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Blog Tour: True Born Trilogy by L.E. Sterling (True Born Review)

About the Book

True Born by L.E. Sterling

Published on May 3rd, 2016

Published by Entangled Teen

Genre: YA Fantasy/Science Fiction

Summary:

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood. 

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Purchase from the publisher’s site

Review

My rating: purple3

Hi again! Hope everyone is having a good week so far! In honour of the latest instalment of the True Born trilogy, True North, I’m here to review the first book itself! I’ve just finished reading True Born by L.E. Sterling, and even though I liked it overall, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It actually took me a while to finish it compared to most books I read, so maybe it had to do with that. However, I think my view of the characters and the way the exposition was handled had a lot to do with me liking the novel as well.

For instance, other than a handful of characters, I don’t think that anyone made a great impression on me throughout the novel. And that even includes our protagonist, Lucy. At times, I barely tolerated her, but there were a few moments where she caught my attention. Other than that, I also had a problem with her speech patterns because it was all over the place. Sometimes, Lucy would go from using prim and proper speech to talking regularly or in slang. And this isn’t just to different people, but in her thoughts as well. If she had stuck to one lane or the other, it would have been okay with me. But the mix in her dialogue and narrative was a bit jarring to read.

As for the exposition, while I know it’s needed for readers to gain context of the story’s world, at times it could be a bit too much, dumping information when readers could have been eased in. It felt odd at times, too, even random at one point. It’s probably why I was so slow reading this book in the beginning, because by the end of the novel, it was more fast-paced and easier to read.

The thing I liked about this book though was its world building. While the exposition surrounding Lucy and her sister Margot’s history wasn’t the greatest, the mythology surrounding the city of Dominion with a mix of science and magic was really cool. I liked seeing how that all fit together. That and learning about the Fox sisters’ puzzling DNA mystery was what made this book easier to read. It kept me going, wanting to know what would happen to them as well as what was happening to them. Overall, the book’s world building slightly redeemed the story, in my eyes.

Well, that’s all I have to say about True Born by L.E. Sterling. While I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t my favourites, it did hold an interesting appeal in terms of the world created between those pages. Hopefully this just sets the stage for book two! 😉 If you have any thoughts or questions about this book, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everybody!

–  Sumaya

About the Author

I was a voracious devotee of sci-fi and fantasy novels all through my childhood, so I suppose it doesn’t come as much of a shock that I’ve returned to the genre with a vengeance.

For a while I turned my back on the genre in favour of ‘high-brow’ literary texts. Ironically, it was my doctoral degree that saw me circling back. There’s something about the way postmodern literature plays with the arcane that had me utterly fascinated, and it wasn’t long until I fell headlong back into my old ways and haven’t looked back since.

My first novel, which isn’t in the Urban Fantasy or Fantasy genres, isn’t high literature, mind you, even if it tangles with some serious statements about politics and the way our western world runs. My editor described it as something between Charles Dickens and The Catcher in the Rye: Serious Fun, in other words.

My second novel, Pluto’s Gate, is where I’ve come home to myself: it’s a contemporary retelling of the Demeter-Persephone-Pluto story from Greek mythology. Folded into the mix is a Shaman-in-training, a magical book, Underworld Gods, a world covered in ice, a three-headed dog, and one lousy ex-boyfriend.

But I’ll tell you this much: I believe in the power of words and stories to transform our inner worlds. Whether the characters be vampires or vagabonds, a good narrative sucker punches so-called reality anyhow.

Author links: Website|Goodreads|Twitter

Excerpt

Read the first 6 chapters HERE

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ARC Review: Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant

My rating: green4

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hi, fellow readers! I’ve just finished reading Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant, and I must say, that I really enjoyed reading it. And to be honest, I didn’t think I would. It’s about a girl named Eva who experiences residues of emotion whenever she touches things-people, clothes, phones, etc. She tries to limit her touching objects and people to a minimum, and instead, uses her powers to identify people’s math frustrations as a math tutor. Then, one day, Eva tutors a new student named Zenn and finds herself drawn to him. More so once Eva discovers she can touch him without incident. But as she gets closer to him, Eva discovers something about Zenn that can stand in their relationship.

