Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Of The Best Books I've Read Recently

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish over here. This week's theme is "Ten Of The Best Books I've Read Recently." This is super easy since I've loved so many of the books I read so far this year!! (so it may be more than ten lol.) Each has a two-liner review with it! These were all 4-5 star reads!

1. Double Life by S. Usher Evans

Not only was it fun, and captivating, but Double Life was an epic space opera with lovable characters that had me laughing and relating to from the start.

2. The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

The Abyss Surrounds Us was an awesome adventure into a future world with high seas and piracy with giant turtles and characters that were hella cute with a slow-burn romance.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Set in a dark world, A Darker Shade of Magic is a magical story not for the light-hearted, with its twists and turns, and greying choices the characters must make for survival.

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

An epic elemental fantasy, Truthwitch is the first of four chronicling the story of an epic friendship and what it means to stick with each other to the end.

5. Illumine by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae was an interesting read with its unusual formatting and method of telling the story of a futuristic earth and humans making decisions to save their lives.

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The mystical story of ley lines and magic is first set up in The Raven Boys where we get to meet characters with interesting backgrounds who become great friends.

7. The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

A time-travelling, dimension-travelling novel, The Love That Splits The World takes readers on an adventure of true love and tough decisions.

8. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

An absolutely amazing Sherlock-esque story, A Study in Charlotte was a captivating read with the cutest, most precious versions of Sherlock and Watson, yet.

9. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Set in a dark, dark world where not much goes right, An Ember in the Ashes follows two strong characters on their journey to freeing themselves from a harsh society.

10. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands is set in a fantasy desert where a brave, sharpshooter must follow her heart and the odd, but very hot, foreigner to freedom.

11. The Haters by Jesse Andrews

A witty novel with a very Jesse Andrew's voice, The Haters is a raw novel with many feelings being thrown everywhere with very unique characters who play music.

12. The Island by S. Usher Evans

A slow-burn romance, The Island follows a stubborn pilot and the enemy prince as they are stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere with each other.

13. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen was a beautiful read with writing so delightful and expressive that the captivating characters were a pleasure to read.

Thanks for reading this week's Top Ten Tuesday! I hope you will pick up one of the books that I have listed above! What have been some of your favourite reads of 2016 so far? Let me know in the comments below! 

Happy Tuesday! :) 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Hey guys! It's been awhile since I've had a Stacking the Shelves post, so I guess I'm gonna do one now lol. I've accumulated a lot of books since the last STS I did so let's get to it.

So as you can see in the span of three months, my bookshelves basically exploded so much I got a small bookshelf in my room to put some of my favourites. See below:

Anyways, onto where I got stuff and like that:

Format: Hardcover
Price: $17-something
Condition: New
Source: Indigo

Truthwitch swag
Source: Truthwitch preorder giveaway!

Morning Star and drawing
Format: Hardcover
Condition: New
Source: Giveaway from Random House Canada!

TLTSTW ARC and some swag
Source: Emily Henry and a giveaway from her and Nori!

Format: Hardcover
Condition: New
Source: The awesome Olivia!

The rest of TLTSTW swag
Source: Kelly and Gina's giveaway!

The Quillian Games, The Pilgrams of Rayne, Twilight Graphic Novel, Off the Page
Price: $2.25
Source: Library

ARCs of Lair of Dreams and Traffick
Source: Library

A Study in Charlotte
Format: Hardcover
Price: $21.99
Condition: New
Source: Indigo

All those ARCs and swag in that pic
Source: Indigo Summer Preview Event

Heartless ARC
Source: Indigo Summer Preview Event

As for e-books and e-ARCs, I got The Star-Touched Queen, The Art of Being Normal, Summer of Sloane, The Island, Signs of You, Risuko, and Genius: The Game

So yeah, that's quite a lot of books I would say. Definitely a lot ARCs I'm gonna have to get through lol. But yayy for reading!! Thanks for reading! Did you get any cool books in the past little while? If so, link me to your post in the comments! I love hearing about what you guys got!

Happy Easter Weekend! :D

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes
By: Sabaa Tahir
Pages: 464
Published: April 28th, 2015
Published by: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
My Rating: 4/5 stars
"Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself."

Add AN EMBER IN THE ASHES to Goodreads right here! 

The main reason I finally picked up this book was because Sabaa Tahir and a bunch of other Razorbill authors are coming to Toronto in about a week and a half and I was pushed to read this book because it's one of the ones that looks interesting for me. But anyways, I really liked it. It was a gripping sort of dystopian fantasy adventure story that set up for future books to come which is why I rated An Ember in the Ashes with a 4 out of 5 stars. 

