Waiting on Wednesday: Ruined

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Ruined (Ruined, #1)Ruined by Amy Tintera

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Goodreads: Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.


That sounds like a lot of revenge and I kind of like it.

 

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Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone, GO READ ANYTHING BY VICTORIA SCHWAB.

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the ‘Shades of Magic’ series and I’m beyond ecstatic to know that there’s a third book coming out. Back when A Darker Shade of Magic first came out, I was disappointed to discover that it was a standalone just like her other book Vicious. There was just something about her book that had that extra omph which made me crave more of the writing. Especially the way she ends the story leaves many loose ends and so much to speculation.

Victoria’s writing has always been excellent but her writing just flies off the pages in this novel. Especially with the premise of the Element Games Tournament, the excitement is palpable and I felt entrenched in each match from the beginning to the aftermath.

Lila didn’t try to be a wave, or a door. She simply pushed, not with force, but with will, and the wall of fire shot forward, barreling toward Sar. To Lila, whole thing seemed to take forever. She didn’t understand why Sar was standing still, not until time snapped back into focus, and she realized that the wall’s appearance, its transformation, had been the work of an instant.

A shout out to one of the cutest characters in the book! In the words of Schwab, “T.O.P. inspired a tournament magician named Jinnar, a sexy and adorable wind mage.
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Also a heads up, A Gathering of Shadows continues Schwab’s trademark cliffhanger that is simply unfair to all readers. Basically, everything is left unresolved and now I can’t wait for the third book in 2017!


 

WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

The truth was, Lila understood why Alucard did it. Why he traded safety and boredom for adventure. She didn’t know what it felt like to be safe, and she’d never had the luxury of being bored, but it was like she’d once told Kell. People either stole to stay alive or to feel alive. She had to imagine that they ran away for the same reasons.

 

 

Capture

*SCREAMS INTERNALLY*

Alucard has got to be one of my favorite new characters. Aside from his name spelling Dracula backwards, he’s another enigma with a disreputable past tangled up with Rhy and he’s a hard one to figure out. He’s not very forthcoming but neither was Lila. The author always does a skillful job of writing out intricate characters with dynamic personalities that change over the course of the plot. Although Alucard changes slowly and surely, he retains the same charm and nonchalance throughout. HE SHIP HIM SO HARD WITH RHY. He has a lot of hidden strengths and edges so I look forward to seeing more of him in the next book.

Now, Lila, that girl is just fierce. She continues to surprise me and manages to overcome each new obstacles with her cleverness and quick thinking. Her rise from a street thief to the empowering magician is simply astounding. I relished the journey she went through to get where she is and I loved that she still cared about what Kell thinks. Despite her hardheartedness, she really does like Rhy and Kell. Shes’ a softie underneath that tough exterior. She’s the true MVP in this story. Honestly, she’s grabbed everyone’s attention and is THE main character. (At least for me but I don’t know how Kell would feel about that.)

What are you? Kell had asked her once.
What am I? She wondered now, as the fire rolled across her knuckles like a coin.

I think by now, everyone has a hint of what’s going to happen with Lila, Kell, and Alucard. There are still a few plot twists thrown in so the story is never boring despite the Element Games not taking place until 200 pages in. However, I still think the Tournament was the most exciting part of the book because there’s so much flourishes and it easily goes from mildly amusing to frenetic within a few sentences.

Rensa tav,” answered Kell automatically as his chest hummed with nervous energy. What was he thinking? What was he doing here? This was all a mistake…and yet, his muscles and bones still ached for a fight, and beyond the tunnel, he could hear them calling the name–Kamerov! Kamerov! Kamerov!–and even though it wasn’t his, it still sent a fresh burst of fire through his veins.

Nonetheless, it’s not just all fun and play because a lot of crap really went down in ADSOM and there’s so much trauma in the aftermath of the wreckage. Rhy still suffers a huge amount of guilt and Kell is no longer the way he used to be. Even the king and queen are skirting around and holding grudges.

