August 30, 2018

Ready for a Fall the Fall

Hello sweeties! How's life treating you these days?

Honestly, I've never been so ready for the fall - and I'm not even a fall person to begin with. Not to mention, with the winter closing in (but even in spring occasionally!), I ALWAYS get sick in my peculiar "you won't take a proper nose breath or talk like a human being again for a month" kind of way. (Though this year I'm going to boost my immune system FROM SEPTEMBER TO JUNE - we'll see how it goes!). Plus, I don't only suffer the heat - I'm sensitive to the cold as well. Yeah, you got it - I can never win LOL.

August 28, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Does It Bother You When a Book Cover Doesn't Fit the Characters in the Book?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

DOES IT BOTHER YOU WHEN A BOOK COVER DOESN'T FIT THE CHARACTERS IN THE BOOK?

As I've often remarked, I'm totally cover-blind - in the sense that I've never been drawn to a book because of its cover, and I don't really care what's on it, so long as I like the content. Then again, it doesn't mean that I'm not mildly annoyed when the cover team don't do their homework. Like, when the red-headed heroine gets the mandatory blonde hair. But also, when the cover doesn't fit the book in general. And I can't stand the latest trend - huge lettering on a nondescript background (so lazy!). That been said, I don't really care about covers. I even have a few mismatched ones, whether because the publishers changed them mid-series, or because I bought the (already out) first book in paperback form, and then went on buying the others as soon as they came out, which means as hardcover. I'm...peculiar, I know 😂.

August 24, 2018

Joshua Winning: "Sentinel" (Series Review)

Title: Book 1: Sentinel
                        [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
         Book 2: Ruins             
                        [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
         Book 2.5: Witchpin (novella)
                        [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
         Book 3: Splinter
                        [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Sentinel Trilogy
Author: Joshua Winning [Site | Goodreads Sentinel Trilogy site]
Genres: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Year: 2014-2015-2018
Age: 14+
Stars: 4/5
Pros: On the whole, a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure, with a strong ensemble cast and plenty of heart.
Cons: Slow start, tapping into your typical orphan-to-chosen-one trope. Book 1 also has a strangely quaint atmosphere.
WARNING! Contains many elements of horror and gore, plus nightmarish monsters.
Will appeal to: Those who like apocalyptic scenarios (in the truest sense), everyday heroes, surprises...and cats. Those who like seeing characters come of age under exceptional circumstances.

Blurb: Book 1: Sentinel. They are the world's best-kept secret – an underground society whose eternal cause is to protect the world against the dark creatures and evil forces that inhabit the night. Now Sentinels are being targeted, murdered and turned as the fury of an ancient evil is unleashed once more. And when 15-year-old Nicholas Hallow's parents are killed in a suspicious train crash, the teenager is drawn into a desperate struggle against malevolent powers. Book 2: Ruins. In his desperate search for answers about the Sentinels, fifteen-year-old Nicholas Hallow is tipped into a fresh nightmare of terrifying monsters - and even more sinister humans. As Nicholas is challenged to become a Sentinel, he must track down a mysterious girl with the help of a grumpy cat. Meanwhile, an uprising of evil threatens to destroy the Sentinels and send the world spiralling into chaos. Book 2.5: Witchpin. 1589. A sickness steals through the village of Orville. Young women are dying. After losing her mother to the blight, Jessica Bell is recruited by the cantankerous Miss Isabel Hallow, who believes a cure can be found. But when witch hunter Matthew Bone arrives in the village, Jessica's investigation is disrupted with chilling consequences. Book 3: Splinter. The world is falling apart around Nicholas Hallow. Amid rumours that the Dark Prophets have returned, a deathly gloom pollutes England, unleashing a savage hoard of nightmare creatures. Fighting the tide of evil, Nicholas returns home to Cambridge, where an old ally helps him seek out the mysterious Skurkwife, who could help Nicholas stop Malika and the Prophets for good. But with Jessica's sanity slipping, and Isabel suspicious of her shadowy past, it's a battle that could cost the Sentinels everything. (Goodreads & Amazon excerpts)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I was offered a review copy by the author, having previously reviewed another one of his books (Vicious Rumer). We also follow each other on Twitter. This didn't influence my opinion on the series.

HITTING THE STRIDE

Straight-up fantasy books are not my thing, but I'm drawn to urban fantasy from time to time, and I do enjoy my Supernatural 😊. That's why I decided to take a chance on this series. I won't lie - Book 1 left me a bit lukewarm. I understand that world-building is necessary and takes time, plus we see most events through Nicholas' eyes, while on the one hand he discovers a new, terrifying world, and on the other is smothered in secrets for his own protection (ha! the old excuse). But my main problem with Sentinel was that its atmosphere is oddly dated, and I couldn't help but feeling like I was reading a historical novel. Of course, old England plays a huge part in the series, with settings like Cambridge or Bury St. Edmunds, and it was indeed nice to be able to visit a world that doesn't come up often in YA - but I'm talking about something deeper here, that to me prevented the series to fully spread its wings. Not to mention, there were a few tropes in Book 1 that sounded too typical - recently orphaned and clueless kid destined to save the world, old mentor, secret room, you name it. Luckily, once I started Book 2, I got sucked up into the story: the author seems to find his feet in Ruins, (not only because most of the world-building and the secrets are out of the way), and Splinter is a poignant, strong finale - while the Witchpin novella, set in a distant past but tied to the events recounted in the trilogy, is a welcomed glimpse into a different era and the origins of a certain pivotal character. [...]

