Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review: "The summoned mage" by Melissa McShane


Book 1 in series Convergence
Main character: Sesskia

Synopsis

Sesskia, talented thief and secret mage, has spent the last ten years traveling the world, searching for ancient books that will teach her magic forbidden in her country. When she is magically transported to another world where magic is not only permitted, but celebrated, she wonders if she ever wants to return. With new friends and a chance at a new life, Sesskia feels as if she’s finally come home.

But catastrophe is coming. Her new home Castavir and the world of her birth are coming inexorably together, heralding near-total destruction for both.

The mad God-Empress of Castavir intends to take advantage of the crisis by conquering both worlds—whatever is left of them. Sesskia must work with the Castaviran mages to combine their radically different magics to prevent the convergence from happening and save both her worlds.

I got an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review :) the first thing you need to know about this book is that it's the first story in a trilogy... and I do mean a trilogy in a sense that we follow the same character and all three books tell one big story... because you need to be prepared for that cliffhanger at the end of this installment ;) I knew it was coming, but it still surprised me... mainly because it happened about 86 % into the story :) I was in the middle of my commute to work and then BAM! the story ended and I almost fell off my chair :) #TrueStory :) but then we got a little bonus, more about it later, and I was very happy :) fortunately for all of you guys, all three books are already available, so you can totally binge-read them if you want :) now how about I will finally tell you a bit more about this fantasy trilogy and our main character ;)

The whole story is told from Sesskia's point of view :) she is a thief, who's trying her best to learn magic... magic that is forbidden and feared in her world, but which awakened in her... sounds cool, right? :) I think so too :) what is even more interesting, is that the whole book is written as Sesskia's journal... so we discover things and see certain events from her perspective only... :) to be honest, it does take a moment to get used to, and the same thing can be said about the new world she finds herself in, because... yeah... at the very beginning of the book she is transported into this whole different world... she doesn't know anything about it, she doesn't even speak the language, and we are as confused as her :) but slowly, once we learn more, it gets better :) it definitely helps with the overall understanding what is happening, because we are not given all the informations in the span of a chapter or two :) so definitely don't be discouraged by the fact that you don't understand everything at the beginning, because all of that will be explained in time :) I don't really want to tell you more about what's happening after Sesskia arrives in this new world, because I truly believe it's better for your reading experience to figure stuff out as you read :) trust me, those surprises along the way will be much better if you're not prepared for them :)

Originally I gave this book 4 stars... or to be more precise, I gave the story 4 stars, but then I read the bonus scenes... *sighs dreamily* I mentioned before that the whole book is written from Sesskia's perspective because we are reading her journal, but those bonus scenes are told from someone else's point of view... I'm not gonna say who, but it was a lovely surprise :) they are also the reason why I bumped my rating to 4,5 stars :) I really liked Sesskia as a main character :) she started off really good, and then got even better when she grew as a character :) there is also a whole bunch of very interesting secondary characters, but again, because I don't want to actually spoil you who is important, I won't share any names... ;) and I mean the good ones, as in Sesskia's new friends, as well as the villains of te story... although it's not as easy to categorize them like that... trust me, the whole story is more complicated than that... :) the more I read this book, the more I was pulled into all the action... and now I am eagerly looking forward into continuing this story with the sequel :) so if you are looking for an original fantasy story with surprising turns of events, interesting characters that actually act like adults... well, throughout the most of the story anyway ;) and fantastic writing style, definitely give this trilogy a try :)

XOXO

A

Release blitz + Review: "Excess baggage" by Laura Barnard


Author: Laura Barnard
Standalone
Main characters: Jack Lawson and Erica Bennett

Synopsis

Stuck in a dead-end relationship, Erica Bennett finds herself daydreaming of her first holiday romance. She was fifteen, it was exciting, new and full of possibilities…and Jack Lawson was hot as hell. That kind of thing leaves a mark.

So when her friends suggest a girls holiday to Luna Island, it’s exactly what she needs to take her mind off things. What she doesn’t expect is to spot Jack – a much older, hotter version of him – across the hotel lobby.

