The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall is going to be one of my first buys of 2015, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Seeing the copies of the book on her Twitter (you can follow her here) and how excited she is about her debut novel is so adorable and heartening! Her excitement makes me even more excited!
To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code.
Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.
They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.
To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.
I love this cover. I’m a sucker for both gorgeous cover dresses and dramatic covers, and The Conspiracy of Us has a little bit of both. Seriously, can I have that dress? I love the compass she’s standing on and I can’t wait to see how it figures into the plot. Did anyone notice the dual cities at the bottom of the page? Looks like we’re going to have some gorgeous settings!
I read a sampler of this book (see my review here) and it sounds great so far! The pace, the writing style, everything is pulling me in and telling me I need this book to start my 2015.
I’m going to be trying to expand my reading scope in 2015, so I’m taking part in several challenges to motivate me to read a wide variety of books in the upcoming year!
The 2015 Contemporary Challenge is hosted by The Book Belles. The challenge is to read a certain number of contemporary books – they don’t have to be released in 2015, just read during the year. As a bonus, there are monthly international giveaways for all those participating! I’m going for the Peony Level so I will be attempting 11-15 contemporary reads.
Contemporary isn’t a genre I read much of, so I’m really excited to see what reads this challenge will lead me to!
The trick is not to mind. Not about it hurting, not mind about anything.
I first picked up Half Bad by Sally Green immediately following its release; I loved the concept of the book. I bought it and started reading it, but it didn’t keep me interested. I returned it. Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of praise for Half Bad, so I decided to give it another chance. Did I like it this time around?
Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.
Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?
Alas, I did not. I wasn’t impressed at all by this book, and it really boils down to one reason: nothing happened.
Yes of course, things happened, so what I really mean by that is that for the vast majority of the book, nothing happens to further the present plot at hand. By “present plot” I mean Nathan’s quest to find his father, and I say present plot because a huge chunk of this story was dedicated to something else entirely, something that was mostly background information. These 100+ pages could have been whittled down into flashbacks or presented through dialogue; they could have even made up a prequel-type novella. I really couldn’t understand why it was so necessary to have it, when it wasn’t essential to understanding the present plot. Because of those 100+ pages of time suck, I felt like nothing was happening to push the present plot forward.
Reading the description, I expected this book to be about Nathan finding his father and facing obstacles from those hunting him down, his family, and of course, “the girl he loves,” Annalise. However, much of this isn’t present. After the first ~100 pages, his family pretty much disappears from the entire book – they don’t even play much of a role in the present plot: Nathan finding his father; the same thing goes for Annalise. Even the people hunting him aren’t seen all that much, which was disappointing and confusing due to their supposed elite and near unsurpassable skills.
I was also very disappointed with the pace of the novel. As soon as I thought things were happening…they weren’t. There were times when I could tell that I was supposed to be excited and anxious and gripping the edge of my rocking chair, but I was just not feeling it. At that point I was already dissatisfied with the book, which probably contributed to my lack of caring.
At certain points in the beginning, the POV switches in chapters from first person to second person. I hated this. The second person “you” was weird; I felt like I was fighting between projecting myself into the novel through the use of the “you” and knowing it was another person, and simultaneously trying to see that picture. I just couldn’t reconcile the two.
The one bright spot for me were the characters. I really enjoyed the different personalities we got to see. I particularly liked Nathan, Rose, and Bob. I loved Arran. Unfortunately I’m not sure how much we’ll get to see of those characters in the future. All the characters, though, were likeable, interesting and developed.
Overall, I really wasn’t happy with Half Bad. I expected a lot more from it, not only from other reviews, but from the description of the book itself. I wouldn’t recommend this book to others, unfortunately, and I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the series.
It’s the last day of the Top 10 of 2014 Week! I’ve had such a great time doing these posts, and I want to give huge thanks to the girl who hosted the event, Rachel, Jaime, Mindy, and Nancy!
Good luck Boxing Day shopping to all those who have the guts, but don’t spend all your money! 2015 has some great releases you’re going to want to save for.
