Saturday, 30 January 2016

January 2016 Stacking the Shelves and Wrap-Up

January 2016 Stacking the Shelves and Wrap-Up

I’m linking up to both Stacking the Shelves and The Sunday Post memes this weekend.


Well, so far, 2016 has sucked.

A few weeks ago, I got in the mood to marathon all the Harry Potter movies – one movie each night for eight nights. Sounds kinda perfect, right? I made it to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban… and the next day Alan Rickman died. I haven’t had the heart to continue watch the movies since. I didn’t read the books until I began blogging, but the movies were always there, you know? Honestly, it still hasn’t fully sunk in yet. Not to forget Lemmy and David Bowie, too. What else can you even say…?

What I Read in January

Currently, I’ve read 6 books this month, and I’ve started reading another three. After almost two years of pining to reread this series, I finally gave in and reread The Hunger Games trilogy. I was a tiny bit worried I wouldn’t love it as much this time, but I actually love it even more now. I’ve watched the movies quite a few times apiece, and in a way, what happens in the movies has taken over some of my memories from the books. There were SO MANY things I completely forgot about. Like Peeta having two older brothers. (HOW DID I NOT REMEMBER THIS?!?!) Oh, and Cato’s horrific death. I vaguely remembered it was bad, but just not how bad. Poor Cato. And Finnick... just Finnick! *Sobs* I’m so glad I reread the series, it was exactly what I needed right now. I’ve remembered exactly why The Hunger Games will always be one of my all-time favourite series, and why Katniss and Peeta are two of my all-time favourite characters. I understand Gale a bit more now, but I still don’t like him. Actually, I think I dislike him even more. He was tolerable in The Hunger Games, but in Catching Fire and Mockingjay…

The only downside to my little reread-fest is feeling like I’m teetering on the edge of a reading slump. Or, more accurately, I’m on the edges of an epic rereading binge! I’m eyeing so many of my favourite books and trying to see when I can squeeze in a bit of time to devour them again. Things got a bit drastic this past week… You probably know I’m in the ‘my books shall always be pristine and annotation free’ club, right? Well. You see. I had a moment. On Thursday I wasn’t in the mood to read either of the books I’d started reading, so I picked up one of my TBR-picks from last year, Partials by Dan Wells. There was a pencil sitting right there, looking all tempting and irresistible … and I began annotating and underlining like crazy. It was … strangely liberating. It’s not going to become a thing. When I woke up Friday morning and saw the levels of desecration I did to the poor book the night before, well, I, umm, put it this way, I promise to be gentle in the future.


 The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Currently Reading:

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey Almost Midnight by C.C. Hunter Partials by Dan Wells

Books I Bought

I did buy eight books this month, but only six have shown up. (Boooo!) I’ll include the other two in my February Wrap-Up post, but isn’t it typical that the two books that haven’t show up are the two I was most looking forward to reading! Why, Post, why must you torture me so??

Journey Through Fiction January 2016 Book Haul

Oh, but I did get both Winter and Six of Crows, so it's not all bad!

Winter by Marissa Meyer // Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Frostbite by Richelle Mead // The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins // Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

For Review

Almost Midnight by C.C. Hunter Dreamfever by Kit Alloway

Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press for both of these!

TBR Jar Updates

I did make a promise in my resolutions post at the beginning of the year that I’d keep my TBR Jar picks updated each month. So, here we go! Each month I have been choosing a book to read, but I haven’t been keeping up with the reading the book part. These are the picks so far that I haven’t read:

To Be Read Jar Picks Journey Through Fiction

Yeah. Not doing to good, eh? I did begin reading (*cough* A.K.A. scribbling on) Partials, so that’s a start! I don’t really mind when I get around to the other three, I just want to clear them off my TBR shelf, and soon!

What have you been up to this month? What was your favourite read? Thanks for stopping by, have a fab weekend, and Happy Reading!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

 The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski book cover

Title: The Winner's Crime
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy, #2
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 4 / 5

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Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

The Winner’s Crime was a fabulous sequel to The Winner’s Curse, but out of the two, I did enjoy the first book a bit more. This one was quite a bit slower paced than I had expected, and that threw me off as I remember flying through the first book. The story was still really engaging despite the slowness, and I love that we got to see more world-building, and in particular, the war brewing in the East. In general, the story had more political undertones than the first book and I can’t wait to see how everything comes together in the final book.

