Saturday, 23 August 2014

BOUT OF BOOKS 11.0 Update



We've reached the home stretch with just about 24 hrs left, give or take. Watch my update video below!




How are you guys doing?




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Thursday, 21 August 2014

World After (Penryn & The End of Days #2) - Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn & The End of Days #1) - Susan Ee

Title: World After
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & The End of the Days
Publication: November 19th, 2013
Genre: Paranomal 
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Penryn barely rescues her sister, Paige, back before she goes missing again. Penryn sets off through San Francisco and into the centre of the Angels' secrets lair, discovering secrets that could threaten all of humanity. Raffe is on another mission of his own, but must decide if he wants to save himself or Penryn before it becomes too late. 

Review


- SPOILER FREE - 

I wasn't very impressed with Angelfall, much like everyone else, but I absolutely loved World After. I flew through the second novel and was sucked into the storyline more than the first. The writing, plot, characters and setting were all solid and really boosted the quality of the novel.

Susan Ee writes in a very unique and creative way, aiming towards Young Adult, but having enough gruesome and horrifying details that it's borderline creepy. I loved the tone, perfectly conveying the apocalyptic and decayed world. In this type of setting, it would never have worked if Ee's writing had not made it so believable and visually stimulating. Penryn has scaled up so high on my top female leads list, being badass but also humane - a trait not a lot of characters can really display properly. Raffe doesn't make much of an appearance, sadly, but I still enjoyed the scenes he were in and I missed his cocky manner.
The plot was fast paced and easy to read, and has an addictive quality that makes me look forward to the next novel - a surprising factor considering I was iffy with the first novel. 



I've raved on about it, but there were some specific things I want to discuss as well. Ee is insanely creative and I love that, even if I was totally creeped out. The flying scorpions were a disturbing idea, especially the way they were bred - ugh *shiver*. I still can't really imagine Paige with her distorted features, but maybe that's because I refuse to, preferring to remember her as the innocent child in the wheelchair.

I was waiting the entire time for Penryn to reunite with Raffe, because let's face it, even with all the violence and supernatural elements, them two together are very entertaining. I don't think I was disappointed because I liked that Penryn had time to herself and could prove that she was a heroine in her own right. I mean, when Raffe comes into the picture he sort of takes the whole saving "damsel in distress" thing pretty seriously. Thankfully it's demeaning or overshadowing.


The ending was bittersweet, in that I loved that they ended up together, but know that bigger things are out there to challenge them again. Cannot wait!





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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

BOUT OF BOOKS 11.0 Update

Bout of Books

Hi guys!

So it's day three of Bout of Books 11.0 and I have to say I haven't been doing that great. I explain everything in my latest (and very short) video though, so check it out!



How have you guys been doing?



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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn - Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed

Title: Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn
Author: Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed
Genre: Fantasy
Publication: September 1st, 2014
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The BookDepository
Disclaimer: I received this as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Baba Ali is an apprentice to Charles Babbage in England, famous for his modern inventions. One day Ali receives a clockwork box, which marks he journey back to his homeland. What he doesn't know is that it will be fraught with danger and grief. Yet Ali will gain knowledge, strength and love as well.

This is the tale of Baba Ali and his quest to save a legacy, and possibly his life.
Review:

Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn is the type of novel I didn't think I'd ever read, but the premise sounded interesting and different so I figured why not. Little did I know, it's actually a retelling of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, only I didn't realise until halfway through the story.

In fact, I wasn't fully engaged with what was happening until the last half kicked in. That's when I felt like the story really made sense and the characters had some sort of purpose. It wasn't that the plot was slow, more so that the first half was only a build up - necessary but not overly interesting. It did take me awhile to get past all that. Still, the second half really made up for my lack of interest, with the action and fantasy elements becoming a larger focus. At first I was really confused with all the inventions and technologically advanced objects, which I didn't expect to see in this setting, but once the magical factors also made an appearance everything smoothed out.

I really liked the mapping of the settings, especially the cave where Ali finds in the desert - much like the original story - and his own homeland. It carried a really mystical and mysterious tone, perfect for where the plot was heading. The characters were decent, although only Ali stuck with me, whilst the villains were pretty typical and one-sided. Yet, I could actually imagine them as characters in a Disney/animated movie and this entire story could be made into one, if it wasn't so violent and had less mature content.

It was an interesting read, with great writing but ultimately, I couldn't really get into it as much as I would have liked to. I think my reading experience really influenced this, because  I was reading this as an e-book, so it felt like the story was going on forever. In print format it's actually on around 200 pages long, but I just kept feeling like I wanted it to end. I enjoyed it more in the last half and I appreciated it for the meaning and lessons it left. I think I am part of the minority with this view though as Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn has an average of 4.45 stars on Goodreads, so definitely check it out because I might be for you!





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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday Spotlight



Sunday Spotlight is a weekly feature hosted by PrintedWordsAnd, highlighting the best book read during the week.

This week's spotlight is reserved for The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.



The Winner's Curse was released at the start of this year, and has garnered an immense amount of popularity and hype. It centres around Kestrel, the general's daughter of an empire won over by war and violence, and her instinctive decision to buy a young slave at an auction. Kestrel finds a spark in the slave, Arin, that surprises and intrigues her. Yet, Arin hides a secret, one that could cost Kestrel more than what she bargained for.