I really liked the world building and how the world Laia and Elias live in is a very, very dark world. I like worlds that are dark and gritty, and don't try and hide all that bad stuff. In this world, it is very evident where people are often abused emotionally and physically. The author treated this subject with a lot of care too, so it was well handled.

I also really liked the concept of the Trials and how the characters had endure these obstacles. In a way, I found it similar yet different to the concepts of Divergent and the Hunger Games, but the author was able to make it original in the end.

The characters and their motives were pretty well done as well. They were both really interesting with their backgrounds and the obstacles they had to endure throughout the novel. They had distinct voices and different worries in their heads. However, I felt that while they were different from each other, they often kept repeating their goals which made it sort of annoying to read. Laia was always going on about saving her brother, and Elias was always about freedom... so that's one part of the negativity.

Overall, the book felt sort of cliché in lots of places with its dystopian fantasy feel and I know that didn't work with a lot of people. However, it worked okay with me, and I loved it because it was two of my favourite genres together. This is why I kept going back and forth on my rating for this book, but I feel four stars works for this book.

Final Verdict:
An Ember in the Ashes is a compelling competition set in a dark, fantasy dystopian world with intriguing characters who just want to be set free. This book can be a hit-or-a-miss, and for me it was on target. I'm hoping the next book will be able to build on these character developments that were set in this book.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Recap: #IndigoSummerPreview - March 16th (Toronto)

Yesterday, Wednesday, March 16th, 2016, I went downtown to Indigo head offices for an exclusive preview event focusing on the teen books coming out in the summer! Hosted by Indigo Teen, I was super excited that I was able to grab the last ticket to go to the first event of its kind. 

I happened to be the first person who arrived, so I was a little intimidated at first. But the lovely team at Indigo Teen, quickly made me feel at home and welcome. We had some refreshments as we waited. In my seat, I found a great amount of swag, including an HCCFrenzy button, a Crown by Kiera Cass button, a sampler of Dorothy Must Die, a Scholastic tote, and a Simon and Schuster notebook. 

After I, slightly less, awkwardly sat there for a while waiting for people to arrive, the team at Indigo Teen introduced themselves. They are a lovely group of individuals and know how to have a fun time that's for sure haha. Then we introduced ourselves and I recognized a few faces in the blogging community. What I found funny was the fact that on our name tags we had to write what we were currently reading instead of our actual names lol. (See if you can find me in the image below lol)

Anyways, we moved on to this year's highly anticipated teen summer releases! (A new favourite topic since becoming a blogger lol!) But basically we moved on to every sub-genre of YA fiction possible. We talked about the "John Green effect", Reality Check, Retellings: The Original Fanfiction, and Epic Court drama. All of these topics sparked up great conversation between all of us who attended.

I loved it when we got to the topic of how high school English books haven't really changed at all. And as the youngest person in that room, it was SO FRUSTRATING because they really haven't changed at all. Also, when we got to the fantasy topics, I was in love because all my new favourites are basically in the retellings or court drama categories! (Carol really knows how to make good titles.)

My highlights of the night:

I got to meet the wonderful, Thissi @ Long May She Read! Sure, we were awkwardly DMing each other while five feet apart for the first hour, but we got past it, and we were like best friends! It was so awesome! I hope to see her again soon!

Secondly, after the event, we were allowed to take a bunch of free books! I mean who doesn't love free books?! I mean I got some of the titles that I was highly anticipating for this year! Be sure to look out for a review of some of these here on my blog!

And lastly, I won an ARC of Heartless. *cues the screaming* *actually screams* Yesss that is a picture of me with the book on my lap after I won it. I had to answer a trivia question. I raised my hand and I just had to say the names of the two stepsisters of Cinder and I FREAKING GOT IT. So yes, not just me over here, sitting with one of my HIGHLY ANTICIPATED READS OF 2016!!! Be sure to keep updated with my blog for a review!!

Thank you for putting together this event Indigo Teen! It was super fun to be a part of, and I hope to be able to come to more of these previews in the near future!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On
By: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 522
Published:  October 6th 2015
Published by: Macmillian
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Add CARRY ON to Goodreads right here!

Carry On was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Based on the fictional story that Cath loves in Fangirl (also by Rainbow Rowell), Carry On was the story of Simon Snow who is one of the chosen ones. The magical aspects play a slight parody on the widely popular Harry Potter one. However, once you past the first two hundred pages or so, the story really becomes its own with its amazing characters which is why I give Carry On a 5 out of 5 stars.

