Thursday, 20 October 2016

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials by Dan Wells book cover

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence, #1
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 1 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war's origin that she never knew to ask.

Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one's own point of view.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Ahh, Partials, what a disaster you turned out to be. When future-me looks back on this book I can imagine I’ll be classing it amongst some of my most hated books – and I only read 251 pages before I began skim reading to see if things improved. They didn’t. Maybe I missed some of the finer details, but there wasn’t anything that grabbed my attention to make me regret skimming on ahead. Let me explain my hatred. *Cracks knuckles*

Whenever I read a dystopian book, it’s inevitable I’ll compare it to The Hunger Games. Those books are pretty much a blueprint to everything I love about the dystopian genre, and everything I crave to experience when I pick up a dystopian book: fast pace; action packed; a real sense of risk; a bond with the characters; awesome writing etc. They’re my benchmark. Yes, it’s a bit unfair, but it’s how I subconsciously as well as consciously compare how I liked a book overall.

Here’s the thing: Partials is too slow. Slow, slow, slow. I don’t mind a slower pace if there’s an equal amount of heart stopping action popping up throughout the story. The glaring problem I had was that nothing happened. In my copy, on page 158 it says: “but nothing happened” and also on 159 it says “but nothing happened”. Why in the world would you even bother writing an action sequence where, quite literally, nothing happens?! The characters didn't do anything beyond talking to each other for dozens of pages at a time, walking through abandoned streets, or riding horse-drawn carts down even more abandoned streets. It’s tedious. For all the warning we get of how terrible The Voice is, and how lethal and horrible the Partials are, honestly, they didn’t seem very threatening in the grand scheme of things.

I haven’t a clue where this impression came from but I thought Paritals was going to be a zombie book. I was expecting hoards of the undead coming to eat every brain in sight and eradicate every glimmer of humanity left in the world. Colour me surprised when I began reading to discover a breeding programme that every woman is forced to participate in. *Grinds teeth* I’ll be honest here, if I had known about this going into the book, I wouldn’t have read it. Forcing pregnancy on anyone is something that’s guaranteed to unleash my inner fire breathing bitch queen. Ohh, I could just imagine someone coming up to me and telling me it was my responsibility, by some bloody proclamation, that I had to pop out a baby once a year as long as my fertility lasted. Honestly, the expression on my face alone would probably cause the coward to run away in fear, and that would be the sensible thing to do. Oh my good grief, heads would ROLL.

Also, the subtle layer of sexism throughout what I read infuriated me even more. I’m not sure if it’s accidental or intentional, but either way, I have some huge issues with ‘traditionally female activities’ being sneered at or classed as lesser. It doesn’t sit well with me on ANY level, and it makes it even worse when the female main character reinforces these themes. Overall it left me feeling very uncomfortable, and angry.

And speaking of the characters, quite frankly, they were unbearable. Kira was the biggest pain in the arse I’ve ever come across in YA. She’s sixteen, yet she acts like she’s freaking forty-six! And, of course, a sixteen year old will be the one to suggest a new avenue of study to enlighten poor little humanity on how to save itself. Feck all the people that were in the field studying for decades before the Break – they haven’t a clue! But the sixteen year old INTERN with TWO YEARS of study is smarter than the lot of ya. Sorry, I can’t buy this. We’re given the excuse that she’s supposed to be some sort of medical/biological genius. After two years of schooling! *Sigh*, I can’t take this stupidity.

Something else that hindered my suspension of disbelief: the book is set 60 years in the future. ONLY 60 YEARS! Since verbal traditions have been passed down through thousands of years – not to mention that buildings can last in various stages of abandonment for hundreds of years – it makes no sense to me whatsoever that they don’t know what an ice-rink or a weather station is. Or where the State of Georgia was located!! If we’re two, three or four hundred years in the future, then maybe I could try and accept it, but not sixty!

Add in endless info-dumping, stagnant writing and not enough action to stem off the boredom, and there was a never going to be a doubt about my overall feelings toward the book. In short, it was slow, boring, dull and pointless – and that was just the characters. The plot and pacing was even worse. Honestly, you won’t be missing anything if you skip reading Partials.