Their attraction is still there and it isn’t long before sparks fly, but fifteen years is a long time. They aren’t the same people they were back then and besides, it’s only a week, right?

Is it a second chance at something real or will their excess baggage ruin their shot at love after they leave Luna Island?

I got an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review :) and boy do I have some very mixed feelings about this one... *sighs* I was going back and forth after finishing this story about how I should rate it and ultimately I landed on 3 stars... because there were things I absolutely loved about it, but also quite a few that I found problematic... as always, I will try my best to explain all my thoughts and feelings to you guys :) hopefully it will help you make your own decision about reading this book, because I am definitely not saying you shouldn't give it a try... I'm sure a lot of you will absolutely love it... but I am getting a bit ahead of myself :) first let me tell you a bit about our main couple...

Since it's a book that I have very mixed feelings about, I will keep my review on a bit of a shorter side, because I don't like to dwell on negative things... especially since usually those thigns are connected to my very own personal preferences as a reader, and just because I didn't enjoy certain aspects of this book, it doesn't mean you won't :) so about our main couple... yeah... I didn't like them very much... #SorryNotSorry, it's just my opinion... I mean, Jack was sort of ok, I guess... but it was definitely Erica that got on my nerve... *sighs* I just couldn't connect with her... like at all... and as someone who is exactly her age at this moment, I have to say... she really frustrated me... she was childish and annoying and I just couldn't understand her and her actions... don't get me wrong, I KNOW how it feels to want to play the what-if game, but it's never a good idea... and honestly, at this point... we know better... we might pretend we don't, explaining certain behaviour so the decisions we make will seem more acceptable, but deep inside we know we're making mistakes... and Erica was making mistake after mistake... at least in my opinion... their relationship was... if you actually can call it like that... it was a bit too much too fast for me... I prefer when the road to the actual relationship is a bit longer... :) but hey, like I mentioned before, it's my personal preferences talking :)

Overall I think that because I had such troubles with the heroine, it really influenced my reading experience... she was really obnoxious... I mean, the whole thing how she resolved the situation with her boyfriend was... ugh... BUT at the same time, I'm sure that some of you won't feel that way... you will find her flawed and relatable, and that's awesome for you :) my favourite character was actually Evelyn... she was one of Erica's friend... the one being called too serious and a buzzkill more than once, but... I so disagree with those opinions :) I mean, every time she challenged Erica or said some things I was like *YES!!! please, someone... anyone... listen to the ONLY voice of reason in your group* :) since it's not a very long story, everything felt a bit rushed... I would love to read more and get to know more about these characters... maybe seeing them together more as teenagers, or acting more like adults now would help me connect to them better :) BUT do not get me wrong, I feel like the writing style was funny and entertaining, and even though this was my very first book by this author, and it turned out it was not my cup of tea, I am definitely planning on reading something else from her :) fingers crossed that another story will be closer to my heart ;)


Get the book on Amazon UK

Find Laura online:

XOXO

A

Monday, May 22, 2017

Release blitz + Giveaway + Review: "Nudes" by Sarah Robinson


Title: "Nudes"
Standalone
Main characters: Ben Lawson and Aria Rose

Synopsis

Praised by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely, as "Passionate, emotional and uplifting!", contemporary romance author Sarah Robinson brings readers a new standalone novel set in the glamorous hills of Hollywood and tackling challenging themes like the intersection of sexuality and female empowerment.

Ben Lawson is making a comeback...
After a few tabloid headlines, they think they know me. They don't know a damn thing.  As CEO of a movie production company, I'll show them who I really am when we hit it big at the box office. My ex thought her smear tactics would ruin me, but I'm unbreakable. Rising from the debris, I swore I'd never let a woman distract me like that again. But then, my leading actress walked on the set and changed everything.

Seductive, sexy, and unapologetic, Aria Rose could break me. I wanted to help her, protect her...love her. Instead, I destroyed her.

