Top 5 Bookish Christmas Wishlist (Sort of)

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Alright! I am SOOOO EXCITED for Christmas this year! Well who am I kidding I am excited for it every single year! I just love the Christmas season and I look forward to it every year. But, I’m just going to put it out there, I am not looking forward to gifts. Hold your shock or judgments or violent reactions… I love gifts, I do, I just feel like gifts or not, I love Christmas all the same. Just sayin’

So to go with this Christmas train, I have listed some of the things I would love to receive or have or things that I am thinking of getting or obsessing over or just stuff I love. Buuuut… I’ll just call this a wishlist okay? Let’s get into it!

Shelves!!!

Literally, this was how it was written on my notepad, yup, with all the exclamation marks! I SERIOUSLY need to look around and just get one! (or two) If only my books could talk or run away… I used to have one but it was so old it gave up on dear life and I just let it go.

Harry Potter Boxed Set

You may (or may not) know this but I haven’t read the HP series except for the first one and I figured what best way to get on it than to get the whole thing and put it where I could always see it so that I’ll have no choice but to read and be done with it! No but seriously, I think this is such a great gift idea to anyone really. My sister would love you for the rest of your life if you gave this to her. Like I said before, Harry Potter and Christmas: perfect match.

Cappuccino + Hazelnut Syrup = LOVE.

Oh my goodness guys. This… Give me this! I know this time of the year EVERYBODY loves the pumpkin spiced or panettone or any other Chrismas-y flavored drinks from your favorite coffee places but hot or iced, the cappuccino plus hazelnut from Starbucks has been my go-to. I don’t know what it is! Perfect. I’m telling you. Perfect. The hazelnut just adds the perfect sweetness and slight warmth to the cappuccino’s straight up coffee. Try it.

Kindle?

See that question mark? YUP, you guessed it, I’m still thinking about it and honestly, still not sure. But, for readers (aka people who devour books) like me, any kind of reading device is a thing to consider. NOW. Under no circumstances would ever say that I like e-books better than the actual print books. However, e-books have their advantages too especially for people on-the-go or those who wish to read at various times of the day away from home. People who review books (like myself) can also benefit from these. For those venturing into e-books or are fans of digital copies, I think a Kindle device is a good gift option.

Book Shopping Spree!

Who doesn’t need one?

Bonus:

Alright, I cheated. I have six but it’s Christmas and we are generous people right? Okay.

Fire Falling, Earth’s End, and any other book by Elise Kova. Seriously everyone, this lady is talented and such a sweetheart. Go find her books and read them and tell her I sent you okay? Go.

What are you currently loving this season? DO you have a wishlist as well? Let us talk about them!

 

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BOOK REVIEW: Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

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She never asked for the undying loyalty of a necromancer. 

1913. Austria-Hungary. Ardis knows better than to save a man on the battlefield. Even if he manages to be a charming bastard while bleeding out in the snow. She hasn’t survived this long as a mercenary without some common sense.

When she rescues Wendel, it isn’t because he’s devilishly handsome, but because he’s a necromancer. His touch can revive the dead, and Ardis worries he will return from the grave to hunt her down. Besides, a necromancer can be useful in this world on the brink of war.

A gentleman of questionable morals, Wendel drops to one knee and pledges his undying loyalty to Ardis. She resists falling for him, no matter how hot the tension smolders between them. Especially when she discovers Wendel’s scars run much deeper than his skin, and it might be too late to truly save him from himself.

This post is WAAAAYYYY overdue. I can’t explain things too much but life got in the way and I had to take care of stuff so blogging was paused a bit for me. But now I am back! So, let us get on with this review of a really great book shall we?

I forgot how I was able to get hold of this book so if you, my dear reader, gave me or recommended me this book I am deeply sorry. But I remember reading it after I read either Relentless or Air Awakens. I have heard good things about this and read really good reviews so I had good hopes about it and as expected, I was not disappointed.

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First off, I think the cover is really good, except for those two half-faces up top. I could do much much better without them thank you very much. Other than that, I think it was a good hint to the steampunk vibe of the book which I liked surprisingly.

Wendel was the perfect hero for this story. He was the mysterious gentleman in the wrong place at the wrong time. With all his mystery and gentlemanly behavior, you kind of sense something sinister in him but at the same time that is where his irresistible charm resides. I found myself drawn to him and his character. I am not sure, however, if there is much more to him than what was disclosed about his life and his past in this book but, I don’t care at all. I found myself wanting to know what goes on from now. His past crimes and life were less intriguing than what he would or would not do. The mean is a freaking necromancer if I haven’t told you that! I probably should have been terrified by what he could do but I wasn’t. Yep, so me.

