sexta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2017

Review: Optimists Die First - Susin Nielsen

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen
Publication Date: February 21st, 2017
Pages: 224
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley


Synopsis

Beware: Life ahead.
Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .


My Thoughts

First of all, I have to say I got this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley, Wendy Lamb Books and Random House Children's.
The moment I saw the cover I was hooked, to be honest. And I'm so glad I read this book!

I think that what I liked the most was how real all the characters felt. They all had their own lives and their own personalities and things going on, you could tell they weren't just there. I am also a sucker for a group of misfits who ends up bonding and becoming friends and this book delivered! It was good to see how everyone sort of grew up throughout the book.

I'm a nearly-certified cat lady so this book was right up my alley! Mix that with some serious funny writing and dialogue and you get a book that you read in no time. It all felt very quirky and sometimes dorky but it did deal with some serious issues like guilt, grief...stealthy cat turds (someone should take Anne of Green Gables to a vet, she has a problem).

Now, what I didn't like as much. I felt a bit off at how Petula dealt with Jacob's secret. I understand that she was mostly shocked about the lie, but she still felt a little harsher than necessary. I don't want to add spoilers so I'll leave it at that. But if anyone wants to talke to me about it, go for it! I understand that maybe this won't bother anyone else...and who said main characters had to be perfect anyways?

All in all it was a very fun, quick read that managed to deal with serious topics in a very easy way.


Find the book at The Book Depository and Goodreads

quinta-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2017

Review: Ask The Passengers - A. S. King

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Pages: 304 
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought it

Synopsis

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions--like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.

My Thoughts

This was the first A. S. King book I've read and even though I liked it, I feel a little conflicted about it. Although I liked it enough to buy her other books.

So, this book talks about Astrid, a NYC girl who's been living in a small town for years now but never felt like she belonged. On top of that she is starting to question her sexuality and is afraid of how people would react if they found out. Her family life isn't the best and the way she found to escape it is to lie down on her picnic table and send love to the passengers of the airplanes flying above her.

I really liked Astrid. I felt like she was very sweet although sometimes she could be a bit of a pushover (I'm like that too, so no judgment from me). I didn't notice the part about her sexuality in the blurb and I didn't read any reviews before buying it so the fact that she wasn't straight was a really nice surprise. But here is where I start to feel conflicted. I felt really uncomfortable reading Astrid and Dee's scenes sometimes. Dee (Astrid's girlfriend) rarely respected her boundaries ang got angry every time she asked her to stop. The biggest problem is that I don't feel like it was correctly dealt with. Even though Astrid does have a serious conversation with Dee about it and Dee even apologizes and explains where her behaviour is coming from I still feel like it wasn't enough. Maybe it's just me, I don't know.

To be honest, Astrid was the ONLY person I liked in this book. Her mother made my blood boil, especially because I know people like her and the way she acted was hitting a little close to home. Sometimes I felt desperate while reading this book because it seemed that Astrid really didn't have anyone truly rooting for her. Her father wasn't so bad, I guess. He was trapped in a loveless marriage where he was afraid to stand up to his wife but all in all he did seem to have Astrid's best interests at heart.

And now, my favourite part of the book: the passengers! Sometimes, when Astrid sent her love to the passengers in the sky we would get little snippets about them. It was a nice break from the story, to see how different people, living different lives sometimes could have such similar struggles. Also I liked that they seemed to receive Astrid's love and sort of hear her when she talked to them, even though they didn't comprehend what was happening.

Find this book on The Book Depository

Have you read this? What did you think?

segunda-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2017

New Beginnings...?

I have been away for a while, is there anyone still here? Probably not...
After moving to tumblr, things worked out for a while but then life got in the way, as it usually does and I had to leave everything behind.

These past few weeks I've missed blogging and I want to come back. The thing is that I know it's probably only a matter of time until blogging feels like a chore, you know? That's what happened before. The idea of reading books just to review them started to feel like work and I already have a lot of that from university. It probably doesn't help that emotionally speaking I wasn't doing the best and there were times where even getting out of bed seemed too much trouble.

So now, I have a couple of options. Either start blogging here again as if nothing happened, stopping all together (my least favourite option) or maybe re-vamp the whole blog and get a co-blogger, someone that could help me when medschool takes too much time from me but also someone to help keep me motivated. Really starting fresh.

What do you guys think?

Joana

quarta-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2015

MOVING TO TUMBLR

I finally realized that blogger wasn’t the right blogging platform for me! So, I am now moving everything to tumblr…my home.
And in true Octavia Blake fashion: I’m back, bitches!


quinta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2014

Review: Antebellum Awakening - Katie Cross

Antebellum Awakening (Network Series, #2) by Katie Cross
Publication Date: October 15th, 2014
Pages: 300
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Got it from the author

Synopsis

Never underestimate the power of a volatile witch.


