Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday #8: Warcross by Marie Lu

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

Warcross
by Marie Lu
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Who's shocked to see this on a can't-wait post? No? Okay, so I know everyone is excited for this book but it's almost here and I couldn't resist putting this gorgeous book on my blog before it's release date! This book is giving me some Ready Player One vibes, so here's hoping I love this more than that one!


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Wishful Endings.
This meme is based on Waiting-on Wednesday, which went inactive last year.
Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weekly Recap: 8/6 - 8/12


TRACY'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week. I returned home on Tuesday and have been enjoying spending time with my husband and puppies! New puppy is all done with day school and has learned a little, I guess? We still have to practice with him on leash for now, but hopefully it'll translate to off leash eventually. Yesterday we visited a local tea room and had some incredible peanut butter pie! My most exciting news is that we've had some great success with Cornerfolds Candles recently and I'm hoping the trend continues! I love making bookish candles and sharing them with others! If you haven't checked out my shop, you can find it in the navigation bar! ;)


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

No new books this week!


THIS WEEK I READ




MC'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! I'm away at competition this weekend with no wifi and horrible service, so this recap will be a quick one! I've had a pretty busy week getting ready for competition, so I haven't been able to read very much. I am really enjoying what I'm reading and I wish I could sit down and finish it, but it will have to wait until after comp. I'm hoping to catch up on some reading and get ahead on blog posts in the next few weeks, because I have a very busy September ahead of me. Hope you are having a great weekend!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

No new books this week!


THIS WEEK I READ

Nothing this week!



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

On Monday I did the R.I.P. It or Ship It book tag
Thursday DNF ARC review of Royal Bastards
Saturday ARC review of Bad Romance


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!

ARC Review: Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Title: Bad Romance
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 368
Add to Goodreads


Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

If you're surprised to see me reviewing a contemporary YA novel, you're not the only one - I can't believe I read it! The cover was what caught my eye at first, but then reading the synopsis hooked me. I have some personal experience with bad romance and I also know a couple people who have more in depth experience in toxic relationships than I do. I thought that if any contemporary was for me, it was this one. But while Bad Romance started out strong, it didn't end up being as good as I'd hoped.

Grace is the protagonist of this story. She is already a victim when this book begins. Her mother has married an abusive man who takes out his anger on his family and treats Grace like his own personal slave, and her mother does nothing to stop it. Grace's home life is rough and she has plans to escape as soon as high school is over. Before that can happen though, she meets Gavin, the high school's resident broody musician. Gavin is charming and gorgeous and talented. Gavin has also recently attempted suicide over a breakup and Grace (obviously) thinks this is oh-so-sweet. For whatever reason, Grace writes him a letter which begins their extremely unhealthy relationship.

Demetrios does a fantastic job of creating a relationship that's believable. It's easy to see why Grace falls for Gavin and it's just as easy to understand how their relationship devolved into such a toxic one. This is something that a lot of people don't understand - why women don't just leave when their significant others turn into abusive jerks. It isn't always that simple for a victim to leave an abusive situation and that's something the author makes about as clear as possible. Unfortunately, that's about as far as the positives go for Bad Romance.

I have several complaints about this book and the first is the choice in writing style. For some reason, it's written like a letter to Gavin, except it really isn't. Bad Romance pretends to be a letter, but instead it's written like any other book but with a jarring "you" thrown in every now and then where you'd expect to see "he." This writing style might work for some other books, but I didn't feel that it added a single thing to be addressed as the abuser in this particular narrative.

Like I said earlier, the story is believable in the way it shows abuse victims staying in relationships, it isn't very enjoyable to read. A huge part of this book is repetition. Grace goes to work, Gavin plays some music, Gavin gets mad, Grace gets upset, Grace's friends worry, Gavin says sorry, rinse and repeat. I know that this is the way a real life situation might play out but it made for a super tedious and boring reading experience.

Finally, I never felt that Grace really saved herself. While I can appreciate that sometimes it can take the interference of friends or meeting a guy who doesn't treat you like crap, it would've been so much more satisfying for Grace to pull herself out of this situation. I also wish the book hadn't started with the ending. It's so much less impactful to know how everything ends up before you even get to the actual story.

I expected Bad Romance to be a great book if not one I particularly enjoyed reading because of the subject matter. It had all of the makings of a good read, but it was executed oddly and the story really dragged on. That being said, I do think it's an important book, especially for the YA audience! I really hope more books on this topic will follow (and hopefully I'll like them more).