Now, you know how much I love my bad-ass girlfriends right? So it will come as no surprise to you that I immediately liked Ardis as a heroine but then she was a sword-wielding mercenary and well… yah know. Her past and how the sword was linked to her mother and her life was a good addition to the story. I think it gave Ardis more depth, and made her character more complex yet whole. Plus she has Asian blood so you know I will root for her. She is a no nonsense yet passionate girl. She can definitely hold up her own.

This was my first time reading a novel with a steampunk kind of environment and I must say I really, really liked it. The world the author created was interesting, revolving around things we are familiar with yet twisting it in a way that we want to know more about them like we were strangers. It was an environment well-conceived. There was nothing wow about the character development in the story but at least there was some which is always a good thing. I think this is a case where the story and the plot and the world itself is sufficient to keep you reading. I think if too much was added it would have been a bore.

Also, the way magic was “mechanized” to jive with the steampunk vibe was genius. It probably doesn’t make clear sense, but I could totally imagine it.

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Not much really…

Let’s see, the twist about Ardis’ father, well… I just saw it coming. Like really. I think it was an obvious one and it didn’t surprise me when I came to that part. Sometimes we just don’t like knowing what is going to happen.

The ending. I was not really a fan. I just…. ugh… maybe something more? I don’t know. But then again it MIGHT be vital to the next books, who knows..

Like I said, I really like this book. And for a first steampunk-ish novel, I am a fan.

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Do you have steampunk novels you can recommend?

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Mystical by Michael Weekly

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When Eliza Rose found out she was a witch, she thought she’d be casting spells…

However, it turns out Eliza is on her way to becoming a mystical assassin. But first she has to start college with her best friend Dawn Roberts and her feline familiar Jared. If you think college is stressful, try finding your best friend being seduced—nearly to death—by a venomous fairy. Something is horribly wrong, and Eliza must find out what it is.

Knowing who’s who in the Mystical world can be a burden—or save her life…

Murderous mermaids, seductive fairies, and manipulative elves are terrifying enough, but pure witches can become corrupt…and they’re the most dangerous creatures of all. Eliza struggles to discover the source of this chaos, but is repeatedly attacked—and saved by a shadowy figure. On a very personal note, Eliza must learn whether corruption is beginning to claim her mother.

Her strongest ally might be handsome, enigmatic Donovan—but he is hiding a shocking secret…

Donovan wants nothing to do with his old gang—not after the things they’d made him do. But when he meets Eliza, he’s both frustrated by her amateur skills and impressed by her emerging strength, and he feels compelled to help her grow into the assassin she’s meant to be.

Every answer has a price, and there are beings born to corrupt the pure.

Eliza fights to master her skills before it’s too late, while Donovan must determine whether Eliza can be saved…or if she must die to keep her out of the hands of those who would use her powers to reign over all of Mystical.

As some of you might know, I am slowly making my way through the amazing book community of the internet. And lately, I have been talking to other wonderful readers and bloggers and authors as well! All this is new and exciting for me so when an author contacts you to review a book, how can you say no?

Mystical is book #1 in the Mystical Series (I am not sure how many books there will be) and it follows our heroine Eliza (E-lee-zuh as she likes it pronounced) as she makes her way through an awkward phase of her life and school and friendship and boys, all of these besides the fact that she learns she is a witch.

Okay. Admittedly, this is not my favorite of books but I will tell you this early that it is not a bad book at all. Although, I must say it has a Mortal Instruments vibe to it. Shadowhunters anyone? For what its worth, I honestly believe that I personally would have enjoyed it better had I read it when I was younger. Disclaimer: I am not THAT old. But you get what I mean. Of course, I have those things that I really like about this book.

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Witches…

Need I say more? BUT, what actually made me really like it was how witches were so much different from the ugly hags or the wand waving, spell casting humans you normally see in books. They actually are bad-ass people who save people from dying in the hands (or claws, or flippers of whatever) of evil creatures roaming around. And the BROOMSTICK! I would want that broomstick for myself girl! If you want to know what I mean go and get this book! The difference and the general idea of what a witch is was perfectly played out. Honestly it suit the name witch pretty well.

The premise was good

The general premise of this book was great. I mean basically everybody knows about the stories about fairies and mermaids and elves. Weekly gives his own take on these stories we hear over and over again. If any, it is a refreshing, a bit dark yes, re-telling of what these creatures really are.

Fairies, mermaids, elves, and rave parties

The creatures (why does that word sound weird suddenly, anyway) were re-created in such a way that they aren’t too far off from what they are originally known for. You can still see hints of the common urban legends. and I think that’s what makes them more terrifying. Also, they are set to the mix with the modern day which I really like. No one will look at a beautiful girl the same way when they read this book. The book just captures what the life of a college freshman is.