Still reeling in the wake of her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe is forced to move to Chatham Castle. Not even the sudden appearance of ancient dragons in haunted Letum Wood nor her two best friends can distract her from the strength of her deep, dark rage.

Her grief puts her magical powers into chaos, endangering any witch around her. She has six months left to destroy the curse that will kill her and fulfill her contract with the most cunning enemy of all: her former teacher Miss Mabel. 

Bianca must make a choice: learn to control her restless powers, or let the powers control her.

Antebellum Awakening is the second book in the thrilling new fantasy collection The Network Series. It’s a haunting tale about tragedy, loss, and the power of moving on.


And here I was, thinking that this series couldn't get any better after Miss Mabel's School For Girls. Well, I was utterly wrong!

I felt that this book dealt with some heavier topics. We have grieve, considering that it starts right after Bianca's mother's death, we have a war coming up and we have Bianca being afraid that her curse won't be lifted and that she will die in a short amount of months. So, perhaps because of this, I think that the first part of the book moves a bit slower giving time to Bianca (and the reader) to assimilate everything that is going on.

Nonetheless, the pacing is right for the story and eventually it does become faster and more action-packed - even more so than Miss Mabel's - with magic and what I believed to be amazingly described sword fights! 

On top of that, as Bianca starts accepting her fate, the story gets ever more gripping and enticing, stopping you from putting the book down until you've read it from cover to cover!

I thought that all the characters were wonderfully written and even the secondary ones had an important role in the story. Miss Mabel was as evil as ever. She is just the kind of villain that you love to hate. At the same time - and like I've said on my last review - I like the different kinds of strong women that Katie is able to portray.

This book is a great sequel to Miss Mabel's School For Girls and it leaves you wanting more!

P.S: This is actual footage of me after finishing Antebellum Awakening
image




domingo, 27 de julho de 2014

Stacking The Shelves #7


Stacking The Shelves was originally created by Tynga's Reviews. The idea is for everyone to show the books they are adding to their shelves (physical copies or virtual) 

Since the last time I did one of these I joined a book exchange website...so I have quite a few new beauties to parade! So, what I got was this:



Angels & Demons - Dan Brown
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Ecstasy - Irvine Welsh
The Exorcist - William Peter Blatty
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde (I'm going to try and read some more classic books from now on!)
Master of the Moor - Ruth Rendell
One-hit Wonder - Lisa Jewell
The Sea Sisters - Lucy Clarke
The White Queen - Philippa Gregory (I don't read much historical romance, but I'll give it a try!)
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children #2) - Ransom Riggs (this one is a hard-back copy which was never read...it's in perfect conditions! Just as if I bought it from TBD, I'm so happy! :D)


I've also gotten two books for review:


Miss Mabel's School for Girls - Katie Cross    Biggest Flirts - Jennifer Echols
(review here)

And finally, I decided to give audiobooks a chance and I got two from Audible!



Winger - Andrew Smith
To All The Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

What did you get this week? :)

quarta-feira, 23 de julho de 2014

Review: Miss Mabel's School for Girls - Katie Cross

Miss Mabel's School for Girls (Network Series, #1) by Katie Cross
Publication Date: March 27th, 2014
Pages: 308
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Got it from the author

Synopsis

Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.
Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.
Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.




If there was only one word I could use to describe this novel, it would be "WOW"!

This book is absolutely action packed from beginning to end! There are no dull moments and there are so many twists and turns that you just have to keep turning the pages. It's definitely one of those books that you only want to put down when you finish it. I have to say that I don't remember the last time a book surprised me, but this one sure did! When I thought I knew what was going to happen, there was some sort of twist...which made this story incredibly interesting.

I also loved how different all the female characters were. Usually when people talk about "strong female characters" they are talking about the heroine who fights everyone; I liked how Katie challenged that notion: we have Bianca who is indeed the heroine who fights back but we also have Miss Mabel, for example who is probably one of the smartest and most cunning women in fiction...and absolutely evil too! 
The secondary characters were very dynamic and were an important part of the plot of the story.

I don't know if there is coming on the next books or not but there was absolutely no romance in this novel, which, in a way, I thought was quite refreshing and different from everything that is out there at the moment.

Katie was able to create an original and magical world like no other I've ever read about. Plus, places were described beautifully and almost made it seem like we were there. 

This was a great beginning of a series and I'm sure to keep up with it! Definitely recommed it! 

"Fear is an ally. It tells you something is wrong, like pain." is definitely one of my favourite quotes ever!


Buy it from Amazon