So, as I said before, I didn’t expect this book to be my cup of tea. I haven’t read paranormal romance in a while. But it was really sweet, with its dialogue and the characters who delivered it. While might have been predictable at times, I was still invested in the story and what was going on in Eva’s life. I’ll admit, at first, the backstory was kind of confusing. But as the story progressed, and more was revealed, Eva’s backstory became clear. I actually liked how that was laid out more than if there was just a lot of exposition at the beginning. Although there were a few things that needed explaining by the end of the novel…

While I did enjoy reading Eva’s POV altogether, sometimes I wish I could get someone else’s perspective. She can be really unintentionally judgy at times, which rubbed me the wrong way. It might be because she distances herself from people, so she never really gets to know them, but an idea of them. It was still a bit jarring at times to read about all these stereotypes about teenagers, girls and guys. But I notice that while Eva does live by these stereotypes, it doesn’t mean that other characters have to adhere by them as well. Which is a relief, I might add! The secondary characters aren’t just background noise in Eva’s story, but actually bring their own issues to the table and become more fleshed out because of it.

As for Eva and Zenn’s romance, even I did have my own qualms about it, I did enjoy reading how they met to every little development in their relationship. I thought they were a really good fit for each other! It’s just that the ending doesn’t address my main problem with their relationship, so I’m not as keen on it as I would have been otherwise…

So, that’s my take on Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant. If you’re searching for a nice and fluffy read, then look no further!And any comments or questions about Zenn Diagram are welcome in the section below! Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

Review: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

My rating: black4.5.png

Hello, fellow bloggers! I’m back with another review. This one is on Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar. I admit, it was the title that made me want to pick up this book. It was just so blunt that I wanted to know more about it. Also, it’s especially comical with the traffic sign attached to it. The book is about a boy named Aspen, who has taken advantage of everyone through his super powers, taking away anything he doesn’t like about people. It’s been in his family for quite a while and until he goes to stay with them, he never really thought about what his powers does to others.

I love how selfish Aspen is; it’s much more refreshing than those protagonists who are more good than bad, but feel guilty about what they’ve done and try to make amends for it all the time. I don’t know what that says about me, but I really liked reading from Aspen’s POV, especially when you as a reader can tell that what he’s doing at the moment is pretty awful, but he thinks it’s alright and appropriate behaviour. However, don’t worry; Aspen does develop within the story and it is fulfilling because he’s come a way ( I wouldn’t say a long way, but more than the first page of the book, that’s for sure).

There’s also the romance within the book. Or the lack of romance. I felt as if this book was more focused on the idea of family and what makes a person rather than the romance between characters. Any romance that was present within the story was warped or broken to the point beyond repair. Anyways, the romance was sidelined for an important part of Aspen’s life to manifest itself: family and his powers. They had such an influence on shaping him to who he is in the present, which can be seen through the amazing flashbacks that gave us just enough information to get by and build suspense. Overall, the whole was about family, not the guy becoming a better person due to love.

That’s all I have to say about Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar. I thought that this was a pretty great paranormal read with a satisfying ending. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

Blog Tour: Midnight Hour by C.C. Hunter

Hello everyone! Today, I’m happy to be a part of this blog tour for C.C. Hunter’s last book of the Shadow Falls series, Midnight Hour! I’ve been keeping up with series since it first came out, and I’m both sad and excited for the conclusion to such a wonderful series! 😉 At the moment, I’ll be providing a standard review, as well as some extra information.

Summary 

Being a dyslexic witch is a curse in itself, but Miranda Kane’s time at Shadow Falls has helped her harness her magical powers. Now, just as she’s finally mastered them and is preparing to graduate with her friends, a near-death experience threatens to ruin it all.

