Aly in Wonderland

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Untitled - Sara Raasch Wherefore art thou, my Theron?

I cannot wait for this book.

As I write this, I am constructing a time machine to fling me into the future so I can devour it in one sitting just like Snow Like Ashes, then fling me back so I can, somehow, live until the release date.

*grabby hands*

Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch
"Someday, we will be more than words in the dark."


For a long, long time, I didn't touch YA Fantasy. Why? It got repetitive, boring, with the same special snowflakes, the same innocent, pure heroines. It got to the point where I'd be reading a book and thinking, "Take away the names and places, and this could be exactly the same as any other fantasy book out there."

All the stories were formulaic. As if it wasn't physically possible to write anything different.

Lately, I've come back to it, and I gotta admit: YA fantasy has started branching out. I'd forgotten how much I'd loved the magic and forbidden love stories, the strange creatures that lurked in the dark, the different kingdoms, the results of a beautiful imagination. Snow Like Ashes, even though it followed the "special snowflake" trop, was all of the above and more.

Meira is a Winteranian soldier, one of the twenty-five survivors that escaped the night Angra, King of Spring, invaded. Now there are only eight survivors, and the race to piecing the locket holding all of Winter's power is tighter than ever. Angra has one half, and the second half is floating. When Meira is entrusted with the mission to recover the floating half, she can't believe her luck. Finally, she can show Sir just how good she is!

Once the locket pieces are restored, Mather, the love interest and prince of Winter, can return to his rightful place on the throne and free the Winteranian's from the work camps. However, things are not quite as they seem and, as Meira and her friends embark on another journey, she's going to find out just how difficult it is to be really "free."

There is a love triangle. I don't mind. Meira is a special snowflake. I don't mind. There's, sometimes, a bit of deus ex machina at work. I don't mind. Raasch weaves a story of mystery and love, betrayal and strength, so well that it sweeps you up and carries you on. I found myself sitting down with this book in the morning and finishing it in the evening. It is that good.

I loved the idea that the seasons were kingdoms, and each kingdom's cities had month names like Abril, Jannuari, Oktuber. If it had been me, I'd never have thought of it in a million years. A clever twist. I also loved the humour in the story -- there wasn't too much to take away from the severity of the cause, but there wasn't little enough to make the story drag. Theron and Meira like to banter, and it's sweet and funny.

There's a pissing contest, where Mather and Theron both try to prove their worth, and it's not only funny, but also interesting to see Meira "pull away" from the love that cannot be and "free" herself of it. It's nice to see a heroine grow into her role, and take on bigger responsibilities, shirking the ideas of "I just wanna be me".

While there's a lot going on in the story, a lot that needs to be followed, the info-dumping doesn't happen frequently. I liked that it came in as dreams, so it was still interesting enough to hold my attention and didn't rattle off into a book of facts. I can't stand it when the narration switches to tell you the whats, whens and whys and completely takes away from the story, so I'm really happy about that.

Yes, some of it is highly predictable but there are also some twists and turns that took me completely by surprise. The fighting scenes were really well-written so I wasn't bored out of my mind and skimming, and the love is just... *sighs* I do like me some Theron.

I am going to highly recommend this to everyone I come across, and I cannot wait for the second one to come out!

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend - Kody Keplinger The movie looks awesome so I'm going to read this before it comes out.

If I remember.

I'm a bit like Dory...



I feel like I can empathise with this on a deep, emotional level because I was the "duff" in school.

I KNOW, I CAN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER.

Kidding. Kidding.

Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

My dearest friends,

I have died. Ruin and Rising is the culprit. From this day forward, I do not know how I will carry on.

Warning: possible spoilers ahead. I will try and tag them where I can.

I hate coming to an end of a trilogy or series. There are guaranteed feels that will pop out and laugh at my misery.

Let me take a moment to flush out the pain caused by my darling, darling Darkling.



I just. I can't. I can't even. I just can't.

Now, let me take a moment to tell Mal to go fuck himself, and tell Alina to jump off a cliff. I'm fucking serious, Alina. You had a choice between the Darkling, Nikolai and Mal, and you chose Mal? MAL? ARE YOU INSANE?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

Although I loved Ruin and Rising, I didn't love it as much as Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. It was too... convenient, too much deus ex machina going on. I can't stand that shit.

At one point, this was me:



Because I just could not believe it. Really? REALLY?! The last amplifier couldn't be the Darkling or Nikolai? IT HAD TO BE MAL?! WHY?!

Needless to say, it carried the heavy disappointment most conclusions do. I wasn't satisfied, and I craved more. More Darkling, more Nikolai (sobs), just more.