Looking at my list, I’m realizing all but one are fantasy reads aha – guess I wear my preferences on my sleeve. Here are TEN books that I have grabby hands for in 2015. *click the titles to link to Goodreads
We just got the (amazing) title for the second book in the Snow like Ashes series: Ice like Fire, but no cover – yet! Ice like Fire is the sequel to Snow like Ashes(which was totally amazing!). Meira’s battle for the Kingdom of Winter isn’t over just yet. In Ice like Fire, we’re going to be doing some travelling; we get to meet the Summerian princess, whose fierce personality will go head-to-head with Meira’s. Read more about the sequel on Hiver & Cafe‘s blog!
The Rose Society was my recent Waiting on Wednesday pick, but it’s such a long wait! This sequel to The Young Elites doesn’t release until next fall! I absolutely love the MC, Adelina, who is not your typical hero – in fact, she’s really not a hero at all. In The Rose Society, I’m expecting things to get even harder for Adelina, as she finds herself sandwiched between two formidable foes.
I loved the first book in this series, Prisoner of Night and Fog: it gave me chills. Gretchen was racing to uncover the mystery behind her father’s death, and discovered something she never anticipated. Now, in Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke Gretchen is racing to root out another mystery – a conspiracy that will get her attention from the one enemy she hoped she’d never have to encounter again.
Oh my gosh, have you seen the description for this book? It sounds just mind-blowing. If you’ve ever heard the saying, If we all tossed our problems into a pile, you would snatch back your own, then you understand the gist of this book. Five teenagers, after baring their souls wake up to find they’ve swapped problems.
I read a sampler of this book (review here), and so far it looks really promising. Already there seems like there’s so much happening that the MC doesn’t know about, so I’m hoping that this potential will make for a fast-paced novel. I’ve always thought about the idea of a touch being poison, so I can’t wait to see it played out in this story. Also, the cover is absolutely stunning, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
I love the premise of this book because there’s two things happening, interconnected. There’s the issue with the Red Rook – a mysterious figure stealing people from prison cells – and with Sophia, who’s beginning her life through an arranged marriage to a wealthy man. I’m hoping that the two story lines run parallel for a whole until they combine and explode in a shocking plot twist.
I love books with political intrigue and cunning. The description provides just enough information that I know that I need to read it, but not enough that I feel like I know the direction the story is going. Also, there’s been so much excitement and love for this book that I want to see for myself if this book is a winner.
What first caught my eye was the cover. It’s got a gorgeous silhouette set against the moon – which is the setting of the story. I read an excerpt of this book, and I was hooked. With the choice the MC is facing, Dove Arising seems like it’s going to be an intense read. What I’m looking forward to most is getting to know the main character, Phaet (pronounced “fate”), who is mute. I’m wondering if she’ll ever speak, or she’ll be mute forever.
An Ember in the Ashes is set in a Rome-gladiator-like world and revolves around Laia and Elias, who both have their own obstacles to overcome. I was also able to read a sampler of this book, and right from the start things are happening. There’s no wait for the point of the story to roll around, but everything is already in place and as soon as you turn the first page, the dominoes are falling. Perfect.
Could I not include this book? I recently discovered the amazingness that is Sarah J. Maas, and I’m still catching up. Now I get to dually read her works in the Throne of Glass Series, and the new series beginning with ACOTAR. I was major grabby hands for the sampler of ACOTAR, and it did not disappoint. The beginning has a bit of a Cinderella feel, and the MC seems strong in the sense that she’s determined to survive. The sampler ends right when things start to get really good (as they always do). All of Twitter has been a-tweet with fangirling over the novel, which only makes me more anxious to read it. This is the one that you pre-order and hope it comes in early.
That’s it! The top ten books I’m waiting to read in 2015! Thank you so much for joining me this week, I hope your TBR list grew (and grew and grew). Visit me again, especially in 2015 when I’ll be doing more reading, more challenges, and giveaways!
It’s Day Four of the Top 10 of 2014 week, and today is all about our book boyfriends. Yes, plural, who are we kidding, we want them all. Book boyfriends are amazing; they’re swoony or brave or funny, witty or smart, or sweet or misunderstood – they’re works of art. These ten are my favourite book boyfriends of 2014, but shhh, keep it down – they don’t know about each other!
I did rank them this time, because even though they’re all amazing, I know I’ll never recover from certain ones.
10. Balthazar from Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Balthazar, to me, is the steady boyfriend. The one like still waters you want to plunge into. He’s the one who lies beside you, his breaths synced with yours, and that’s all you need, that’s everything you need. He’s far too harsh on himself and beneath the man who leads the Hunt, he’s just someone looking for love amidst Death.
