Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 

Pages: 470
Add to Goodreads
Review for book 1
Tracy's Review

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I absolutely love when a series starts out with a bang and continues to reverberate in the next book.  This series is definitely following that!  I regret that it took me so long to start this series.  Although I am grateful that I can binge them all and not have to wait for them to come out.

This book starts off right where Kiss of Deception left off.  Rafe and Lia are now Venda's first ever prisoners and must come up with a way to get out.  Rafe is trying to lay low and wait for his soldiers to come, but Lia has some other plans as she doesn't believe they'll make it.  As they stay there longer and longer, Lia is paraded around Venda and learns so much about its people and what the Komizar is up to.

Ah, the Komizar.  I really loved to hate him.  He is ruthless, but oh so calculating in why he does what he does.  I get frustrated right there along with Lia when he tells her to do or not do something, yet get nervous if she tries to defy him.  At some points I do understand why he is the way he is, which makes me want to strangle him more.

After the first book, I thought that it was a given who Lia was going to go for, but as I got deeper into this book I couldn't quite say what was going on.  There were fights and make-ups and more fights.  Honestly, it doesn't matter to me who she ends up with, but after this book I'm a bit torn on who she may choose.

As this series gets further along I fall more and more in love with Lia's character.  She has so much growth from when she first arrived in Teravin until the end of this book.  Her strength is astounding!  She becomes such a cool and calculating character even when she just wants to enact her revenge.  I don't know if I could even muster as much self-control that she did at some points.

Again, the world building in this book is extraordinary!  Not only do we get to see the ruins that Venda is built upon but also the mythology that comes out of those ruins.  I have to give Mary props because this world is so intricate.  It must have taken her forever to piece together every single detail in this book. I desperately need to take lessons from her!

And finally, the ending of this book!  OMG!  I did kind of see it coming with all the tension building and building, but I did not anticipate that much of a cliff-hanger.  Man am I glad that I have the third book and can start reading it right away!  Don't mind me as I now slip away to start the next book!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

E-readers vs. Physical Copies

A couple days ago I started talking with my boyfriend’s friend about a popular manga that we both like. I told him that I had started reading the manga years ago when I got it at the library and would love to own the whole series, but had absolutely no room on my shelves for it.

This manga is about 72 volumes, each about the size of a normal paperback book. 72 books!  It would take up an entire shelf if I got them all!  A lot of mangas tend to have a bunch of books, but it all depends on how they sell and if the author/illustrator wants to continue with the series.

I love manga, but have been so apprehensive about getting physical copies due to the fact that if the series gets really long I won’t have the room for all of them. I do have some series started, yet I always hem and haw over getting the next book and then the next one.

My boyfriend’s friend asked if I ever thought of getting them as an ebook to save space. Yes, I have thought of this. I actually have the first 6 or 7 books in a manga on my Nook. I love the fact I can save space, but I have a few issues with ebooks vs physical books.

Now this can apply to any and every book not just manga. I just brought up those as they can take up a TON of space. I haven’t used my Nook in forever. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I picked it up. I love the features it has for highlighting passages and quotes and looking up words you don’t know. Mine even allows you to zoom in while reading a manga, but I almost feel like I don’t own the books if that makes sense.

Normally, I peruse my shelves when looking for any of the books that I own and totally forget to look at my Nook. I’ve bought ebooks before and then bought a physical copy because I forget that I already have one. My wallet can’t stand that.

I guess I’m just big on actually having a book in my hand were I can turn the pages and smell them.  Nothing beats that. Now I’m not saying that I won’t ever use an ereader, but I highly prefer my physical copies.

What do you prefer, physical books or ebooks?
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #196: Favorite books under 250 pages

Today's Topic: 
Top Five Favorite Books Under 250 Pages

It has occurred to me that I never read novellas or short stories... Whoops! For today's topic, I've included two novellas, but in order to have more than two books on the list, I also included three other books under 250 pages that I've loved!

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Floor 21 by Jason Luthor
Insylum by Z. Rider
The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Stygian by Santino Hassell

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Monday, July 16, 2018

ARC Review: Contagion by Erin Bowman

Title: Contagion (Contagion #1)
Author: Erin Bowman

Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 432
Add to Goodreads

Perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux, Jonathan Maberry, and horror films like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, this pulse-pounding, hair-raising, utterly terrifying novel is the first in a duology from the critically acclaimed author of the Taken trilogy.