Too much scouting, not enough fighting, and the end... I couldn't believe it. Could not fucking believe it.

I'm off to brood and sulk in a corner with a hefty glass of vodka.

Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm  - Leigh Bardugo

Oh, my poor, darling Darkling.

He has maimed and killed and threatened and blackmailed and spilled innocent blood, yet I am still rooting for him to win and I am still on his team. I love him so hard, I cannot deal with the feels.

But can we all just take a minute to bow down to the power of Nikolai?! Dear God, that man is just perfect. He's funny, charming and incredibly intelligent -- "he reminds me of a too clever fox." And I LOVE IT.

There is something incredibly satisfying/confusing about shipping two different ships in the same book. I'm all for Alarkling but I'm also for Nikolina. NIKOLAINIKOLAINIKOLAI.

Needless to say, Siege & Storm did not come with the much feared Middle Book Syndrome. It was completely awesome, maybe even better than Shadow & Bone purely for the widening cast of characters, the humour as well as the painful, too-hard-to-read-because-argh bits.

I mean, I spent a lot of time laughing at Nikolai and clutching my battered heart for the Darkling. He's not just a villain any more. He's a boy who has lived too long and wants too much, but who also loves a lot in his own twisted little way. I wanted to press his face to my bosom, pat his head and say, "There, there, it'll be okay."

The action in this one is not only tense, but also crazy. Stuff flies at you out of nowhere. One minute you're sleeping, the next you're under attack. It is filled with information about the amplifiers, the Darkling's life, Nikolai, all the Grisha, the Apparat. There is so much going on that I was worried I couldn't keep pace.

And the fact that I did shows just how good this is.

Speaking of information, it doesn't infodump all over your parade, which is ALWAYS a plus. If something starts reading like a textbook, I'll end up snoozing all over the pages.

Mal, be a darling and fuck off. He is the only downside to the book.

Warning: rant rage ahead!

I am so done seeing "broody, hot" love interests getting butthurt over the fact that their "one true love" doesn't rely on them for shit any more. I saw this in Shatter Me with Adam and Juliette, and I am so fucking done. Seroiusly. Boys, what is your problem? Seriously.

The stronger, better, faster Alina gets, the more of a dick Mal turns into. She tries to make time for him, tries to make him smile, tries tries tries everything, and his response is to get fucked out of his head and screw around with Zoya. For fucking real. Not only is he a cheat, but he's a dickhead cheat, too. Why would you do that? With someone you KNOW your girlfriend can't stand, of all people? Why can you not be a man and just end things and piss off back to the little hole you crawled out of THANKS TO ALINA? He is so ungrateful, so emo, so angsty about his "minor" role in Alina's life that I just want to batter him with a goddamn shovel. Asshole.

The best part is that he enjoys laying the blame on Alina. "You're too powerful", "you're too pretty now", "you're not the girl I used to know". Well, no shit Sherlock. She's come into her own and grown and is no longer dependant on your sorry ass.



He never compliments her or makes her feel good. He's just there to make her feel like shit. Great boyfriend/best friend you are, Mal. Good job there, dickwad. Go play in traffic.

If Mal dies, I will dance and dance and dance.

The Fever Series 5-Book Bundle: Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever

The Fever Series 5-Book Bundle: Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning


Abandon all hope, ye who enter!

Are you thinking, "I'll read on chapter, then weed the garden"? Or "Just the prologue, and then I'll start dinner"? Or maybe something like, "I'll give this ten minutes, and then I'll work on that mountain of homework"?

You might want to weed the garden now. You might want to pop dinner in the oven and put on an extra loud timer, and that homework? Either accept that you will get an ugly ass F or do it now, before you start the Fever series.

You're probably laughing and saying, "Oh, how she exaggerates!"

Look at my face. Look at it. Is this the face of someone who is kidding?



I'm 100% serious. If you begin reading the Fever series, you will not get shit done. If you work, you will call in sick. If you go to school, you will not leave your room. If you don't do anything all day, you will leave the perfect imprint of your butt on that nice, old sofa of yours.

I'm talking from experience. Five books, I read, in four days. Five books in four days. Once upon a time, that might have been a challenge I would never have accepted, because it's bookish suicide. But it happened. Every night, I went to bed with my eyes looking like ping-pong balls, thanks to staring at my iPad all day, and woke up with one thought every morning:

Motherfuckin' Jericho Barrons.

