ARC August ’16: Update 1

Hello there, everyone and welcome to my update for ARC August ’16, Week Two 🙂  I’ve been horrible these past two weeks–obviously–and I have no regrets.  Except of course that I’m doing nothing but squander my life away, but whatever.

So.  In terms of the books I’ve read, these last two weeks have been…interesting.  Actually, no that’s crap, they’ve been horrible.  So this is what I read:

   

This is what I genuinely loved and enjoyed:

S Q U A T

Yeah.  You can tell I’m a little bitter 🙂  Basically, these books were all pretty high on my Highly-expected shelf and I was super disappointed with these.  Heart-breaking, but true. But I also happened to read For Better Or Worse by Lauren Layne, and omfg, A WINNER.  I loved that one.  Not a part of my ARC August TBR but it was a) An ARC and b) Amazing.  Definitely something you should consider reading when it comes out this month end!

I’m planning on reading the rest of the six books in the next two weeks–I’m reading It’s A Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt as you read this–so wish me luck!  I will see all of you hot potatoes on the 31st of August with a couple of announcements AND a (hopefully) successful end of ARC August!  Until then, lovelies 🙂

Mini Reviews #7

 Title: Change Places With Me
Author : Lois Metzger
Genre : Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Publication Date : June 14th, 2016
Publisher :  Balzer + Bray
| Goodreads | Amazon |

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Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood with her stepmother and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was just a little different than it was before. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. Her hair and her clothes all feel brand-new. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There is no more sadness in her life; she is bursting with happiness.

But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because, until very recently, Rose was an entirely different person—a person who is still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.

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REVIEW

Change Places With Me was one hell of a ride, I’ll give it that.  The book gives off vibes of weird and creepy right from the first line and it just gets weirder and creepier until the end.  Change Places With Me is the story of Rose, and how one day she wakes up feeling different.  Her friends notice how she’s completely a different person from who she used to be and they are puzzled, because this new Rose is the stark opposite of her former self…almost as if she is two different people.

I’m not a huge fan of Science Fiction but I, too, found myself intrigued by the book.  The feeling of “something is not quite right” is in the back of the reader’s mind constantly, only made more relevant by the fact that the characters in the book themselves find something amiss.  I think that the entire point of the book is to find out what exactly is wrong about Rose and why, and in that process, I found myself not really connected to her.  I did care for her journey, and I was indifferent to the secondary characters, but there was definitely a kind of detachment that in any other book, would have annoyed me greatly.

One of the most stand out things about this book is the way it is written—in three parts—and how it manages to pack thrills and mystery and also family in its 200 something pages is quite beyond me.  Given what a mystery Rose really is, I was quite amazed at the author’s ability to show without telling.  Everything came together like little pieces of a bigger puzzle, and I was quite satisfied by the ending, if not hoping for a slightly longer book.

Whether I would recommend this book or not is the big question.  I really did like the book, but as you can tell by the very vague review, I can’t point out exactly why I liked it.  There are many smaller parts of the book that come together to give you a larger, more clear view type of book this is, making it quite an impressive read, albeit not long enough to really help connect with everyone in it.  If you enjoy Science Fiction that is packed with Mystery, then try this book out because you might find yourself really surprised.  However, if you are the type of person who likes to feel a real connection with the MC, then I suggest that you move over this one.

 

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Title: Wicked Heart (Starcrossed #3)
Author : Leisa Rayven
Genre : New Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date : May 17th, 2016
Publisher :  St. Martin’s Press
| Goodreads | Amazon |

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The one guy she can’t have is the one she can’t forget.

Liam Quinn is one of the biggest movie stars in the world…and the only man Elissa Holt has ever truly loved.

After being out of her life for six years, he and his gorgeous fiancé are set to star in the new Broadway show Elissa is stage managing. The only trouble is, when late night rehearsals bring Elissa and Liam together, the line between what is and what could have been gets blurred. Now one moment of weakness is about to create a scandal that will echo around the world.

Elissa knows that falling for Liam again would be a tragedy in the making, but as any good romantic knows, love doesn’t always follow the script.

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REVIEW

So there’s fiction and then there’s fiction.  You know the one that we like to read because it provides us with an escape from the monotony of our lives, and the other which borders on psychotic.  Based on my rating, guess which category Wicked Heart falls into, I dare ya.

