Sunday, March 13, 2016

Book Review: Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

Cruel Crown
(Red Queen 0.1-0.2)
Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young-adult, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Queen Song

Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars

Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

"He was the prince. the future king. And she was no one at all, a limp excuse for a Silver daughter of a High House."
This novella was clever. I have been so curious with the story of the first queen, Cal's mother story. All we got to know her was that she was Julian's sister, a Singer, and the queen before the cold-hearted Elara took over. It was written on a third-person point of view given the fact that Queen Coriane has already past away - I wasn't expecting that. I thought that this novella was going to be composed of entry on a Diary where the Queen kept all of her secrets - I was obviously wrong and it was the best mistake ever.

Queen Song was simply amazing. Coriane and Tibe's love story was also included and even though it was not really detailed I couldn't have asked for more. It was like a Cinderella story, only Coriane was not a slave. Although they are poor, they still belong to a High House with a Silver Blood and instead of a wicked Step-mother, we got here instead a wicked/evil Queen wanna-be in Elara. Even though their story was tragic-compare to the happy ending in Cinderella story, it was sweet and believable, being a crowned prince and all. We also get to follow the Queen's happiness and hurt and anger and desperation and depression when she was finally able to get a son, Cal, after the 3rd miscarriage.

Her characterization was well portrayed, although a bit unlikeable. She likes to down herself a lot even before she met the crowned prince. She was always moping around feeling sorry for herself and for the dream she wouldn't be able to live. She was weak. She did tried to fight, however, she didn't know her enemy well which eventually end up to her death as we all know.

The ending was obviously rushed. I think it has something to do with the secrecy and mystery that the book is trying to keep up. Although we all have our suspicions, the question still remains on who really is behind the Queen's death? And if our suspicions was right.. How?
"We succeed where others can't. We survive. Now I must do the same alone. Now I have to protect others, taking their lives-and deaths-onto my shoulders."

Steel Cars, on the other hand was so boooring I find myself dozing of a lot of times. It actually took me 3 days to finish reading this, a real feat, considering it was just a novella with more or less a 100 pages.

This Novella was from Farley's, The Scarlet Guard Captain's POV. I was really surprised since her character here was so different from the Farley I imagined on The Red Queen. She was only 22 years old and hungry to prove her worth to her commander, I totally thought she was a older than that. She was vulnerable here totally different from the Farley in the first book that I met. Reading her POV was all sorts of boring. There weren't any real action that you would have expect from the leader of a rebellion! This short novella also left me confused as hell.

I find it funny how Farley and all of her people can infiltrate and walk around the Stilts easily like they are from Norta. I mean, I remember Mare noting Farley as a Foreigner, a Lakelander, at first sight, so how can they walk around the Norta lands without raising any suspicions at all? I thought they were in war with the Lakelanders for the lands- the point of conscription in the first place right? That was the first war before the Scarlet Guard rage their own war against the Silver? For equality?

Then there's all those decoded message from the Scarlet Guard. I won't even pretend to understand them because I didn't and I still don't. I didn't even bother remembering all their code names when they are using their real names all the time.

Obviously, I have way too many issue with this novella to enjoy it. The only reason why it's gotten a 2 star rating from me was because of Shade Barrow. Yes, Mare Barrow charismatic brother and because of Farley and Shade's hinted romance in there that I've never really notice after reading 11 chapters from the Glass Sword (Yes, I've read 11 chapters from the Glass Sword before I decided to read this novella firs. Don't judge me. lol). Remind me again why this novella wasn't about Shade or Maven instead? Oh yeah well, maybe for Girl Power? :|

Queen Song - 4 Stars
Steel Cars - 2 Stars

(Grab from my Instagram account)

Book Links:

I'm a screenwriter/YA author who likes books and lists. This site is the nexus of my universe. 

 My book RED QUEEN will be published Winter 2015 from HarperTeen at HarperCollins. I'm repped by the incomparable Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. 

