February 27, 2015

Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Glass #2/ Chronicles of Ixia #5
Source: bought paperback
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: Sep 6th, 2013
Age Genre: YA
Challenges: TBR - Cleaning my shelves
Challenges: Prequel-Sequel
Challenges: Flight of Fantasy
Find on Leafmarks!
Like the colorful pieces of sea glass washed up on shore, Opal has weathered rough waters and twisting currents. But instead of finding a tranquil eddy, Opal is caught in a riptide. Her unique glass messengers which allow instant communication over vast distances have become a vital part of Sitian society. Once used solely by the Councilors and magicians, other powerful factions are now vying for control. Control of the messengers equals control of Sitia. Unfortunately that also means control of Opal.
If that isn’t enough of a problem, Opal’s determination to prove blood magic is still being used is met with strong resistance. The Council doubts her, her mentor doubts her, and even her family is concerned. When her world is turned upside down, she begins to doubt herself. In the end, Opal must decide who to believe, who to trust, and who has control—otherwise she will shatter into a million pieces and be swept out by the tide.

It took me way too long to read this book. Seriously, five days is like twice my standard reading time, especially for books I love. And make no mistake - I loved Sea Glass. Possibly more than I loved the first in the series. I blame the fact I had so little free time those five days, and the fact I was coming down from a book binge for my tardiness.

First of all,  I can't express enough how much I adore Maria V. Snyder. It's rare a person can create such a seamless fantasy world, and make not one but two series in it, with two different mcs, and have both feel so different from each other. Opal is not Yelena, and her journey is another thing completely - and that's why it's so fun to read.

In the first book, Opal was still a bit naive. Mostly optimistic. Trusting. Loving. In this book, we see her slowly change and grow. We see her become someone strong and jaded. Someone who wields sarcasm as well as a sword. Someone a bit bitter. Someone with trust issues and a certain lack of gives-a-shit.
And at the same time, someone caring and loving. Someone who is still so inherently good it doesn't matter how jaded she becomes. And her transformation doesn't happen overnight. It takes a while (and many blows and hits) and it makes perfect sense. In fact, is she had remained the same person she started as in Storm Glass, I would've found the book lacking. She went through too much to be at the starting point. 

Now, one of the best aspects of this series is the romance. We have a sort of love triangle (quartet?) but it's not the kind you should run away from. And trust me, as an avid hater of love triangles, I don't say that lightly. You can relax and know that Opal choses, instead of jumping back and forth in indecision. And the romance is simply delicious! 

In this book, something SHOCKING happened. I actually... liked Devlen?! Like, really really liked? 
For the first part of the book, where Opal was traveling with Devlen, I found myself falling for this guy. Even though I never properly hated him in the first book, I never expected to like him. Not to mention love him! I mean, he's the villain. And there is Kade.

Who's Kade, you ask? Kade is Opal's true love. He's the person that truly cares for her, and worries for her, and trusts her. He's also 100% swoon worthy. And once he was in the picture again, he definitely stole the show. But even though I'm Team Kade for Opal, I may be a bit Team Devlen for myself. Might be the first time that happened. 

Another wonderful part of this story is Janco. We didn't get any Valek time *sniff* but at least we got to see our favorite Ixian again! And a lot, too! 

The book ends in a very definite place. Ther is no cliffhanger. If anything, there is a feeling of completion, which makes me wonder what the next book will be about. I've got a pretty solid theory based on one of the side plotlines of this novel, but we'll see where it goes...

If you haven't picked up a Maria V. Snyder novel yet, I really suggest you get on with it! 

 Nitzan

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February 26, 2015

Who Wore it Better: Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Vote!)

Who Wore it Better is an original meme I brought with me from Drugs Called Books. In it, instead of discussing fashion or cloths, we discuss book covers from different countries, and who has the best cover. The meme is co-hosted with the lovely Amanda and Stacie from Beautiful Bookish Butterflies and will be featured on her blog every other week, so check her out as well!  