His voice fell a measure. “I think the king and queen are mad for blaming one son above the other.”
Kell swallowed. “Will they never forgive me?”
“Which would you rather have? Their forgiveness, or Rhy’s life?”
“I shouldn’t have to choose,” he snapped.

This whole compromise is bound to have many costs. Kell is chaffing at his leash and Rhy is resentful towards everything. In a way, they survived but they’re still broken. I love the way Schwab writes these flawed characters beautifully; they elicit such empathy and support from the readers. They’re still resilient and strong despite all the tribulations and Lila is a perfect example of it. Everyone, just be like Lila.

 

 

Major Spoiler:

And that ending!! ((Lila is an Antari. I CALL IT. She’s got one fake eye, that’s a sign that she’s probably had a black eye in the past. Anyways, I ship her so hard with Kell. UGH THE OTPS ARE STRONG IN THIS NOVEL. Rhy and Alucard. YES PLEASE.))

View all my reviews

Review: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Cat's CradleCat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vonnegut’s full-blown disillusionment with the modern world is clearly outlined in this book. It’s cynical and readers can draw parallels to current events. Yet, it is also fun to read and laugh over the satirical tidbits. It’s been a while since I last read something by Kurt Vonnegut (4 years actually) and I remember enjoying it as a youngster. Cat’s Cradle follows in the same vein as Slaughterhouse-Five in terms of satirical humor, caustic remarks, and epigrams. Vonnegut’s writing style is sure unique, I thought.  Cat’s Cradle relies heavily on a single character’s driven determination to uncover more information about a famous scientist who helped build the atomic bomb in WWII. This then leads to him encountering more people in his search and a ridiculous string of events that follow. Although the story is arranged into chapters that are the length of one or two pages, the plot is composed of implicit sections in which each take a turn into specific directions. Nevertheless, the short chapters effectively shows the reader independent thoughts and occurrences that eventually intertwine to coherent form the grand picture.

The absolute ridicule that Vonnegut attacks religion with should not be taken seriously. Although there’s a lot of serious issues that he touches upon, he writes about it in a cavalier way that shows how little he’s invested in it. For me, it was a book I would want to read if I wanted something relaxing. The ending is actually tragic but I wouldn’t put too much thought into it. My point for reading it was not for the story line but for the philosophical theses. Anyways, I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot take any Vonnegut that I read seriously.

View all my reviews

 

Encouraging Thunder Award

Wow, there’s so many awards on the blogging platform that I can’t keep up! It’s always fun to discover a new one out there with super interesting concepts.

Many thanks to Dimple @enthrallingdimple and

Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Post the Encouraging Thunder logo.
Mention your purpose in blogging.


Purpose of Blogging:

I have pretty much stopped deriving a joy from writing entering college. I have always preferred reading to writing simply because writing requires so much energy and contemplation. Although professors and teachers have praised for my writing, I did not go out of my way to write unless I absolutely must for homework or an assignment. I consider it technical writing and thus I did not practice ‘creative writing’ for a long while. For those people who actually read my reviews (thank you very much!), please bear with me because I’m still a writer-in-training. I usually don’t spell-check but I will try my best to get into the habit of it, and feel free to point out my typos and mistakes!

I also want to share my opinions and persuade people to read because reading is fun!! Whether it is reading my blog posts, reviews, or a book, I hope everyone will continue to pursue knowledge through literacy.


Nominations:

alibtechreads @A Lib Tech Reads

ωσя∂ѕωєнєαят @wordsweheart (Your username is super cool, btw!)

itusedtobemiami @It’s All Part Of The Human Experience

Note: Thank you for following me and keep writing!