I’ve got to say, Arin disappointed me a bit. I really grew to love him in The Winner’s Curse, but in this one I was kind of frustrated with how he behaved and reacted to certain things. He says he knows Kestrel and can figure out and read all the schemes she comes up with, yet, he was very quick to jump to conclusions and not listen to her. Yeah, he did have some reason to distrust her considering what she did, but his lack of empathy seemed a bit overboard and didn’t seem right to me, if that makes sense. It wasn’t until quite near the ending that he began redeeming himself and become a bit more like the Arin I remembered.

Kestrel on the other hand, I liked a lot more in this book. She might regret some of the choices she made previously, but she does her best to push forward and make the most of a bad situation. I actually forgot just how shrewd, cunning, observant and ruthless she can be! Also, it makes a really nice change to read about a badass female character that uses her wit and intellect to win battles, rather than relying on fists and swords.

Honestly, one of my biggest gripes with the entire book was the lack of any meaningful communication between Arin and Kestrel. It was so frustrating to read! I wanted to grab the two of them, shove them into two chairs, and make them talk to each other. What makes it doubly frustrating was how much I loved their interactions in the first book! I miss the bond and the romance that had slowly formed between them.

But, for me, the biggest talking point about The Winner’s Crime was THAT ENDING!! How am I supposed to be okay after reading that?!? Words fail me, but holy freaking crap everything’s gone to hell. I can now see why everyone was recommending I hold off reading this book until closer to The Winner’s Kiss release date. I really hope things work out for Arin and Kestrel in the final book… even though I’m a bit scared! I can’t even begin to imagine how this series will conclude, but I have really high hopes it’ll be completely epic.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

February 2016 New Book Releases

February 2016 New Book Releases Journey Through Fiction

My Most Anticipated Releases this February

There are lots of awesome sounding books being released this month, but I think I might remember all the stunningly beautiful book covers for a lot longer. My inner pretty-book-cover-hoarder is VERY happy right now! Choosing my most anticipated releases was quite difficult, but I narrowed it down to the two I’ll cry and probaly flood the earth with my tears if I don’t get my hands on them soon, and they are Riders by Veronica Rossi, and The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. Riders is all about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and The Forbidden Wish is an Aladdin retelling. *Ahem* Excuse me while I go fangirl for a bit… and pre-order both books!

Riders by Veronica Rossi The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Riders by Veronica Rossi – 16th February

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury – 23rd February

Other New Releases to Look Out For

2nd February

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell Starflight by Melissa Landers

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell // Starflight by Melissa Landers

Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little // Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

9th February

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan // Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman // Morning Star by Pierce Brown

16th February

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine Blue Screen by Dan Wells

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine // Blue Screen by Dan Wells

23rd February

Firstlife by Gena Showalter After the Woods by Kim Savage

Firstlife by Gena Showalter // After the Woods by Kim Savage

Dreamfever by Kit Alloway A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Dreamfever by Kit Alloway // A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

WoW #76: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

This week, I'm waiting on...

The Great Hunt

by Wendy Higgins

  The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins book cover

Expected publication: March 8th 2016

Genres: Fantasy; Retelling; Young Adult

Add to Goodreads

Kill the beast. Win the girl.

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.

High fantasy? And it’s a retelling? And a Grimm brothers retelling at that?? I don’t really need much more convincing… I need to read it! I’m going to keep my expectations in check, though – I think most of us been bitten by the hype bug at least once – and hope that it’ll be awesome. Oh! According to the author, there will be maps. Maps! Seriously, there should be some sort of law stating all fantasy books should have maps! I’m very guilty of just staring at them forever, and even stopping reading so I can picture where each location is in relation to everything else… *cough* What?? I’m a geography geek, it’s like a natural reflex, okay!?!

What do you think? And what new releases are you anxious to read?
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, 25 January 2016

Sanctuary Bay Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review

Welcome to my stop on the Sanctuary Bay Blog tour, hosted by St. Martin’s Griffin! Sanctuary Bay was co-written by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, and it is one heck of an awesome and crazy journey to read! I have lots of information to share about Sanctuary Bay, including an excerpt from the book, and further on down the post is my review. I hope you enjoy!

Sanctuary Bay book cover

Title: Sanctuary Bay
Authors: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genres: Thriller; Mystery; Sci-Fi; Young Adult
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Pages: 320

Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon // B&N // iBooks // IndieBound
Authors Website // Facebook // Twitter

About the Book

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country — Sanctuary Bay Academy — it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home and struggling with the memory of her parent’s murder, escaping to the school’s tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn't sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate's dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay's glossy reputation.

