Book Review: White Stag by Kara Barbieri (Blog Tour) #BookReview #BlogTour #WhiteStag #Fantasy

I am so honoured to take part in this blog tour.

I really liked this book and I’d like to thank Maghan Harrington from St, Martin Press, for giving me this opportunity.

About the book:

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

Get your copy HERE. 

My Review:

White Stag is young adult fantasy that made notice even before it was released, and now when I read it, I can see why.

This is the first fantasy about goblins that I have ever read, and I can tell you that I have enjoyed learning about these creatures that I knew so little about before (basically, my whole knowledge before this book came from Lord of the Rings movies).

The world was fascinating, and I wish we got to see more of it. Since this is only first book in the series, I hope we will learn more about it in next installments.
I would really want to explore it more, because some scenes (like the one when Janneke looked around her and thought how beautiful this world actually would be if she wasn’t in a position she was) captivated me, so I crave for more of it’s beauty.

I was always fascinated with faeries. They are my favorite creatures, and I loved reading about them even before they were popular in literature.
Goblins have some similarities with them (like, how they can’t lie or how manipulative they are), so it was natural that I was fond of them too.

White Stag is an action packed story. I loved it’s pace and it reads so fast.
There’s an action at the very beginning and it lasts until the end (with some slow parts in the middle).
I liked it, but I wish we got at least two chapters at the very beginning to learn about politics in this world.

What I liked the most in this novel is one phrase that stayed with me, and that is how everyone is a monster in some way (I’m paraphrasing it here so don’t quote me on literal words).
One particular scene when our main character realized that stuck with me the most. Ever since I finished this book, I feel like every day I think about that scene, and her words.

The writing style is solid. I really enjoyed reading Barbieri’s words and I can only imagine she will even get better at times.

Some scenes reminded me of Twilight Saga, but in a good way. I strictly talk here about dialogue.
Also, some sentences in the novel (and don’t take it like a bad thing because it is a 400+ pages long book) reminded me of ones I already read somewhere (like breath she was holding, you know that one!).
What I have concluded is that the author probably read many ya novels so they influenced her.

I like how atypical the ending was. It really stood out in my eyes, and welcomed it wholeheartedly.

I loved White Stag and I will gladly be continuing with the series.

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Blog Tour: Seafire by Natalie C. Parker: Book Review, Ships and Thoughts @PHRGlobal @phrinternational #partner

I am so happy to be today’s host in the Seafire blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Amanda Holman for giving me this opportunity, and to Penguin Random House, Razorbill for sending me a free copy of the book (ISBN (9780451481290) ).

Blurb:

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all…or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?

Ships and Thoughts:

When I first heard about this blog tour, I was so excited to participate. When I got a message that I “got in”, I was so proud.

My original idea for this blog tour was to take as many pictures as I can of a physical copy of the Seafire while I was in Albani on my Vacation. Since Albania has such a beautiful sea, I thought it would be interesting to show you the book surrounded with sea, salt, sand and everything you can possibly see on the seaside.

However, the faith was not on my side this time, and the book hasn’t arrived before I went on a trip.

Without lying, I was quiet worried because I didn’t know what to prepare for the blog tour, as an alternative.

However, while I was reading Seafire, I realized just how big of a role ships do have in the story, so I decided to show you some ships that me and my fiance saw in Albania, and were fascinated by them, so we took their pictures.
I hope they will fascinate you as well (but trust me, when you see them in person, they’re even more astonishing.

      

Brief Review:

Even before starting Seafire, I expected it to be action packed. And I wasn’t wrong. It was.
As soon as we meet our main character Caledonia, there’s an action scene that will occupy readers to keep reading.

However, even though there was something going on non-stop through the story, somehow it took me more then 90 pages to really get into the story.
I guess it’s because I haven’t read a book full of action for a while, and my brain needed some time to digest everything.

Going into the story, you should know that there are some graphic (but not too graphic, don’t worry) violent scenes.
This is the story about survival and revenge, so I wouldn’t imagine any other way anyway.

Caledonia was an interesting character to say the least. At first I couldn’t feel emphaty toward her with her enough, because I couldn’t understand how could she be the captain after what she did at the beginning of the story, but as the story went, I understood how come they chose her, and I even felt her energy and the sense to lead. It was obvious why girls would chose her and listen to her.

The story is fast paced with emotional breaks now and then.
I was gripped and emotional at same times.

The writing style is beautiful and even if it could be read fast, I decided to take my time with it and just enjoy.