We are all of us, gods and mortals, made up of many pieces, some of them broken, some of them scarred, but none of them the total sum of who we are.
9. Mather in Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Oh look, it’s Mather. Yes, Mather because I still love him. I need Meira and Theron to be together but Mather is just yes. He’s strong as steel and fierce as hell. But it’s okay if he and Meira don’t get together because (duh), I’m his true girlfriend, anyway. Meira has him on loan. Mather is the best-friend boyfriend, the one that knows everything about you, and he’s protective and possessive of Meira in the sweetest way, but caught between his responsibility to his kingdom and it’s all so…tragic. It’s okay, Mather. You’ve got a (girl)friend in me.
Mather has always been a king, every moment of his life.
8. Theron in Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Having seen so many reviews of Snow like Ashes before reading it, I noticed one thing was consistent among them all: this utter love and devotion to Theron. And I’m reading the book, and Theron hasn’t come in, and it’s all Mather, and I’m like, Who the heck is this Theron kid and how can he even begin to compete with Mather?
I get it. I was wrong; so, so wrong. Theron is like, *swoons*. He is swoons italicized. He’s got a poet’s heart and he’s just so sweet and understanding of Meira’s situation that I can’t help but melt. He’s determined to help her however he can. Theron and Meira are my OTP, forever.
7. Azriel in The Gypsy King series by Maureen Fergus
Azriel was one of the book boyfriends I fell for the hardest. He’s charming and witty and totally aware of it. He could seduce your pants off – and all the better, since he could then assume his first thorough duties as Master of Bath. He got very personal with Persephone, and *whew!* things got hot. Aside from his ultimate sexiness, Azriel is a fighter. He doesn’t back down when things get messy. He vows to protect Persephone with his life and he takes it very seriously. All in all, definitely the kind of guy you’d want by your side.
It was a truly lovely thing to be cherished by a man who had eyes for none but her and who acted as though she were more beautiful than the stars, more fragile than blown glass, and more precious than a bucketful of jewels.
6. Daniel in the Something Strange and Deadly Seriesby Susan Dennard
Daniel is a strong, brave kind of boyfriend. He’s the boyfriend that you have this crazy tension with and then it just completely explodes into something you’ll never be able to contain. In Strange and Ever After Daniel puts his entire life into battling Marcus, and it’s that kind of bravery that makes me weak in the knees – and in the heart.
We waddled through life blindly, hoping to find something—and someone—worth fighting for.
5. Warner from Unravel Meby Tahereh Mafi
It’s official. I’m in love with a villain. Don’t ask me to explain why, but just like Juliette, something about Warner pulls me to him. He does terrible, terrible things without a smidgeon of regret, but the way he feels about Juliette? His desperation to protect her and have her love him? For some reason, it’s not creepy or off-putting; pathetic, perhaps, but endearing, all the same.
I want to know where to touch you. I want to know how to touch you. I want to know how to convince you to design a smile just for me…I want so many things…I want your mind. Your strength. I want to be worth your time…Every inch of you. I want all of it.
4. Finn in the Cahill Witch Chroniclesby Jessica Spotswood
Firstly, I love Finn’s name! Finn is one of my ultimate boyfriends: he’s caring and understanding, he fights for the people he loves, he’s reader, and he is a great kisser. If he can makes Cate swoon so hard she pops out a shower of feathers, you know he’s doing something right. With his spectacles and his freckles, this is the boyfriend I’d spend all day kissing.
You, in the moonlight, in this library, in this dress…Its the most beautiful thing. Like a dream.
3. Chaol in Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
I ship Chaol and Celaena so hard, and if that ship sinks, it’s okay, because I’ll be waiting beside Chaol in a rowboat. I feel like Chaol is another steady boyfriend. He knows, for the most part, exactly what he needs to do – and he does it. I love the way he doesn’t gloss over the rough parts of Celaena, but sees all of her. He’s fiercely loyal and if he’s that good with his sword… you know?
She was still in her clothes, and while she looked beautiful, that did nothing to mask the killing potential that lay beneath. It was present in her strong jaw, in the slope of her eyebrows, in the perfect stillness of her form.