1 Star I Hated It

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

I Know You're Fictional, But I'd Name My Children After You

As tempted as I would be to name a child Voldemort just to see if people would run away in fear, I’m going to leave my evil sense of humour out of this list and keep things semi-realistic. I have included eight names on this list, and being honest, the odds of me having EIGHT children is non-existent – I mean, convincing me to have one would be an achievement in itself, never mind eight! But, hey, at least lots of naming choices never hurt anyone, right?!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish.

ClaraThe Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand – I loved Clara’s character throughout the Unearthly trilogy but I feel I don’t include her in favourites-type lists often enough. So, I shall hypothetically name a child after her! Fair trade, I think?

SylvainThe Night School Series by C.J. Daugherty – Okay, this might depend on whether the father is French. So, hello hypothetical French future father of a child of mine, I hope you like the name Sylvain.

NinaSix of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo – Okay, I was really tempted to choose Kaz… but let’s be honest here, the thoughts of having a spawn of yours start to emulate his namesake – and that namesake just happens to be KAZ BREKKER – well, that slightly terrifies me, so, we’ll go with Nina. Also, I adore her so it’s a very easy decision.

TobiasThe Animorphs Series by K.A. Applegate - Way back in the day when I read the Animorphs series I made the decision if I ever had a son, he’d be named after Tobias. Funnily enough I still like the name, so in honour of 13-year-old-past-me, Tobias makes this list.

KadenThe Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson – Speaking of emulating namesakes... Oh well, I adore the name Kaden way too much so I’ll take the chance!

ChaolThrone of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas – I can’t resist, I have to include Chaol’s name. Well, I’d hope a real version would be treated a little better than the fictional version was… just sayin’.

KelseaThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – I can’t really put my finger on exactly why I love the name Kelsea so much, but if I had a daughter named after Kelsea Glynn and she started emulating her, I’d actually be very proud!

Kami - The Lynburn Legacy Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan - To me, Kami is a very underrated YA heroine. I loved her personality and individuality when I read the trilogy last year, and everything I said about Kelsea above I'll echo here.

Just looking back over this list I seem to have a strange affinity for names beginning with C and K. Huh. I have a feeling I'll be a bit paranoid over this for a while! What are some of your favourite character names? Do we share any favourites?

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

So, It's Been a While...

Hi! Hello! How've ya been? So, it's been quite a while. You may (or may not) have noticed that I disappeared for a while. About that, well, when I came back from the US at the end of April I started back blogging as normal, but I began to feel sick. I casually mentioned it on Instagram, and when I wasn't getting better I decided to take a week to ten days off to rest up, get healthy again and maybe catch up and schedule some posts so I could be a little less stressed in the long run. One week lead to another without writing anything, then fast forward to October and here we are…

I've written three versions of this post. Once in June. Then again in both August and September. Honestly, I spent most of this time debating whether to come back at all. Each time I was about to post I would chicken out because I felt extremely guilty and embarrassed. And the more time that went by, the worse I felt. I did the one thing I said I'd never do: disappear without a proper explanation. For that, I'm very sorry. No excuses. It's all on me.

To everyone that's stuck around, thank you. Those words aren't not enough, I know that, but nothing else covers what I want to say other than thank you.

So, Alma, what have you been doing with your new-found freedom? Well, I'd love to sit here and ramble off a list of humanity-benefitting and life-long wishes that I accomplished, but honestly I just RELAXED. You don't realise how much stress blogging dishes out until it's removed. I played PC games I haven't played in years. I baked. And between both the Euro's and the Olympics, my TV time was well spent in couch-potato sports watching bliss. Then add Pokemon Go to the mix and my couch-potato ways got a sudden but much needed shake up. Yep, I'm a complete Pokemon nerd, and if I had this back in the '90s when the anime was everywhere… wow, I'd have been in heaven. Plus, my dog doesn't seem to mind the extra walks and exploring, so win/win!

I've been trying for a blogging/life balance for the longest time, and with taking a really long and unexpected break I'm determined to achieve it this time. I'm the kind of person that tends to pour all my energy into a project until it's either finished or I burn out, and I know this attitude isn't healthy. So, I'm going to try and change it. My blogging schedule might be a bit unpredictable from here on out, but I want to balance the freedom of life outside blogging with the bookish community that I missed while I was away. So, that's about it, and hopefully I'll be back to blogging as normal over the coming weeks. Thanks for sticking around!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

WoW #84: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

This week, I'm waiting on...


by Jay Kristoff

 Nevernight by Jay Kristoff book cover

Expected publication: August 9th 2016

Genres: Fantasy; Magic; Young Adult

Add to Goodreads

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.


