Friday, January 30, 2015

Mail!

Guess what came in my mail this week? 

Aren't the covers just beautiful?

Uh-huh, I finally have my own collection of the Ruby Red Trilogy. And I got a free bookmark! I'm sure that's not a big deal (since my wallet is now considerably lighter) but I'm just glad that the books are now in my possession.

In September 2014, I posted a series review on the Ruby Red Trilogy (you can check out that review here). Since then, I have searched all of my local bookstores for the hardcover copies of this trilogy. And all I could find is the paperback copies with the hideous covers that just would not do for me. 

In December 2014, I finally caved and decided to buy those three books online via Book Depository as a late Christmas present for myself. 

I'm just so psyched to have them on my bookshelf and I can't wait to reread them. By the way, I may or may not be gazing at said books as I'm writing this post. 

So, if you're still reading this post, you'd probably get that I just wrote it as an excuse to show off my books. Anyway, that's all from me now. Have a lovely weekend!











Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

Image via Goodreads

Title     : Any Duchess Will Do
Author  : Tessa Dare
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Publisher: Avon
Source: Borrowed
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Purchase link: Book Depository

Blurb:
What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season--or any season--but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training"...and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure--a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess--can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I've been in a reading slump for days and lemme tell you, it sucks. I was once again on Goodreads, scrolling through my long list of TBR books, trying to decide which book to read next when Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do caught my eye. For some reason, historical romance novels could always bring me out of a reading slump.

I flew through this book within a day. It made me smile, laugh and left me with a feeling of contentment.

Griff, the Duke of Halford, was kidnapped by his mother, the dowager Duchess, to Spindle Cove. She insisted him on picking out a bride from the ladies there. So, Griff chose Pauline, the barmaid, thinking that she would most probably fail in duchess training provided by the dowager Duchess herself.

Perhaps the dowager Duchess was not the most agreeable person in the beginning of the story but I found myself liking this character. She wants grandchildren so much that she would even drug and kidnap Griff to make sure of it. Is it twisted of me to like her for that?
“More to the point, I am fifty-eight. I need grandchildren before my decline. It’s not right for two generations of the family to be drooling at the same time.”
Pauline had always been the rock in her family. She took care of her sister, Daniella, when she couldn't fend for herself. She had great dreams and she did what she need to realize that dream for a better future for her and Daniella.

I love Griff and Pauline. I can't really convey my feels properly. I just love that Griff cares for Pauline. Even when she was merely a stranger and a barmaid no less, he wouldn't wish to see her mistreated and had a natural instinct to protect her.

Did the romance progress way too fast? Was it predictable? Perhaps. Okay, yes. But I don't really care. A predictable love story is what works for me when it comes to historical romance and I could never seem to get enough of it.






Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Image via Goodreads 

Title : Splintered (Splintered #1)
Author: A.G. Howard
Release Date: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Purchase Link: Book Depository

Blurb: 

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Splintered is an okay read for me. I only truly got into the story in the last third of the book.

I was a little creeped out when a moth "the size of a crow" makes its appearance in the beginning of the story. Having a phobia of butterflies or any insect that resembles one, I could empathize Alyssa's Mom when she went berzerk and accidentally hurt her daughter when she tried to kill the moth.

As you can tell from the blurb, there is in fact a love triangle in the story. Usually, I have a hard time picking out a character to root for in the case of a love triangle. Such is not the case for this book.

Maybe it's just me but I find Jeb really annoying. He treats Alyssa like some damsel in distress in need of his saving. News flash, Jeb: she's more powerful than you. Just let her do her thing and quit trying to be the hero!! Jeb is the kind of character which I hope the MC have as a friend, not as a love interest.

Morpheus, on the other hand..... Yes, he has his faults and he may be the reason why Alyssa's Mom is in the asylum. Morpheus is actually the moth.
"Why would I want you?"

He lifts three fingers to countdown. "Mysterious. Rebellious. Troubled. All those qualities women find irresistible."

Hmm... I may have fallen for Morpheus because of all those traits.

All I can say is that if Alyssa doesn't end up with Morpheus, I wouldn't mind having him all for myself. But then again, things might not work out between Morpheus and I since I might end up shrieking when he wrapped his wings around me.

I had fun reading this book, especially the last third of the story, and I might even pick up the sequel.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Image via Goodreads
Title: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Purchase Link: Book Depository

Blurb:

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I have long anticipated the release of Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch since early September last year. With an interesting book blurb AND a beautiful book cover, I just had to get my hands on this book. My reading enjoyment when it comes to high fantasy novels highly depends on the settings of the story. If I couldn't picture the fictional world, I find it really hard to get into the story. I consider Snow Like Ashes a hit for me. From Raash's description of this land called Primoria which holds eight kingdoms- four Seasons kingdoms and four Rhythm kingdoms (oh, the map of Primoria on the first page helps too), I could picture it all in my head. With that said, I find the setting of the story really interesting and well thought out.

The Kingdom of Spring has destroyed the Kingdom of Winter, enslaved the Winterians and had in their possession an ancient locket which is actually a magical conduit that belongs to Winter. With only eight survivors left including a male heir, things are not looking good for the Winterians considering the fact that the magic is passed down through a female-blooded conduit.

This story is told from the POV of Meira, an orphan girl who's also one of the survivors of Winter. I consider Meira a likeable character whose main goal is to save the Kingdom of Winter. I've read a lot of books in which the main character broods about their love life more than they should when they should be finding ways to save their country or to come up with an escape plan. So, it's a nice change to see a female character doing what needs to done instead of lusting over their love interest all the time.

There is still romance though. Okay, there is a love triangle. And I'm totally rooting for Theron. 

The romance lies beneath the surface of all the action going on in this story. In my opinion, the balance of these two elements is just right- enough action to keep me intrigued in the plot and enough romance to keep the hopeless romantic in me happy.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read for me but I just felt that there's just some spark that is missing from this book; hence, the four stars.