I would recommend Seafire to everyone who likes action, communion and female power in their books.

Book Review: Bookish Boyfriends – A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt

Title: A Date with Darcy
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Bookish Boyfriends #1
Publisher: Amulet Books, ABRAMS
Date: May 1st, 2018
Pages: 392
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In this contemporary YA, a teenager’s favorite literary heroes woo her in real life

The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true—often with surprising consequences.

Review:

Who wouldn’t want a date with Darcy?
I don’t know… I was never Darcy’s kind of girl (I think Adrian Ivashkov would suit me better) but I’d still want to go on a date with Darcy, just like probably every bookish girl in this world would. Yet, our main protagonist Marrilee had a chance to really live that dream (and thank God she’s just a fictional character, because so many of us would be jealous of her!).

From what I understood, A Date with Darcy came to life in the most amazing way.
Tiffany Schmidt decided to write it when she realized there was no book about everyday girls dating real fictional characters. She wanted to read that kind of book, so she wrote it.

I bet she had some fun on the way, because I surely had some fun reading the story she created.

A Date with Darcy follows Merrilee Campel, 15 years old girl, who starts new school along with her sister and best friend. She immediately notices how polite guys in this school are and suddenly she gets a feeling they could be real book characters in disguise, with all the Shakespeare quotes and elegant attitude.
Soon she finds herself in a relationship with a guy who says he could be her Romeo, but love is really complicated sometimes…

Reading this novel was really fun, as it was pretty funny at times.
I think younger audience would appreciate it more, but I think everyone who wants some amusement in the book would value it as well.

The first half of the book was not the greatest. It was pretty childish at times and even silly, but the second half made up for all of it.

Novel is written in first person, from Merrilee’s POV, and it reads on an average pace.
It took me a week to finish this book, but let me stress out, it was a busy week.

Overall, A Date with Darcy was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to younger readers.

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas @PRHGlobal #partner

Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Publisher: Penguin Random House Childern’s, Delacorte Press
Date: July 31st, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

 

Review:

So… I went into The Cheerleaders with an expectation to get a story similar to I Know What You Did Last Summer or The Scream, but instead I got… something different.

I don’t know why I thought there will be a a killer chasing characters who’d fear for their lives, because that was not even promissed in the blurb. Anyway, because of my wrong expectations, the story for me was just… slow.

There was not much going on, but only discovering what had happened in the past.

However, don’t think this book is not good or interesting, because it is. It really is.

The story follows Monica who lives in a little town Sunnybrook. Five years ago, a huge tragedy hit the place. Five lives were lost. All five belonged to cheerleaders, one belonged to Monica’s sister Jen.
Monica is still hunted by questions and mystery around Jen’s death and she wants to find out what really happened.

This is my first time reading Kara Thomas‘ work and I really enjoyed her writing style. She was on my tbr for a while now, because I want to read her book The Darkest Corners since the day it came out, only I still didn’t have a chance.
Now when I read The Cheerleaders, I want to read it even more.

The story is written in two perspectives, one from Monica, written in first person, and second from Jen, written in third person.
I liked Monica’s chapters much more, but Jen’s were really important for the story.

This story touches some really important topics like statutory rape, suicide and abortion, but I wish more attention was paid to them. I feel like they were mentioned and that was that, the story moved on. I mean, their part of the story was huge, but they were almost… glossed over.

Since this is mystery, it’s purpose is to get readers involved, to get them try to figure out what happened before the end, and I feel like most readers will complete that mission successfully.
I had no problem figuring out the truth whatsoever.

Overall, The Cheerleaders is an entertaining ya novel that will capture readers until the very end.
I would recommend it to lovers of contemporary high school fiction.

Book Review: Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Title: Final Draft
Author: Riley Redgate
Publisher: Amulet Books, ABRAMS
Date: June 12th, 2018
Pages: 272
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

Review:

Of all the books Amulet scheduled to release this Spring/Summer season, Final Draft was the one I was looking forward the most.
The premise sounds just right up my alley, as I also like to write and rewrite, so having a main character who’s so into writing was (in my case) a recipe for commonality.
Diverse representation is always a plus, and this novel represents pensexuality, homosexuality, Ecuadorian, Korean and anxiety (if I missed something, I do apologize!).

Reading Final Draft, when it comes to enjoyment, was like being on a roller coster. One chapter it was everything I wanted from a ya novel, when the other was dull, and I had to push myself to concentrate on the story.