Miranda awakens in the hospital with a mysterious tattoo that no one can explain. As she struggles to make sense of it – and questions her feelings for a certain irresistible shape-shifter and a hot new guy – the strange markings begin to spread all over her body, leaving her desperate to find answers. But before she can solve that problem, a new one arises: her sister is missing.

Has her sister been kidnapped? Miranda will risk her life to find out. Will she live to share the day she’s worked so hard for with her friends? When the clock strikes midnight, will Miranda make it to her graduation at Shadow Falls?

Review 

My rating: blue4-copy

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve got to say, it was a real treat to read the conclusion, especially with the nostalgia associated with it. I also find it fitting that Miranda is the one who finishes off the series. On the other hand, I’m really sad that she didn’t get more of a story, like Kylie and Della!

Plot-wise, this book is really slow. The plot is basically dragged out and what is only a few days becomes a whole novel. I’ve seen plots dragged out longer, but it was kind of sad to see, since Della and Kylie have gotten more time within a few chapters than Miranda did in the whole novel! Or at least, that’s how it felt like to me. Other than that, and the one of the character POVs disappearing abruptly, the plot was fairly interesting with the book keeping you guessing until the very end. All throughout, readers will ponder on who did what, and why. I thought that it’s one of the main factors that made the book exciting. 🙂

As you can probably tell by this point, I loved getting the chance to read Miranda’s story! 😉  The only other time we got her perspective was in Spellbinder (a novella in between books Eternal and Unspoken), where readers were left in a cliffhanger about Miranda and secrets within her family. Since this book is the last within the world of Shadow Falls, maybe the author felt compelled to answer any questions about how Miranda felt at the end of the series. Or maybe it was because it just felt right to write about Miranda at the end. No matter the reason, I’m glad she did instead of ending the series right after Della’s story arc was over. Also, not only did we get a chance to hear from Miranda, but Perry and even Shawn as well. I felt as if their stories complimented each other quite nicely.

That’s all I have to say about Midnight Hour by C.C. Hunter. I thought it was a pretty great read and had me pretty nostalgic for the Shadow Falls world as a whole. If any of you are interested, Midnight Hour is available to read on October 25th, 2016. If you have any thoughts or questions on this book or any other Shadow Falls books, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below.

Buy links

AmazonAmazon CA | Amazon UKKobo | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo

Fighting Back novella and pre-order promotion 

For anyone who pre-orders Midnight Hour before the 24th, there is also a short story that comes with the purchase called Fighting Back, featuring Kylie and Lucas (two characters that are old hats in the Shadow Falls world). All you have to do is send an e-receipt to St. Martin’s Press before the 24th and then on the 25th, you’ll receive Fighting Back for free!

About the author

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C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she’s still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

For more information on C.C. Hunter and the books she writes, check out her website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sweepstakes Giveaway

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There is also a giveaway for Midnight Hour as well as some swag to go along with it! It’s restricted o contestants in Canada and the U.S. only, though. For full contest details, click here.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a nice day!

–  Sumaya

 

Review: The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker

My rating: blue4-copy

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hi, everyone! Hope you’re all having a great Tuesday! I just finished reading The Delphi Effect and it was so intense! At first, I thought that it might have been boring and went on to reading other books before coming back to it again. I don’t know if it was the time away from the book or if it was just reading it when it finally got good, but I got really engrossed in the story after that!