You will feel things you did not know you could feel. You will cry tears of blood and happiness. You will want to smash shit up and make a fort, and cry some more. This series had the same effect on me as listening to The Hanging Tree in the cinema did:



SO. MANY. FEELS. GUYS.

It has been a long, long time since I read a series that had me so emotionally invested in both the plot and characters. I loved every single thing about it. Everything. There is not one part I would say, "Well..." This is literally perfect.

This isn't a review so much as propaganda to get everyone on my friend list to bloody read this already. I made the huge mistake of waiting and putting it off month after month and then when suddenly my news feed exploded with quotes and people BRing this, I said to myself...



So I took the leap. And I don't regret it.

This is a series I find it difficult to review without accidentally talking about major spoilers, so I am going to leave you with this AMAZING gif I found on Tumblr. (By the way, there is a whole fandom on Tumblr that puts Sherlock's to shame. Holy shitballs).


Burned

Burned - Karen Marie Moning "The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal."

DON'T YOU DARE.

DON'T. OKAY? JUST DONT.

Shadowfever

Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning What do I do now?!

Bloodfever

Bloodfever  - Karen Marie Moning Review to come!

Darkfever

Darkfever  - Karen Marie Moning
"Assume makes an ass out of 'u' and 'me'."


I dare you to not read Darkfever.

I dare you to not enjoy Mac's internal narration, and her curse-word substitutes: "petunia" for ass and "frog" for fuck.

I dare you to try and stay away from Barrons.

I dare you to not like this new, invigorating, glorious plot.

I dare you to not like every single character you meet, no matter how much of a dickhead they turn out to be.

I dare you to not love the rich background provided, and the histories shown.

I dare you to not fall for all the different species that stalk through the pages of this book.

I dare you to not argue with your feels on more than one occasion.

I dare you to not laugh even at the soberest of times, or when something awful has happened, because the narration is just quirky enough to alleviate the tension for ten seconds.

I dare you to not get all flustered and hot when Barrons speaks, even if you end up hating him immensely half the time, and wanting to punch him for the other half because he's an Alpha male dickhead who will not give you any sort of reasoning for his actions.

I dare you to read the rich descriptions of Ireland and Dublin, and not want to go there.

I dare you to not adore Mac, even when she's trying to be kick-ass and fails miserably.

I dare you to read this and not wish some of it to be real, even if that wish implies terrifying monsters walking the streets.

I dare you to read Darkfever and not love it.






Pre-Review

The "Glossary From Mac's Journal" is one reason why you should read this book. It contains treasures such as 'death-by-sex Fae' and 'many mouthed thing'.

Seriously. This book is not only brilliant, but hilarious too. I love Mac.

Review to come!

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Untitled - Kiera Cass

Sparky!

Sparky! - Jenny Offill Literally the best kid's book ever. EVER.

Under My Skin

Under My Skin  - Shawntelle Madison
"But sometimes, it's the most unexpected plans that lead to the most fascinating places.


Well, you can say that again.

It's taken me a few days to review this, and I wish I could say it's because I've been so darn busy, but the truth is I was am torn on how I feel about this. It's not the best written book out there, and the MC isn't a kick-ass heroine that will bust kneecaps the way a normal girl would eat chocolate (ravenously), but the actual plot is amazing and unique.

"Fewer and fewer are born to be a Water Bearer," she said.
"I don't think I am one." I tried to pull my hand away. "I'd make a poor servant."
Her lips, which had formed a straight line, now offered a chilling smile. "My dear, you are a prize. I hope you're not snatched away before I have a chance to bid on you."
Bid on me? My swallow got stuck in my throat. I fought to take in a breath as my chest constricted. "What are you saying?"
"Congratulations are in order, Tate. You've passed the test."


Welcome to the Guild, a circle of rich, noble people who every year like to hold an auction and buy "servants", or Water Bearers. If they pass the test, these people will never see their families again and instead go live a life of servitude in the city.

Everyone, other than Zoe and I, picked up their suitcases.
"Will we get a chance to say goodbye to our families?" I finally asked.
"Didn't you read the packet?" Astrid continued to usher us out of the room.. I was the last to leave, so I followed Zoe. "You're Aspirants of the Water Bearers. You won't ever see your family again. No one is allowed to pollute you."


Tate passes the test and is auctioned off to the General, an old, horrible man. What she doesn't know yet is that she will never be your run of the mill servant...

My trembling fingers searched every contour of my face. Touched my lips. Pressed into dry cheeks. Nothing had changed. Yet my life had taken an unexpected turn.
I'd been bought and sold and now I knew the horrific truth: General Dagon wasn't dead.
He lived inside of me.