About the Authors

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong and the YA novels Crave and Sacrifice. They have also written for the TV shows Roswell, 1-800-Missing, and The Dead Zone. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.

Excerpt from Sanctuary Bay

Daddy pressed his finger to his lips, shushing Sarah quiet as he slid the door to the tunnel back on. She wrapped her arms tightly around her knees and pressed her cheek against her arm, trying to pretend she was back in her own room. But it didn’t smell like her room. Even the spicy smell of Daddy’s cologne had faded now that the tunnel was closed. And grayness was all around her. She was almost four, and that was too old to be scared of the dark. But it wasn’t all dark. It was just gray dark.

She tried not to think of monsters crawling toward her. Daddy said there were no monsters. But monsters liked tunnels. They liked little girls.

Sometimes when she was scared she liked to sing the Maggie song. But that was against the rules. She had to be quiet. She had to be still. She had to wait until Daddy or Mommy opened the door and got her.

Thinking about the rules helped. She could almost hear Daddy saying them, as if he was hiding in the tunnel with her. Even though he was way too big. If something bad happens, wait until the room is safe. If you leave the tunnel, put the funny slit- ted door back on. Run fast. Find a lady with kids. Tell her your name is Sarah Merson. Merson. Merson. Merson. Merson. Ask for help.

Her nose started twitching, itching from the thick air. Making her want to sneeze. But she had to be quiet.

Then she heard Mommy screaming. Mommy never screamed. Were the monsters out there and not in the tunnel

On hands and knees she started creeping toward the slits of light, heart pounding.

“Kt85L is our property,” a man said. “You had no right!”

Out there. Mommy on her knees facing the hotel room wall. Someone’s legs. A hand reaching down. A silver bird stared at Sarah from a ring on the finger. Stared with a horrible little black eye. The finger pulled the trigger of a gun. A bang. Her ears filling with bees. Mommy collapsing on the floor. Red spilling out.

Sarah shoved her fingers into her mouth. Quiet. The rule was be quiet.

Shouting. Daddy’s legs running by, out of the room. The bird man chasing. The door banging closed.

Something bad happening.

The room was safe. The bird man was gone. So she had to get out. Mommy was on the floor. Daddy was gone.

She shoved the door and it fell out onto the floor. Near Mommy. Near the red. But the rule was to put the funny door back on. She picked it up and shoved it over the tunnel like Daddy had shown her.

Sarah didn’t want to look at Mommy. She looked out the window instead. The window was always open and there was never a screen. Daddy’s voice came from the hallway, yelling. Screaming.

Another bang.

Sarah pressing her hands over her eyes. Not looking. Not look- ing. Something bad happening.

Daddy was quiet now. Something bad. She had to run fast.

Sarah climbed on the chair under the window. The chair al- ways went under the window. She stuck her legs through the window and jumped down. Now run fast.

She ran fast, looking for a lady with a stroller or a kid her age. A mommy would help her. She would say she was Sarah Merson.

Sarah Merson, and something bad happened.

My Review

What a rollercoaster! Sanctuary Bay was everything I hoped it would be, yet completely different to what I originally expected. When genre-bending was mentioned in the synopsis, I was curious as to how this would be pulled off. I’ve got to say, I completely loved it! It’s a perfect blend of mystery, thriller and science-fiction with a dusting of romance and suspense thrown in to mix things up. It might sound like an awful lot going on, but it was blended seamlessly and each element worked so well together.

I will be honest, though: I was a little worried initially that I wouldn’t like the book. The first 20-ish% has a fairly strong contemporary vibe, and everything seemed to be dragging on a bit too long. Looking back now, everything we learned in these early chapters and all of the build-up that was created is vital to the overall story, but while I was reading, I just wanted things to hurry up and for the action that was promised on the first couple of pages to really kick off! And boy did things kick off! Once two glorious words were casually mentioned in a conversation – secret society – the pacing of the book took off, and it didn’t let up until the very last sentence on the last page. I really wish I could tell you about each and every little detail that occurs from that point on as it was completely mind-blowing, horrific and insane, but I really can’t say anymore without entering spoiler territory.