As I’ve said, the book was really intense. I think that mainly had to do with the amount of action in the plot. The story’s intensity was like a car chase, with one thing after the other. The book kept you on your toes and just when you think that things are finally going to mellow down, they don’t. After the slow beginning, I really liked that. And then there was also the world building involved, which I thought was really great. In terms of urban fantasy or paranormal books, it’s up to the author to fit the idea of our current reality and fantasy side by side in a believable manner so that we and the characters can actually believe what’s going on or are unable to see one form of life without the other. At least, that’s how I think the genres of urban fantasy and paranormal act in my opinion. I loved the detail given to the powers people had and the history behind them. But then again, I always loved effective worldbuliding; basically, world building that helps define the story but doesn’t become all there is as well! 🙂

The characters were pleasant enough to read about. There were times when I thought that the main character, Anna, was a bit too naive. However, at the same time, I understood her actions and thoughts, which helped me sympathize with her. Overall, I liked her as a character and cannot wait to read more of her story in the sequel. In terms of relationships between characters, I liked the more platonic ones more than the romantic affiliations. Maybe it’s because the romance didn’t have as much a chance to develop. Maybe it was because the relationship wasn’t as important as the overall plot. All I can say is that  I wouldn’t put too much stock into it. 😉

So that’s all I have to say about The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker. It’s coming out on October 11th, so if you’re interested in a thrilling paranormal read, this is the book for you! I guess it kind of falls in line with the Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. If you have any comments or questions about this book, feel free to leave in them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 23

Hello, my fellow bloggers and readers! It’s Which Cover Wednesday again! Hooray! 😀 Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I compare two different covers of the same book and suggest which one is more appropriate for the book. And I invite you all to participate and comment below to choose your favourite cover. Here are this week’s selection:

1. Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard (English and French)

5301920 or 9766966

Well, in this case, I’d go with the first cover. Not that the second cover is bad, but the first cover links the art with the story. The second cover could be used for a multitude of stories.

2. Timeless by Alexandra Monir (English and Polish)

8100422 or 19204793

First cover again! This cover is simply beautiful! The background is nicely done with its fog and colour scheme, shrouding the model and making her look mysterious. Also, not to take the title literally, but the first model looks more “timeless” than the second cover’s model (in terms of fashion).

3. Twilight (Mediator #6) by Meg Cabot

93724.jpg or 1197449

Well, I kind of feel bad for choosing the first cover again, but then I wouldn’t be true to my opinion, would I? So…first cover all the way! 😀 In its vagueness, the first cover leaves us to imagine what the characters would look like, rather than giving us features that we have to contend with, in our minds.

4. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

8685644.jpg or 9802707.jpg

This one’s a bit more harder, since these covers are both great within their own right. The first cover makes the model appear to be troubled, while floating, tying into the ghost haunting motif. While the second one is appropriate with its fog and  bare trees, it reminds me of the cover of Fallen by Lauren Kate (especially with the model in that position on the cover, surrounded by trees). So, for originality (as well as a beautiful and ethereal cover) , the award goes to… the first cover! 🙂

Well, this week’s Which Cover Wednesday has come to a close. Were there any covers you liked (or disliked)? If you have any comments or questions about this week’s Which Cover Wednesday, please leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

-Sumaya

Shout Out to Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy!

So if you’ve read Cassandra Clare’s books, then you must have heard of her new series on our favourite geek, Simon Lewis. Writing alongside her are Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman, who are amazing authors as well. Simon’s story follows after City of Heavenly Fire and is about his time at Shadowhunter Academy, a place designed for Shadowhunters to learn. It’s also meant to prep mundanes like Simon for Ascension. So far six of the novellas have come out and they have been SUPERB! Every instalment leaves you wanting more.

How many of you who have read The Mortal Instrument series wondered, “What’s going to happen to Simon?” Is he going to pass Ascension? Does this mean he’ll be with Isabelle? What about his relationship with, well, everybody? From the series, we get some more info on Simon’s whereabouts, but we also get some stories from the past, including characters from The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments that Simon isn’t even aware of and is exclusively for us readers.

