Monday, June 30, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (32)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

Teaser Tuesday

To participate all you have to do is:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn't give to much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

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"He pointed to a spot a couple days northeast of our location. We'd pass close enough to a Lily cluster to check for Death Lilys and possibly harvest its toxin. It was also outside the area we'd searched for Kerrick, so there'd be new ground to cover. And once we reached HQ, I would get to be pissy to Ryne in person. A bright side after all."
- Taste of Darkness, Pg. 45, Paperback

"My, my, what a pickle you're in, my dear, Tohon said. He lounged next to me on a huge canopy bed, wearing only his black silk pajama pants. Trying to save the world, again?"
- Taste of Darkness, Pg. 235, Paperback

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (35)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we can't wait to get our hands on!

Waiting On Wednesday, The Oathbreaker's Shadow

This week's WoW is Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne.

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

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Goodreads Synopsis:
Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

My Thoughts:
This is one of my most anticipated 2014 reads! I've been waiting for this since I read the synopsis a year ago. I'm a sucker for these types of books. Medieval/fantasy based with a badass heroine to lead.

Extra Information:
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Hardcover: 368 Pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

The Midnight Thief Trilogy:
Book One: Midnight Thief
Book Two: Unknown
Book Three: Unknown

How about you? What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoReading Level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 417 Pages
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Narration: First Person: Alina
Genre: Fantasy/Magic
Source: Amazon
Trailer: Trailer One ! Trailer Two

The Grisha Series
Book One: Shadow and Bone
Book Two: Siege and Storm
Book Three: Ruin and Rising

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

Goodreads  Website  Twitter  Facebook

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The capital has fallen. 
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My Review:

Cover Thoughts: Hurrah! Consistent cover schemes! 
An idea that is seemingly unheard of in YA novels nowadays since publishers seem to love irritating book-buyers. The Grisha series is my favorite set of covers on my bookshelf. I mean, come on, have you seen the spines side by side?

On a side note, it's also full of incoherent ramblings, 
so I apologize if it doesn't make sense.

Ruin and Rising was nothing like I had expected. All the little notes I scribbled down depicting what I believed would happen (who am I kidding, I don't write notes) never came to pass. To be honest, Alina losing her powers was a plot twist that never even crossed my mind. In YA novels, we've seen main characters die, we've seen their love interests die, we've seen their animal companions die, actually now that I think of it, most plot twists involve an awful amount of death. Alina and her sun summoning abilities seemed to be a package deal, permanent. When they just disappeared...I was like, "Nah, they're has to be something more to it." But as time progressed, I realized that it was set in stone, that she would never be a summoner again. One thing that I really liked was how she reacted to losing her powers. She wasn't a perfect heroine who felt all rainbows and butterflies for having saved Ravka; she mourned the loss of her power because it had been a part of her for so long. She was ashamed of her shallowness, considering all of the people who died in the battle, but she accepted it.

Originally, I was shipping Nikolai and Alina together. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who did. From the reviews on Goodreads, it looks like everyone was either for the Darkling or for Mal. The Darkling wasn't exactly evil, but I felt like he was too far gone to be redeemed within one novel. Maybe, if there were still more books in the series, Alina could've brought him back from the deep end, but since this was a trilogy, I predicted that they wouldn't be together in the end. If they did, I would've stabbed myself. Don't get me wrong, I felt for him and all the burdens he had to carry, but he was such a horrible person the majority of the time. The part where he said that Alina was nothing when she lost her powers? I was about to get violent. However, I do admit he still had his heartfelt moments.

 “In this moment he was just a boy -brilliant, blessed with too much power, burdened by eternity.” “Aleksander," I whispered. A boy's name, given up. Almost forgotten.”

Despite this smidgen of goodness in him, he was still pretty evil to me. 

