ya lit

2016 March Bookhaul

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Total Books – 7
Total Price – $6.29

Giveaways – FREE
1.) Percy Jackson and the Olympians; paperback boxset (@awellwornstory IG giveaway)
2.) The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins; paperback ARC (@EpicReads)

Barnes and Noble – $6.29
3.) Theodore Roosevelt and the Badlands by Roger L. Di Silvestro; hardcover

There you have it!  While the list is small, the amount is decent :]  Hope you guys got all the books you wanted this month!

Happy Reading! xo

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Fiend by Peter Stenson **WARNING: Spoiler In Last Paragraph**

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Book Description:

There’s more than one kind of monster.

When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he’s not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.

But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived.

The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves.

And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins.

But is salvation just another pipe dream?

Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.

My Rating: 3/5

I first picked up this book in the bargain section at work (Barnes & Noble shoutout) and it was initially the cover that drew me in (usually the case when I’m browsing for any random book).  The pink!  The yellow!  The skull and cross needles!  You’ve got me intrigued Mr. Stenson, bravo!  Then, the inside book jacket – that first line, “When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he’s not too concerned.”  If that doesn’t have you reading more into this, it’s CLEARLY not the book for you so just go away while I enjoy this interestingly silly book jacket.  Then we get into a drug + zombie combo for this book.  Sold.  What a concept, I think this is going to be a hilarious and VERY entertaining ride ahead of me.  I’m also feeling that anyone who goes into this book with a notion that it’s serious is just a complete moron and doesn’t deserve to enjoy it the way it should be.  As I’m writing this, I have not yet started this book.  I wanted my first impression to be raw and not by any means influenced.  Let’s see how wrong I am:

Well, I wasn’t too far off!  This book starts off slightly comical and tends to get more serious the deeper in we go.  One of my favorite quotes from this book is from pg. 6 where Chase describes a bloodied, undead child: “I turn to see Typewriter at the top of the stairs and then look back to the girl sitting there like a used tampon.”  I’m glad I didn’t have any liquids in my mouth at the time because this line had me cracking up XD

One thing I have to complain about though – lack of quotations, arghhh!  It drove me nuts, but luckily, it was never confusing knowing who you were reading as so it wasn’t too bad.  This really could have made for an annoying read.

Finally, my rating dropped from a 3.5 to a 3 because the ending sucked.  It was left open ended and not in a good way.  I literally said what the fuck? after I read the last sentence… so his girlfriend KK just leaves him and doesn’t off herself so presumably she’ll eventually do it or rot to death in the prison.. alone.  Then Chase is left in the real world.  Alone.  Will he off himself eventually?  Does he continue north like he was planning on doing?  Does he sit there high as fuck until the chucks get him?  Don’t like this.  I would have rather it been told for me.

Overall this was a fun read.  If you’re into zombies and cursing like a sailor while reading about people trying to survive off of dope, this is your book!

Happy Reading! xo

Emotions by Arnulfo Cantarero

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Book Description:

Jason Ariaz is not your average 22 year old. He has been genetically and cybernatically enhanced but that’s only the beginning. He is an emotionless extraterrestrial born to human parents and living amongst us. Both him and his implanted thinking computer were damaged on landing and must go through life as less than what they really are. The purpose of their mission: to gain permanent emotions from the more primitive society that is Earth. If he is successful, he will be the first of his species to do so in nearly 200,000 years.
Hope lies in the fact that he is capable of emotional episodes and he has been able to forge true friendships. However, he does have the chance of completing his mission if he can truly care for Ariel, the closest human in his life. But he better know his heart soon. Their lives are in danger of ending tonight, unless he can recover what his species has lost.

My Rating: 2.5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received Emotions by Arnulfo Cantarero for free via himself in exchange for a review. Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest. That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

This book…. this book has given me a lot to talk about (nothing I would consider spoilers but I do talk about some scenes I find over the top so I will leave it up to you to decide your fate) and I believe it’s one of the longest reviews I have ever written:

I need to start this one off by being thankful that I’m not the only one bothered by the layout of this book!  I read other reviews and was so relieved to not be the only person to notice this.  Every 2-3 sentences, there’s a break.  That part’s not as bad as the chapters in the middle of a page!  Whyyyy?!  Please, if there’s anything the author can take away from this review – start the chapters on their own page!  I know this may sound anal, maybe even nit picky, but this is just from my point of view as a reader of what I’d like to see from a book I’m reading.  I get annoyed when authors try to do something ‘different‘ with their books – such as the writing style, but only rarely does it work.