This week we're taking a look at Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Like last time's WWIB, I haven't read this one. At this point, I'm not sure if I ever will, and the covers are a big part of that.
Don't forget to VOTE for your favorite cover!

#1: UK - YES. This is what I'm talking about. This cover is pretty like a picture. It's tranquil colors make me think of love and softness. But the girl is actually standing alone, unlike a lot of similar cover (which usually feature a couple), which is interesting. It's beautiful, but she's shadowed. And the picturesqueness makes one think this beauty might not be real. And yes, I might be reading too much into it because I want it to fit the synopsis it's so pretty...

#2: French -  So, actually, this one has many variation, some of them in English, but I chose the one with the background I liked best - the black. It makes the beautiful woman stand out against the letters, but also gives a sense of darkness (through the black background). But the strength of this covers lies in the typography. The swirling extensions as well as the fat letters gives to me the impression of a heart together with the face. It's beautiful, and appropriate. 

#3: Indonesian: In the case of this cover, I'm going to look at it just as a cover. Because if I'd look at it in relations to what the story is about, I will have to put it way lower and admit that it looks more like a Japanese Magical Samurai Action movie (I get a Kill Bill vibe...), but I like it visually. I like the colors, the liveliness of it. How active it is.

#4: German So... like... this scares me. (But I still don't hate it as much as the other two...)

#5: US - I hate this cover. Seriously, it's the reason why this book is still standing on my shelves, unread. It just looks so... bad! I hate the cut of the face. And I don't think the face itself is too appealing. Than there is the fact that it looks like the plants are her hair. Does she have hair? She appears bald. And, this cover doesn't coincide with the synopsis, at all. I don't feel anything like love/disease/dystopia.

#6: Dutch - Yeeeeeah. No. There is nothing even remotely appealing about this cover to me. It's a jumping girl photoshopped on a purple background...


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Indonesian
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Dutch
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Nitzan


February 20, 2015

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Mosnter Calls by Patrick Ness
Source: bought hardover
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: Jan 1st, 2011
Age Genre: Middle Grade
Challenge: TBR - Cleaning my Shelves
Challenge: Flight of fantasy
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Check out the beautiful trailer!
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...
This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
I know, I know. What the heck? How could you've given this book three stars!? Well, it's... complicated... I... I mean... I think... I think I missed something, with this whole book.

I love Patrick Ness. His Chaos Walking trilogy is one of my favorite series - and quite possibly the most gut-wrenching and painful series I've ever read. I know he can wreck havoc on someone's emotions, that he can totally tarnish and destroy your soul (and repair it with the same expertise). So, I had no trouble believing all those reviews saying how this book made them into a sobbing mess. I was even eagerly waiting for it to happen!

But then it didn't.
I know. I can't really wrap my head around it either, but the fact is... for most of the book, I felt nothing. Not toward Conor and his struggle, not toward the monster... I was just reading it, nothing else. Around the end, when his mother had The Talk with him, I finally felt a little wet in the eyes, and I was hopeful the ruthless sobbing will be coming next.

But it didn't. Thirty seconds later, my eyes were dry, and stayed that way. I honestly feel like I might've missed something. I mean, I should've felt something. Why didn't I?! The book was well written, and had the classic Ness imagery. And still... nothing!

Another thing that was hard for me is that this book is super short. It's only 205 pages, and that's while counting in all those wordless pages of illustrations. So, really, it's probably more around 160 pages, if that. It felt short, to me, too. Like, I didn't really have enough time to get to know everyone and everything. Maybe that's why I wasn't moved by the story.

Writing this review - giving the book this rating - was so hard. I really, really, really wanted to love it. But I don't regret getting this book. If anything, it's a gorgeous addition to my shelves - what with the stunning illustrations and the gorgeous second cover...

   Nitzan

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February 19, 2015

Thursday Oldie: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner



The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen's Thief #1
Source: Bought paperback
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: January 1, 1996
Original Post: Feb 11, 2014
Age Genre: Young Adult

"I can steal anything."
After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar, the magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossibly task--to steal a hidden treasure from another land.
To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.