Yes, there are many aspects that do make it cringe-worthy at the beginning that make it seem like a play on Harry Potter. Yes, they go to a magical school which also doubles as a fancy castle. Yes, Simon feels like a mix of Ron and Harry; yes, Penelope is kind of totally like Hermione; and yes, Draco is Baz. Oh wait I meant the other way around. Okay, there are definitely many aspects of which seem like a Harry Potter book. But then again, once past the two hundred mark, things really start to take off as its own story. I don't want to say much more than that otherwise I would end up spoiling it, but please at least try to make it past the 200 mark if you are trying to decide to throw it against the wall for being too similar to Harry Potter.

What I really loved about this book was the romance. As always, Rowell is always able to write a good fluffy romance that had me rooting for them since the beginning. Simon and Baz were no different. I don't think I've ever read a boy romance in YA fiction and boy, was this a good one to start with. I mean I had read fanfiction (*no shame*) but they were hopelessly hot and cute. Baz with his pent up feelings, and Simon was so innocent and didn't know what he was doing omg. I loved it so muchhh!

“I let myself slip away... Just to stay sane. Just to get through it. And when I felt myself slipping too far, I held on to the one thing I'm always sure of - Blue eyes. Bronze curls. The fact that Simon Snow is the most powerful magician alive. That nothing can hurt him, not even me. That Simon Snow is alive. And I'm hopelessly in love with him.”
Like awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... Baz you little cutie!!

Anyways, I also really liked the plot in this book because Simon really was not your average Chosen One. Sure, he had to make decisions to sacrifice things, but his role and end result is what I find actually really different than what I find most chosen ones end up doing. He is also a pretty nice character. He tries his best to do what is expected of him as the chosen one, but he's not super into it. He'd rather be a normal person and spend his days in the courtyard than trying to figure out who the Humdrum is. He is just different than your normal chosen one and maybe that's why I liked it so much. Oh, and did I mention Baz because he is literally the best character everrrrrrr.

Also, the magic phrases were awesome. I know some people just found it really cheesy, but I loved the fact that Rowell used freaking idioms, expressions, and just common phrases to make the magick in her world work. I thought it was a clever way to make system which makes it different from the other magic systems.

Final Verdict:
Carry On is a fun, magical, and fluffy read that has exquisite characters and romance. It is definitely a hit-or-miss read, but for me, it was definitely a bullseye! One of my favourite reads of 2015, that's for sure.

Also I mean look at this gorgeous map of Watford:

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Book Talk: Something Strange and Deadly Part Two

So here we are, back for another week of discussion questions for the second half of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard! Here is a link to this week's questions!

1. What was your favourite quote from the entire book?

“Curiosity is a strong fire, and once ignited, it is not easily put out.”

Basically any quote with fire is my favourite. But this one particularly because it connects with me in a philosophical way so yup. That's my favourite quote from this book.

2. Which character do you hate and which character do you love the most? Why?

I lovedddd Jie because I could relate to her as Chinese and knowing martial arts! I didn't really like Eleanor's brother at all until the very, very end because he left Eleanor knowing that he was raising the dead for revenge that didn't really matter...

3. Did the prediction you made during the first half of the book come true or not? And if it didn’t come true, are you disappointed or shocked?

My prediction was that Clarence was the Necromancer, but that didn't turn out true at all. I was really surprised in a good way though because it was a kind of big shock for me.

4. What do you expect is going to happen with Eleanor during the next book?

Definitely more adventures with the Spirit Hunters! I couldn't imagine that Daniel would just leave her there.

5. Who do you think or want Eleanor to end up with in the end? Any reasons?

Well since my first choice was Clarence, and he's now gone, so... DANIEL! Because he was definitely sweet and tried his best to keep the Empress in check lol.

And thanks for reading this week's answers to the discussion questions! I hope you enjoyed them and starting next week Duane and I will be doing A Darkness Strange and Lovely! Watch for the questions later on Duane's blog!

Happy Sunday! :D

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The OTP Book Tag

Today I will be doing the OTP book tag! Thank you for tagging me SJ, this was loads of fun to do! This tag was orginally created by Kirstin Reads.

1. An Unpopular OTP That You Ship
Aelin x Aelin. I love Aelin and in reality, she doesn't need a man. Okay, don't get me wrong, I love Rowaelin and Doraelin, but before any of those, I shipped Aelin.