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was a really nice girl. She wasn’t spiteful or depressed. Basically she wasn’t the pathetic damsel so we can become friends. Honestly in the end I don’t think she gave a damn about other people. She accepted that her mother was weird and that was it. She loved her just the same. And she could fight like a boss. I think Weekly was able to capture what the life of a normal teenager transitioning into young adulthood was like. College, independence, taking chances, boys, heartbreak, friendships. Even with all the crazy stuff, her life was described like any other. Her character was realistic in a way and I loved that.

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Are we ready? Here we go.

I didn’t think the flow of words and the richness of the story telling was very consistent. As I was reading there were moments when oh! that was really good and rich and magical and then the next few lines were just womp womp… They weren’t bad, I mean they did the job of saying what was needed, it just wasn’t enough to give the needed punch. You get me?

This is probably one of the most frustrating plots I have read. Just the suspense of what was really happening and why things were happening was just dragged on too long it was unnecessary in my opinion. Basically at the end of the book I didn’t understand half of what or why things were happening. But, it may just be me. Everyone around her just made Liza look stupid and vulnerable all the while claiming they want to protect her. Well tell the girl the damn thing and let her defend herself! Do girls not have any say to things anymore?

One thing that kind of ticked me off a teeny tiny bit was that she needed to look gorgeous to be a hero. I mean come on. Really?  And anyone should know better than to let your best friend tag along your adventures with vicious creatures when you very well know she is absolutely in danger and might just hold you up. Hello!?!?!?! She accepts you, I get it so save her the agony and leave her at home!

There wasn’t much character development for any of the characters. I was looking for a little more conflict internally and externally for Liza. But there were great, GREAT moments for her (and her mum *wink*). And those were real gems.

Again, this is a good book, really. So many good elements and a colorful plot. It may just be me. I think it really is just me. It just didn’t grip me real tight. Preference thing. Thinking about it, I believe the next books may be a lot better and I may like them more than this book since I assume things will unfold more clearly as the series goes on. That is IF I will pick them up. If you ask me now, uhmm, I may pass. BUT, if you are a fan of books like Mortal Instruments series then you might enjoy this as well.

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***This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Michael Weekly for sending me this ARC. This book releases on December 8, 2015 if it is not yet the 8th where you live, but otherwise it is up now! If you want to check it out here is the Goodreads and Amazon pages.

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

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WARNING: This post may (most probably) just contain flailing and over-the-top emotions regarding an amazing, AMAZING book I love and will shove to anyone’s book cart. You have been warned.

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

I have been seeing this book circulating around blogs for sometime and I was really curious to see what all the fuss was about. So I was on Twitter one day and was chatting with a few fellow book bloggers when suddenly it was announced that I won a giveaway and that I get to choose which e-book I get to keep. So when I saw this book on the choices I knew it was what I wanted. I had books to read prior to this so I probably started it, I’d say 3 days after I got it. Now that I think about it, it was such a stupid idea not diving into this this book immediately because when I did, I devoured it it one sitting (or lying down, whichever you prefer)!

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This book just gripped me and did not let go even after I finished reading it! Yes, that hardcore! I think I had reading hangover from it if that was even possible. And the cover just puts the cherry on top. I mean just look at that stunning work of art right there! I could not think of a better cover! Just wow.

Vhalla was such a great character. She was so relatable and believable. Her vulnerabilities as a girl of her age, and status, and her upbringing just melded perfectly with her personality and her strengths. And this girl has natural sass. She was not my usual bad ass heroine, but she has this strength and resolve that is so palpable you do not have to read it in words to feel. She dreams big, and wants to be really good at what she does. Her character’s development was gradual and not forced. You just see her slowly realize how she fits into the world she is in and accept that the world she has lived in all those years was totally different from what she was meant to be in. You see how she is a normal young lady in how she is caring, and protective, and determined. You see her infatuated and really fall in love.

And I mean let’s be honest, the girl works in a library, is a bit of a rebel, takes care of books, and loves reading. What more can a girl like me ask for right? I see you Elise.

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And ALDRIK…

Oh you weird, bad boy with a good heart. You know what they say, the good girl always falls for the bad guy. Well, pushing aside the fact that he seems okay with pushing a girl from the top of a tower which I kind of dig. Don’t ask, at the time I just thought, wow this guy has some balls and possibly strangely violent sorcerer. Then his character just unfold into this man who has inner conflicts of being a sorcerer, being shunned, being misunderstood, being a friend, being the crown prince. He suddenly becomes bare with his vulnerabilities in an almost natural manner not like the broken, bad ass, strong as a rock male protagonists on most books. It was as if their attraction just flowed naturally. It was beautiful to be honest. He almost made me tear up when he said ” I am not a good man.” From their context, it meant a lot. Tugging at the heartstrings eh?

