Tag Archives: 2015 release

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy Romance
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Review:

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT… I didn’t like it. At this point, I’ve read up until ACOWAR and I still didn’t like it…

Let’s start with the writing. Chapter 1 – we get it, it’s winter. Not only does Maas have the description of the crunching snow, how hungry Feyre is, and how cold she is, it is stated that it is winter, explicitly, three to four times. This was my first impression of the book and I wasn’t impressed to be honest.

Then there’s the story – comparing it to Beauty and the Beast is like comparing my foot to my dog’s foot. Yeah, sure they both have the same functionalities, and maybe some of the bone structure is the same (idk anatomy, so I can’t tell you how accurate that is), but at the end of the day if you swap ’em neither of us will be content. It’s the same thing here. Sure – there’s the father disappearing and the girl taken away by these supposedly dangerous creatures who are kind of cursed (honestly, there are worse things that can happen…), but that’s where the comparison ends really.

Now that we’re on the fae… Tamlin… oh Tamlin. There’s grass more interesting than Tamlin. He’s just there. Being silent and grumpy, and I can’t find anything to love about him. He’s an alright fellow if you like boring guys, but there’s not much there for ya. Lucien was more interesting to me than Tamlin. Her maidservant… Alice? I think her name was…. is also more interesting than Tamlin…

Side bar comment – HER SISTERS ARE SO ANNOYING LIKE HOLY. NOPE. (They get better, but ugh.)

That being said then, how on earth does Feyre come to love him? It’s so forced that I just could not deal with their romance and what triggers the latter section of the book.

On that note, I’ll tell you now that you’ll need to get through about two thirds of the novel to get anywhere with this book. Even Rhysand didn’t save this for me, but he’s a lot more entertaining than Tamlin. In the end, his character’s presence in the next two books is the only thing that kept me reading this series, but even then I can’t say I loved the other two book either…

I’d say this series is just over-hyped. There’s no other way to describe it. Like you have to love it ’cause everyone else does, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t even just me. My roommate and my sister tried reading this book and they were both left wondering how it was as popular as it is… We’ll see what else she has in store, but I can’t say I’m quite sold on the Maas hype.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Pacing; 1/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.28/5

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Game Review: Sunless Sea

Title: Sunless Sea
Developer: Failbetter Games Ltd.
Release Date: February 6, 2015
Website

Plot Synopsis:

Take to the dark waters

Welcome to the dark and hilarious Victorian-Gothic underworld of Fallen London, where every choice has a consequence, from the style of your hat to the price of your soul. Except this time around, the Unterzee is your oyster.

Choose your ship, name your captain, and leave the bustle of the docks for the wild and lightless depths of the Unterzee. The map changes every time you play, and every officer in your crew has their own story.

Encounter a corsairs’ village in a forest of stalagmites, come face to face with the vicious war trimarans of the New Khanate or the golden agents of the Dawn Machine. Grow strong and wise and rich and feared. With luck and skill you may achieve your ambitions: find your father’s bones, found a pirate princedom or sail beyond the Unterzee into the strangeness at time’s heart.

Review:

I don’t know if you’ve read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, but when I first started this game, that was the first thing that came to mind. The game begins in Fallen London, a world underneath the “surface.” I decided to be a Poet who uses knowledge and trickery to get my way and then chose world exploration as my objective. I even named my character Lila. However, while Lila Bard explored the seas of Red London – a world thriving on magic and life – my version was floundering in a darker world more akin to White London in Schwab’s ADSOM universe. Let’s just say she didn’t live long.

Sunless Sea feeds off of your curiosity. The game starts a little slow, but as you progress, you’ll find new random events, new story threads, and new opportunities to choose a different path. Think choose-your-own-adventure with an unfortunate reset button. Honestly, my first captain died within an hour of me playing the game. Although a little disheartened, I ended up learning from that experience and choosing different paths and options with my next captain. As a result, my second captain lived a lot longer and explored further. With different characters and different goals, the story is very free-form and after more than ten hours of playing, I’ve still only seen the tip of the iceberg.

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As you all know, character development is like crack to me, and this game is wrought with it. As you explore, you gain new opportunities to talk to your officers and learn more about them. Sometimes, their stories will trigger new events and unlock new paths in the game that will lead you to more opportunities to learn about them or yourself. One aspect that I thought was interesting is that currency in this world is in Echos, but it’s also in stories – Tales of Terror, Secrets, Memories of Distant Shores, etc. That, along with the colour palette and soundtrack of the game, really helps to create a dark and foreboding atmosphere within this world you’re in.

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When you first start, it’s hard to pick up on the story at large and understand what you’re supposed to do, but I think that feeds into the aspect of curiosity. Click around, talk to people, and explore the map. In the end, a story will slowly weave itself together in front of you as you discover more and more about this dark world and you share different stories with others in the world.