Thursday, August 10, 2017

DNF ARC Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Title: Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 352
Add to Goodreads


//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

Tilla is a bastard. And so is Jax. And Miles. And Zell, too. (Yup, that's a lot of bastards.) One fateful night, these four bastards cross paths and find themselves entangled with the princess, Lyrianna. The band of teens accidentally stumbles upon something they shouldn't see, and realize their parents are tangled up in an evil plot to overthrow the king. Now they are on the run, being chased by their parents and the entire kingdom.

I had a very interesting relationship with this book. Before I even picked it up, a friend told me it was horrible and she gave up just a few pages in. I decided to give it a try, but I wasn't very hopeful. I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying the story a bit. It didn't blow me away by any means, but it was enough to entertain me for a few hours. But then, when I was about 100 pages in, other things came up. Other books held my attention more, and I found myself not missing Royal Bastards at all. I thought I might come back to it in a week or two, but I eventually felt no drive to return to that story. After checking Goodreads to see what other people had to say (some of the reviews are absolutely hilarious, by the way), I decided I didn't want to invest the time in finishing a book that I wasn't loving to begin with.

One of the biggest complaints that readers seem to have about Royal Bastards is the writing. And I have to agree completely. The writing is simplistic and uninspiring. It feels as though it was written for an audience that is much younger than the teens in the book. There is very little excitement, and it takes about 100 pages for anything to happen to further the plot. Then immediately after that one action scene, nothing happens again for a long time. The language was also incredibly jarring. Royal Bastards is a high fantasy, but the characters speak with the colloquialisms used by teens today. It completely pulls you out of the story because the language doesn't fit with the world at all. It read like a poorly made, straight-to-DVD Disney movie.

The characters were also forgettable and flat. I honestly couldn't tell you anything about the personalities of the cast of characters, because nothing stood out about them. I think the girls were whiny and the boys were brooding. That's about all I can remember. And I think that even when I was in the middle of reading this book, that's still about all I could tell you about them. They have no distinguishing traits to set them apart from the crowd, and therefore, I didn't care about them at all.

I think Royal Bastards could have had some real potential. The base plot line is interesting and could have been taken in many different and unique directions. But, unfortunately, the author chose to go the route of the most obvious and trope-filled series of events, making the book boring and predictable. Combine a boring plot with boring characters and boring writing, and you have a book that I definitely don't recommend. There are so many other books out there that tell better and more exciting stories (and are well-written). There are so many other fantastic high fantasies out there, so I say don't waste your time on this one.


Monday, August 7, 2017

R.I.P. It or Ship It Book Tag

Happy Monday, everyone! We all know that Mondays are crap and mine is worse than normal this week, but I thought I'd try to make it fun anyway with a tag! I saw this in a pretty old post on Dreamland Book Blog and thought I'd bring it back. If you're reading this, I tag you!


THE RULES
  1. Write down the names of characters from different books. You can use scraps of paper, but I went with a random name picker. You can do as many as you like, but I did 20 (10 girls and 10 boys).
  2. Pull out two names at a time (from a container or your online name picker) and show them to your audience in whatever way you like. I'll just be making name graphics to share since I'm doing it all online. 
  3. Decision time! Do you ship them or do you want their relationship to die a peaceful/painful death? Tell the world!


This is a ship I can 100% get behind! I'm going to be honest, I love Luna and Neville and I would've LOVED that to be a thing, but I never really cared very much about Harry and Ginny. I know everyone else loves them, but... I always loved the little bit of interaction we got between Harry and Luna and it would've been perfect!



Well this is certainly a weird pairing - Morpheus from Splintered and Laia from An Ember in the Ashes. While I really like both of these characters, I don't think that Laia would put up with Morpheus and his crap for very long. I don't really see them working out longterm.



Oh man, this one is hard! The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy is my absolute favorite male character in a book and I really loved Feyre until ACOWAR. After thinking it over, I'm going to say that I like this ship. The Darkling needs someone who can handle his uniqueness and I think Feyre probably can, considering Rhysand. The Darkling deserves love, okay?! I think Feyre would be good for him.



I know that people have a LOT of feelings about this ship. Draco obviously treated Hermione like garbage through most of the series, but I've read some fanfic that I actually kind of loved. I'm going to let them try it out and see where their relationship goes!



This is another really weird one... We all know that Rhysand loves a strong woman and Tris was definitely strong in the Divergent series. But I just have really mixed feelings about Tris in general. And can you imagine Tris taking a visit to the world of ACOTAR?? This would definitely be an interesting relationship, but something about it just feels icky to me.



Yessss! I love this so much and I didn't even know I needed it until I saw these names together! Amar from The Star-Touched Queen and Alina from The Grisha Trilogy would be so freaking perfect I can't stand it! They're both such fantastic characters and they BELONG TOGETHER!




What do you think about these pairings? 
Are there any you would've reacted differently to?
Let me know in the comments!