This may not be a five-star rating, but this book deserves the McGonagall clap. When I decided to read The Thief, it was because one of my favorite bloggers, Christina, talked about the whole series in such a favorable light. I was further encouraged when I saw a few other bloggers talking about its greatness a few weeks later. 

It just sounded so effing good, you know? Like it was right up my alley. I didn't jump into it quickly, though. Frankly, I was afraid. I had built it up in my mind so high due to all those reviews. Will it follow through? 
The Thief is a solid book . It's got everything - action, an interesting, unique--and flawed!-- main character, mystery, twists and turns, and a refreshing storyline. It reads almost as an historical for the most part, but it also has gods and some very cool magical touches. The mythology of this word Turner created was just fascinating, and the supporting characters were great, varied and all served a purpose

The journey was captivating, even when there wasn't much action. Usually, I have issues with too much journey. Like, there've been plenty of books where I grew tired of the constant travel. But here, I loved watching them grow into a sort of companionship. I loved seeing Gen's opinion change on each person of the group as they traveled. I loved how they grew to care for one another, captive and captors. 

And because of all that, I was okay with the lack of romance, even though I usually need at least a hint of it, A ship I could sink into (lol, puns), to be satisfied with a book. 

My only complaint? That it's so freaking short! At first, that seems like a plus. It was why I decided to pick the book up the day I got it. I was like "well, this looks short and quick", and I was horribly behind on my reading, so it seemed perfect. But when I reached page 200, I suddenly found myself extremely sad that it was so short. I wanted more! 

  Nitzan

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February 15, 2015

Who Wore it Better: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

Who Wore it Better is an original meme I brought with me from Drugs Called Books. In it, instead of discussing fashion or cloths, we discuss book covers from different countries, and who has the best cover. The meme is co-hosted with the lovely Amanda and Stacie from Beautiful Bookish Butterflies and will be featured on her blog every other week, so check her out as well!  

This week we're taking a look at Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I haven't read this one yet, but anybody who's anybody has and it's high on my list. I'm surprised by how few covers this book has (so far). I've actually brought you all (but one) the covers available on GR, and yes - it's only six! Shocking.
Unlike normally, I'm burrowing Amada's style and ranking them rather than just listing them in natural order.
#1 - UK/US - So, yeah. Technically, these are two different covers. But they are the exact same image, one with a light background and the other with a dark background. And I have a hard time deciding between the two. It's handsdown the best cover for this book, but one plays on the darkness I assume the book deals with (assassins!) and the other gives Celaena this frigid, cold, icy dominor which I also assume an assassin will have to master to do her job well.

#2: Dutch -  In terms of photoshop technique, #3 is probably better done. But I was completely won over by the colors of this cover, and Celaena looks so badass. She looks like an assassin, coming to avenge.. something.

#3: Original English hardcover: I was really conflicted on where to number this cover. Aesthetically, it's really pretty. I'm not ashamed to admit that's what initially attracted me to the book, before I realized it was way popular. But... it doesn't really have much, does it? She doesn't look like a kickass assassin, blade strapped to her arm or not. It all looks a little too serene.

#4: German - I pretty much hate this cover. Celaena kind of looks like a dude. There's nothing in it, for me. Most of the cover is just so darn boring, and the illustration is not even half good enough to make up for that.

#5: Romanian - This one is pretty bad, but not as bad as number 6. I think it's badly photoshopped. The face looks way off, and I think of the Ice Queen a lot more than deadly assassin when I look at it. And faeries, I get a faeries vibe.

#6: Spanish - What... what is this cover supposed to be? Is there meant to be anything appealing about this grey thing on this completely black background? Is there supposed to be anything to make me want to read this book here? Because is so, the publishers need to get a clue. Pronto. 