On the other hand, I had nothing concrete against Mal. He was a childhood friend, understood her personality in ways no one else could, and had this undeniable bond with her since the start. Fate brought them together. Yet, I felt that Mal would never understand the Grisha side of her. He saw her as Alina, his best friend, the orphan he grew up with who taught him to not be afraid of the dark. He didn't see her as a powerful Grisha who had this immense power within her, who was afraid of herself because of the growing greed inside her. Not being a Grisha himself, he couldn't comprehend the nonstop struggles that came with suppressing her powers. While Mal was strengthened by normal, every-day living in normal every-day cities, Alina was weakened by it.That's why I felt like Nikolai was the best match for her. For one thing, he grew up surrounded by Grisha and was used to commanding his own crew of them. Although he wasn't a summoner, which for some reason I thought he was, he understood her powers better than Mal ever could. Although the Darkling understood her the best of all, he wanted to use her power for nefarious purposes, which is why I counted him out. Nikolai was like the center between two extremes. The Darkling represented exploitation. Mal represented suppression. Nikolai was the balance. 

Reason number two: His humor.
“I saw the prince when I was in Os Alta,” said Ekaterina. “He’s not bad looking.”
“Not bad looking?” said another voice. “He’s damnably handsome.”
Luchenko scowled. “Since when—”
“Brave in battle, smart as a whip.” Now the voice seemed to be coming from above us. Luchenko craned his neck, peering into the trees. “An excellent dancer,” said the voice. “Oh, and an even better shot.”
“Who—” Luchenko never got to finish. A blast rang out, and a tiny black hole appeared between his eyes.
I gasped. “Imposs—”
“Don’t say it,” muttered Mal.” 

This part of the book almost killed me. Tears were literally pouring out of my eyes! His sense of humor matched Alina's perfectly.

“On the fourth day, we came upon a cavern with a perfectly still pool that gave the illusion of a night sky, its depths sparkling with tiny luminescent fish.

Mal and I were slightly ahead of the others. He dipped his hand in, then yelped and drew back. “They bite.”

“Serves you right,” I said. “‘Oh, look, a dark lake full of something shiny. Let me put my hand in it.’”

You see? I loved both of these characters so freaking much. However, when she lost her powers in the end, I knew that she would end up with Mal. To me, that was really the only way she could end up with him. If she had kept her powers, she would've had to ascend to the throne and become Nikolai's queen. Someone said in the story, forgot who it was, that it was best for there to be both a human ruler and a Grisha one. That way peace could be preserved because both races were represented equally in court. However, without her power, there really was no need. Nikolai still wanted her to be his wife, but she had already made her choice by then.

Now that Alina was "normal" again, without her Grisha abilities, Mal and Alina could be together again. What really drove them apart in the first two books was their inability to connect with each other and Mal's reasoning that she was meant for greater things. The way Mal and Alina were living at the beginning of Siege and Storm, when they were hiding away from the Darkling, was a perfect example of how they would have lived together if Alina still had her power. The way Ruin and Rising played out at the end was necessary in order for them to ultimately be together. 

Overall, although Ruin and Rising was in no way what I expected it to be, I enjoyed it nonetheless. The action was non-stop, and I wasn't able to put down the book for more than ten minutes without getting anxious. The setting and descriptions of locations were as beautiful as always, and the writing was smooth and poetic. Contrary to the general population, I'm happy with how the love quad ended and how everything tied together. I know that a lot of fans are upset about the Darkling's death, but I felt that it was necessary for the novel to end. Originally, I had expected Alina to end up with Nikolai, but with the sudden, drastic turn of events, I agree that Mal was the better choice. The Grisha series is by far my favorite High Fantasy series out there. I'm sad to see it all end, but it was worth seeing Alina grow as a character and watch her discover who she was and what she was capable of overcoming.

The first winter, when it was time for her friends to leave, 
the girl ventured out into the snow to say goodbye, and the stunning raven-haired Squaller handed her another gift.
"A blue kefta," said the math teacher, shaking her head.
 "What would she do with that?" 
"Maybe she knew a Grisha who died," replied the cook, taking note of the tears that filled the girl's eyes. They did not see the note that read, You will always be one of us.

Cover- 6/5
Heroine- 5/5
Romance- 5/5
Action- 6/5
Humor- 6/5
Writing- 6/5
Setting- 6/5
Overall- 6/5