April Wrap-Up & May TBR

April has been a tough month for me to read, knowing that May is coming and two of my most anticipated books of 2017 are coming out on my birthday month *coughs* ACOWAR and Lord of Shadows *cough* But nevertheless, I’ve manage to squeeze in a few books!

Physical Copy:

  • Frost like Night by Sara Raasch – 5/5

Ebooks:

Now let’s move on to my May TBR! Like I said in a previous post, I don’t do TBRs, but since May is a very special month to me, I have a specific TBR list in my mind and which I promise to do before the month ends.

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  1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

This is my #1 anticipated book of 2017, and with good reason! If you are following my Tumblr blog, I’m sure you all know that I’m a huge huge fan of the series, especially ACOMAF. With the way how ACOMAF ended, it was a very torturous wait until ACOWAR. I need to know what happens next to my babies, especially Rhysand and Feyre and the other members of the Inner Circle! I’m just freaking excited that it’s coming out on May 2nd, and I don’t have to wait too long to grab a copy.

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2. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

This beauty comes out on my birthday, May 23rd! This is the second book of The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare, and I’m a huge fan of the Shadowhunter Chronicles since I was in high school. I’ve loved the first book a lot, especially the very witty and diverse characters, and I want to know immediately what happens next after Lady Midnight finished off. I am also in love with all the Blackthorns, and they’re the best Shadowhunter family (apart from the Herondales).

Other books that I want to read next month would be:

  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  • Flame in the Mist by Renee Adhieh
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Ruthoski
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

 

How about you guys? What’s your best read book in April? What’s your anticipated reads for May?

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Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Release Date and Publisher: February 2017, Feiwel & Friends

Date Finished: April 26, 2017

Star Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis:

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.


My Review:

[Review of this book can also be found in my Goodreads]

I received an ebook copy of this book as a giveaway from Read With Tessa

This is actually one of the rather interesting debut novels I’ve been eyeing ever since 2017 came, and I’m so glad I finally read it!

I have never read any book about pirates, aside from the brief tour in the pirate world in The Assassin’s Blade, and all my knowledge on pirates were mostly from The Pirates of the Carribean movie franchise, and Peter Pan. So obviously, I don’t know a lot of thing about them, but the book’s title alone was enough to spark my interest. This is probably the first YA book I encountered that featured pirates.

The title basically says what the book is about. Alosa is the daughter of their world’s infamous Pirate King, and she’s considered as the princess and heir of all the pirates. She goes on a task to retrieve a missing piece of a map for her father, and to do this, she has to get herself captured by an enemy pirate. Here she meets a crazy assortment of pirates, and she goes on a hunt to look for the 1/3 piece of the mysterious map. It tackles a lot about pirating, pillaging, and scheming (which is so typical of pirates), but it’s also describes the mystery of the sirens and Alosa’s connection to them.

I’ve listed down below the things I loved the most about this book.

1. Alosa, ’nuff said. Alosa’s freaking amazing! She’s like a mixture of Disney’s Merida (with all her fiery red hair), Captain Jack Sparrow, and Celaena Sardothien all rolled into one. She’s beautiful, witty, sarcastic, smart, brave, determined. She’s a pirate who runs her own crew, kills enemies, goes on quests for hidden treasures and so on, but she’s also a lady who enjoys the pleasures of clothes and other pretty things. I admire how much of a feminist she is, since she made up her own crew mostly composed of females who she took based on their talents and skills, rather than take men who are thieves, killers, and rapists like other pirate captains do. She also has a couple of men in her crew, but they were mostly for the brute strength and so that her skills could affect them.

2. The setting and world-building. For a debut novel, this book is beautifully written. I could easily imagine every scenario and place they went to with great detail. It was written just right, leaving nothing out but also not putting too much in it. I just wished we had a map included so that we could all picture the layout of the seas and lands more vividly.

3. The fast-paced action. If you’re looking for a really easy but fast-paced novel, this one is for you. There were definitely no dull moments, and the story just consumes you with each turn of the page. You wouldn’t even realize that you’ve read a huge chunk of it already because you have been laughing and keeping up with Alosa’s antics and schemes.