Now that I got that off my chest, on to the book itself:

For a Sci-Fi book, I think it lacks Sci-Fi.  Jason, the main character, is an alien with a built in computer.  He’s built to resemble a human, he bleeds their blood, etc.  If anything, this kid’s just bionic.  I don’t get any alien vibes from him.  More Terminator, less Fifth Element and it never goes into much details about himself after that so it really just becomes this silly “special teenage boy” story which was kind of disappointing.

This book for me started off on a higher note the gradually fades as we head towards the end.  Normally, I feel a good dedication can make for a promising story:

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Then not too long into the book, we run into a pretty funny scene where Jason tries tequila to revive the same icky response he got from peanut butter only to accidentally get super wastey pants.

Again, another promising indication that this book is going to be heading in a great direction!  But, my train ride stopped here and I should have gotten off at my stop.
Now, this book tends to be a bit confusing (another thing I seem to share in common with some of my fellow reviewers), so before I clarify this, I’m going to explain a scene I reallllly disliked and then I’ll elaborate on the confusing aspect of this.

The cop scene.  Ugh, talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth.  I don’t care what’s been going around the media these days but most cops aren’t naturally that abusive.  Yes, some are very intense BUT THEY DO A DANGEROUS JOB and should NOT expect a stranger to not harm them.  They need/should be on their guard at all times.  People are nutso nowadays.  On top of how over the top the cops in this book were written out to be, you have a car full of middle school students driving like the little fucking tards that they are at that age and egging on the cop by being COMPLETELY disrespectful to him!  I really can’t stand how cops are being portrayed in this scene!  It’s unrealistic and obnoxious.  I guess the way the middle school kids reacted was normal, they’re all entitled and sooo cool at that age, so that seemed somewhat accurate, but nonetheless, this was a little tasteless.  Yes, it’s a book, but I don’t like over the top reading unless it’s purely made up.  For example: authority of another world.  I don’t want to all of a sudden feel like the author is preaching their personal views on me, which is exactly what I got from this scene and several others from this book.  This isn’t an autobiography so don’t make me feel like I’m reading one.

Now, as I read further into the book, my opinion on the above scene changed a bit.  I went from being pretty agitated to maybe having an understanding of it.  I keep getting hints throughout this book that it’s not based in the U.S. with such terms being used as “kilometers” but there hasn’t been a clear definition that I recall of where they’re located.  I assumed the U.S. without any indication (because being that’s where I’m from that’s obviously my destination of natural choice) as well as the author’s mini bio on the back cover (stating he’s been to Colorado and lives in Cali – CALL ME CRAZY IF THAT’S NOT ANOTHER INDICATION).  Therefore, I don’t know how law enforcement is perceived in other locations around the world.  I would only continue to be upset with said scene if it represented the law upholders I know in the U.S.

So if you hadn’t figured out I was confused on the location of this book, between the police scene and a little further into the book, there was no indication of past, present or future change and when they were in the vehicle in the police scene, it was mentioned that they were in the 10th grade.  Now my question is, why is Jason’s dad letting a bunch of middle schoolers go to a beach house alone and acknowledging and condoning underage drinking?  The back says Jason’s 22 but the pages are saying otherwise.  Whatdafuq?!  I’m so confused!  AND YET, THIS IS ANOTHER CONFUSION I SEEM TO SHARE WITH FELLOW REVIEWERS (not all, but some, chill out).  If this kid is actually 22 and his sister is going to drink as well, who is younger than he mind you, then how old could SHE possibly be?  Also, if they’re of legal drinking age whenever that might be for where they’re located, then why do they need daddy’s permission??

At this point, if you haven’t caught on, I’m getting more and more disinterested and my rating of this book keeps going down.  I started speed reading just to get through this.

Let’s move on to the hurricane scene, shall we?

A hurricane rarely comes on as a surprise.  That’s one of the benefits of hurricanes (if such a thing from a natural disaster) is it forms and you usually get a few days to decide whether or not you’re gonna pack up your shit and leave town or prepare to hopefully not be blown away or carried on by flooding.  The hurricane in this book just shows up out of nowhere and apparently not one person watches the news or checks the weather which I have a hard time believing.  This does not happen!  Hurricanes are not tornadoes!  They don’t just show up and leave in a matter of minutes!  Hurricanes last dayssss!  I live on the East Coast.  I’ve been through several hurricanes.  They have to form and this one just basically blinked itself into existence.  Now you may be thinking I’m a picky reader but I can’t help it and I won’t help it.