Liebster Award

Thank you so much Victoria, Marcia, and Honya for nominating me for the Liebster Award!! I’m sure going to have fun with these 😀

Here are Victoria’s questions:

  1. What’s the worst book you’ve read? Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi (Anime and manga was literally butchered in this book)
  2. If you could go to any country in the world, where would you go? China
  3. What is/was your favourite class at school? Art
  4. Other than blogging, what do you like to do in your spare time? Read LOL. And draw, watch kdramas, and eat.
  5. Who is your favourite singer/band? Kpop BIGBANG
  6. If you could have any pet, what would you have? It can be mythical if you want! I want a puppy.
  7. What’s been your favourite blogging moment so far? When people actually took the time to read and comment on my posts.
  8. What, in your opinion, is your best feature? My eyes.
  9. If you could change places with a celebrity for a day, who would you be? J. K. Rowling
  10. If you could join a family, mythical or real, who would you join? Don’t worry, you can take your family with you! Tsubasa Chronicles family

Honya’s:

  1. What inspired you to begin blogging? I read a lot but I needed to hone my writing skills through longer reviews.
  2. Would you rather read books written in your native language, or do you like reading translated books from other countries? I speak Chinese but I read in English because that’s what I’m taught.
  3. Favorite author? (You can pick more than one.) Melina Marchetta, Georgette Heyer, Maggie Stiefvater
  4. What little-known book do you really like? Red Rising Trilogy, Sherry Thomas’s Elemental trilogy, All Our Yesterdays
  5. Conversely, what popular book can you just not bring yourself to enjoy? The Grisha Trilogy, Blood of Eden
  6. If you were in your own fairy tale, what kind of character would you be? The one who dies first.
  7. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you most want to meet? Jane Austen
  8. Coffee or tea? Or do you avoid caffeine? Tea
  9. Are there any musicians/musical groups that you particularly enjoy? Infinite and AkMu is pretty awesome.
  10. What other forms of art (besides books) do you like? I love drawing manga and anime is alright I guess.
  11. What are you looking for in other book blogs in the community? I look for reviews and speculation.

Marcia’s:

1. What’s your favorite pastime? Reading 

2. Favorite ice cream? Mint or Cookies n’ Cream

3. Favorite book? The Perilous Sea

4. Favorite movie? Donnie Darko

5. Favorite climate? Warm but with a bit of wind

6. Favorite vacation? Ocean City

7. Favorite color? Blue

8. Favorite hot meal? Noodles and noodles!

9. Favorite song? Melted by AkMu (p.s. you’re welcome) 

10. Favorite season? spring

11. Favorite candy? Sour gummies


Here are my questions for you:

  1. Favorite genre?
  2. What genre do you hate?
  3. How many books have you read so far?
  4. How many do you want to read this year?
  5. Favorite movie from 2014/2015?
  6. What kind of humor do you like?
  7. What color is “The Dress”?
  8. Favorite show?
  9. What do you do on a rainy day?
  10. If you have a Goodreads, what do you do on there?

I nominate:

Becca

Josephine

Erika

Precious @ Clockwork Desires

By Hook or By Book

As per usual, feel free to do the tag even if I didn’t tag you and I look forward to hearing your answers!

Review: The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
View all my reviews

3.5 Stars because the ending saved the whole story from the flopping 2 stars. It takes a lot of risk and guts for an author to pull off 300 pages of boring talk about military drilling, injury recovery, and basically no action but the results forgave (mostly) everything. For a hulking book of 480 pages, the first several hundred were prepared as a setup for character development and mapping out the intricacies of the training/journey. Although I quit twice before I finally picked this book up again, the final 15% of action sequences were well worth it. The plot pacing formula is very similar to Angelfall by Susan Ee which is a brilliant, wonderful book that starts out with a bang and ends with a bang. The middle teeters for so long with minor exciting scenes to keep the reader mildly interested and then the cliffhanger ending reels the reader into shock. At least, that was how I felt when I was (on-and-off-again) reading The 5th Wave.