2. Kenji from Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Kenji is the boyfriend whose name you say on a sigh, smile tugging at your lips, eyes wistful. He’s funny and snappy; he’s the boyfriend you can joke around with and have a great, playful time. But Kenji (*sigh*) can also be serious as hell. He speaks the truth as he sees fit. When he needs to, he says it flat out, says everything he needs to, does everything required to get shit done. And it’s sexy beyond words. This is when I completely, utterly fell in love with him:
*Setting Juliette straight*Now I am trying, to give you a chance to fix things. I keep giving you opportunities to do things differently. To see past the sad little girl you used to be – the sad little girl you keep clinging to – and stand up for yourself. Stop crying. Stop sitting in the dark counting out all your individual feelings about how sad and lonely you are. Wake up. You’re not the only person in this world who doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning…So make a choice. Make a choice and stop wasting everyone’s time. Stop wasting your own time. Okay?
1. Cricket in Lola and the Boy Next Door
I’m so tempted to say that Cricket is my ultimate book boyfriend. I really am. He was just…magnificent. I think that’s the only word for it. Cricket is so caring (he doesn’t try to steal Lola from Max) but he makes his feelings and his position clear – I like that. I really like that. He’s quirky and good with parents. Cricket’s a little tough on himself but he’s strong and he’ll do anything for me Lola. This quote sealed my love for him:
One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn’t bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he’d look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name.
At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he’d wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen.
Oh my gosh, that still gives me chills.
Tomorrow is the last day in the Top 10 of 2014 Week, and we’re going to be looking forward to all the beauts coming out in 2015 that we are excited to read, fangirl and cry over!
It’s day three of the Top 10 of 2014 blog tour and today, we’re talking villains!
I love villains, I do. There’s something about a good villain – a pinch of vulnerability, a touch of madness, a bucketful of cleverness and a huge chip on their shoulder – that makes me shiver with excitement. A good villain means that my character is going to be even better, push themselves harder, sacrifice more to beat them; and if they don’t succeed the first time, all the better because I get more villain. Because when you get a villain done right, you end up with the person we love to hate.
My choices may not be the best, but they are my favourites! Here are my top ten villains (and antagonists) of this marvellous year, 2014!
Lillian intrigued me. She was clearly not entirely evil – something had happened, something supposedly terrible, which had twisted her into the terrible person she was. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see too much of Lillian. (I can’t deny this strengthens my interest.) I like Lillian as a villain but she’s got a great mix of vulnerability and madness, and that’s always an interesting mix.
Because really, not many surpass him. More than this though, Hitler wasn’t a foggy picture of a man with a peculiar beard and his arm stretched before him. He was real, personable, likeable, even. To Gretchen he was an uncle, someone that she could trust with her life. When she uncovers his true nature, it’s even scarier because of how she related to him before. On a larger scale, it’s really the entire Nazi Party Gretchen goes against, and if one is scarier, an entire political party of them is heart-stoppingly formidable.
Marcus was a great opponent for Eleanor and the Shadow-Hunters because he never let them get close to him. They might think they had him in their grasps, but he was always two steps ahead of him, calculations and preparations set. This really emphasized the seemingly futility of their battle against them. Even though we don’t see too much of him, his cunning and ruthless style makes him a true villain.
This guy is brilliant. Oh. Wait, no, this character is brilliant. I’m actually a little scared of him, like I fear he will find a way off the page and into my hometown and then dear goodness, what would we do? He’s just… scary. My fear has paralyzed my tongue, so let me leave you with this illustrative example:
Lift her head higher that I may watch her eyes – first as the scalp is peeled from the head of this Gypsy cockroach with whom she so brazenly defiled herself, and thereafter as her life’s blood drains from the mortal wound that you shall presently inflict upon her pretty white throat.”
In case you haven’t read this book, Bea is the main character. Yep, Bea, with her obsessive compulsive disorder is her own worst enemy, and let me tell you, she is a formidable opponent. There were times when I myself was scared of Bea, simply from the intensity of her thoughts and the frighteningly understandable and legitimate logic of her mind.
First, this series is amazing. If you’ve ever wanted to read about assassin nuns (don’t lie, I know you have), this is the book for you. This is a book for everyone!
I digress. d’Albert in Dark Triumph was a great villain not so much towards the duchy and the political affairs happening, but to Sybella. He’s all up in her way and his sheer existence is antagonist to the lovely and tortured nun. He’s cruel, vicious, and cunning, and he makes exceptions for none – not even his family.