This cover, this cover, this COVER! I love it so much. I’d be so tempted to buy it just for the cover alone, but did you read that synopsis?! Nevernight is about assassins. And vengeance. And a school for assassins! In a medieval Venice style world. Oh, and ASSASSINS! If you couldn’t already tell, I have a huge weakness for assassins. Holy freaking heck, I need this book!

What do you think of Nevernight? Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading!

* Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. *

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi Blog Tour - Excerpt and Review

Welcome to my stop on The Star-Touched Queen Blog Tour! The Star-Touched Queen is Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel, and it’s a fantasy story inspired by Indian folklore, and Hades and Persephone from Greek mythology. Sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?! Today I have an excerpt from The Star-Touched Queen, and I’ll also chat about the book and share my thoughts on it. Hope you enjoy!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


Thinking of Gauri always made me smile. But as soon as I caught sight of my tutor of the week, the smile disappeared. He stood between two pillars of the archive section marking the kingdom’s history. Beyond the sheer number of things to read in the archive room, what I loved most was its ceiling. It was empty, wide enough to crawl through and conveniently linked to my father’s inner sanctum.

The tutor, as luck would have it, stood directly below my hiding spot.

At least Father’s announcement hadn’t started. The courtiers still murmured and the footfall of tardiness fell on my ears like music. But if I was ever going to get to hear that meeting, I had to get rid of the tutor first.

“Punctuality is a prize among women,” said the tutor.

I bit back a cringe. His voice was sticky. The words drawn out like they would morph into a noose and slip around you in the dark. I stepped back, only to see his eyes sharpen into a glare.

He was heavyset and tall. Soft- rounded jowls faded into a nonchin and thick neck. Greasy black eyes dragged across my body. In the past, my tutors had all been the same— a little doughy, a little nervous. Always superstitious. This new tutor held my gaze evenly. That was unexpected. None of my other tutors had ever met my eye. Sometimes the tutors sidled against the dark of the archival chambers, hands trembling as they pushed a set of notes toward me. History lessons, they said. Why did they always start with history? Show me a dream unrealized. Don’t show me unchangeable paths.

The tutor cleared his throat. “I have no intention to teach you history or letters or speech. I intend to teach you silence. Stillness.”

This time I didn’t even try to hide my scowl. I did not like this replacement. Tutors generally left me alone. I never had to raise my voice. I never had to scowl. I didn’t even need words. What scared them most was much simpler and sweeter than that— a smile. The moment I smiled— not a real one, of course, but a slow, crocodile reveal of teeth and a practiced manic gleam— the tutor would make an excuse, edge along the wall and flee out of the archive rooms.

Who wanted to be smiled at by the girl that trailed shadows like pets, conjured snakes and waited for Death, her bridegroom, to steal her from these walls? Never mind that none of it was true. Never mind that the closest I had come to real magic was making off with an entire tray of desserts without anyone noticing. The shadow of me always loomed larger than the person who cast it. And sometimes that had its benefits.

This tutor, however, was not as easily cowed. I strained my ears, listening for the footfall of more courtiers, but it was silent. The meeting would start any minute now and here I was, stuck with some fool who wanted to teach me the virtue of silence.

I grinned at him . . .

. . . and he grinned back.

About the Author

Roshani Chokshi

ROSHANI CHOKSHI comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. More information on the author can be found at

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi book cover

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: Standalone
(but a companion novel is on the way!)
Format: eARC, kindly provided
by the publishers for review.
(Thank you!!)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
My rating: 4 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

*I received an eARC from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This didn't influence my opinion in any way.*

The Star-Touched Queen was one of my most anticipated releases of spring 2016, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Retellings are an addiction of mine, and once I heard that this one was inspired by Hades and Persephone, I knew I had to read it as soon as I could get my paws on it. Add in Indian folklore, and my expectations went through the roof!