Simon is fun to read. Witty, an underdog and willing to stand up for what he believes in. He’s a lot like Clary (which is no surprise, seeing as they’re best friends), but a have few differences, like humour It’s nice to be reading it in a school setting as well, sort of like a Hogwarts for Shadowhunters. I like this series even better than The Bane Chronicles and hope that you all enjoy it, too! It’s the perfect remedy for a book hangover induced by The Mortal Instruments! If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest that you start reading it now. 😉

Shadowhunter Academy awaits you
Shadowhunter Academy awaits you

-Sumaya

My Thoughts on Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: pink3

Welcome back!

It’s been awhile since I read this (like this Wednesday). It took me a few days to process and think about what I liked and didn’t like. You know those books where you can rant for hours and hours, whether it was really good or bad? This one was neither, at least until I took the time to think about it. That’s when the ranting began.

First off, I just want to say that I was really excited to read this book. I won it on Freado and thought that it would be a great chance to finish the series. So when I started reading it, the book didn’t really disappoint. It continued right from the end of the second book and there was a lot of stuff happening in that chunk. It was only when a significant thing  concerning Layla and the boys happened that I didn’t enjoy the book as much anymore. After that, the book could have been done five seconds later and it wouldn’t have made a difference. And I hate those kinds of plots; it’s Into the Still Blue all over again! t wasn’t like they were looking for an answer or way to kill the Lilin. It could have died earlier on in the book, and everyone knew that. Even one of the secondary characters in the book indirectly points it out, by saying that Layla isn’t really doing anything at the moment to save the world, which I got to say is true. So that’s one reason I didn’t like the book.

Another main reason that this book wasn’t my favourite is how the author characterizes Layla. For instance, a lot of the time, Layla is described as dumb (by herself or others). I know that everyone has their dumb moments in novels (and IRL), but why would I want to read about a character who can’t think every five seconds? It really pissed me off at the end, where she could have used simple logic to figure out what someone was saying, but instead just stands there confused. I wanted to throttle the book (which wasn’t possible) and throw it across my room! Do we really have to read about characters that show no signs of intelligence (school smarts or street smarts) and be okay with that? I think not! It made me wonder, “Was Layla always like this?” Even the choice she made about the boys wasn’t instigated by her, but rather someone else.

The only plus side to reading Every Last Breath was the romance. She “chose” quickly in the book, which I liked because there was none of that tension that would have continued if she hadn’t done so. And they did look so cute together! Even though the romance could also be seen as a way to fill in for the plot, it was still sweet seeing all the milestones between Layla and her guy.

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What did you all think of Every Last Breath? Loved it? Hated it? Whatever you thought, I’d like to hear from you in the comments below. Keep reading, everyone!

-Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 2

Hello! It’s that time of week again: Which Cover Wednesday! Pick your favourite cover out of the two choices based on whether you like the art, how it compliments the book, etc.

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

7896527 or 16034235

To be honest, I find the first cover more fitting, even though the model for the second cover is now the acceptable art for the rest of the series (at least in English). The model of the first cover actually looks like Calaena, who has golden blonde hair and turquoise eyes (with gold rings in them), rather than the one in the second.

2. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

10756656 or 11594257

Again, it’s first cover for me. Even though the second cover has both protagonists on the main cover (which I like), the background has barely anything going on. And the models look kind of odd. Why are they floating?

3. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

1499517 or 10345824

First cover again! The second cover seems to be targeted towards children, with the cartoonish drawings (that are cute, btw). Also, the first one also looks like a diary, which suits it more.

4. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J Smith

395922 or 6573775

Obviously, the second one gets my vote! I mean, seriously; look at those models! But I’ll admit, when I first read it, I was quite confused and thought that Stefan was Damon and vice versa. And to be fair, it’s these actors going against 90s cover art, which isn’t that much of a contest.  

5. Emerald Green by Kristen Gier

17343391 or 14759651

Yes to the second one! While I admit that the first one looks pretty with its intricate design, I find that the second one is more appealing to me, as it reveals the whole picture that isn’t shown on the first cover.

Have any thoughts on these covers? I would love to hear them in the comments below!

-Sumaya

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