There’s a large cast of diverse characters, (which is awesome!) and the story is told from Sarah’s perspective throughout. It did take me a while to warm up to some of them, but to Sarah in particular. She witnessed her parents murder when she was four years old, and was frequently moved around the foster system until she was presented with the opportunity to attend Sanctuary Bay Academy. Going back to my slight issues with the first 20-ish% of the book for a second, most of them stemmed from the huge chip Sarah had on her shoulder. I can completely understand why she feels let down by the system and for the sucky things she’s been put through… but it was the way she immediately cast judgement on other characters that didn’t sit well with me. Thankfully, as the book progressed she does have her eyes opened and changes quite a bit. By the end of the book, I loved her character, and I was really rooting for her to come through unscathed. I also loved Ethan and Dr. Diaz, and how the three ended up banding together to figure out what was really going on.

That ending, though! It was amazing! I did pick up on a few clues here and there and had figured out what might happen at the end, but I absolutely love the way it unfolded. We did get the classic bad-guy-speech, and I guess that’s the only slight taint on an otherwise epic conclusion. I really liked that we got the answers we were looking for, and it sets up perfectly for a potential sequel. Overall, I loved Sanctuary Bay and if there’s a sequel, I can’t wait to see what craziness will happen next!

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

  A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab book cover

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic, #1
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 2.5 / 5

Add to Goodreads

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

My history with hyped books is mixed at the best of times. Sometimes they work for me, sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately this is one of those moments when I loathe book-hype with a fiery passion. Don’t get me wrong, A Darker Shade of Magic isn’t a bad book – definitely not – but it just wasn’t anywhere near the level of epicness I had expected. When I picked up the book I was imagining witnessing glittering rainbows of awesomeness, but it ended up being… beige. Bland. Alright. Just ok… Quite frankly, I was completely underwhelmed. Even rereading the synopsis, it certainly delivers one heck of an impact, but sadly the story just didn’t live up to what I was hoping for.

Simply put, the book felt entirely emotionless. It’s very hard to pinpoint just one thing that had me feeling this way. It took me a long time to get into the story, and it didn’t help that the book was broken into sections, and those sections were broken into even smaller chapters. Add quite frequent POV switching into the mix and I felt it broke the flow of the story up a bit too much. The writing style, though, I thought was very good, and I found myself spending more time paying attention to the pretty words and forgetting to get lost in the world being described and created.

Here’s the thing, though. I know I have a pretty short attention span, but I honestly didn’t think it was that bad. While I was reading, my mind was wandering all over the place and I found it difficult to get through more than a dozen pages at a time. I was waiting for something exciting and gripping that would have me hanging on the edge of my seat, but that moment never came. Nice writing and pretty sentences can only entertain me for so long before I look for other things. Like a plot. Speaking of the plot, (and trying to be completely spoiler free), was the entire book really wrapped around that tiny little thing? Seriously?! Did I miss something incredibly epic?

If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ll probably know that I can overlook a whole multitude of issues if I love some of the characters. I love having some form of emotional connection to them – it’s fun! Unfortunately, the characters in A Darker Shade of Magic didn’t deliver for me. Beyond a few random facts – Kell with his nifty coat and smuggling habits; Lila wanting to be a pirate and being the stereotypical strong female character; Rhy being a flirty bisexual Prince – I don’t really know any of the their personalities or what makes them tick. They weren’t vibrant, dynamic or expressive enough. They lacked that spark to lift them from mere names and random facts on a page. Rhy, though, would be the only character that I had much interest in, and he wasn’t in the book often enough to help me connect with the story properly.

Right now, I wish I was joining in with all the glowing praise A Darker Shade of Magic has received. Maybe if I’d read it at a different time I would have liked it more? I don’t know, and I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure. I’m putting my feelings down to being bitten by the hype bug, and my expectations being set at an unrealistic level. I still want to read Victoria Schwab’s The Archived series, and I really, really hope I’ll love those books more than this one. *Fingers crossed!*

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

WoW #75: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

This week, I'm waiting on...

The Winner's Kiss

by Marie Rutkoski

 The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski book cover

Expected publication: 24th / 29th March 2016

Genres: Fantasy; Young Adult

Add to Goodreads

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

-- As seen on Goodreads

I’m so glad I listened to everyone telling me to wait as long as I could to read The Winner’s Crime because THAT ENDING WAS PAINFUL! I bought the book shortly after it was released, but I only read it in December, and I have no idea how anyone that read it straight away has been able to cope with the wait for The Winner’s Kiss. March needs to begin tomorrow, seriously! And Arin. And Kestrel… AARRGHHH! *sobs* I can’t take it anymore! *sobs even harder*


What are you waiting on this week? 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. *


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