4. The plot-twist. It’s actually not much of a plot-twist, but I’ll consider it as one. About near half of the book, I was already able to tell that there was something brewing with Alosa, and how the mystery of the sirens revolved around her life. But it was still a very interesting twist in her character!

I would love to see more of the other characters, especially Riden and Alosa’s crew in Ave-lee. All characters are unique and never dull, even the most hideous ones in Draxton’s crew were something to watch out for. I also would want to read more on Ride and Alosa’s relationship, since both of them were hot-and-cold with each other, bickering like cats and dogs, and making out like nobody’s business. They’re both adorable, but there were times where I just wanted to smack them both for being too stubborn with each other.

The YA world should give more notice to pirates, since I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of YA books about them. And this is a really great read to pick up if you’re in love with sea-faring pirates!

Review: United by Melissa Landers

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Title: United (Alienated #3)
Author: Melissa Landers
Release Date and Publisher: August 2016, EverAfter

Date Finished: April 22, 2017

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

After thwarting a deadly coup and saving the alliance between their worlds, Cara and Aelyx have finally earned a break. Their tiny island colony is everything they dreamed it would be―days spent gathering shells on the beach and nights in each other’s arms.

But the vacation is short-lived.

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened an ancient force that threatens to destroy them all. The Aribol, mysterious guardians charged with maintaining interstellar peace, deem the alliance a threat to the galaxy. They order a separation of the races, decreeing humans and L’eihrs must return to their own planets within the month or face extinction. In fact, they already have agents in place on Earth, ready to begin.

With the clock ticking, Aelyx and Cara assemble a team of colonists and race back to Earth, where they unite with old friends to solve the mystery of who the Aribol are, what they want, and the real reason the alliance has provoked them. As tensions build to a full-scale war, Aelyx and Cara must fight harder than ever―not just for their future, but for the survival of both their worlds.


My Review:

[Review of this book is also posted in my Goodreads]

I can’t believe this series is finally over! Ultimate hands-down to one of the best YA Sci-Fi series I’ve read! I’ve read and enjoyed a lot the first two books, Alienated andInvaded, because of how the author wrote them so beautifully. It was just so light and quirky, but also fast-paced, the plot flowed smoothly, and the action never dulled. The same thing can also be said in United. This is definitely on the of series that you’ll literally devour the entire books in a short amount of time because of how good they are!

I’ll keep my review short and spoiler-free, since I know a lot of you guys probably haven’t started reading it yet (and I highly suggest that you do).

I was so happy with how the final book turned out. Since it immediately started off at the end of what happened in Invaded, there was no huge adjustment to the main theme. I actually liked how everything was being okay at the start, and then things in Earth and L’eihr started spiraling down the drain just around after Chapter 4 or so. You already know that everyone’s happily ever after isn’t going to be easily obtained. Huge problems were presented, and Cara and Aelyx’s team needs to figure out on how to save both Earth and L’eihr from extinction. I knew from the start that there was noooooo way the author will erase both out of existence, so I had high hopes on how they’ll solve the problem. I actually did not expect that what they did at the end was how they saved both planets. I was expecting something grand and really challenging, but, while it was still challenging for the characters, the problem was solve with something so SIMPLE! That was definitely something new for me.

The characters. Ugh. Everyone is just as lovely and amazing as they were in the previous books. Cara and Aelyx are still my top favorites, and their relationship was perfect! I just love a good YA series where there is no love triangles happening, and that the relationship didn’t start out as something toxic for each other. Hands down to the most adorable couple in the galaxy! I also love love love how other side characters, like Syrine, Troy, Elle, and Larish, were given more screen time and how they interacted with each other. I’m a huge fan of the Troy and Elle ship. As for the antagonists, I was actually expecting a lot more from Jaxen and Aisly, since they had huge parts in Invaded. So I was highly disappointed at how they each died, because it was just too low-key for me.

The surprise finale at the end was definitely a surprise. I missed David’s antics from Invaded, so I was in deep shock that things turned for the best for him and Syrine at the end. If there will be a David and Syrine novella set in the colony in L’eihr, I’m going to read it.

Over-all, I loved it so much. The plot, characters, world-building, and just really much everything. I loved it a lot. If you haven’t read the Alienated trilogy yet, I suggest that you do, and you won’t regret it.