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Now to the nitty-gritty aspects of the game. I’m one to just jump into a game. Unless there’s a mandatory tutorial, I’ll poke around until I figure out what I’m supposed to do. Don’t do what I did. Read the Captain’s manual. It won’t give you insight into your goals or what you should and could do, but it will help you understand the controls and figure out what all the varying bars mean. To help make it clearer, I would have preferred some arrows, bubbles or more informative tips, but reading the manual definitely helps. A small detail that I found to be quite entertaining was how the graphics settings were named – Adequate, Charming, and Sublime. Small touches like that really added to the atmosphere that the game was conveying.

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Something else that I have difficulties with is the font size. I’m terribly vision impaired and even with my glasses I was squinting and leaning over the screen trying to read the story. With such a story heavy game, the small font was a little difficult to navigate through. It was only afterwards that I realized that the game had a font scale option, something that I thought should’ve been presented to the user upon starting up the game.

As a whole, I’m really enjoying Sunless Sea! I’m nowhere near done, but I’m excited to see where else the story takes me!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Graphics: 4.5/5
UX: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Steam Code obtained via FailBetter Games Ltd. in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Every Last Word

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Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

First thing’s first. I cannot attest to the legitimacy of the portrayal of OCD or anxiety in this novel. I know nothing about either disorder or its effect on a person’s way of thinking or acting.

That being said, this books spun out a wonderful story about healing and self-discovery. Sam wove a web of secrets for herself, keeping her condition hidden, but also her new friend and locker neighbour Caroline. However, she spent a great amount of time trying to ensure that her acceptance in the popular circle was secure.

That being said, when she discovers the Poet’s Corner, she learns that there are people out there who are having a hard time with life too. She begins writing and finds that it helps her keep her brain in check.

I really liked the poetry aspects of this novel. It reminded me a little bit of Collen Hoover’s Slammed, with a little more camaraderie and a little less teacher x student love haha. As I’ve said in the past, poetry really gets to the heart of things and expresses feelings and aspects of characters that you’d have never known about otherwise. It’s so hard to see into the heads of those around you, but poetry helps lay it all out there for the world to see. The poetry is probably was what sold me on the book, but it wasn’t all perfect.

One thing I didn’t quite understand about this book is how she was able to keep her OCD so hidden. While I’m no expert in it, I’ve read other books where the repetitiveness of a task is clear and overpowering. Sam’s wasn’t quite that. There were just enough scenes to ensure that readers never forgot she had the condition, but it never overpowered her, especially since it sounded like her diagnosis was quite extreme. She just seemed like a normal girl with a couple hangups, like her need for the speedometer to read a certain way. While there were intrusive thoughts and some aspects that showed the difficulties with the condition, it just didn’t seem like a prominent aspect of the book to me, like it was addressed, but then moved away from after a moment.

The end of the novel was a real twist. I don’t know if this is supposed to be some kind of paranormal thing, or if this is actually possible, but the end of the book definitely surprised me. Again, I’m not an expert in this subject in any way. This is just what I think, and I thought it was a really interesting end to the novel.

Overall, I think this novel is a good one to read. It has an great story line that had me sobbing at some points, and a lot of insightful poetry and characters that have their own unique voices.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads: 4.18/5

eARC obtained via Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Books of 2015

So I failed again. I read a total of 39 books in 2015, though my goal was only 50. School really conflicts with this stuff. Also helps that my textbooks hardly count towards this, and even if they do, adding 3 or 4 books about psychology or sociology probably won’t help much. Anyways, here’s a list of books I read in 2015. Let’s hope 2016 is a lot more bookish.

(B) – Bought // (L) – Library // (R) – Received from a Publisher/Author/Contest/NetGalley // (G) Gift

(*) – 2015 Release

January:
(R) The Body Electric – Beth Revis (4/5)
[eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours]
(B) The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (5/5)
(B) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith (4.5/5)

February:
(R) Mean Streak – Sandra Brown (5/5)
[eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours]
*(R) All Fall Down [Embassy Row #1]– Ally Carter (3/5)
[ARC obtained via Scholastic Press]
(B) Leo – Mia Sheridan (3/5)
*(R) Shadow Study [Study #4] – Maria V. Snyder (4.5/5)
[eARC obtained via Mira via Harlequin via NetGalley]
(B) Othello – William Shakespeare (4/5)
(G) Lick [Stage Dive #1] – Kylie Scott (5/5)

March:
*(B) Confess – Colleen Hoover (4/5)
(B) Troilus and Cressida – William Shakespeare (4/5)
(B) The Winter’s Tale – William Shakespeare (5/5)
(B) The DUFF: The Designated Ugly Fat Friend – Kody Keplinger (4/5)