I have always been curious about Yancey when I came across his book The Monstrumologist but I was 30 pages in before I quit out of sheer discomfort. It turns out that horror was not my forte and at the tender age of 16, I was not into watching or reading gore and nightmarish creatures. I was way into the zone and I did not like it despite how compelling the writing was.
It just happens that The 5th Wave had the excellent writing but disposed of the horrific element so I’m super glad that I finally can experience the author’s ingenuity.

Strengths:

The two shifting narrators were easily distinguishable simply by their ‘voices’. They talked differently but not too deviant enough to think the author was trying hard to make it so. The unique blend of determination, bleakness, and feelings of despair between Cassie Sullivan and the other character Ben Parish was compelling and contrasting in their situations.
Cassie, who’s on the search for her missing young brother, is frightened but has a core of steel reinforced by her previous karate experience.
Ben Parish, who never had any combat skills, begins a rigorous process to gain sharpshooting skills and becomes molded into an intimidating soldier.
It’s really interesting juxtaposing these dual purposes and showing two different sides of humanity and their ways of coping with grief and loss. Ben is brittle despite his former ease and sociability as the popular football jock in high school and the death of his family was a huge blow that has forced him to reevaluate his reason to keep living. Cassie has lost nearly everyone incrementally due to the 4 waves. But instead of breaking her, the hardships whittled her down to the quintessential persistence and dogmatism to forge on with her lucky M16 rifle. As I said, the 300 pages weren’t boring but they failed to keep my eyes glued to them when I had other better reading options like Cress available. The huge plot twist that heralded the book title of the 5th Wave is not really a twist because a huge hint was dropped early in the beginning. I assumed so but I hope others did not guess it or would at least enjoy the unraveling of the process and the direction it gave the characters.

When both point of views finally converged, I was beyond excited because that’s when it was smack-dab in the middle of the climax, to use a lack of a better term. BOOM. That’s when the true badassery of Ben/Zombie reveals itself and the fierceness of Cassie induced me to cheer on and read like there’s no tomorrow. KABAM! Don’t forget Evan who is a killing machine! Pew Pew Pew!!…Anyways…

The romance was not too shabby and thank goodness it did not take center stage because there was not enough chemistry or positive attributes in the love interest to qualify as romance material. However, I did enjoy learning more about the aliens, how they resolved to destruction and obliteration of humanity, and their superior intelligence. It was nicely glossed over but I’m still curious about them because there’re questions (Exactly where do they come from? Why did it take them so long to invade? Why did they have to observe the Earth for thousands of years? What happened to their home planet? Why did they choose Earth?) that still go unaddressed. There are no gaping plot-holes which is always a bonus when it comes to the landmine of mind-boggling science fiction.

Weaknesses:

  • Minor Spoiler: Cassie’s brother is the sole remaining family member and thus her reason to survive and act as protectorate.
    This is a plot device regurgitated so often in books such as Angelfall, The Hunger Games, and Blood Red Road.
  • Despite being apocalyptic times, Evan Walker, the walking hottie with precise shooting, good hygiene and cuticles, and soft hands just did not appeal to me. The fact that he was romantic is mostly likely due to taking care of Cassie and feeding her during her brief confinement to the bed for her injury. It makes me derisive to think that that itself warrants a crush but I’ll have to dismiss that since Evan is her only companion and he does have a nice personality.
  •  I wished the author didn’t drop those huge hints and implement dramatic irony. When the characters finally discovered what was really going on, I just did not feel it because I was not shocked enough. The characters would stand rooted to the ground in disbelief and I would only sigh for them because it took them long enough to figure it out. They’re by no means dumb and in fact, they’re exceedingly clever because it’s hard to match up the clues but when the big reveal was all done without any flair 200 pages ago…well then.

I am, however, in the right mindset to read the sequel The Infinite Sea because Rick Yancey sure is a good writer. The cliffhanger ending may also have something to do with that. I’m too curious for my own good and I’m up for the challenge of reading the second book.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! (#1,2,3, & 4)

Thanks so much Estefany @estefanys book blog, Kath @kathquiambao, Nicole @fairenreads, and Rachael @rachaelsbooks for nominating me!

hate everybodyThe Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions they’ve set you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate ten people.


