Monday, August 21, 2017

[Review] Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers
Rating: 3 stars

Format: ARC Paperback
Published: September 1st 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.
Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.
6th read for #ARCAugust

I have a lot of thoughts here, so bare with me.

I enjoyed how Truest touched down on a disorder that isn't really well-known, depersonalization disorder, or the feeling of living in a dream. It's part of the dissociative disorders in the DSM-5 (abnormal psychology was one of my favorite classes so recalling this is fun). This brought something different to the whole summer romance table.

Friday, August 18, 2017

[Review] All the Ways the World Can End by Abby Sher

All the Ways the World Can End by Abby Sher
Rating: 2.5 stars

Format: ARC Paperback
Published: July 11th 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Lenny (short for Eleanor) feels like the world is about to end. Her best friend is moving to New York City to attend Julliard and her dad has terminal cancer. To cope with her stress Lenny is making a list of all the ways the world can end—designer pathogens, blood moon prophecies, alien invasion—and stockpiling supplies in a bunker in the backyard. Then she starts to develop feelings for her dad's very nice young doctor—and she thinks he may have feelings for her too. Spoiler alert: he doesn't. But a more age-appropriate love interest might. In a time of complete uncertainty, one thing's for sure: Lenny's about to see how everything is ending and beginning. All at the same time.

5th read for #ARCAugust

I'm a bit conflicted on the rating of this book, to be honest.

I understood it well enough. Eleanor, who is better known as Lenny, and her family are trying to cope with her dad's metastatic rectal cancer that he's slowly dying from. Her mom, who is nicknamed Sergeant Nutbags, tries her hardest to find a cure, and that often comes in the form of some insane diet or health video. Her older sister is away at college and seem to escape the stressors that come from her family to enjoy her college party life. Lenny is the frustrated one, and her method of venting is through anger. She also has a crush on her father's stand-in resident doctor, Dr. Ganesh.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

[Review] Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity #2
Rating: 4 stars

Format: ARC Paperback
Published: September 10th 2013

Goodreads Synopsis: 
While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?
Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

4th read for #ARCAugust

Another moving and evocative fictional account of the horrors of World War II by Elizabeth Wein. It's one of those books you just feel sad after because it's a really sad book.

I'm being monosyllabic instead of descriptive, so time for me to break down Rose Under Fire.

This isn't really a sequel to Code Name Verity - it's more like a spinoff. We have Maddie in the beginning and the end getting married to Julie's cousin. Julie is mentioned in passing. Anna Engel (and her name sounded so familiar even though it's been years since reading CNV) has a more prominent role. Different setting, different cast of characters, same emotions captured.

Rose Justice is an American pilot who is part of the British ATA - essentially a air taxicab service. Just as progress is being made in the war, Rose lands herself and her plane on enemy lines, and is forced to spend time in Ravensbruck, a concentration camp. There she meets and befriends the Rabbits, women who were operated on inhumanly to test on various war injuries and diseases.

She recounts her days in the camp following her escape back into Allied territory, and you can tell how broken she is by the way she writes.

And I have been able to sleep a little longer each night. I don't jerk awake at four a.m. expecting the Screamer anymore. But I still have the dream about the cold wind in the empty bunks. Funny how my Ravensbruck nightmare is about the bunks being empty, because by the end they were never empty. The whole Camp was so overcrowded we had to sleep in shifts, even during the day.
I have to keep writing. I can't talk about it at all, not to Mother or Aunt Edie over the telephone, not to Fernande in broken French. It would break her heart, I think, if I told her about it. I keep wishing I could talk to Nick, but how could I explain any of it to Nick? How could I possibly make Nick understand?  

It's just so sad.

Rose is so different from Julie, but in a good way. I related to Rose a lot - in the end, she starts medical school! And she loves to write.  She specifically writes poetry to keep the moral of Block 32 high.

Her relationships with her fellow prisoners were strong and so heartbreaking at times. Roza, who laughed when she was afraid. Irina, her Russian pilot-in-crime. Anna, the angel of death. No matter where they came from, they were all victims of the war.

And suddenly it became like so many decisions I'd made during the war; I didn't have a choice. I had to do it whether or not I wanted to. Not just for Karolina, who was dead, but also for Anna, who was still alive and had no one to defend her.
You only fly straight and level in balance.
Anna and Roza are the opposing forces that perfectly balance each other to keep me in the air. 