At the risk of a very unprofessional way of starting a book review, I’m going to give you, dear reader, a word of advice.  Don’t read this book.  Really, don’t.  There’s a lot of better romance fiction out there, and hey, I can give you some recs myself!  But do not read this book.  It’s absolute trash, and will mind-fuck the hell out of you.

In a quick recap let me tell you how the book goes—our heroine Elissa Holt (you may remember her as being Ethan Holt’s sister from Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet), is some sort of a stage manager prodigy.  She’s merely 25 and managing one of the biggest pieces of work on Broadway—complete with ultra famous Hollywood stars (including Liam Quinn, the hero) trying to foray into theatre.  Now, I say that Elissa is a stage manager extraordinaire only because it’s been told to me.  She did nothing in the book remotely relating to “stage management” and so I can’t judge for myself.  But she’s our heroine, and she’s good at her job, because she has to be, right?

Onwards!  Now Elissa has to manage being in Liam’s close proximity, not to mention his fiancée who is also a part of the same play.  Elissa and Liam had some sort of explosive history (where have I read that same plot before?) and six years later, they’re trying to cope with their attraction (seriously, where have I read that before?), all the while trying to put on a good show for the rest of the world.

A couple of things I’d like to address:  The chemistry between Elissa and Liam felt forced and only carnally motivated.  Love?  Pheesh.  Who has the time for that?  The plot with Liam and his fiancée?  Horrible.  Horrible and clichéd and predictable and unbelievable.   Liam is apparently the hottest thing since Ethan Holt, and Elissa’s love for cheese was the great big punchline to every alternate joke in the book.  The writing was generic and not at all like the one in the previous two instalments.  Basically?  Swipe left on this one, people.

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I RECEIVED THESE BOOKS FOR FREE FROM Balzer+Bray & St. Martin’s Press THROUGH EDELWEISS & Netgalley respectively, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. THIS DID NOT IN ANY WAY, HOWEVER, INFLUENCE THE CONTENT OF THIS REVIEW.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff {Review}

Title : Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Author : Jay Kristoff
Genre : Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date : August 11th, 2016
Publisher :  Harper Voyager
Goodreads | Amazon  | 

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Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

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REVIEW

Slight word of warning for all potential readers:  Nevernight is an ADULT book about YOUNG ADULTS.  The fact that these characters are teenagers has nothing to do with the fact that the content in this book is explicit and graphic.  If you are under 18 years of age, you may need to hold off on reading this one, at least until you’re a bit older.

Moving on!

Nevernight was a journey in itself, you guys.  It was a crazy, bloody absolutely violent journey and I had an amazing time wrapping my head around the entire concept of the book.  This is only my second Jay Kristoff book and I am well on way to believe that he may be one of those authors the world loves and with good reason.  In Kristoff’s own words, Nevernight is set in a place like Hogwarts, if Hogwarts taught you to murder the shit out of people.  And this is delivered.  There is more murder in this book than I have read in a while, and it made me extremely happy.  That’s not where it ends, though, and Nevernight brings the reader so much more!

This book follows the story of Mia Corvere who has made it her aim in life to avenge her father’s death—and so with a little help, Mia trains to become a lethal assassin.  To complete her training, she must make her way to the Red Church where she will be taught by the most masterful, craft teachers you will ever read, and become a Blade.  Only four out of the whole lot that go will become Blades, and Mia is determined to become one come what may.  Of course, this may be made slightly difficult by the fact that the Red Church is in fact a murder cult, and death runs unrestrained inside its walls.

 

The Good Stuff:

  • Nevernight has an “assassin school” concept that I just adored.  It’s so new and the way it was done made me a really really happy reader.  I especially liked the way the Red Church was described in terms of the little history we learn about it, and the building itself.  It’s really visual and I loved that it was maze-like, meaning you can actually get lost inside of it.  A++ for the excellent world-building that keeps you engrossed and amazed, and makes you want to lose yourself inside this land with three suns.