Estefany’s Questions:

  1. Favorite series? Vacillating between Lumatere Chronicles and Megan Whalen Turner’s series
  2. What’s your favorite genre? Fantasy
  3. If you could meet one character, who would it be? Eugenides from the Queen’s Thief series
  4. Who’s your book crush? ‘Captain’ Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles
  5. What’s your favorite color? Blue
  6. What’s on your tbr right now? Up next, Golden Son and The Fall of Five!
  7. If you could visit anyplace from a book, where would you go? Henrietta from Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys
  8. What’s your favorite color. (again?) lol lily blue, blue lily
  9. Have you ever hated a book? YES.
  10. What’s your favorite movie? Donnie Darko

Kath’s 10 questions:

  1. How many books have you read for this year? I’ve read 51 books so far. The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
  2. Paranormal or Mystery books? Paranormal because anything can happen and there really aren’t limits.
  3. Young Adult or New Adult? Young Adult because NA is currently plagued with sensitive/trigger topics (like rape, promiscuity, alcohol, violence) that are badly handled and no matter how terribly written it is, ratings are skewed positively so long as there’re sex scenes.
  4. What is your favorite picture book? A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  5. Reading a Hardcover with or without dust jacket? DUST JACKET.
  6. Stand alone with cliffhanger ending. Yay or nay? Yayy but only if the author is good enough to pull it off. (aka Vicious)
  7. Favorite book line? “Down with tyranny!’ Bramble cried. ‘Aristocracy! Autocracy! Monocracy! Other ocracy things! You are outnumbered, sir! Surrender!” -Entwined
  8. Most annoying fictional character for you? The rich mom in My Life Next Door
  9. What’s your most favorite season to read? Summer
  10. Not book related. I take pictures of food sometimes if I don’t forget in my haste to wolf it down. (But I don’t instagram it.)

Rachael’s Questions:

  1. Favorite Series? Harry Potter too!
  2. Favorite Author? Melina Marchetta
  3. Favorite book boyfriend? Titus
  4. Why you like him? He’s so stiff it’s funny but he’s nice
  5. The appearance of your bbf? (hair color, eye color, height, characteristics etc.) blonde, caring
  6. Book you can never forget? The Scarlet Ibis
  7. All-time favorite book? Jellicoe Road
  8. Favorite book quote? “Kiss me, Hardy! KISS ME, QUICK!”- Code Name Verity
  9. Your preferred boyfriend species? (alien, vampire, demon, fallen angel etc.) lmfaoo demon
  10. Your favorite book antagonist? Warner from Shatter Me!! MY FAVE

Nicole’s questions:

  1. If you had to sacrifice a book, which one would it be? LOL Forever Lily: An Unexpected Mother’s Journey to Adoption in China
  2. Favorite author? Markus Zusak
  3. Favorite trilogy? Skinjacker Trilogy
  4. One book you’re looking forward in 2015? The Winner’s Crime
  5. A book that you couldn’t finish reading? Fated by Alyson Noel. SO BAD
  6. Favorite book quote? Anything from Laini Taylor
  7. A book you can read over and over again? The King of Attolia, the only book I read again.
  8. Favorite book character? Bruiser
  9. Sci-fi or Romance? Sci-fi but I like romance 🙂
  10. Worst book you’ve read so far? An Unquiet Mind

My Questions for You:

  1. Most disturbing book you’ve read?
  2. Favorite TV show?
  3. What kind of genre or specific topic (like faery, vampire, mythology etc.) do you like to read?
  4. How many books have you read this year and which did you hate?
  5. Which book would you like to see adapted into a movie?
  6. How do you feel about love triangles?
  7. Favorite book couple: 
  8. What’s your hobby?
  9. Favorite movie this year?
  10. What sequel do you want to read?

    I nominate:

 Have fun, everyone!!