How should I conclude this…. hmmm… this book obviously gave me a lot to talk about.  That being said, I might have been harsh but I don’t think this book is awful.  I like the concept, I just think this book needs some fine tuning and different paths to follow.  I would be willing to pass this book on because not everyone reads the same or has the same opinions and I’d be curious to see other views.

But as another all too harsh opinion I am going to share (which this book has influenced but it wasn’t the majority rules vote on this decision) is I am done with self published books – or at least taking a very long needed break.  I think self publishing is the worst thing to happen to books next to ebooks.  Anyone can now write a “book” and “publish” it.  I do feel bad for the very rare books that are self published and are great (such as Galadria: Peter Huddlestone and The Rites of Passage by Miguel Lopez de Leon) and that I might be avoiding now because I have found some.  But they are so few and far between and I’m tired of wasting what little reading time I have on these at the moment.  Not saying that all well known published books are automatically fantastic but at least I know the writing will be put together.

Happy Reading! xo

UPDATE:
I wrote this review a little while ago and got caught up in life and wasn’t able to get around to posting it.  Upon editing this, I found some photos on my phone of pages that I wanted to quote/point out.  Instead of trying to squeeze it into the above words, I’m just going to post them down here and give a quick two cents on each one that will back up conversations I had above:

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Pg. 177: Okay – I hate rape scenes. I was not a fan of these TWO scenes, but if you’re going to write one…. can we use the word fuck or any other word but do… I can’t imagine a person as disgusting as a rapist choose to use the term “I’m going to do you….”
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Pg. 251: Another example of a personal opinion thrown into a fictional book.  I don’t know where this dude’s from, and by dude I’m referring to the author, but he clearly hasn’t lived where I lived aka Chicago or currently in VA.  The people I’ve driven around, including myself, are aggressive as shit.

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Pg. 64: Another thing I felt was a personal issue that the author threw into the book… it made me laugh and wonder if he’s had any personal issues in this department.

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Pg. 29: Alas, not all is negative!  This last sentence made me laugh!

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas **WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**

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Book Description:

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

My Rating: 5/5

AHHHH! I HATE reading unfinished series! I NEED to know what’s going to happen next!

  • What’s going on with this war?
  • How does Aelin handle her new position?
  • How does Dorian handle his new position?
  • How does everyone adjust to their new beginnings especially with this war a brewin?!

And the witches! Manon getting…. feelings? I mean, yeah we’ve seen glimpses of it through out but now she almost resembles a human!

This book definitely made me appreciate Heir of Fire a lot more. With everything it built up to, wow, just wow.

I wasn’t sure I liked where the story was turning and how it has changed so much and now I am so glad it did. It’s more action packed, more suspenseful, less childish more adult through their experiences. If you want a book with great character development, look no further! Each character changes, grows in ways you don’t expect, it’s amazing.

I need to address some scenes:

Happy scene: I’m so so so so soooo happy Rowan came back. I mean, that bath scene with Aelin and Rowan, meow ;] I wasn’t a huge fan of him in the beginning but now he is complete and utter SWOONworthy. That sexy, sexy man. And if him and Aelin don’t do it within the first half of the next book, I’m going to explode. The sexual frustration is killing meeee!

Pg 525:
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Ermergerdddd…. is it getting hot in here or what?…

Sad scene: When Aelin visits Sams grave and confesses her self to him – ughhh, pull on my heart strings why don’t you! So sad but so sweet and heart warming .. and did I mention sad?!

Shocking scene: Aelin helping Manon – I mean they were fighting to the death and Manon is about to die and Aelin saves her – what?! At first I was pissed, I was all, “LET THE BITCH DIE! WASN’T THAT THE POINT?!” but later when Aelin fully reveals her reason behind helping Manon avoid falling to her death, it made sense and dare I say it was quite noble of her!

Brutal scene: Chaol and Aelin walk up to the castle and all of Chaol’s mean are spiked outside the castle, mauled, tortured. INSANE!

I love all of the elements this series brings. From the raw emotions, to the brutality, to the excitement and the giddyness, these books have it all.

Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage by Miguel Lopez de Leon

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Book Description:

The GALADRIA trilogy is about Peter Huddleston, a lonely boy who discovers that he is the heir to the throne of the amazing golden realm of GALADRIA! Armed with his trusty boomerang, an assortment of magical trinkets, and his friendly white tiger, Rune, Peter charges into dangerous and magical adventures in this action packed series! Filled with watermelon sized ladybugs, ancient oracles, enchanted weapons, water dwelling monsters, a 3000 room manor, and a troop of lovable, kooky characters, the GALADRIA series is an exciting collection you’ll cherish!