 The genres I'm into include YA, Fantasy, Historical, Adventure, Apocalyptic - if people are dying, I'm buying.
Author Links:


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Review: A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily 
William Faulkner
Genre: Classics, Short-story
Faulkner’s most famous, most popular, and most anthologized short story, “A Rose for Emily” evokes the terms Southern gothic and grotesque, two types of literature in which the general tone is one of gloom, terror, and understated violence.

Quotes from the book: 

“For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him.” 

“She carried her head high enough - even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson.” 

“...the very old men believing that they had danced with her and courted her perhaps, confusing time with its mathematical progression, as the old do, to whom all the past is not a diminishing road.” 

I honestly have to read this short story twice for the story to actually sink in. I didn't know where the story was about or where it will lead to at first everything started to make sense the more you delve into the story, but I just have to read it again - to know if there were some clues and hints out there I missed before the genius Faulkner dropped the horrifying and disturbing bomb.

The writing and narration of the story was somewhat inviting the readers to ride and live with the town to reminisce the pitiful life of Emily, alone on the big house, left to carry the legacy of being the last Grierson, and it was one of the best ride! Only it was horrifying and creepy too.

William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel." Faulkner has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature. Faulkner was influenced by the european modernism, and employed the Stream of consciousness in several of his novels.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review: XODUS (Astralis, #1) by K.J. McPike

(Astralis, #1) 
K.J. McPike
Genre: Young-adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

"One of those rare literary treats that truly has something for everyone." -- Apex Reviews

The first time it happened, Lali Yavari told herself it was just a dream. But when she starts flashing between realities during the day and seeing people disappear before her very eyes, she can't deny that something is happening to her--something she's sure is linked to her mother's disappearance. 

Then the unsettling Kai Awana shows up at school, and Lali discovers she has inherited her mother's ability to astral project--with a surprising twist. Not only that, but Kai needs her help to get to a world she never knew existed. In exchange, Kai promises to help Lali find her mom using his own unique ability. 

Now Lali must learn to control her budding power if she ever hopes to see her mother again. She's not sure she can trust Kai, but with her mother's life hanging in the balance, will she have a choice?

This, I think, is the first ever book I've read about Astral Projection, and I must say that this is a breathe of fresh air in all of the paranormal fantasy book I've read lately.


I did enjoy reading the imaginative take on astral projection in this book, but I also found myself frustrated at times, no scratch that, a lot of times reading XODUS so it was quite a bit hard for me to rate this book.

The story practically revolves around the disappearance of Lali's mother and her quest to find answers why. I would've admired Lali's bravery and loyalty to her family. Her determination to find her mother even after believing that they abandoned them for good.

"Maybe it was naive, but I still believed she had a good reason for leaving."
It could have been really touching. However, reading from Lali's perspective, to put it mildly is frustrating and exhausting.

I want to understand her distress, the pressure of being the eldest among the 5 children, to act like a mother now that the position has been vacated.. but I can't and I did try. Her recklessness and to assuming attitude was so frustrating I would've slap reason on her face if I could. All of the responsibilities force upon her on the disappearance of her mother should've matured her a little bit, would've made her thought things over, be cautious. Oh but no, she did everything the first thing that came out of her mind, I have no problem thinking she would've been long dead if there was no Kai Awana to save her.

I can't help but think that the main reason of Lali's desperation to save her mother was so the responsibility can be lifted out of her, so she didn't have to act parent anymore. I don't really think that was a bad thing- i would've wanted the same thing if it was me, Lali should've atleast admitted it from the start, I guess it will make it less frustrating and a little bit realistic. I guess in someway, it should've been a good thing. I mean, the MC having a flaw and everything for her to have room to grow, I however, just didn't see that happen until the end of the book. Maybe on the sequel?

The world building was quite lacking, I don't know if it was just me but after all the information about this whole new world about Astralis, I just can't seem to envision the world and the more information there is the more confusing it gets to me.