Aria Rose is baring it all....
I knew better. I knew not to trust another Hollywood heartthrob with a reputation like his. He was my boss and became my ruin. I should have stayed far away from him. Ben Lawson promised me the world. He even promised me his heart. 

But he destroyed everything--my heart, my career, us.

I got an ARC of this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review :) there were some early reviews available onlive before I started this story... and the one thing they all had in common is that it's really hard to say anything about this book without some major spoilers... and after finishing it... I have to say that I agree with them completely :) it's harder than usual to write a review that won't say anything more than what's already in the synopsis, because it's definitely one of those stories where the less you know is definitely the better :) let it surprise you like it did me... ok, so what CAN I tell you? :)

Aria and Ben... they are the center of the story, but it's not the romance or their relationship that should play the main part in this book... it definitely wasn't my favourite part... :) don't get me wrong, I liked them both, even though I did not agree with every decision they made along the way, and there were moments when I felt like everything was happening pretty fast between them... but they both admitted how swept away they felt with everything that's been happening between them... but on the other hand, just because I didn't necessarily loved every little thing they did, it doesn't change the fact how amazingly Sarah wrote them... they felt real and... flawed in the most human way... they made mistakes and learnt from them... reacting in the best possible way for everything that's been happening to them... and yes, I am perfectly aware of how extremely vague I am sounding right now, and yes... it's totally on purpose... :) ugh... it's as frustrating for me as it has to be for you... :) so what more I can tell you about this book... hmm... not much, that's for sure :) oh, there's one more :) besides the main characters, this book had a few absolutely amazing secondary ones as well :) and even though it's a standalone I wouldn't mind reading a story at some point about some of them... ;) and no, I won't share any names... ;)

When I said that's it's not the romance that should play the main part of this story what I meant is that this whole book has a much bigger and more important message... I can't get into too many details, because it would involve some big spoilers about certain events in this story and different reactions to them, but... there was one scene... one scene towards the end of the book, that absolutely crushed me... it was... beautiful, emotional, raw and just... stunning... I'm just glad I was reading it curled up in my reading chair so I could sob in peace... honestly, it was that good... it was one of these moments that touched me deeply and that will stay with me for long after finishing this story... the whole message of strenght and empowerement and standing up for what's right... it was beautifully handled here :) congratulations to Sarah for writing such an amazing story... it really shows in her words how passionate she was about this story... how much it meant to her... it's also the main reason why I bumped my initial rating from 4 to 4,5 stars... well, the passion AND that amazing scene... seriously, I am tearing up just by thinking about it... trust me when I say, that Sarah is such a talented author... I don't love her books equally, but her writing style is always amazing :) and I think that this story in particular is the one you all should read... don't judge it by the cover... although it's absolutely gorgeous... and don't judge it by just a few chapters... follow the story, read all of it and then form your opinion... I did not expect to read it as fast as I did... because once I started, I just needed to know how it will end... :) so reserve an afternoon and let yourself get lost between the pages of this unique and surprising story... :)



a Rafflecopter giveaway About the author:


Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in clinical and forensic psychology. She is married to a wonderful man who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.

Find her online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

XOXO

A

Random ramblings of a bookworm ;) #65

Reading slump
Reaching-100-books haul
And
It's finally time!!!

Hello my awesome people :) this week I have a #RandomRamblings post for you full of... well, contradictions :) because on the one hand I have some amazing stuff to share... but on the other hand, I am currently suffering from my very first reading slump ever, soooo... ugh... how about I start from the worst thing and then we can concentrate on all the good stuff later :)

So about that reading slump... I am currently in a little bit of shock, if we're being honest... cause I've never been in that state before... like, ever... yes, I've had an occasional #BookHangover, for a few days, after I finished a truly amazing book... because I needed to take a break, to truly appreciate the story I finished... cause if I would try to read something else immediately after, nothing would be good enough :) but it always lasted a day or two, and then I was able to go back to reading :) but now? I just... don't want to read anything... *cue the gasps* ;) I know, it sounds awful... but I think I just reached a bit of a breaking point for me... little things have been building up for the past few months in my life and now I just need a break... I haven't been reading much... or at all really for the last week or so, and... it's already working :) I'm just taking my time, doing whatever I feel like in the evenings when I come home from work... since I'm pretty much caught up on my blog related stuff, I finally have the time to just... relax :) and it feels awesome :) accepting the fact that I'm in a reading slump and deciding to just go with the flow of stuff really took off the pressure and I'm better than ok with that :) so while I'm on this break, you will definitely be getting a bit less posts from me... but it's just one of the reasons for that... the other one is...