Review: Guarded by Kayla White

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Title: Guarded
Author: Kayla White
Release Date and Publisher: April 2017, Self-Published

Date Finished: April 16, 2017

Star Rating: ★★★.5

Synopsis:

Watching over some crazy rich chick seems like a good stop gap from the army. She has no desire to do anything other than get wasted enough to forget.
Parker

Is she for real?

I cannot deal with her bullshit.

This woman has no idea what real life is, it is time for a reality check. Not all of us can have everything paid for. Some of us have to work.

I would much rather be back in the army. She’s impossible to deal with.

But not when she steps closer to me, right into my personal space. I can feel her breath tickling my cheek as she speaks.

My heart is thundering, my body shuddering and trembling, there is a stirring inside my underwear that I really need to ignore if I have any hope of getting through this with any intact dignity.
Hannah

I hate this guy. Why can’t he go? Why does my dad think I need a guard?

Hot blood boils around by body, my temper is burning from the top of my head to my little toes.

How dare my dad do this to me?

If I am going to win this, I would have to throw all images of his body right out of my brain. I will focus on his horrible personality instead.

This wouldn’t be too difficult, would it?
Guards don’t hook up with rich chicks.
But not Parker – he finds himself tumbling into an abyss.
Once he’s in, there might not be a way out again.



My Review:

[I received an ARC ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review]

[Review of this is also posted on my Goodreads

Guarded is about a grief-stricken female lead named Hannah and the bodyguard that her father assigned to look after her, Parker. Because of her mother’s death and her father’s hectic schedule, Parker was hired to look after Hannah since she’s the girl who partied hard and gets in serious trouble after every night. The two basically had a hate-first-love-last relatioship throughout the book.

I’m giving this book a 3.5 star rating instead of a 4 star rating. Here are the reasons why.

CONS
1. Hannah irritated me to death! I usually don’t hate a character, especially the lead ones at the beginning of the book, but I’m making an exception for Hannah. Sure, she had her reasons for acting out like that throughout the whole book, but some scenes were just pretty pathetic and stupid of her. The major of the time I really wanted to strangle her and shake her out of her funk. She had a few redeeming qualities, like how she finally pulled her head out of a very bad relationship, but mostly the bad qualities outweighted my opinion of her.

2. The flow of the plot was a bit too fast and not fluid enough. I didn’t notice it at first until I reached around the middle. I was reading one whole chapter where they were really hating each other, and then suddenly they tease each other, and then another chapter was when they were being friends. I really got confused and had to skip back a few pages to make sure I read everything right.

3. The love story between Hannah and Parker was just too fast and too shallow for me. One moment they hated each other, and then a few chapters later, they are already admitting that they are in love with each other. I don’t know if it’s their sexual chemistry or the time that passed between them that made them fall in love, but I just did not get it at all, and I’m not a huge fan (so sorry!)

but those are the only reasons why I didn’t like or hated the book!

PROS
1. I love love love Parker. He’s not the typical alpha-male I was used to, especially since he’s in the military, and I’ve read a lot of NA novels that have an ex-military alpha male in them. He was both hardcore but soft, persistent but constant. I definitely enjoyed Parker’s POVs more than Hannah’s. He was the sole sounding voice in the whole book, which made me enjoy it.

2. The sexy scenes are really sexy. I don’t need to elaborate on this further.

3. The writing is great! The plot may not be the greatest thing about it, but I loved the way the author described everything in detail, leaving nothing out, and words just turned into pictures in my head. I also love how the characters’ personalities were written to the T. It’s a short novel, but a greatly written one. Just needs some improvements on the plot.

Over-all, I may not be loving or hating it, but it was an enjoyable read.

I’m excited to read what else Kayla White has in store!

Review: The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis

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Title: The Paths We Choose (Lilac Town #2)
Author: M. Hollis
Release Date and Publisher: April 2017, Self-Published

Date Finished: April 10, 2017

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.
A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.

Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.


My Review:

[I received an ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review]

[Review of this book is also found in my Goodreads]

I could easily remember how M. Hollis was still in the process of writing the Lilac Town novellas, and had given me the first drafts of The Melody of You and Me. If you’re a fan of cheesy and F-F romances, you definitely need to read this. It’s in the New Adult category, so do expect some steamy and naughty scenes mixed with the very cute moments. All the stories are short, but it’s the characters and their personalities that leave you wanting for more.