2. An OTP That You Didn’t Ship at First But Now You Do
Kaider. At first I was like "I WANT KAI FOR MYSELF," but then I realized that Cinder and Kai are like a perfect fit for each other now that I think about it.

3. Your Most Hated OTP
Well it's not an OTP if you hate it loll. So therefore I don't have one ahaha.

4. An OTP That Took WAY Too Long to Get Together
Okay well it hasn't happened yet from what I've read, but Bluesy. They spent the entire first book dancing around each other like omggggggg. And the fact they can't kiss drives me insaneeeee!

5. Your Favourite Non-Canon OTP
Dramione. As much as I love Ron and Hermione together, I have always loved the idea of Hermione and Draco together. It's just this thought of SlytherinxGryffindor and two stubborn and headstrong people together makes my heart burst lol.

6. Your favourite BROTP
Rowaelin. I know they are also a couple, but they were always my favourite BROTP before they got together in Queen of Shadows. They push each other and despite their *hatred* for each other, underneath, they both really do care for each other.

7. An OTP You Adored in the Books But Not as Much in the Movie or TV Adaptation
Hinny is an OTP that I loved in the books, but the movies sort of just completely ruined it. It was awkward and the actors barely had any chemistry together at all as seen in the image below.

8. A Popular (Canon) OTP That No Matter How Hard You Tried You Just Can’t Ship It
Malina. I know this isn't quite a popular ship, but it's the canon one and I don't quite like it. Mostly because Mal was being really whiny and they didn't seem good for each other. But also because I ship Alina with the Darkling soooo... ummmmm...

9. Your Favourite LGBT+ OTP
It's a definite tie between Cas and Swift from the Abyss Surrounds Us and Simon and Baz from Carry On. Both ships were slow burn, hate-to-love romances which are my absolute weaknesses okay.


10. Your All Time Favourite OTP
Percabeth from the Percy Jackson series, no question about that. It was my first ship, and will forever by my favourite. I could honestly read fanfiction for them all day. So squishy and adorable!!!

Now for the tagging...


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

Happy Reading! <3

Friday, 11 March 2016

The Great Sooz Readalong: Something Strange and Deadly Part Two Questions

Hey guys! I hope you are all doing well and doing some awesome reading of Something Strange and Deadly! Here are this week's discussion questions for the second half of the book:

1. What was your favourite quote from the entire book?

2. Which character do you hate and which character do you love the most? Why?

3. Did the prediction you made during the first half of the book come true or not? And if it didn’t come true, are you disappointed or shocked?

4. What do you expect is going to happen with Eleanor during the next book?

5. Who do you think or want Eleanor to end up with in the end? Any reasons?
I'll be answering these questions in the next few days, and I hope you will too! Next up is A Darkness Strange and Lovely! 

Aim for the knees! XD

Monday, 7 March 2016

Book Talk: Something Strange and Deadly Part One

Hey guys! This is our first discussion week for The Great Readalong hosted by Duane and I! This week we have been reading the first of Something Strange and Deadly and have prepared some questions to discuss! The questions this week are hosted by Duane right here. If you want to join in, please go right ahead and sign up here!

So here are my answers to this week's questions!

1. What is your favorite place/setting in the book so far? What was your favorite scene in this place/setting?

Favourite place is definitely the Spirit Hunter's lair/work space because it's always super cool to read descriptions of what they are working on now! Favourite scene definitely has to be when Eleanor first meets Daniel 😏.

2. What was your first impression of Eleanor?

Eleanor for me was badass from the start with her rebellious side and habit in not doing anything anyone tells her to lol. She was a bit hard to get into at first because I was expecting a very Victorian-era lady with those sort of manners so of course I was a bit taken by surprise haha.

3. What do you think is actually happening with the German Academy Boys and Eleanor's Brother?

Since this is a reread for me, at the time I thought Clarence was the person was behind it. And he was being evil and stuff. And was the necromancer. I won't say more than that lol.

4. If you were living in Philadelphia at this time, would you believe in the supernatural as Eleanor and the spirit hunters do?

Definitelyyyyy, I'm one for theories and magic and all that sort of jazz, so I would definitely believe in the supernatural especially if I experienced some of the things in Something Strange and Deadly.

5. What do you think of the magic and it's system so far?

Amazinggggg. One of my favourite paranormal magic systems to be honest. Sooz writes amazing rules and systems.

And that's it for this week's discussion! I will be posting next week's discussion questions later on this week, so take a look out for that! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this week's discussion! What are some of your thoughts on these questions referring back to Something Strange and Deadly? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Monday! <3