I was absolutely addicted to this, right from the get go. Marie Rutkoski has a way with writing, impactful and descriptive. The world building was great, very believable and vibrant. Likewise, the characters had depth and were likeable. Kestrel is intelligent and independent, and I admire her skills in warfare - that was definitely an interesting an aspect to a YA heroine. Arin I sympathised with, but I'm not sure I agreed with his ways at the end. Still, I'm interested to see how far his emotions will take him and what role he plays in the sequel. This, coupled with the strong plot - logically drawn out and paced well - meant that The Winner's Curse was an amazing and enjoyable read. It was also a plus that the relationship development was actually done right, so at least I could see how and why they were drawn to each other.

The ending was definitely bittersweet and I cannot wait to read the next book.

What was your favourite read?


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Friday, 15 August 2014

Talking Personal + Bout Of Books 11.0

Hi guys! If you didn't know, I'm Tracey, and I run this blog. Every month I'll be "Talking Personal" with you guys on what's been happening in my life, exciting announcements, events I'll be participating in and just random stuff I'd like to share!

Daily Life:

  • I've started university again! Three weeks into my second semester and I'm already behind (no surprises there). I'm actually really enjoying uni at the moment, and loving what I'm doing. My study tip: do subjects you like so you don't feel bored out of your brains while in class. 
  • I found a new Korean restaurant, Arisoo, with amazing customer service and really great food. It's small but easy to find, and the environment is pleasant. I think my family went a little nuts and ordered way too much food, but it was well worth it. I only snapped a few pics since I was too busy eating. 

         
                                   
Location: 285A Victoria St, Abbotsford, VIC 3067
Price Range: ~$15 - $20

  • Part of my preparation for the start of warm weather includes tweaking my computer a bit. I love this desktop because, hello, ice cream. I actually got it from DesignLoveFest where you can find many more designs that are really adorable. 



Announcements:



  • Giveaway Winner:
Last month I hosted my first giveaway to celebrate PrintedWordsAnd reaching two years. The giveaway was actually a lot more successful than what I expected. It ended this Monday and now I am going to announce the winner. *Drumroll*



Congratulations Kayleigh, I should've e-mailed you already so hopefully your prize comes soon! 

  • Book Sale
Alicia Kobishop's novel The Fine Line will be on sale on the 30th August - her birthday. The novel is available on Kindle at Amazon for 99c. That's actually, really cheap. 


Events:

  • BOUT OF BOOKS 11.0
Bout of Books 11.0 is a week long read-a-thon starting on the 18th August and runs until the 25th. (Sign up sheet here). Keep an eye out for updates, but in the meantime check out what I'm reading for the week. Let me know if you're participating as well!




So that's a wrap up for the past 2 weeks of August.


What have you been up to?

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

One Kick (Kick Lannigan #1) - Chelsea Cain

Disclaimer: I requested a copy of this novel to review from Simon & Schuster.

Plot:
Kick Lannigan was abducted as a child before being miraculously found and returned home. Ten years later and Kick has immersed herself in every self-defence and weaponry practice, vowing to be stronger than ever.

She's lived just fine on her own, but when Bishop - a mysterious man - comes to find her about the missing children's case, Kick is pulled back into a world she's tried hard to protect herself from.


Review:
One Kick is an easy read due to the fast pacing and intense plot development. Immediately, the prologue creates an impact, drawing me into a world that I did not expect to encounter in this story. I know Kick get's abducted, but there's more to it and it was definitely an eye-opener. The story has moments of flashback to introduce important parts, but they were done short and succinct so it left an impression. This also meant I wasn't jolted out of the present time whilst reading. It was a solid plot, straight forward and memorable. 

Chelsea Cain's writing was definitely a surprise, thrilling but also horrifying. There's quite a bit of gory moments, which I could stomach but still madee me cringe a bit. At first it was a little hard for me to get into the story, but then the novel started flowing and I quickly got hooked. It's pushed as a thriller, but does become quite emotional at some points. Cain does a great job in greying out the area between good and bad, especially in people, which I liked. 

I grew to like Kick, stubborn and hot-headed, but deeply scarred so you can't help but hold some sympathy towards her - even if she never asks for it. I admire her strength but can also relate to the vulnerability that is hidden underneath the front that she puts up. Her interactions with Bishop were amusing but also interesting. I'm not sure what direction they'll end up in, but it's definitely a relationship where they're both wary of each other yet, can still be open enough to develop a bond. As for Bishop, I'm intrigued about his role, but as a character he's still little too mysterious to really determine a conclusive judgement.

One Kick is the first in a series, but I found that it made for a good introduction to the characters and the setting. I'm not sure what the next book will touch upon, although it is hinted at the end. I do have a few questions but I'm hoping they'll be answered later on. The novel didn't end without some hiccups - I am confused at some parts as well - but they're not overly noticeable to detract from the entire story.

One thing I know for sure, One Kick has definitely pulled my interest into Cain's other works and the continuation of this series.

One Kick will be released on the 19th of August, 2014.




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