After receiving a distress call from a drill team on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is sent into deep space to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

When they arrive, they find the planet littered with the remains of the project—including its members’ dead bodies. As they try to piece together what could have possibly decimated an entire project, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

It's no secret around my blog that I LOVE horror! Horror books, horror movies, horror shows - I love them all. So when I saw this compared to 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, but set in space, I knew it was going to be the book for me!

Contagion begins by introducing us to the crew who is dragged into this rescue mission that they aren't at all qualified for. The main characters are Thea, a microbiology intern who's assisting a renowned scientist, and Nova, a pilot who really isn't ready for a mission this intense. Both girls were interesting characters with well developed backstories and I ended up really enjoying both of them. The side characters were equally well written, although there is of course one that I utterly despise.

Dylan, the captain of the crew, is a complete moron without a single redeeming quality. She's set up as a romantic interest, but I honestly couldn't have cared less if she'd been eaten in the second chapter. She had no qualms about risking every single other person under her command to serve her own interests. I did understand her initial reasoning, but it came to a point where I just couldn't believe that anyone in a military command position would be that stupid. But I digress.

Contagion starts slowly, but the action quickly picks up once the rescue crew makes it to the planet that issued the distress signal. Things go south quickly when they realize that they're too late. The crew they've come to help is dead or missing and they have no idea why, and no idea whether they should stay to find out.

Like I said earlier, the main selling point of this book was the horror aspect. It's in the FIRST sentence of the synopsis! And, while this was an interesting book with an undeniable creep factor, it really wasn't terrifying. I love the idea of having to unravel what happened to wipe out an entire crew, but the way that they got there and the repetitiveness of some of the horror left me wanting more. That isn't to say that it was bad, by any means! I think a lot of people who are less eager to be kept up at night with the lights on will probably love this. Personally, I expect more scares from a good horror book.

Still, the story was a good one. There isn't much I can say without spoilers, but the whodunnit aspect of Contagion was fantastically done and there were multiple twists that surprised me. This book is fast paced with a creepy atmosphere! It does end on a cliffhanger, but not a terribly frustrating one, and there is a tiny hint of romance. If you're looking for a good, creepy science fiction thriller, this is probably a book you'll love! Just don't come looking for anything as terrifying as 28 Days Later.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Weekly Recap: 7/8 - 7/14


Hi everyone! This week has been busy, but good. My shelves are all done! You can see the entire journey here, if you'd like. Aside from organizing my new shelves (which was so much fun!), I did some dog sitting and we finally got our bedroom painted. One by one, projects around the house are being checked off. I also got a decent amount of reading done, finally! Oh, and while you're here, I'm going to do a shameless plug and tell you to check out my Instagram page if you're interested in winning my ARC of A Blade So Black!






Hi everyone!  It’s back to work for me, but I’d much rather still be up in the Adirondacks with my family. Thankfully I have a long weekend coming up and I’ll be headed to New York City for Epic Reads Day with my boyfriend. Now I just gotta make it through a couple more days of work.




Nothing read this week!


The topic was the best books of 2018 for Top Ten Tuesday
On Thursday I talked about the aftermath of a blogging slump
Friday ARC review of My Plain Jane
On Saturday I shared my mid-year audiobook challenge progress


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, July 14, 2018

2018 Audiobook Challenge Mid-Year Update

I can't believe the year is over half over!! But here we are at the half year check-in for one of the few challenges I signed up for in 2018. This year I chose a smaller goal than previous years - My Precious. The goal is 30-50 books and I'm calling it 30+ for simplicity's sake (and to make it more easily attainable). I'm already just over 50% to my goal, so yay me for staying on track! I'll admit that I didn't make it all the way through all of them, but an attempt was made! 

Out of these books, my favorites have been The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Reign the Earth, and Hunting Prince Dracula! My least favorites have been King's Cage, And the Trees Crept In, and The Night Circus, although I definitely disliked more than I've liked so far this year. 

Here are links to the ones I've reviewed:

What audiobooks have I missed this year? What are some of your absolute favorites (fantasy or horror preferred)? Let me know in the comments!