So for The Paths We Choose, I loved it more than the first book! The main reason I loved it so much was that it focused on the friendship and building of this friendship into something more between Lily and Mayte. Most romance novels typically ends with the main leads already in the serious phase of their relationship, but this one doesn’t. Lily and Mayte are still exploring themselves together and getting to know each other in the process, especially since it’s Lily’s first relationship. How the characters developed was really so cute that you just want them to be together in the end.

Also, the problem that Lily experienced with her family hit me the hardest. I have never read a book before that tackled on what happens to LGTBQ+ people who come out of their closet, but only to be shamed and hated by their family. I only seen in once in an episode of the TV show, Underemployed. So I was really emotionally attached to Lily and her well-being. But I liked how her little brother reached out to her, and how both of them were starting to mend things together. Kudos to Lily who remained strong and brave for what she did, despite her parents disapproval to her sexual orientation.

Another thing I love about these novels is the diversity among the characters. It’s a mix of skin color, culture, sexual identity, and so so much more! If you’re looking for books with a wide range of diversity, then this one is for you! The author did her research so well on each character’s identity that you might think that she’s everyone at the same time. I may not have been able to relate to the cultural side of Lily and Mayte, but her other character Josie (who was in The Melody of You and Me) I can relate to her so well because she’s Filipina like me! It was also lovely to see other side characters be given some spotlight, and that they too are POC and queer! I give this series an infinity star rating for diversity.

Over-all, this book was so much better than the first one! Still cheesy, yes, but it’s the good kind of cheesy. It’s a huge improvement in plot and character development, compared to the first book.

I can’t wait for the next one to come out soon! I’m really interested to see how Karen’s story goes!

Review: Inferno by Catherine Doyle

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Title: Inferno (Blood for Blood #2)
Author: Catherine Doyle
Release Date and Publisher: January 2016, Chicken House

Date Finished: April 9, 2017

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather in the second installment of Catherine Doyle’s Blood for Blood series.

Sophie’s life has been turned upside-down, and she’s determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she’s trying to forget, won’t give up on their love – and it’s Luca’s knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace – and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie’s in deeper than ever.


My Review:

“The whole point of being a good friend is being in the darkness. I’ll be your light, until you can be it yourself again.” 

[Review will also be posted in my Goodreads]

I was expecting a lot from this book, especially at how the first one ended. I didn’t like the first book that much, since it mainly focused on the love story brewing between Sophie and Nic and I was craving more of the action scenes that came along with its Mafia theme. So I’m really happy to say that Inferno exceeded my expectations! There was snark, romance, and blood! A lot of blood and revenge spilled throughout the whole book, which lived up to its title!

For those who haven’t read Vendetta yet, it’s a sort-of Romeo and Juliet thing going on between the main female character, Sophie Gracewell, and a new mysterious guy named Nic Falcone. It revolves around a small Chicago suburb, where Sophie suddenly finds herself in a sticky situation with the Falcones. It’s cute, a bit cheesy, and your typical puppy-love crush that blooms into something more. Oh, and then add the Mafia into the mix.

Unlike with Vendetta, Inferno is so much better, and I’m so happy with everything that went on in Inferno I felt like my heart would burst from my chest.

Plot-wise, it was much better written and executed compared to the first. There were a lot of moments that just flowed smoothly and a few unexpected moments that kept me on the edge of my seat. I like how the plot’s problem expanded out, making it an even bigger issue, thus making the action even better. There were a lot of twists and turns that left me breathless and wanting for more. I also love how new characters were introduced, and the two warring Mafia families finally had a big role in the story’s plot. It would definitely not be a Mafia novel if there wasn’t any feud or blood war happening between two families. So that was a huge check for Inferno. Also, the importance of the two Mafia families were finally introduced, and how the story heavily revolved in it. It was more complex than what I expected, but it just added to the thrill of the book. The action was also so so so so so much better! All those shoot-outs, family feuds, and fire was probably too much for a Young Adult novel, but as someone who appreciates a very nicely written action scene and how fast-paced it was, I’m giving it two thumbs up!