THIS IS THE WEEK WHEN I'M GONNA SEE BRUNO MARS LIVE!!!!! :) and yes, that sentence needed to be in all caps, because I am THAT excited about it :) me and my awesome sister J bought the tickets to his concert back in november, and it's been a long wait... ;) but this saturday it's finally the day :) *squeels with joy* :) I cannot wait :) but because we are going to another city to see him, we are actually going there a few days earlier to do a little sight-seeing :) that is also the reason why you will get two reviews tomorrow and one review today, but then nothing until next #RandomRamblings post o monday :) #SorryNotSorry for taking a mini break before my longer vacation time... but that's a story for next week ;)


Last but not least let's get to the best part of this post... my biggest book haul yet :) for now... ;) who knows what future months will bring... ;) anyway... :) I have seventeen books to show you guys... yes, you read that correctly, seventeen :) and I love them all :) with the addition of these lovely gems I know have an even number of 100 books :) *sighs happily* and I'm super excited to share all of them with you :) I will start with the ones I already read, and then get into all the new ones I can't wait to get my hands on ;)

So first, I have books #8 and #11 in Psy-changeling series by Nalini Singh :) she is one of my fave authors and this particular paranormal series is very high on my all time favourite list, so I am slowly making my way to buying all of them... :) I am still a few books short but soon... ;)


Next one I already had the pleasure of reading before is "Scandal in spring" by Lisa Kleypas, book #4 in her Wallflowers series :) and trust me, this absolutely lovely historical romance is not my only book by this fantastic author in this haul... ;)


Now we get to the *transition* part of this book haul :) because I got books #1 #2 (which I read previously) and #7 in The emperor's edge series by Lindsay Buroker :) that last book concludes one bigger story arch and I absolutely cannot wait to see how this fantasy / steampunk gem ends :) I am currently making my way through book #3... very slowly due to the reading slump I mentioned before, but it's soooo good :)


Remember when I mentioned a second ago, that I have more Lisa Kleypas's books to show you guys? :) so the first series I bought is The gamblers of Craven's :) it's another one of her historical romances one, and I've been meaning to try more of them, because I am in love with her writing style :)


And another series in that same type I got is her Bow street runners one :) both of them sounded the most interesting out of the ones I haven't read yet, and since they weren't very expensive, I decided to get all of them ;) plus, look at those gorgeous covers... :)


Next beautiful gem I have to share with you is "Pipe dreams" by Sarina Bowen, the newest installment in her Brooklyn Bruisers series :) and this one is a sports themed romance about a hockey player... if you don't know it about me yet, they are my absolute favourite athletes to read about, so you can imagine my excitement :) especially since I loved the previous stories in this series ;)


"The gravity of us" is the last one in Elements series of standalone stories written by Brittainy C. Cherry :) and even though I read only the first one, her absolutely stunning writing style stole my heart, so naturally I had to buy all the rest ;)


The one before last I have to share today is "Twist" by Kylie Scott, sequel in her Dive bar series :) she has such a hilarious writing style and her books are always super entertaining, so I am very curious to see what's gonna happen in this particular one :)


Last but definitely not least is actually not a single book, but a whole series :) Temptation by Ella Frank :) I have on good authority, and by that I mean of course my one and only amazing sister J ;) that they are absolutely phenomenal :) so naturally I listened to her and got all three at once :) originally it was the trilogy I currently have, but recently a new installment was released and there are apparently even more on the way :)


Ok guys, are you ready for a #shelfie? :) here's what 100 little gems of happiness look like :)