February 13, 2015

Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines


Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines
Source: Free kindle copy
Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Publication Date: August 1st 2012
Age Genre: Adult
Challenges: TBR - Oldies
Challenges: Contemporary
Find On Leafmarks! 
Do not adjust your set. That really was Casey Greene being jilted by her fiance on live TV! And that really was Memphis's most eligible bachelor who stepped in to marry her instead.
Millionaire businessman Adam Carmichael wanted only to help Casey save face. He isn't prepared for the news that their "fake" wedding is legal and binding.
While they secretly wait for an annulment, media and family scrutiny forces them to put on their best loving-couple act. Except by now, neither one is quite sure who's acting....
I am not going to lie - I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Married By Mistake was one of the first kindle freebies I one clicked (though it's no longer free). I'm talking about 2012 here. It's been sitting on my shelf for that long, until finally, due to my Oldies Challenge, I decided to give it a read.

I wasn't expecting much. It sounded cute, but nothing else. I'm not sure if it was anything but cute, but it was just so... enjoyable!

I mean, I had a hard time stopping. I just kind of had to know what will happen with Casey and Adam! These two, they were just so great together. Even before they got to know each other, they were a source of strength. Adam helped Casey stand up to her family, and Casey helped Adam ease up a bit; open up to the good things in his life.

And a couple that's so great even when they're not, well, exactly a couple, will be amazing together for reals. If only they would realize that! (which, really, is what this story is all about)

And I loved these two people--both together and individually, because they were completely flawed in the best way possible, the kind of way that also allows them to grow, even in a relatively short time (and novel), in a believable way. They weren't perfect, they made mistakes, and sometimes, you really wanted to shake them.

Next to them were a few side characters I adored, such as Eloise and Sam, and I was happy we were given glimpse into their story inside Casey and Adam's.

Truly, one of my better free clicks - to bad it took so long to finally get to reading it!

   Nitzan

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February 10, 2015

Book Blitz: How to Unbreakup by Rebekah Purdy (+Giveaway)


How to Unbreakup
by Rebekah L. Purdy
Release Date: 02/10/15
Swoon Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
First rule of breakups: There’s no going back.For three years, seventeen-year-old Grace Evers has regretted breaking up with Sage Castle.That day, she lost her boyfriend and best friend. And let's be honest, it's impossible to just be friends with the one person who gets you, faults and all, and loved you anyway. It's impossible not to think about how it felt to be held by him, or the way he looked right before he was about to kiss you with the most perfectly yummy kiss goodnight.And now that things are over between them, they've become strangers to one another. Sage won’t even look at Grace, let alone talk to her!Breakup life sucks and Grace is utterly miserable, doing whatever she can to ease the pain of losing Sage. She's spent the better part of high school pretending to be something she’s not and hanging out with people who probably wouldn't notice if she wasn't there. Crappy dates, backstabbing friends, and Sage's cold shoulder have taken their toll.So when her parents propose going away to their house on Lake Michigan for the summer, Grace is thrilled. No more massively bad dates with horrible kissers or lunch with frienemies. Just three months of swimming,hiking, and relaxing before senior year starts.But when Grace learns Sage and his family will be joining them, she readies herself for a totally awkward family vacation of disastrous proportions. How can it be anything but awful if Sage won't even acknowledge she exists?This is it, Grace's last chance to get Sage back and unbreakup.

Excerpt 

“Here you go. Signed. Sealed. Delivered.” Lyncee handed me back my yearbook. “You have to wait until you get home to read it.”
“Oh great, what’d you put in here? I hope you didn’t mention anything about me dropping my cell in the toilet.” She laughed.
“No. Something better.” I groaned. Her idea of something better meant it could be anything from embarrassing to, well, more embarrassing. I smoothed down my jean skirt and spun my locker combination for the last time of junior year. Next year, we’d be seniors. We’d have our last homecoming and prom. We’d rule the school and all that crap.
To be honest, I was ready to be done with school. Leave the idiots behind. I’d spent the last three years pretending to be someone I wasn’t just to fit in. Lyncee was my only real friend to survive my breakup with Sage. Sage. We hadn’t talked since the end of eighth grade. The day I broke up with him. He’d stopped picking up my calls and when his parents came over to play cards with mine, he’d stay home. He avoided me at school, online, at soccer tournaments. It was like he’d completely erased me from his life. I never meant to hurt him like that.
The truth was, I missed him. A lot. It sucked not having anyone to talk to about the Star Wars marathon they played on Memorial Day, or the new Hobbit trailer, or about the awesome pair of soccer cleats I wanted to get. Not that Lyncee wasn’t there for me, she was, just not in the same way. Needless to say, I’d spent the last three years regretting mine and Sage’s breakup. I’d trade anything, even my popularity, to have him back. The thing was, I was running out of time to make things right. I’d tried getting over him, but there were some people you just couldn’t leave behind.

