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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

"I will be with her again, or I will die.
There aren't any other options."
-Ash, The Iron Knight

"If I let myself love you I won't throw myself in front of her.
I'll throw myself in front of you."
-Dimitri Belikov, Vampire Academy

Friday, 27 March 2015

YA Review: A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing #1) by Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, #1)

Title: A Wicked Thing
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing
Book #: 1
Pages: 337
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 3.51
Published: February 24th, 2015
Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
Taschima's POV:

"What had happened to make people obsess over a fairy tale? To make a prince believe a single kiss meant true love, and that a girl who knew so little could mean so much?"
While I found Aurora's struggle with her new reality believable and even relatable I just can't seem to muster the interest in a sequel. A Wicked Thing got a lot of things right I guess, technically and structurally, it is just so... unmemorable. It is the kind of book that you read, and then you just continue to the next thing without much of a fuss.

We ALL know Sleeping Beauty's story. Beautiful girl gets cursed as a baby by a PMS-ing evil witch who just wants the world to buuuurrrn. Princess then goes and does the ONE thing she shouldn't have done in her entire life, falls asleep, and then gets rescued by a noble prince who then whisks her off to a HEA.



Only in A Wicked Thing the girl falls asleep for 100 years; when she wakes up everybody she knows is dead, and her tragic story has been turned by the people into an impossible prophecy that foretells the end of their magic-less days once she wakes up. Also, there is some crap thrown in there about the princess being woken up by her one true love. This does not sit well with our Aurora who wakes up to have her reality completely changed.
"Whoever wakes up the princess with a kiss--they're destined to get married and live happily ever after."True love? Destiny? Perhaps he was a madman after all."


The thing is, I LIKED Aurora. Her inner monologue is relatable and even funny at times. Aurora is a girl who was raised in a very controlled environment, her parents over protected her due to her curse and so Aurora can come off as being naïve and kind of a push over. Inside her head she would think things that gave her a back bone but she would never act on her emotions. I could understand where she comes from, and I didn't reproach her for letting others dictate her life because of how she was raised and the many things she was going through. But I couldn't help wincing every single time she let somebody else push her around. Her character development is VERY slow, quite possibly in order to accommodate for a sequel.

All the side characters were, for the most part, pretty two dimensional. The prince that wakes up Aurora is a total bore and he is also quite the wimp. He lets himself be manipulated by his mother, who is of course the mean queen. The current king of the land presents a happy face but hides a black heart. I would say the only two interesting side characters were the prince's little sister (because she was adorable) and Finnegan (who is the prince of a far away land rumored to be occupied by dragons). Finnegan was interesting and daring and totally self involved, but at least he was honest about his self preserving nature.

For most of the novel there is nothing really driving you forward to the next page, other than Aurora's inner struggle. By the middle point or so some loosely put together rebellion is mentioned but I don't believe it is heart felt. At least I didn't buy it. I figured Aurora would be dying to know exactly why she woke up when she did, since she doesn't believe in the story they made up about her, but she was busier trying to stay afloat in her brand new world than trying to figure out WHY she was there in the first place.

A Wicked Lovely left a lot of things unanswered, like why did Aurora wake up when she did? I have a theory about how (magic is very rare in her new world, maybe the prince who woke her has a bit of magic in his veins...) but I wont know for sure until the next title. I figured a lot of things went unanswered to accommodate for a sequel, but what does it matter if the reader wont even make it to the sequel since there is nothing driving me to buy it? I had enough of Aurora's inner struggle, I don't buy the "rebellion", and the characters/world, aren't engaging enough to make me stick around. It would have been great as a stand alone but I find myself uninterested in a sequel. Perhaps I'll just read a review full of spoilers for the next title and continue on with my life.

Ps; Would recommend if you LOVE fairy tales and you don't mind slow progression. Aurora is engaging, her inner thoughts being the one thing that got me through the novel. I have a sweet spot for her I guess.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

