it all - the perfect boyfriend, the best grades, her best friend, SGA president position, and has been preparing tirelessly homecoming tiara and Cotillion. Nothing can stop her, not even David Stark, school reporter and nemesis, who writes slanderous articles in the paper against her. But all that changes when she is imbued with the power of a Paladin, protector of the Oracle, who ends up being David.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pokemon Go Book Tag

The Pokemon Go Book Tag was created by Aentee @ Read at Midnight, and I was tagged, so I'm looking forward to this! 
(Graphics are created by Aentee)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

[Review] The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Rating: 4 stars

Published: January 5th 2016

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I'm Joining #ARCAugust, are you?

I have many books on my TBR (both finished copies and ARCs) and my list never seems to go under 60 books. Hopefully this month I can change that! 

Here's the 12 books I plan to read! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

[Review] The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Rating: 4 stars
Published: September 20th 2011

Goodreads Synopsis:
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.Elisa is the chosen one. 
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Tag - Greek Mythology Tag

I was tagged by Nicka @ ReadbyNicka ! This was fun to do, and hard to find books for some of the categories. But here we go!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

[Review] The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Rating: 3.5 stars

Published: May 17th 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose. 

Let's think of some other games in fiction that involve a "winner-take-all" style.

The Hunger Games.

Essen Tasch. The Element Games.

Battle Royale.

And so forth.

Two of them were kill to survive. Essen Tasch was disable your opponent to advance.

The Crown's Game? Not really much of a game if we're going by these standards of competing. The game itself took on a more eloquent, artistic approach to it. While it was nice to see magic being used to magnify St. Petersburg's beauty (and I did visit the city while I was reading this book), I only wish that there was more action, and was left disappointed by the lack of it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (13) - Ten Facts About Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a an original feature/ weekly meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new topic is presented and this week's is: 

Ten Facts About Me 

I've been doing reviews lately, so taking about something not-bookish is a change of pace. You'll get to learn more about me! And that's always more exciting. 

1. In honor of Pokemon Go, my favorite starters have always been water types, with Mudkip coming in first place! Pokemon Ruby was the first Pokemon Game I played, and I got my Mudkip all the way to lvl 100 Swampert. 

2. When it comes to unique role models, I always admired Catherine the Great. I did a report on her in middle school, read a book on her, and have looked up to her ever since. She's fierce and cunning, and never let her weak-willed husband get his way. Instead she overthrew him, revolutionized Russia and St. Petersburg, had the Hermitage become a center of Western art, and basically lived up to her title, the Great. Plus a ton of guys fell in love with her while she was being badass. And, even though she's been dead for centuries, being in the city she resided in and seeing paintings of her was a bucket list completed option.

3. I'm a Slytherin, through and through. I once thought I'd be a Ravenclaw (and at the time, I went to a technical HS, where many of my friends were Ravenclaws), so I had the shirt and scarf and everything. When I took the Pottermore quiz and got Slytherin, I was surprised but it really did fit me more. The cunning. The ambition. The loyalty to our family/friends. Wish I had some Slytherin merch though. 

The newest hair color
4. I haven't had my natural hair color since sophomore year HS, and I don't think I'll be returning to black for many years to come. Black hair always looked boring (on me at least). On the topic of hair, I had a fear of cutting my long hair until I was convinced by a friend to cut it short for healthy hair. I'm much happier with short hair. 

5. I won the Forensic Science award in HS, but I was always falling asleep in that class. Not because it was boring (it was a very fun class), but because I was very much an overachiever (still am), and stayed up late, and came to that class tired. 

6. I got ENFJ on the Myers-Briggs test; several years ago, in HS, I was ENTP. I'd imagine I'm more diplomatic and more open to friendships and being the middle-man. However I'm quite terrible at first impressions and actually approaching people so if you want to be friends please say hello! (I'm not scary or anything)

7. My favorite color is purple. When I was little, my favorite was yellow. But there's a line in one of the Princess Diaries books that stated that Grandmere's love of purple meant that she was suffering from delusions of grandeur, which is something I suppose I'm suffering from, too. 

8. There is never one definitive pronunciation of my name, and this amuses me, greatly. Different friend groups would say my name differently. (In my family I'm always anak or ate) It's been RAY-SAH, RAY-ZAH, RYE-SAH, and for the bold, RAZOR. There are many more out there I'm sure of it. I like the first one the best, but the others are applicable too. 

9. One of the many ironies in my life is that I'm allergic to cats. I love cats and dogs, but unfortunately can't have a pet. I do have a love of Pusheens, and I suppose those are my substitute cats. 

10. I've been to approx. 30 countries, having recently visited the Baltic/Nordic region of Europe and Nicaragua. My favorite country is my home country, the Philippines, but every country I visit has a place in my heart. Nicaragua, especially, has been a lifechanging time with the Global Medical Brigades. Long story short, I desire to visit all these countries numerous times over, and all the rest, because a few days is not enough.

Well, took awhile to think of 10 fascinating facts about myself. Glad to have been able to share with you the person behind all the reviews/rants about terrible romance. 

Is anyone a Slytherin? Anyone like purple? Any fun facts you may have wanted to know but I didn't include? Comment below!

Monday, July 11, 2016

[Review] And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror's Saga #1
Released: June 28th 2016
Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

I received this ARC from Miss Print's (Emma) ARC Adoption over here! Thank you Emma!

I brought this book along with me to Europe as part of my European book reading spree (which I will make a post about, eventually). Along with me I also had The Crown's Game and A Gathering of Shadows. And I Darken is atypical in many senses from your usual YA historical fiction that takes place in Europe. Familiar settings include Russia, London, France, or Italy. I definitely wasn't expecting Wallachia (Romania) and a genderbent Vlad the Impaler. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

[Review] A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Version: HC
Rating: 5 stars

Release Date: February 23rd 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift – back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

I missed the beautiful storytelling, the eclectic and well-thought out characters, and the setting of Red London! Victoria Schwab has done it again! 

It has been four months since the incident in White London, in which Kell and Lila defeated the Dane twins and sent Holland into Black London. Lila has been away on the seafaring vessel the Night Spire, run by the mysterious Alucard. Kell has been watched even more closely by the King and Queen after his actions, causing him to feel even more trapped. With the upcoming Essen Tasch, or the Element Games, it gives both Lila and Kell a chance to let loose the magic they've been itching to use. But although everything appears to be going perfectly normal, trouble is brewing in diffent Londons, in places no one expected. 

It's so hard to put this book down. From beginning to end I was enticed because Victoria Schwab knows how to create compelling characters. They weren't paper or two-dimensional to me - I could picture them and their motivations clear as day. Lila was feisty as always; Rhy, I just wanted to give the poor prince a hug; Kell, I pitied him and he needs a hug too; Alucard had my heart. And I'm cosplaying Lila at NYCC (which makes me excited!!)