Yep. Basically, the new 'servants' are actually new hosts, where the rich and the noble can transfer their souls into and live forever.



My problem? For about 50%, I was bored. Living inside Tate's head was a chore-- I have no idea how the General pulled it off -- and her internal monologues grated on me. Every time I tried to come up with reasons for her, I kept thinking, "But still" and it sucks so hard when you find yourself bored enough to start cleaning.

Cleaning. I never clean unless I absolutely have to. (It's cool, I live at home so it's not like I live in a barn or anything). And when it finally did pick up? I'd lost interest, which is an even bigger shame.

However, I really, really loved the idea of this book, and I look forward to the next one coming out so we can finally get some answers, but Tate killed it for me. There was so much she could've done and said rather than sleep and eat, and it took her nearly half the book to finally come up with an idea worth reading about. Ick.

3 stars.

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Untitled - Marie Rutkoski EDIT: 19/12/2014:

YAYAYAYA, THANK YOU NETGALLEY!





PLEASE NETGALLEY PLEASE NETGALLEY PLEEEEEEEEEASE.

It's your choice. I can either be the best damn thing that has ever happened to you or your worst nightmare.

The Reluctant Vampire

The Reluctant Vampire - Eric Morecambe
The bat fell off Victor's shoulders in a deep sleep. Victor caught it in the toe of his Italian, hand-made shoes just before it hit the ground. He continued as if nothing had happened.
"Do you remember Mayor Goop off Katchem?"
The white-faced Doctor nodded.
"Did you ever vonder vot became off him?"
Once again the Doctor nodded and gulped.
"Vell, vould you like to take him off mine shoe ant put him on mine shoulder?"


Welcome to Katchem-by-the-Throat in the country of Gotcha. Vampires still rule with an iron fist, have a werewolf best friend called Wilf (or Vilf if you speak to King Victor) and have an entourage of human slaves.

Doctor Plump has been called to cure the prince of the "vapours". Young Valentine is very sick, and there is only one doctor that can cure him.

As everyone knows, a Vampire with the vapours is almost as bad as Frankenstein's monster with a screw loose: his head falls off.


These "vapours" are the plague of the vampire species, and King Victor will have his son cured, no matter what Doctor Plump has to say about it.

"Mine dear Doctor. If you do not cure mine younkest son, the baby of mine family, if you do not cure him... then I'm afraid you vill cure no von else, ever again. I repeat, if you do not cure him ant restore him back to normal health, thhen I'm afraid I shall have to giff you to Vernon to experiment vit. That means, Doctor Plump, that you vill probably leef this castle in a bucket.


But, horror of horrors, Prince Valentine is not dying of the vapours! He does, in fact, have a very special, very deadly secret!

"I really am hungry." Valentine slowly sat up.
The Doctor grabbed Igon by the hair and pulled a few rags from his throat and offered the exposed throat to Valentine, saying, "Here, Sir, try this until we can get you something better."
"No thank you," said Valentine nicely, much to the relief of Igon.
"I'll shake Igon for you, Sir. You're not supposed to take medicine without it being shaken."
The Doctor shook Igon so vigoruously that a cloud of dust came from his old clothes. He once again exposed Igon's neck towards Valentine.
"No thank you. I don't like blood."
For a few seconds, everyone was still.
"Pardon?"


That's right, the dear old Prince doesn't like blood... and isn't actually a vampire! As the story unfolds, we follow Doctor Plump in his awkward predicaments, a very angry King vampire who is not at all happy with this outcome and Igon, Valentine's best friend who is... "special", and Valentine's adventure as they go on the hunt for the truth and how Valentine came to be in the castle, living as a vampire.

Igon was as ugly as it was possible to be. In fact, uglier. He had only one eye, hence the name Igon. A glass eye hung round his neck in a pouch but he only used it on certain occasions such as reading the paper. He would sometimes put it in his trouser pocket to see how much money he had left.


This was a very humorous, very easy read. It's less than 150 pages long and, if I'd had the time, I'm sure I'd have finished it in a night. There are puns and jokes and everything is exaggerated to the point that it becomes truly hilarious. There are also amusing drawings of the vampire family, the Doctor, and Igon himself.



I will definitely be recommending this book to anyone who wants a light, quick, easy read and wouldn't mind having a few laughs while they're at it.

Thank you Netgalley for sending me a copy to read, pending the new publication.

Mortal

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas *SCREAMS*

WHY MUST WE WAIT FOR SOOOOO LONG.

I can't wait to get my hands on this bad boy.

Let there be confetti!



*explodes*

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