August 21, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Things Are You Drawn to When Choosing Your Next Read?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

WHAT THINGS ARE YOU DRAWN TO WHEN CHOOSING YOUR NEXT READ?

Well...NOT the cover, for sure. Unlike most of my fellow readers/bloggers, I'm totally cover-blind LOL. I mean, it's not like I don't notice if it's good or bad, but I've never been drawn to a book because of its cover.

What then?

August 17, 2018

The Public Examination Saga: Sadly, Not My Scene (This Time)

Hello sweeties!


I promised myself I would disturb the universe, except...I would probably need a TARDIS for that. So that I could disturb the whole time and space, meet my much younger self at the age of 14, and tell her: "DON'T ENROLL CLASSICAL HIGH SCHOOL. It doesn't matter if you hate technical subjects - you'll hate in there as well anyway, because the teachers suck. And they won't teach you the things you'll need later to escape a job you'll come to hate. Ah, yeah, speaking of which...I might as well save myself a later TARDIS trip. DON'T CROSS THE THRESHOLD OF THAT RADIO STATION IN 1992. Misery will ensue from that."

August 13, 2018

Offbeat YA's Most Embar(r)assing Moments!

Hello sweeties!

As some of you might remember from my Twitter, a few months ago I was purging my blog from an embarrassing series of typos and mistakes. The fact is, until then, I didn't have a spell-check option activated in my browser, so (as it turned out later) I was happily misspelling or making up words in almost every single one of my blog posts 😲😳. Then my husband (who's always experimenting...which sometimes annoys me, but sometimes turns out handy LOL) installed Pale Moon as a browser - which, apparently, came with the spell-check option for the English language turned on...and I started to see a plethora of red signs under my words 😲😂. Well, now "plethora" is a bit of an exaggeration (though the darned thing is so strict it even frowns on words that do exist sometimes, maybe because it thinks they're beneath itself 😂) - but still. So, I decided to undertake the wearisome task of reopening ALL my old posts - and some of the stuff I found threatened to whiten my few remaining dark hair 😵. Some were just typos...some were words I made up in all naivety and whose existence I never checked, because they sounded so good to me that they HAD to exist 😂.

August 06, 2018

A.S. King: "Glory O'Brien's History of the Future"

Title: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: A.S. King [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary with a Twist
Year: 2014
Age: 14+
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: Visionary novel that managed to anticipated the 45th U.S. Presidency climate. Quirky, deliciously caustic lead.
Cons: The premise is very far-out. But more notably, there should be no place for "sluts" in a self-professed feminist book.
WARNING! Suicide is often mentioned or discussed. There's talk of sex, though the actual thing remains offscreen. A gruesome picture is described in detail.
Will appeal to: Those who can go along with weird premises. Those who like honest characters with a dry sense of humour. Those who are worried about the current state of the world.

Blurb: Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities - but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person's infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions - and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women's rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she'll do anything to make sure this one doesn't come to pass. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: I'm sure that, had I read this one a few years ago (when I was less woke), I would have given it 4 full stars at least. Because I can relate to Glory, up to a point - the point where you feel like an outcast, but kind of enjoy the feeling because you secretly think you're better than most people. I used to be a closeted adolescent with zero friends, which turned me into a very much closeted middle-aged woman with almost zero friends. But here's the thing - I can still relate to Glory, only in a much less judgmental way. So here's the story of how I didn't gave this book 4 stars.

LET'S GET REAL

If not for that certain thing I've already addressed in the Cons section (and on which I'm going to comment more extensively in the next paragraph), Glory would be a relatable character - because, even if you're nothing like her, there's something liberating in a teen who takes no shit from the world and is able to see its faults AND to comment on them with a sharp, if dry, humour. Also, she's looking for answers about her mother's suicide and how it affected her life, and she doesn't know what to do about her future (which most teens, and even adults, don't either - except, most of the times, they go through the motions). And...as much as the author underlines her faults, Glory's friend Ellie is a well fleshed out character too, and if we can't actually relate to her (or we try to convince ourselves we can't), there's a lot of truth, but no actual malice, in her being oblivious to other people's (namely, Glory's) issues, or her inability to see the bigger picture - like about women's rights and feminism ("It's over. We got what we needed. We don't have to fight anymore."). Also, the "friends by necessity" dynamic is well explored in the novel, and much more nuanced that you would probably expect. [...]