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About the Author

Rebekah Purdy grew up in Michigan, where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. When not hiding at her computer and getting lost in her stories, she enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games and hanging out with her kids. She loves the unexplainable like Bigfoot, the Dogman, and the Loch Ness Monster (lots of good story material)! She admits to still having all the books she bought throughout her childhood and teen years, and she may or may not have an obsession with anything chocolate…

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February 6, 2015

Smolder by Lacey Weatherford

Smolder by Lacey Weatherford
Series: Crush #4
Source: bought Kindle
Publisher: Moonstruck Media
Publication Date: April 12, 2014
Age Genre: New Adult (not explicit)
Challenges: Prequel-Sequel
Challenges: Contemporary
Challenges: TBR - Paid For
Find on Leafmarks!
The last thing Russ Weston ever wanted was to be called a hero. A normal guy, out doing the job he was trained to do, he’s nothing special—at least he doesn’t think so. All that changes, though, on the day he rescues renowned psychiatrist, Evelyn McKnight, from drowning.
Suddenly thrown in the spotlight, Russ becomes the center of media frenzy and he hates it. One thing he doesn’t hate, however, is the good doctor. Unable to deny the sparks between them, Russ wants Evie in a bad way. Unfortunately for him, Evie seems determined to continue nursing the broken heart she’s been clinging to for years, since the death of her fiancĂ©.
Always up for a good challenge, Russ pursues her anyway, steadily chipping away at her walls of resistance. Just when he thinks he finally has her in his grasp, everything falls apart and Russ discovers that love can be messy, messy, messy.
Desperately trying to pick up the pieces, Russ realizes sometimes when you love someone you have to set them free—even if doing so may cost him Evie, permanently.
 

Sadly, Smolder was definitely the weakest of the series. Even my infinite love for Russ couldn't make me give the book more than three stars. And you've no idea how sad I am for this.

Unlike the first three books in the series, Smolder doesn't continue the tale of Cami and Dylan, which I consider fortunate because how much crap can you put one couple through, really?! Ahem. Anyways, this one tell's Russ's story - Cami and Dylan's loyal best friend. He's been there since book one. He's moved around with them every time. He was ready to sacrificial his life for theirs. Really, what's not to like?

Surprisingly, a lot. Not with Russ himself. Russ himself is a sweetheart (though a really horny one). The thing is, this book was typical. It was unbelievable. It was rushed. It had too much going around. And those are really just the headers.

Russ deserves some love, and he finds it in the form of beautiful and smart Evelyn. But is their road smooth? Ha. You make me laugh, you optimistic you!

Everything is going good for the first half of the story. Which, naturally, means we're heading into Danger: Lot's of Crap Ahead! zone. First, we have the SPOILER miraculous return from the dead. END SPOILER Not really surprising, completely unoriginal, and frankly utter bullshit. What are the odds? Right when everything is going great, when they're going to speak the L word, THAT happens. Yeah. No.
Speaking of L words, why did they have to happen so soon? I know Cami and Dylan have the whole love-at-first-sight thing, and I can't recall how long it took them to get together, but I felt like it happened way too quickly here. They know each other maybe a month. Their relationship has been physical at best. They've been irrationally possessive from the get-go, even though they don't know anything about each other. Me no likey.