As you may know, The Star-Touched Queen is a fantasy story with the world being based on Indian folklore (and Hinduism), with a sprinkling of Hades and Persephone from Greek mythology. I really loved the combination, but I will say that I didn’t get as strong Hades and Persephone vibes as I has initially expected. Reincarnation takes centre stage throughout the story, and I LOVED this! I’ve always been fascinated by the entire concept and how the soul is eternal and can’t be destroyed, and to see it influencing and shaping an entire book… I was soooo blissfully happy!

Something I really need to talk about is the writing style: if you like flowery prose and stunningly beautiful sentences then you should consider getting this book into your life within the next ten minutes! The narrative has a whimsical, almost ethereal quality to it, and at times it felt like I was reading poetry in novel form. With the writing style becoming so absorbing and adding that little something extra to the overall atmosphere, in a way The Star-Touched Queen reminds me of both Cruel Beauty and The Wrath and the Dawn, and if you liked either of those books, chances are you’ll adore this one.

Mayavati (nicknamed Maya) is our main character and narrator, and by the end of the book I really liked her character. She’s stubborn, head strong and impulsive, and while some of her decisions left me screeching in horror and rage, she’s an awesome character to read about. Considering this is a standalone fantasy, I really liked seeing the amount of development she went through over the course of the story. And I can’t forget Amar! The best way I can describe him, personality wise, would be a cross of Flynn Rider (from Tangled) and Morpheus (from the Splintered trilogy). He’s VERY charismatic, and he’s one of those characters you can’t help but end up liking. I do have one little gripe, though: I feel like we didn’t get to see the full range of his personality. He’s very enigmatic, and I completely understand that this is needed to keep our interest up as readers, but I can’t help feeling like too much of his personality was kept under wraps for a bit too long.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Star-Touched Queen, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the fantasy genre. I loved that the book was set in an Indian-inspired fantasy world, and when you add in the stunningly beautiful prose, it was so easy to get completely lost in the world the author created. I know there is a companion novel in the works, and I can’t wait to read it!

And now, only one question remains: where can I get a demon horse of my own?!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly  book cover

Title: Deep Blue
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Series: Waterfire Saga, #4
Format: Hardback, bought
My rating: 4 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation - and burden - that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes.

The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Don’t you love it when impulse buys pay off? I spotted Deep Blue when I was on holidays in the States last year and I just had to get it. It’s been sitting on my shelves unread since then, and on a whim, I decided to give it a try at the end of March. Beyond the characters being mermaids, I had absolutely no idea what the story was going to be about and it really paid off – I kinda loved it!

Deep Blue lies on the younger side of the Young Adult scale, dipping into an almost Middle Grade vive occasionally. I usually read, and prefer, more mature YA, but in this instance, I still thoroughly enjoyed the story. I feel like the beginning doesn’t really do it justice, though! I sort of liked the book up to the hundred page mark, but I loved it from that point on. Everything started to change and the mood of the book began to shift, and in a way the story began maturing into a full-fledged YA story focusing on friendship. Honestly, it was a bit deceiving with all the romance talk at the beginning! I absolutely LOVED that any romantic vibes that cropped up early on faded away with the friendships between the main female characters taking over.

I liked all the characters that were introduced to us, but Seraphina, Neela and Astrid were the ones that held my attention the most. The friendship between Sera and Neela was so sweet and genuine, and I really wish that female friendships similar to this were the norm in YA. It was nice to see a bit of girl-power for a change, plus, it all seemed genuine and not added just as a token gesture to fill friendship quotas. And not to forget the diversity! It was awesome to see merfolk from all over the world represented, with different abilities, disabilities, and backgrounds.

I really liked the mythology that was created, and I’m really curious to find out more. Also, all the Atlantis references will always get extra brownie points from me! The book did take a little while to settle into its groove. We got a lot of background information and set up for the first hundred pages or so: it was all necessary to the overall story, but the info-dumping portion wasn’t that subtle. Once we got past this, I thought the pacing was consistent, with a nice balance of world-building and plenty of action sprinkled throughout to keep you on your toes.

Overall, I really enjoyed Deep Blue and I’m so glad the gorgeous cover caught my eye. If, like me, you haven’t read a lot of books about mermaids and are curious about them, I think Deep Blue would be a really good starting point. It has a bit of a Disney-vibe, so if you liked The Little Mermaid, then definitely give this a shot!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...