The thing is, it was a similar experience to the one I had when I was reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Parts with the main character’s writing I didn’t find interesting, when other parts of the story were really good with some boring/not interesting enough moments.

Laila was an interesting, likeable character and it was easy to emphasize with her.
Her best friend, Hannah was awesome and it was a pleasure to read every page that included her.

However Laila’s teacher Nazarenko, who’s appearance is one of the most important (or remarkable) part of the book, was so unlikeable, that even today I find it hard to explain just how badly she got on my nerves.

Final Draft is not only a great choice for a reading pleasure, but it is also somewhat useful, as it contains some writing advices.

Even though I had a good time reading this novel, I have to admit that unfortunately it is (at least in my case) not a memorable piece. I don’t think that I’ll remember much about it even 6 months from now.

Nevertheless, I would still recommend it to young readers (and aspiring authors), especially to those who enjoyed Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Book Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Title: Bookishly Ever After
Series: Ever After (#1)
Author: Isabel Bandeira
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Date: January 19th, 2016
Pages: 378
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary.

But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

Review:

First of all, let me praise this cover! It’s one of the most beautiful book covers I have seen lately, and what’s even better, it’s sequel’s cover is even more beautiful.

And now when we got all that beauty out of the way (sorry, I just woke up and I can’t think of any better phrase to express myself), let’s focus on what’s really important: the story itself.

If you already read the book, you might ask me: “What story?”. Yes, I know what you mean, because that’s what I asked myself more then few times while reading.
And the answer is: this one, at first fun, one dimensional story that dragged and dragged even though nothing important really happened, and made me lose my interest after the fist half of the book.
Honestly, it felt like I was reading a 700 pages long book, not a 378 pages one.

As I already said, the story is one dimensional. We follow Phoebe and her friends, read about their conversations which lack of significance, and there is no subplots.
It was like waiting for Godot in a shape of plot.
Guess what? Godot never came, or maybe he came after I fell asleep.

To be fair, I liked Phoebe. I enjoyed reading her comparing her life with life of her favorite characters, and how she asked herself what would her favorite characters do in certain situations.
I only wish that her favorite characters and books weren’t non-existent. I have never heard of those books or characters, and I feel like if familiar books and characters were part of the story, readers would enjoy this book more.

This book started really good, it got me in and I was having fun reading about Phoebe and her high-school drama, but somewhere on the way, I lost my interest and to be honest, I just skimmed the second half of the novel.
I found myself realizing that I didn’t care anymore, and if I wasn’t given this book for a review, I would probably DNF it.

However, I want to stress out that some of my goodreads friends really enjoyed this story, so if you were thinking about giving this book a chance, please do.
Maybe you will end up really enjoying it.

I usually love ya contemporary, but I guess this book just wasn’t for me.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: book to movie comparison

perks-trunchy

(Kudos to my cat Trunchica for volunteering to be my model. She did her job like a pro!)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my all time favorite movie (in case you didn’t know).
The one and only reason I bought myself an overpriced copy (It was overpriced in my case, because few weeks later I realized that I could have ordered the same edition online for 10 $ cheaper) of this novel as soon as I saw it is because I was so in love with the movie.
My biggest fault is that I waited for years until I finally read it.
Why?
Because I heard that the movie is so much better.

And I agree.
This is one of rare cases when most people would agree, I think.
Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing book, full of beautiful quotes and, in my humble opinion, everyone should read it at least once.

I am truly sorry that this book wasn’t translated into Croatian when I was 15 years old shoolgirl.
I know this book would be my saving grace, I would get so many life lessons from it, and, maybe, it would help me in a way.
Help me understand someone else’s decisions, as well as it would guide me when making my own.

And that is another reason why I just love this movie.
It showed the world the story that needed to be told.. Even in countries where this modern classic was unfamiliar, people now have a chance to observe it.
As for my country, because of the movie’s success, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is now translated.

I am in love with this story and characters, and I couldn’t help but imagine Logan, Emma and Ezra (and everyone else) the whole time I was reading.

The book is very short, but still some parts of the book weren’t in the movie (from what I understand, they decided to cut some parts so the movie would be appropriate for every age rang), like teenage pregnancy and abortion, as well as scenes with Charlie’s hallucinations.

One of my favorite (and saddest) parts was the poem Charlie was reading (too bad that scene got deleted from the movie).
I don’t know if Chbosky wrote it or is it by someone else, but it’s incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking.

If you want, you can listen to the poem here , read by Logan Lerman (it’s a deleted scene from the movie).

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