And then, so much happened! Because of twist number 1, twist number 2 had to be included so we could get rid of the result of twist number 1 on one end. Then we had to get rid of a character, because she was in the way and twist #1 is finally solved! Then, we had to put in a 3rd event to catalyst the solution of twist #2, and if we can also solve some of the original issues the hero has been dealing with, so the better!
I would've liked it more if the story focused on just one thing instead. I would've liked it more if the story really focused on them getting to know each other more, than all this other... crap. I'm being so vocally angry with this because I love this author. I highly enjoy her books and stories. So I know she can do a lot better than this. That's why I'm angry.

I will say this - I read the book in one day. It was fun, and they were cute together when they weren't busy not being together/being physically together. It was great seeing Cami and Dylan truly content for once, without anything to mar their happiness. That's why it's a three stars, and not lower - despite my angry ranting.

Nitzan


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February 5, 2015

Thursday Oldie: Angelfall by Susan Ee



Angelfall by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & The End of Days #1
Source: Bought paperback
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Original Post: Jan 11, 2014
Age Genre: Young Adult
It's been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain.
Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night.
When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back...




Angelfall is one of these books. You know, the kind that takes over the reading community by storm? The kind everybody seems to unanimously love? Naturally, I was pumped up for this book. I wanted to be wowed by it. I wanted it to be the first Angel book that blew my mind all the way to mars.

For the most part, it wasn't. But there was a ton of epic shit going down there at the end, and just for that last 30% I'll be picking the second book up... probably the moment book three comes out, so I could binge read.

This book is not all puppies and rainbows. Unless we're talking about man-eating puppies and rainbows of blood, in which case, maybe it is. This book is bloody dark. Much darker than I expected (I always seem to forget how much crap dystopian worlds are capable of). It has death, and it has munching on body parts, and it has people (creatures? beings?) playing Frankenstein. Which is so not cool.

The conclusion? Don't read it at night. And if you do, make sure all the lights are on, so you'll at least be able to see the monsters coming.
The story is told from Penryn's point of view, as she navigates this angel ravaged world in her quest to find and save her little sister from the angels who kidnapped her. (Why are the angels destroying our world? No idea. Actually, no one seems to know. Which kind of sucks for us.)

I really liked Penryn as a main character - she was loyal and tough, hardened and strong... but the thing I actually liked most about her is how she is not looking to save the world. All she wants is her family in one piece, and even that is too much weight on her young shoulders.

Her journey companion is Raffe, an angel who had his wings cut off. They both want to get to the same place, for different reasons, so they decide to cooperate. And if on the way they discover the other is not so bad? That Raffe may be an angel - the creature ruining our world - but he's also gentle and caring? Loyal? Well, that's alright. And okay, he sometimes comes out too confident and condescending... but it really works for him.

Side note: the way Penryn says Raffe's name is pronounced (like Raw Feet) is actually a name we have here, in Israel. My sort-of grandpa (long story) is called Raffie, so that was fun to read of. 

Together Penryn and Raffe were actually... kind of awesome. They don't embark on an epic romantic relationship... yet... but boy do the sparks fly. And in the end... *le sigh* - Raffe is so sweet. The two of them are. I want them together, Susan Ee, and I even have theories and suggestions to make it happen! Email me! We can talk about them!
But admittedly, the first 70% of the book were just "okay" for me. They were mostly travel, and hiding, and running, and you know - stuff like that. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything amazing.

But those last 30%? Boy, the epicness. They were fabulous. And utterly heartbreaking, for so many different reasons. I didn't know one could snuff so much heartbreak into one end -it was kind of impressive, and completely depressing. Nothing good happened.The situation looks beyond hopeless... which makes me excited to see how Susan Ee gets them out of it. At least I hope she will... without killing one of my favorite main characters.
This book is also the epitome of mysterious and intriguing. So many things seem to happen backstage, and we have no idea why or how or what the bad guy's end game. I have so. many. damned. questions. And something tells me I'm not going to get any answers any time soon... *Sobs*

Lastly... sorry for all the cursing. This book just brings all the best out of me *wink*

Nitzan

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