My Rating: 4/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage by Miguel Lopez de Leon for free via Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

This book is so cute and fun!  I entered this giveaway several times and was excited to find out I had finally won!

It’s a super quick read, only 159 pages long and I would definitely classify it as a middle grade read.  It’s a pretty basic concept story but with it’s own fun twists!  Each character has their own huge, identifying personality, different from the others which makes it a memorable, quite silly at times, read.  But don’t let that fool you – there’s also some eeriness lurking along with a great battle 😀

For us older people, this is a great breaking book (in between reads) to just relax and enjoy the ride!  For the younger, this would be more than a ride but an experience.  I would definitely recommend this for people who want an easy read with whimsical characters full of adventures around every corner with a touch of magic!

I really hope to one day get my hands on the 2nd book so I can continue following Peter and see what he does with Galadria :]

Happy Reading! xo

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Book Description:

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

 
It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

My Rating: 5/5

THIS SERIES IS TOO GOOD FOR WYRDS!!  <—heh heh heh…

But seriously, just like the first book (Throne of Glass) and the novellas (The Assassin’s Blade), it’s full of the feels!  I’m happy, I’m ‘dawwwww‘ing, I’m angry, I’m crying – reallllly crying, I’m gagging cause it’s so awesomely disgusting!  When we first start this book, Celaena is throwing severed limbs on to the floor – how awesome is that?!  I totally love how brutal these books can be!  And the throwback to the Endovier slaughter is badarseee >:]

I love that we can go from gore and blood and slashing to complete heart melting moments.  This is what I really love about these books is this diversity.  I thought it was sooo cute of Dorian to give Celaena Fleetfoot, granted he could save ALL the puppies from there on out, but whateves.  And my SWOONWORTHY moment – when Chaol catches Celaena sneaking off from her post only to find her dancing by herself and then JOINS HER!!  I’m a Chaol/Celaena fan all the way so this scene had me grinning from ear to ear and hugging my book to my chest whilst rocking it back and forth.  Totally not weird.

Then the “ERMERGERD!” moments – being 2 huge ones!  I’m not even going to get into the one but it was insane, is was gross, it was sad.  Lastly, the way this book ends revealing a HUUUUGE secret is insane!!  I’m so excited to jump in to Heir of Fire – you can’t just say these type of things and leave me hanging!  I also kind of wish I waited till ALL of these books are out because this seems to be a common theme and I don’t want to have to wait!

HEIR OF FIRE, HERE I COMEEEE!!

 

+Side note:  I LOVED how the Throne of Glass picture turned out, that I think I may have found a theme for my book reviews!  For more random pictures – please see my bookstagram found on the right of the front page or via my Get To Know Me page!

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

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Book Description:

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

My Rating:  5/5

Wow… just… wow!  And to think these are only the novellas!
I feel a little sorry for anyone who wasn’t able to start off with this in the series (which, obviously, I chose to and not fro).  Not that it’s a terrible thing to read it by release date, I just can’t imagine you’ll have the same mind blowing experiences I had!  Reading it later on and not FIRST will definitely spoil a lot of great events.  Still readable though.

If this is just a glimpse of what’s to come, I can’t wait.  I’ve already jumped in to Throne of Glass.  So far, these books are living up to the hype!

The love for books Celaena has is all too relatable:

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I really hope in the future we run in to Ansel again.  I really adored the relationship her and Celaena had!  Of course you can imagine I was crushed when she was betrayed (in her own friendly kind of way) but at the same time, like Celaena, I can’t put that arrow through her neck.  I’m rooting for you Ansel!  Turn your life around and do the right thing!  ILOVEYOU!!!!

On to Mr. Sammy Sam Sam.  I didn’t really quite get him at first.  I could easily put him off to the side.  He did nothing for me… but as his relationship with Celaena grew, my relationship with him grew as well and I am in UTTER shock at what happened to him.  I won’t give away spoilers for those who haven’t read this series yet because it is a good one to not know about.  As sad as I was for this, thank you Sarah, for not being a baby and doing what you did.  Respect.

This book was interesting in the fact that it was an upward slope to jaw dropping greatness!  Just when you think you read the best novella out of the book, the next one greets you with a slap across the face saying, “NO BITCH, IT GETS BETTER STILL!”
And do I need to point out the cover?  SWOOOOOON!!

Please please please, if you have not started this series and are wondering whether or not to start with The Assassin’s Blade, do yourself a favor – START HERE!