"Great. Every time I felt like I was starting to grasp things, something else popped up that I didn't understand."
Funny, that exactly what I was thinking about.

"For obvious reasons, don't tell anyone else. Not even your closest friends. No matter how much you think you can trust people, there's always the chance they'll slip."
On the other hand, I did enjoy the unexpected twists and turn of the story. Although I didn't quite like the MC, Kai Awana, the love interest, is a different story. Kai is somewhat the exact opposite of Lali. I love how we notice the exact same thing I thought of Lali but still manage to love and care for her in his own way. One of the best thing as well in this book was that there wasn't unnecessary and annoying romance in the book. Both of them knows how to sort out their priorities - which was to saved their loved once. All the side characters in the story was also charming, and can we all take a moment to appreciate the creativeness of their name?

X - Xitlali Marie Yavarie
O - Oxanna Yavarie
D - Dixon Yavarie
U - Ulyxses Yavarie
S - Salaxia Yavarie

I don't know with you and it probably doesn't matter to the story, but I liked it anyway. Also, believe me, the title of this book doesn't just stand on the main characters name. It stands waay more than that which adds up to the creativeness of the book.

All in all, XODUS was a great and entertaining read regardless of the fact that I didn't quite like the MC. The pacing was also great - a plus point. I would definitely anticipate the next book and see where the story goes as I believe that this book has potential to be more than a great read.

Thank you to the author for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Book Links:

K.J. MCPIKE grew up in rural Virginia, where she started writing stories as a way to escape small-town horrors like Drive Your Tractor To School Day. (Yes, that was an official part of her high school’s spirit week.) Since escaping said small town, she has made a habit of moving across—and out of—the country. Despite her nomadic tendencies, she spends at least a few months out of every year in Seattle, where she regularly consumes too much caffeine and spends more time in coffee shops than her own apartment.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Random Ramblings: My Random Book Thoughts 1st year Anniversary!

Hey guys! I'm so sorry I was so busy this last couple of months that I didn't get the time to post anything here on my blog. (Insert sad face here) But just so you guys know, whether I post or not here on my blog, I'm still quite active on my Goodreads account, (and yes that's a subtle way of encouraging you guys to add me up. lol), I just never got the chance to post them here because running blogs are quite demanding, but I love it anyway. :) I was just too caught up on work and life and everything.

Anywaaaay... The real reason why I'm posting this is to greet my solace and my stress reliever friend for the past year a Happy Anniversary! To be honest I was thinking how to celebrate it, like hosting giveaways and everything, since last month. But I woke up this morning realizing that today is my blog's Anniversary and all of my planning was for nothing..

But of course, it's not like I'm going to stop there, the fact that my blog is now on it's first year still haven't changed so I'm still planning on hosting a giveaway soon so stay tuned! :)

I still have a lot to learn when it comes to blogging. Right now, I just enjoyed posting reviews and helping out the authors gather readers to their book. I particularly love it when I can actually see friends deciding to read the book I recommended and the book I reviewed, it just so flattering and it makes me feel good. I will continue blogging as long as possible because it's what makes me happy. If you're planning on doing a blog soon, I suggest that start slow and be patient. Don't stress that no one is commenting or reading your post, remember, you're blogging for yourself, for your own leisure so it shouldn't matter if people are not commenting, just do your thing and enjoy the ride! :)

For all of the Authors and Publishers that still send me emails and believed that me and my blog can help out on the success of your books, regardless that I haven't been able to post lately...

You were one of the reason, along with my fellow bloggers and bookish friends why this has been a great learning experience to me! Oh, and I still all have your books on my lists! :) I post some of the reviews in my Goodreads account, I just didn't have much time to post them here on my blog.. But don't worry, I'll do it real soon so you probably hear back from me soon! :)

Looking forward for another great year with Y'all! :)