And I find out that there's a prequel to Code Name Verity? Ugh, Elizabeth Wein, you can take all my money. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

[Review] Breaking by Danielle Rollins

Breaking by Danielle Rollins
Series: Burning companion novel
Rating: 3 stars

Format: ARC Paperback
Published: June 6th 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:
Monsters lurk where you least expect…
Charlotte has always felt ordinary compared to her two best friends at the prestigious Weston Preparatory Institute. Not enigmatic and daring like Ariel or beautiful and brilliant like Devon, Charlotte has never quite met the standards of the school—or those of her demanding mother. But with Ariel and Devon by her side, none of that mattered. They became the family she never had.
Until the unthinkable happens—Ariel commits suicide. And less than a month later, so does Devon.
Everyone accepts the suicides as tragic coincidences, but Charlotte refuses to believe that. And when she finds mysterious clues left behind by Ariel, Charlotte is thrust down a path that leads to a dangerous secret about Weston Prep. There’s a reason Weston students are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth… 

Third #ARCAugust read.

I keep on reading suspenseful books.

Breaking was alright. Its supposed to be a companion novel to Burning, but you don't really need to read the first one to read this one. Except I think the ending of this book would make a whole lot more sense with it.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

#TheReadingQuest Sign Up Post

Hello everyone! In addition to #ARCAugust, I'm signing up for Aentee's #TheReadingQuest, which can be found here. I'm so excited for this challenge because I have been a gamer for ages. Final Fantasy, Dragon Age, Fallout, Bayonetta - I've played many games over the years. RPGs in particular. Favorite character class was always rogues, or dual-wielders, so what better way to pay homage to my gaming ways then by being a rogue?

All artwork in this post is from CW of Read Think Ponder!

Somehow made this without photoshop. Pretty good, no? 

Friday, August 11, 2017

[Review] The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: ARC Paperback
Published: August 25th 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: 
In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…
Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.
But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.
And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.
Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.
But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.
From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.

My second book for #ARCAugust!

I don't normally read horror. I don't normally watch horror either - I would think them too silly or not scary enough for me.

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall surpassed my expectations on the horror genre. Coincidentally, I was also watching a Supernatural episode on an asylum the day before I picked up this book, so I guess I had some idea of what I was walking into.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

[Review] The Possible by Tara Altebrando

The Possible by Tara Altebrando
Rating: 2 stars

Format: ARC Paperback
Published: June 7th 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:

Some storms rage from within.
What if…a teenage girl could move objects with her mind?
What if…someone turns up at her door asking questions she doesn’t want to answer?
Kaylee lives a normal life with her adoptive parents, and almost never thinks of her birth mother, Crystal, who is serving a life sentence in prison. But the woman at the front door is producing a podcast about Crystal that is about to blow Kaylee’s forgotten past wide open.
What if strange things have been happening Kaylee’s entire life, things she could not explain? What if she’s more like her mother than she ever imagined?
What if the podcast is about to put her on a collision course with Crystal—and her darkest self?
My first #ARCAugust read!

I can't really say much about it, because the book itself was very bland. The entire time we are dealt suspense around the main character, Kaylee, and whether or not she inherited telekinetic powers from her estranged, psychopathic mom, Crystal, who is currently in jail for killing Kaylee's little brother. There's a lot of buildup and not much spark for the reveals. The characters weren't that interesting - Kaylee more or less annoyed me at times. I found myself just trying to finish this book.

#ARCAugust Week 1 Update

Hello everyone!

I started off the first week of #ARCAugust pretty strong, finishing 4 books. Their reviews will come up in the next few days. My reads were mostly suspenseful ones. I ended up really liking two of my reads - Rose Under Fire and The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. Here are my ratings for my read ARCs.

My next read for #ARCAugust will be - 

What's next on your TBR? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

[Review] The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley 
Series: The Checquy Files #1
Rating: 4 stars

Published: October 16th 2012

Goodreads Synopsis:
Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, her only hope of survival is to trust the instructions left in her pocket by her former self. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization and this person wants her dead.
As Myfanwy battles to save herself, she encounters a person with four bodies, a woman who can enter her dreams, children transformed into deadly fighters, and an unimaginably vast conspiracy. Suspenseful and hilarious, THE ROOK is an outrageously inventive debut for readers who like their espionage with a dollop of purple slime.
What I noticed recently becoming a big thing in books (at least, the books I'm reading), is the presence of people with supernatural/otherwordly powers co-existing with people who don't have such abilities. Or maybe co-existing is too light a term.

Therein lies problems - overly done cliches, special snowflakes, and unnecessary romances.

But luckily for me, The Rook bypassed these and fulfilled all my fantasy expectations.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#ARCAugust TBR

Hello everyone! It's been a long time since I've posted something, and this is mostly because college took over my life and I did lose interest in reading my books up until recently. But I'm back! And I'm hoping on staying.

I'll be doing two reading challenges for August, and this is the first. I'm also behind my Goodreads challenge by 39 books so I gotta catch up somehow, right? 

Without further ado, here are my arcs for this year's challenge. 18 books is going to be a doozy.