Monday, October 20, 2014 20:15

Review 294. Sara Raasch – Snow like ashes.

17399160Title: Snow like ashes.
Author: Sara Raasch.
Pages: 432.
Published: October 14th 2014 by Balzer + Bray.
Sort: Snow like ashes #1.
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since. Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

I sort of liked it and disliked it at the same time. It’s hard to point out how I exactly feel about it. This book had crazy potential to be amazing, but instead it falls back into clichés and unoriginal storylines. I was mad after finishing it, but at the same time: I did finish it and it reads very quick.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 21:00

20 things you probably didn't know about me – tag.

Tag banner

I wasn’t tagged, but I really like these questions so I'm going to answer them anyway. This is also the moment where I tell you that I tag everyone who wants to do this tag too. Are you ready for some Mel information? Here we go:

Monday, October 13, 2014 11:57

Review 293. Bethany Griffin – The fall.

18241263Title: The fall.
Author: Bethany Griffin.
Pages: 400.
Published: October 7th 2014 by Greenwillow.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Madeline Usher is doomed. She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin. Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house. In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down?

“I am the one the house speaks to, the one the house flirted with, the one the house won’t let go.”

Madeline Usher is cursed, just like everyone before her in the family. Her twin brother was send away by their mother in the hope to break free from the curse. Both of their parents die and Madeline is locked in the house together with her doctors. They are monitoring everything and take daily blood samples. The house is a nightmare. It changes and shifts. It talks to Madeline and threatens her, but also protects her in a certain way. It’s a very strange sort of relationship to read about.

Then the time comes where Madeline gets her fits. It’s the first sign of the madness that slowly creeps into the heirs from the house. It’s an illness that slowly takes over and always ends in an early death. Madeline sees only one way to escape before it claims her life: she must destroy the house, but that’s not an easy task. The house is alive and not ready to let her go.

The book started out all right. I liked the setting and the overall creepiness of the story. The idea of a living house that changes around you and seeps into your body was scary. Madeline sees how it takes her parents away from her and now she is waiting, because she is next in line. Doctors are fascinated by it and she gets daily tests to follow her progress. The thing is; with a setting that takes place in one location, things do get a little boring. This book would have benefited from less middle part and a better, longer ending. It was a bit abrupt and left me unsatisfied and confused at first. It took me a couple of minutes to realize what happened.

The thing that gave me mixed feelings were the chapters. They switch between different points in Madeline's life. Every chapter tackled another age and sometimes even a diary entry written by a woman called Liz. It was sometimes confusing to follow the ‘now’ story and I could have done with a little less hopping around. It made me feel disconnected from Madeline and what was going on in the present story line.

After finishing the book I hunted down a free (legal!) copy of the original story, Edgar Allan Poe - The fall of the house of Usher and I must applaud Bethany for the way she created her own story. It's influenced by Edgar's version, but it has it's own voice and that was nicely done. I only wish she had handled the jumps in timeline a little better.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 00:50

Fairytale News 42. Fairytale retellings.

This is a 'new' feature I came up with. I will be talking about everything that has to do with reading. From pretty new covers to discussions about books. I will post them randomly.

The trend of fairytales and retellings is still going strong! You can imagine how happy it makes me to find new books every day. Goodreads is my main source and today I want to spotlight some of my most anticipated fairytale retellings. Some of them don’t have covers, but they deserve the attention anyway. I have some other posts, like retellings from 2013, another retellings from 2013 and upcoming fairy tales 2014.

Thursday, October 09, 2014 10:18

Review 292. Elissa Sussman – Stray.

17617617Title: Stray.
Author: Elissa Sussman.
Pages: 384.
Published: October 7th 2014 by Greenwillow books.
Sort: Four Sisters #1.
Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after. When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray. But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take. After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

Let me say this right away: this book isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s slow-paced and character- driven, the world-building needs more work and you have to deal with old, traditional ways that suck. I liked it, but there were moments I wanted more. This book feels more like a step-up for the real story, but my overall opinion is that it’s enjoyable.
Monday, October 06, 2014 20:54

Review 291. Cat Winters - The cure for dreaming.

Title: The cure for dreaming.
Author: Cat Winters.
Pages: 368.
Expected publication: October 14th 2014 by Amulet Books
Sort: Stand-alone.
Cat Winters – In the shadow of blackbirds.
Source: ARC copy from the publisher, thanks!
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women.

I had high expectations for The cure for dreaming, because I fell in love with In the shadow of blackbirds. I love how her work is combined with pictures to make the atmosphere complete. The art and photographs match with the story. There is something haunting about the things she writes and Cat has found the perfect way to create an interesting setting.

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