Here’s another MC who’s the villain. Adelina is a villain towards herself, but in The Young Elites we see it more towards others. Or perhaps villain isn’t right here, because she doesn’t do too many bad things, but she’s definitely not a hero – she’s an antagonist. There’s a whirlwind of darkness in her, and her very strength comes from that blackness. In short: she’s amazing. If you’re looking for the ultimate anti-hero, Adelina is your girl.
I just finished Cinder and I’m a little entranced by Queen Levana. I kind of like her, she’s just fascinating. She’s ruthless in her schemes and tricks, absolutely unfeeling in her considerations of others, and determined to get her own way. Perfect. She’s witty and quick, and I can tell I’m going to enjoy getting to know the Queen of the Lunars.
Warner is creepy. He is, really, but it’s the kind of creepy you have to watch as you eat popcorn. He rules by fear, which makes for very interesting demonstrations of power, but he’s also got that classic vulnerability. It’s not evil for the sake of being evil, but being evil as a lifestyle, thinking that that’s what is going to get you your greatest happiness. This makes Warner one of the best kinds of villains: the ones who will never stop until they’ve been wholly eradicated because it’s literally what they live for.
This girl left me shaking in rage, grinding my teeth. She was an insipid, immature, horrible, bratty little girl and I wanted to twine my fingers in her curly red hair and yank. She enraged me to no end, she was such a burden to the MC, Cate, and I would have had her skin for the things she did. At the time, I phrased it as such:
I wanted to cast a spell on her that would permanently shove her butt into her mouth so she could personally taste the crap that she was spewing. I could not believe the things she had the audacity to say and do and I wanted to yank her corset strings until she dropped into a dead faint.
I still feel the same way.
Visit me again tomorrow for my Top 10 Book Boyfriends of 2014 (P.S. They’re all super swoony)
I am nothing more than the consequence of catastrophe.
Oh my gosh, this book this book. I. I. I feel like there’s no right place to read it, like it needs its own place where I can just sit and read the whole thing and it’s just everything and this book, and if this is this what is the infamous chapter 55 in Ignite Me, ohhhhh no no no no I can’t I can’t, I’m shaking because I’m scared and I don’t know if I can read this. I don’t. I can’t.
Needless to say, this book is freaking amazing.
tick tick tick tick tick it’s almost time for war.
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.
I adore this cover. I think of the three, it’s my absolute favorite. I love the frost on the eyelashes, the icicle falling like a frozen tear *sighs* it’s just perfect.
Unravel Me is an amazing sequel to Shatter Me. Nearly everything about this book was perfect. Just like in Shatter Me, the prose and the voice are there, instantly. The strikethrough continues, and I can’t lie, I skip ahead just to read it because I absolutely love it; it’s such a cool concept and really adds to Juliette’s voice and character. Tahereh Mafi’s writing is like spoken word: it has its own music and it flows so well that I find myself in a trance, flipping, flipping, flipping the page.
In this book, Juliette was very, very frustrating. She paints herself in such dark colours and she clouds her own mind with her worries. Her actions…GAH! She was acting so immaturely and so, so foolishly I almost couldn’t stand it! She has her issues to deal with yes, but I really just wanted to shake her and tell her to figure it out. Kenji, thankfully, gives her several talking-tos and I love him for it.
Speaking of Kenji: I have a huge crush on him. He’s just amazing! My favourite character, by far. He’s hilarious, he “gets shit done in this world” (in his words), and when he’s serious, he’s hot as hell. Definitely my new book boyfriend.
Warner. *whispers* I have a tiny crush on Warner. Ack! I don’t even know what to feel about him! He was like no no no at first, but then he does things and says things and says them in such a way that I’m like… yes? I’m even more confused because a few chapters in, Adam’s presence disappears. He pops in here and there, but he’s not as strong in this book. I’m realizing I actually didn’t miss him all that much, what with Kenji and *coughWARNERcough* to keep me warm.
I finished it in less than a day because the entire pace of the book is highly intense. There’s always things happening and I didn’t feel like there were any slow moments or unnecessary things happening. In terms of plot, it didn’t feel quite as busy as Shatter Me, but I didn’t feel like nothing was happening, either.
I’m wondering if I can finish Ignite Me by Christmas Day.