  • One of my favourite characters to read in Nevernight was the not-cat Mister Kindly.  I’m not going to speak too much about it, but Mia and Mister Kindly’s conversations were entertaining af!  Mister Kindly is sassy and basically the best friend a girl can have.  It’s intentions are not really revealed, not even what it is is hinted on, but I’m looking forward to reading all about Mister Kindly in the next books!
  • The teachers at the Red Church were just brilliant creations.  While I read them, I could fit them all into Prof Snape, Prof McGonagall, Prof Lupin kind of categories.  It was amazing (and terrifying) to see so many different teachers, all of them murderers, of course, moulding these young killers into expert assassins.  I anticipated each class that the book showed, and I had an unusually great time finding out how exactly one becomes a Blade with the help of these psychopaths 😃

  • Now, there has been many different opinions about the footnotes that are a part of this book.  The footnotes basically give the backstory about a particular incident/person/building that has been mentioned throughout the book.  There are more than 70 of these, if I’m not mistaken, and personally, I loved them!  They were concise and informative and funny, and I can imagine them coming straight out of the narrator’s mouth as a buffer through the tough parts of the book!

 

The Not-So-Good Stuff:

  • Nevernight had a lot of scope for plot that could have driven the reader crazy with fear and exhilaration…but alas, there was close to none.  For me, the book only started to get interesting around the 30% mark, and that isn’t something I would’ve stuck around for in the case of other books.  It was only Illuminae that kept me faithful to seeing this book through, and that should never be the case.  The book has a slow start, and little to no plot outside of Mia’s training at the Red Church.  Though not completely dependent on one another, the slow pacing made me want to stab Mia in the eye.  Even after the book picked up in speed, I didn’t completely get behind Mia, and the only sad reason I can give for this was that the setup > plot.
  • The book was over-written.  (Is that a thing, btw?)  Nevernight was full of flowery descriptions and fancy writing that I could have done without.  It fit in with the tone of the book, I guess, but it was irritating, it really was.  An entire paragraph to convey a single thought?  Half of which flies right over my head?  Fuck no.

  • So the hashtag that is going around for promotions of the book is #StabStabStab.  In my opinion, there wasn’t enough stabbing.  I loved every little murder scene that was shown at all, but for the amount of gore and blood and flowing body fluids this book promises, it fell flat.  I’m hoping that the next book brings more bile flying this way and that, but this book was pretty disappointing in that sense.
  • Lastly, the romance.  I didn’t see any real emotion between the two except lust (and I’m glad that was the only emotion the book portrayed too) but the little attempts at convincing themselves that “it must’ve been love?”  No.  Just no.  I would’ve enjoyed this whole fest much much more had Mia not engaged with Mr Typical YA Love Interest.

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I WAS PROVIDED A FREE EARC OF THIS BOOK BY HARPER VOYAGER THROUGH NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE OF AN HONEST REVIEW. THIS DID NOT IN ANY WAY, HOWEVER, INFLUENCE THE CONTENT OF THIS REVIEW.

ARC August 2016 (!!!!)

Deep breaths.

I have been a terrible blogger these past two months.  (Also, a terrible person, but I’m only going to reveal stuff I’ve done on–where else–Twitter.)  I’ve been lousy at reading my humongous pile of ARCs, and I’ve also rather shamelessly requested for more.  It’s a character defect of mine to bite far more than I can chew.  Also, I’ve noticed that not much has changed since I was doing this same thing last year too.  Whatever.

Look at me trying to atone for my many sins, one ARC at a time.

Like last year, the rules are simple–the book you choose must be a published/unpublished ARC, update your progress whenever you like (but in the month of August, obv) and most importantly HAVE FUN.  But unlike last year–when I was a bonny young lass who was naive and did I mention young–this year I have set a goal for 10 books to complete.  It was a tough decision choosing what to read, but I have 5 books each from Netgalley and Edelweiss and I’m really sorry I missed reading these when I got them.  Some are, of course, hella new and I’m looking forward to reading those as well!

                             

So.  Quick run through my entire August TBR.  Georgia Peaches is a highly anticipated book coming out in August, and those who have read it have adored it.  I’m sold.  My reading of The Novice comes entirely because of Aditi over at A Thousand Words A Million Books.  She loves this series, and Imma try my hand at it.  I’d read Ignite The Shadows last year, and have been eagerly awaiting it’s sequel, Eclipse The Flame ever since!  The rest of the books I’ve chosen because because, like I said, I was super silly and never got to reading these when I got them in the first place and they look great!

Also, August means the second TGTRAT (The Great Twitter Readathon) will be from the 5th to the 7th!  My goals for that one are still unclear, but I will try my best to read a couple of books that weekend 🙂

See you next Sunday with an update!