Coming into this, I will say I may have a little bit of bias because I just absolutely love anything that has stuff to do with the elements. I just love them. I don’t know what it is, but they just fascinate me. Maybe it  is because I live so near them? In the mountainous regions you know, we cook with firewood, go to springs, climb to the mountain tops and feel the wind, work with dirt. You see? The world was created beautifully but is not too far from the society we know. Elise (first name basis, yup, that is how I roll) played with politics and war and territorial disputes. Much of which we see nowadays too. However, you see some mythology mixed in with court politics and intrigue in people worshiping the sun-goddess and justifying the war with spreading that belief.

There is the sibling love and sibling rivalry complex which I think was a clever touch to the story. People might think differently, but I believe the other prince plays an important role. Oh, and can we just talk about refusing to give in to the love triangle trap very early on? Clap clap!

I was so engrossed in reading that time just flew by, and when I reached the end I could not believe it. It is safe to say it broke my heart seeing the last page. WHY? WHY?

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I could not say enough good things about this book! That and the fact that Elise Kova is such a sweetheart! Follow her on Twitter and find out for yourself. Go and tell her I sent you there okay?

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READ. IT. NOW.

It is a wonderful series starter and I cannot wait to read the next ones! Fire falling is out now, and Earth’s End I believe is soon to be released. I don’t usually include shop links but since I just loooved this book, here they are:

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Fire Falling:

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*** Thanks to @thebooktraveler for the giveaway! You might have just changed my life! Check out her blog here.

Mara In Love

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Today was the day. If I am to be absolutely honest, I have been anticipating this day much longer than I would allow myself to admit. What was it that made me want to leave you ask? To say I have fallen out of love would be a lie, a travesty, because I. DID. NOT.

I think we both knew. And I think we both braced ourselves for when that time came. Up until now, it’s hard for me to think back and see life without him. He has always been with me for years. We were always a team. Always him and I. We were not perfect for each other. But man, God knows how many fights we have loved over the years. And yet, even if you ask us this very moment to talk about those moments, we would probably burst out laughing the whole day. Truth be told, up to now, he is the best person and man I know.

He is sweet, and gentle towards me. And yet he is fiercely protective and caring. He was the only person who made me feel safe. I saw how much he wanted me to just let go and let him take care of me. I look at his beautiful hazel beautiful hazel eyes and I see the sincere man I fell in love with years ago. He was funny beyond belief, and loyal beyond life itself. He loved his family like his life, and kissed his grandmother a lot. I’ve always wondered how this guy, tall, handsome, with that boyish smile just loved spending Saturday afternoons cuddled on the couch surrounded by pillows and blankets eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate.

I’d always fall asleep before the 2nd movie is finished, and I would always wake up with either a kiss on my forehead or the smell of pizza he ordered for dinner. He enjoyed moments like that, and I lived for them, because on work days, we hauled ass. We are similar like that, loving what we do, and working our hardest. I love him, more than anything, and I know he did too.

You might be wondering why then, how come I talk about him with so much admiration and yet I write alone in a table drinking coffee by myself.

You see, time went by and passed, and we remained who we were. People who were in love. We grew to be better people. I’m sure you would agree. But I guess through the years, we both realized we remained together for selfish reasons, more for ourselves than for each other.

Isn’t that what happiness is about you ask?

NO.

I don’t have the slightest idea how to explain it to you. But when I found true love, I realized being together wasn’t the ONLY option. It also meant being at peace at being apart. I didn’t think it was THAT LOVE when I agreed to be his girlfriend that sunny Sunday stroll at the park while eating coffee ice cream. However, everyday, I fell in love a little bit more, a little deeper. It consumed my being slowly, until one day, I woke up with the text message from the person who I know owns my heart forever.

I am not the least bit afraid of losing him. No. I know I won’t.

I did not let him go, I let him be. People said I did not love him and they could not have been more mistaken. I love him, if that is the last thing I ever do. But then love does not come in shackles but with freedom. Love, one that does not make sense, exists and is nevertheless true.

He hugged me tight and smiled warmly, that knowing smile. He was about to hop on a plane to see the Louvre…

Did you see the pictures I sent you? Oh my goodness the pizza here is absolutely delightful! The best I am telling you! I know you are guessing, betting, on how this will end for us. Should we really know immediately? Shall I date? Do you think he will? Am I driving you crazy now? Haha! I should go now. I’m about to head out and find a place to have dinner. See you soon.

Ciao!