April:
(B) Coriolanus – William Shakespeare (5/5)
(B) The Rosie Project [Don Tillman #1] – Graeme Simsion (4/5)

May:

June:
*(R) Uprooted – Naomi Novik (5/5)
[eARC obtained via Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley]
*(R) Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone (5/5)
[eARC obtained via Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley]
*(B) Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen (4.5/5)

July:
*(R) The Witch of Painted Sorrows – M.J. Rose (3/5)
[eARC obtained via Atria Books via NetGalley]
*(R) Breakaway – Kat Spears (5/5)
[eARC obtained via St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley]
(G) Escorted [Escorted #1] – Claire Kent (3/5)
(B) The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer E. Smith (5/5)
(B) Shadow & Bone [Grisha #1] – Leigh Bardugo (5/5)
(B) Shut Out – Kody Keplinger (3/5)

August:
*(B) P.S. I Still Love You [To All The Boys #2] – Jenny Han (3/5)
*(B) Capture [Seaside Pictures #1] – Rachel Van Dyken (5/5)

September:
(G) The Trouble With Goodbye [Fairhope #1] – Sarra Cannon (2/5)
*(B) Maybe In Another Life – Taylor Jenkins Reid (5/5)

October:
(G) Addicted to You [Addicted #1] – Krista Ritchie and Becca Ritchie (3/5)
(B) Breakaway [Portland Storm #1] – Catherine Gayle (4/5)
(B) Richard II – William Shakespeare (3.5/5)
(B) Ariel: The Restored Edition – Sylvia Plath (5/5)
*(B) Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella (4.5/5)
(B) Beneath this Mask – Meghan March [Beneath #1] (4/5)

November:
(B) Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich (5/5)
*(B) November 9 – Colleen Hoover (5/5)

December:
*(R) See How They Run – Ally Carter [Embassy Row #2] (3.5/5)
[ARC obtained via Scholastic Press]
*(B) Never Never Pt 1 – Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher (5/5)
*(B) Never Never Pt 2 – Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher (5/5)

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Review: Uprooted

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Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

This whole entire novel was not about what I had expected it to be about. The synopsis is extremely vague and to be honest only reveals what’s in the first 2-3 chapters. This entire novel was like inhaling a trilogy of books, without the painful year long waiting between parts. There are so many sub-plots within the plot and history within these pages. It’s honestly one of my favourite fantasy novels of this year, and maybe ever.

It is honestly so hard to describe how amazing this book was without spoiling anything. Ahh!

The story set up is absolutely perfect. We start in Agnieszka’s village, move to the Dragon’s tower (note, he is not in fact a scaly creature), then into the Wood, then into the Capital city, back to the tower, back to the Wood. There’s so many changes in setting and characters that the book keeps you entertained throughout. While each setting is sectioned out, so are the character introductions – we meet the main character’s family and friends in her village, then history of the Dragon in his tower, then other characters depending on where the story takes us next. The fact that the setting and characters are presented in such digestible tidbits made the whole book more enjoyable as it was easier to follow where people were going and what was happening in the novel.

I read this novel as an ARC, and I’ve found the response interesting. A lot of people rage on and on about the “kidnapping” not really being a kidnapping, because the MC gets to live in a tower and get nice clothes, etc. However, something that they miss is that it is horrifying. Said tribute is taken away from her home, her friends, her family – torn from her community and culture. She is placed with a less than amiable wizard, and honestly, I don’t know how people see becoming refined as a gift and not a ten year long social redevelopment project. The response to this element of the novel has really made me think about it. Sure, the outcome isn’t bad, but there is a large negative aspect to it that nearly mimics real life in some ways… just food for thought for those who have yet to read it (this is all revealed in the first 20 pages, no spoilers, I promise!).

I think my favourite part of the novel was the antagonist. It wasn’t a specific person, per say, but a thing. A terrifying thing that consumes a person from the outside in – first their body, then their soul. The Wood was likely one of the more interesting antagonists as it’s so evil without any conscious thought. Honestly, the scenes set in it freaked me out haha. Further, the story behind it was extremely interesting and actually moving. This aspect of the novel was built well.

One thing I wish had been better is the Dragon’s personality. There’s so much there to pull at, and I feel like we missed a lot of history in his lack of emotional and overall character exposure. Also, the MC was a little dense at times, but otherwise quite a strong female lead for this novel!

Overall, this was an extremely intricate book, and it truly captured my heart. It’s quite long, and the beginning isn’t as interesting as it could be, but in the end I thought the entire experience was well worth the effort. A beautifully constructed novel that really gets you thinking about suffering, revenge, and friendship.