YA Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen
Book #: 1
Pages: 320
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 4.11
Published: February 10th, 2015
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
Taschima's POV:
"They taint me, tease me, trying to make me crack. But I won't. I won't."
I am seriously divided in my rating here, because I seriously liked some aspects of Red Queen but at the same time during most of the middle of the book I was a bit bored. I guessed all the major "twists" in the plot from a mile away so it kind of threw a wet blanket on my reading experience. But then you get to the ending and it gets so exciting again, it made me want to pick up the sequel. So a solid 3 stars, good entertaining book that shouldn't be so damn obvious.
"A forgotten son, a vengeful mother, a brother with a long shadow, a strange mutation. Together, they've written a tragedy.
Mare Barrow is a girl down on her luck who feels like the only way to be useful to her family is to steal in order to put food on the table. She has no aspirations, and no time for dreams. Even if she did it wouldn't matter in the world she is from. You either are an apprentice or you are sent to fight in the war (where a death sentence is a sure thing). The Silvers (superior humans who have "powers") control her world and there is nothing to do but try and survive. That is until the day Mare, a Red, finds out she has super powers as well in front of a stadium full of Silvers. In order to cover up the Red's powers the Silver monarchy decide to give Mare a fairy tale story- she is now a long lost princess, daughter to a most respected general who died at war, who had been living under the roof of a Red her entire life. Sounds like a dream, only is anything but. Mare has tons of enemies, people who want to see her crash and burn, and only keeping quiet and acting the part might save her life. What IS Mare? Where do her powers come from? Will she find the strength within herself to survive the Silver world?
"I'm an accident. I'm a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion."
Red Queen has a lot of the underlying YA tropes that we have all sort of come to expect. Love triangle (total check), main character who is extra special with a cherry on top (check), from poor to riches effect (check), bitchy/evil other girl who is that way just because she is born this way (check), all males want to bone the main character (check... well, at least 3 main ones want to). So it isn't completely original, but at the same time you can use these tropes and create a completely new story. Red Queen sort of did this, only I needed a little more explanation regarding the races (I have a ton of questions about the Silvers, their history, where DO they come from? Are they aliens from outer space--doubtful since they aren't very tech savy-- or are they angels, or gods? WHAT ARE THEY, and why do they have silver blood? Do they menstruate silver? Maybe a gross comment but it plays into my questioning of the story).

The only thing that seems to distinguish the Silvers from the Reds (other than the super powers) is that the Silvers bleed Silver and Reds bleed Red. So the story they use to cover up Mare's childhood to other Silvers is faulty in that it stands to reason Mare should have bled (one way or the other) at least ONCE in her life. And once she bled, everybody, including herself, would instantly know she was different. So why didn't the Silvers who were questioning her question this ONE fact? Why didn't they demand she bleed in front of them? Because it would have ended the ruse too quickly and destroyed the story. So I chilled out and tried to look past this obvious piece of information.
"The Mare Barrow of last week wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry at this version of herself. But she was a foolish girl and now I pay the price."
I liked Mare for the most part, which is why I liked the story so much. She reminds me of Katniss in a way, all about survival and she obviously hates the capitol monarchy. Her attitude I guess reminded me of Katniss. Also she has a fight inside her. My one concern when it comes to her is that she was able to be fooled so easily, she trusts too quickly and she let her emotions get the best of her in a number of parts. But then if she had questioned the obvious bad guy early on then we wouldn't have much of a story... And here is where the problem lies.

I knew who the bad guy was from the get go. I knew, and found myself questioning the intelligence of my main character because it seemed too damn obvious. By the end of the book however we are back on the same page, Mare and I, which is why I think the sequel stands a chance. For the most part I enjoyed learning about the different powers, and the characters are complicated and not so black and white. Both princes in the story are more than meets the eye, and they are both not perfect. I also enjoyed the character of Gisa, Mare's sister, who is just as awesome as Mare is (if not more). She reminds me of Prim, only older and with more snark. I liked that Gisa was her own woman, and I hope to read more from her character in the subsequent novels.

For new YA readers the Red Queen is a great introduction to the YA universe. It has good characters, good writing, an interesting premise, and the world building was better than most I've seen lately. To YA veterans you might think Red Queen is something that you may have read before (elements of Hunger Games, Pawn, Red Rising, etc) but it still has its own spark that makes the series worth picking up and giving it a go.  I am definitely curious to read the next titles and see where the story goes.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Recent YA Releases: Week of March 24th-March 30th (5 New Titles!)

Currently Reading: First Year (Black Mage #1) by Rachel E. Carter

Reading Queue (list of books I WISH I could read at the same time): Solitaire by Alice Oseman, The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young, and Timeless by Gail Carriger.

Here are five (!) titles that are going to be released within the next week:

If you are looking for a stand alone title...

The Walls Around Us Written in the Stars Liars, Inc.

I am SO looking forward to The Walls Around Us!
"The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead."
  It seems to be a very good written weird/spooky story, on the lines of Bleeding Violet by Dia Reevs perhaps. Written in the Stars seems to be a YA diversity book (it is about a girl whose parents want to arrange marry her, and so they bring her back to their mother country -Pakistan- so she can learn about her culture... and find the perfect husband) all I am hoping for is that it does justice to the culture it represents. I have heard only good things about it so I am guessing it nails it.

If you are looking for sequels...

In the Time of Dragon Moon (Wilde Island Chronicles, #3) Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy, #2)

I have Half Bad in my TBR pile. I read an excerpt on that series and it was phenomenal, so I really need to get to it. Half Wild is a much buzzed about book so I have high hopes for that series. I haven't read the Wilde Island Chronicles, but I do have Dragoonswood in my TBR, only I didn't know that was a sequel.

If you are looking to start a brand new series...

...you may be out of luck this week. But you are more than welcome to look through last week's releases!

For even MORE releases please visit my Pinterest at: TaschimaCullen.

In it I have individual boards dedicated to YA Releases from 2014- onward by month of release. I update it daily :)

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