We are now at the stage where you can't really see what books I have looking at just the big picture, so I have a litte close-ups of each shelf for you :) first, my paranormal / fantasy one :)



My contemporary one :)



And my historical one :)



Ok people, that is a wrap :) I hope you enjoyed all the stuff I shared with you today :) as always, I love connecting with you, so be sure to leave a comment here, on my Facebook page or Goodreads account :) I check them every day :) talk to you soon ;)

XOXO

A

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: "Shadow and bone" by Leigh Bardugo


Author: Leigh Bardugo
Book 1 in series Grisha
Main character: Alina Starkov

Synopsis

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I feel like you all already know what this series is about... ;) cause I am pretty late on the whole Grisha-world-is-awesome train ;) to be honest it was the Six of crows duology that originally caught my attention, and yes, I know that people say you don't have to read Grisha trilogy to enjoy those new books, but I figured since they take place in the same world and I know that I will want to read the original trilogy at some point, I wanted to read them in order... you know, to avoid all possible spoilers and such :) now that I finished the first book, I'm very glad I decided to do it, because let me tell you... this world is complicated... :) since it's always hard for me to write reviews that won't spoil you stuff... although with this one I feel like everyone and their mothers read it already ;) I will still abide by my rule :) so I will tell you a bit about the world and our main character and then share my thoughts and opinions about this installment :)

When I said that the world is complicated, I really meant it... or maybe it's just been a while since I read a good fantasy book that requires from a reader to learn everything... ;) in case of the world we have in Grisha trilogy... yeah... it's filled with foreign sounding words that made it more difficult for me to figure out all the rules and connections between certain characters and groups... I'm hoping it will be easier with the sequels :) and since I am still unclear on certain details... I figured that me fumbling explanations wouldn't help you understand anything if you haven't read the book, and if you read it, well... you probably know more than me ;) so let me focus a bit more on our main character, Alina... :) she is an orphan, raised alongside of her only friend, Mal... a bit more about him in a second... :) and to be honest, I really liked her :) yes, I can understand why some people feel like she can be frustrating and annoying, but let's not forget that we are talking about a very young woman... she has a right to certain behaviour... and yes, there were a few moments when she and her decisions bothered me, especially in the first half, but I could understand where she was going from... BUT it got better in the second half and now I am very eagerly waiting to see how she will grow as a character in next installments :) because let's not forget that we are talking about a young girl who is thrown into a very serious and shocking situation... no wonder it's hard for her to find her footing... I know I'm being very vague but I feel like all the necessary informations are in the synopsis, and written much better than I would be able to put them ;) and all the rest you should be able to discover by yourselves :) so instead of focusing on all the stuff I can't tell you about, let me share some of my thoughts and feelings about this story in general :)

Overall I gave this book 4 stars :) I think that it's a very good start to a series, and I'm definitely curious about what's gonna happen next :) I really enjoyed the writing style, especially the banter between certain characters :) if it's an indication of what's gonna come next... I already can't wait :) I feel like this book laid the groundwork for much more character growth and action that will happen in future installments :) and of course I can't forget about some secondary characters... I wonder what we will learn about Mal, because my opinion of him changed a lot before this story ended ;) I also certainly can understand all the... let's call it fascination about the Darkling, although I still think that he's more scary than hot ;) my personal fave is Genya :) I don't want to tell you anything about her, because we meet her a bit further in the book and she doesn't appear as much as I would love her to do, but I'm hoping it will change in future books... :) for now I am crossing my fingers that she won't die :) seriously, this was the main theme going on through my head when I read about half of the book... when I passed a certain *what the WHAT!?!?!?!* moment... I was starting to really worry about people... :) even though the first half was a bit slow and trope-y for me, the second one was much better... :) so if you are thinking about giving this book a try, or you did in the past and it was hard for you to get into, trust me and push through a little bit more :) because that second half is definitely worth it... and from what I've been hearing, the first book is the weakest one in all trilogy :) once I will read them, will let you know if I agree with that opinion ;)

XOXO

A