I love the character development in the novel. It was definitely my most favorite thing about Inferno, especially Sophie, Nic, and Luca’s characters. Sophie reminded me so much of Clary Fairchild in The Mortal Instruments about how she won’t stop until she gets what she wants, even though people already keep telling her not to do it. She’s been both brave and stupid at the whole book, but it was actually better than her lovesick character when we first met her in Vendetta. She finally had a backbone to make decisions for herself and her loved ones, unlike during the beginning on how she heavily relied on others to make decisions for her. Nic, on the other hand, started out pretty strong in Vendetta. But slowly into the second book, we finally got to see the other side of him that made me cringe and hate him a bit. He reminded me so much of Tamlin of A Court of Thorns and Roses where he tried to protect Sophie in his own ways, even though those ways were a bit dark and twisted. I actually hated him during the latter parts of the book, but it made me think that Nic had a good reason why he was acting the way he was towards his family and Sophie.

Now for Luca Falcone. OH MY GOD. LUCA. He just left me so speechless. I already felt that he was going to be a big character in Vendetta, but just never realized how big until Inferno. There was something promising with his character at the latter part of the first book, and I was so happy that it was explored in the next one. There was so much more to him than just being the sarcastic and rigid underboss of the Falcone Family. I loved how another side of him was shown, but the side initially introduced never left. His character building was just so freaking amazing! He’s definitely my favorite character now, even more than Sophie! Of course, let’s not forget the blooming relationship between him and Sophie. It’s literally *heart eyes*

I admire Millie’s tenacity and dedication to Sophie. I wished I had a best friend like her that I can trust with everything, even the dangerous aspects of my life. Everyone needs and deserves a Millie. I wish we get to see more of her in the next book!

The plot twist at the end knocked my socks off! I was totally not expecting it at all!! I never even predicted that it would end like that! I usually can more or less predict a plot twist when reading something, but this one caught me off guard! So yes, this book has some really good plot twists! I won’t mention any of the plot twists, no matter how small or large they are, since I want to keep you guys all in suspense too!

Now I’m really expecting a lot more from the third and final book! I’m definitely going to devour the whole thing as soon as I start it!

April TBR & Current Reads

First of all, you should all know I don’t usually stick to a TBR list every month because I love to read or reread books whenever I feel like it. But for the sake of everyone who’s been asking me about the books I’m currently reading and plan to read this month, I’ll be posting them all here!

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Yes, yes, yes! I have a very busy reading month, and with good reason because I just finished all my school work and my body and mind are already in vacation mode – thus my very hefty pile of books stacked next to my bed.

Let’s start first with what I’m currently reading and reading now.

Current Reads/Rereads:

  • Inferno by Catherine Doyle – This is the second book of the Blood for Blood Trilogy, which is a Young Adult mafia story that sort-of followed Romeo and Juliet (especially in the first book). I only have the physical copy of the first book, and until now, the bookstores here haven’t stocked yet on Inferno and Mafiosa. So much to my utter dismay, I had to get the ebook copies in the meantime while I wait. But so far, this one is really good! It’s actually better than the first book.
  • Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – This is a reread. I actually read this book around a year ago, and I just bought the third and final book last month. So I’m now rereading the first two books to get myself refreshed from what happened so far.
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray – This is another reread. I read the first book a couple of years ago, and I only picked up the second book last week because it was 50% off in the bookstore. Yes, I am cheap. I remembering loving the first book, but also being too scared to finish it.

Now going to the two New Adult books that I definitely want to read this month.

TBR List: 

  • Confess by Colleen Hoover – I love Colleen Hoover’s writings! I think the last one I read was “It Ends with Us”, and that was months ago. But then I saw news that Confess was made into a TV show, so I wanted to read first the book before deciding to watch the show and see how it compared to the book. I’m just scared because some TV adaptations of books are either in the thumbs-up or thumbs-down category. Never something in between.
  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – I heard a lot of great things about this book on Tumblr, but have never had the chance to start with it. Tasha from Tashapolis also recommended it in her Steamy Romances Recommendation video, and she loved it a lot. All I know so far is that the two characters work in a publishing house and do hating games with each other – thus it’s called by its title.

 

Have you guys read any of these books? Let me know what you think about them!