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.2/5

eARC obtained via Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Release Day Blitz: Law and Crucible Saga

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Welcome to the Law and Crucible Saga Release Day Blitz, hosted by Ioana Visan!~

Series: Law and Crucible Saga
Author: Ioana Visan
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Length: Novella, short story

2015 No Port to LandTitle: No Port to Land [Law and Crucible Saga #1]
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Nia is one of the few souls left aboard a drifting tomb known as The Pacific. The spaceship carries a deadly plague, and by the time they receive a distress call from an approaching shuttle, they are all close to losing hope they might ever escape alive. When the will of the shuttle crew and that of the survivors on The Pacific clash, Nia has to pick a side to save what she holds most dear.

Amazon Buy Link

2015 Point of OriginTitle: Point of Origin [Law and Crucible Saga #2]
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Suffering from neural degeneration, Thea is fading away in an asylum with no hope of ever leaving it.

When Captain Law offers her an opportunity to board his ship in return for her help, the astrophysicist is faced with having to learn to trust them or end up in another asylum with slim chance for recovery. And then her secret will be lost.

With a contract that they are desperate to obtain and a rogue asteroid in enemy territory, Captain Law and his crew must keep Thea free from harm, but a missing crew member and a band of misfits thwart their efforts and send them on a mission no one was prepared for.

Can Thea and Captain Law learn to work together for one goal or will long-held secrets and mistrust shake their resolve and destroy their efforts?

Amazon Buy Link

2015 Bonds of Steel

Title: Bonds of Steel [Law and Crucible Saga #3]
GoodReads

Synopsis:

On a routine trip across the asteroid field, the robot, Del, and unregistered AI, Vee, meet trouble. With Captain Law and his crew having been put into stasis, their only chance of survival will mean placing themselves at the mercy of what few resources they have. Without a human to assist them, Del and Vee will be vulnerable and so too will the ship and all the lives on board.

Despite their best efforts to avoid unwanted visitors, another ship is en route. Their arrival does not guarantee the safety of those on board, and may ultimately lead to their demise.

With his position on the ship on the line, can Del stave off an attack or are their deaths inevitable?

Amazon Buy Link

Price: $0.99 each

Free with Kindle Unlimited

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About the Author:

Award-winning writer Ioana Visan has always dreamed about reaching the stars, but since she can’t, she writes about it.

After fighting the apocalypse aftermath in Human Instincts, she played with shapeshifters in Blue Moon Café Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks, she dealt with vampires in The Impaler Legacy series, she designed prosthetics in Broken People, and she helped wingless fairies in The Weight of a Wing before tackling a space opera saga.

Aside from publishing short stories in various Romanian magazines and anthologies, she published a Romanian short story collection, Efectul de nautil, and the Romanian edition of Human Instincts.

She received the Encouragement Award from The European Science Fiction Society at Eurocon 2013.

Author Links:

Website | BlogFacebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Giveaway:

Enter to win one (1) of three (3) Law and Crucible Saga ebook sets!

ENTER HERE!~

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Cover Reveal: A Raven’s Touch

Facebook Cover Release Day Dec 28

Welcome to A Raven’s Touch Cover Reveal, hosted by Linda Bloodworth!~

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Here we go!

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Synopsis:
Bullied through high school, seventeen-year-old Justice St. Michaels is grateful for the help of her best friend Moira O’Fhey. Their only wish is to graduate high school, leave the sleepy town of Fallingbrook and all that happened behind them. The Heavens have other plans. Between growths on her back and being involved in explosive school fights, nothing seems to make sense. When an unexpected encounter with Darien Raventhorn causes worlds to collide it exposes the truth about who Justice’s real identity. To avenge a family death, Justice must embrace her birthright, and slay the demon before all Hell breaks loose.

Excerpt:

Moira squeezes my arm.

“We need to get up. Come on. We aren’t going to be sitting ducks. He looks like he wants to start trouble.”

My heart starts beating faster and I stand up. Moira has already packed her bag, and she pushes mine into my hands. With her hand on the small of my back, she urges me along.

“It’s a public place, Moira, he won’t hurt us here. He’s all talk, right?”

She looks me in the eyes.

“Don’t underestimate crazy.”

What can you expect in A Raven’s Touch?
Adventure, friendship, and bit of romance mixed into a very different kind of paranormal story. It’s not the formulaic story where there’s one type of paranormal hero. Be prepared for Half Angels, Witches, Elves, demons, and a dragon for good measure.

Add A Raven’s Touch to your TBR pile.

Pre-Order on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018WJX1YC

If you miss the pre-order, don’t worry, the official release day is December 28, 2015.

About the Author:
Linda Bloodworth loves chips, like really, ketchup to be exact. Ketchup chips are only found in Canada. Lucky for Linda she lives in Toronto with her husband and three fur babies. In between writing, debating for hours about the Oxford comma, and the misunderstood semi colon; Linda enjoys camping, and getting away from the city on day trips.

Connect with Linda:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Email Linda

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