Liebster Award

Standard

Hello my fellow bookworms!

Today I found out I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the amazing @BetweenTheBlurb! Thank you for nominating me!

The Liebster Award is a great way to promote and support other bloggers’ blogs and share more ideas in the WordPress community. There are some rules you have to follow, but they could be easily accomplished :).

img_0405

So here are the rules:

1.) Each nominee must have less than 200 followers.

2.) You must thank the person who nominated you and put their link in your post.

3.) Answer 10 questions given to you, give 10 of your own for your nominees to answer.

4.) Nominate up to 10 blogs.

5.) Write a post containing your questions and in that post, write your answers to the questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

6.) Include these rules in your post.

Here are the questions asked by John @BetweenTheBlurb:

1. In your own words, what do you think makes a good storyteller?

A good storyteller is someone who can paint a clear image using only words. Also, they should make any story sound interesting.

2. Where is your upmost favorite place to read, and why?

In a coffee shop! There’s this soft background noise in coffee shops that just helps me relax a lot. Also, you can buy coffees and pastries while reading!

3. What is your snack/beverage when reading?

Usually some kind of pastry, water, or coffee if I can get my hands on it. 😀

4. Do you think an illustrated cover plays a part in the book buying process?

For me, yes. The main reason why I usually pick up a book is the cover art. However, that is only one step of the process. If the first chapter or the blurb doesn’t capture my attention, then I usually put the book back. Then again, that is just my preference.

5. If you could live any book, which one would it be?

I’ve thought about this question a lot, but I would probably want to be part of Alice’s hunting group in Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter, or an Orange in the Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken.

6. If you could change one thing in your favorite book what would it be?

My current favorite book, the Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, is an amazing book, but it lacks humor. If there was a little better, I would definitely add it to my “Books I Will Love For The Rest Of My Life” list!

7. What is your favorite genre to read?

I think this is pretty obvious, but YA fiction with some sci-fi, fantasy, and a little bit of romance is the best genre for me!

8. Do you have a rating system for your reviews?

Yes, I use a five star rating system.

9. What is your top read of the year thus far?

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, followed closely by An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas.

10. What are you currently reading/reviewing?

The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy.

And here are my own questions:

1. What makes a book a “movie-worthy” book?

2. What do you do when you don’t have any books to read?

3. If there is one character you would delete in any book, who would it be and why?

4. If you were to write a book, what would the plot be?

5. What makes a good villain for a story?

6. If you could be any character in any book, who would you be and why?

7. If you wrote a book, what would be the first sentence of the first chapter?

8. Who is your favorite fictional sidekick in any book?

9. What ending in any book would you change if you were the author?

10. What is your main reaction/feeling when you finish a really good book?

Last but not the least, here are my nominees…

1. @Ahck!Furball!

2. @Geo’sBookBlog

3. @LoveAndOtherBookishThings

4. @DreamingThroughLiterature

5.@TravellinginmyBookcase

6.@FeatherBookmark

Until next time,

The Renegade Zombie

As Red As Blood

Standard

Title: As Red As Blood

Author: Sally Simukka

Type: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.

Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

 I was really surprised by this book. I wasn’t really expecting the detailed writing and the interesting plot in the book, which made the book much better in my opinion. There are some flaws in the writing of course, but the overall concept is admirable.

 The main character, Lumikki, is an enigmatic girl who likes to keep to herself and avoids all ‘useless and tiring’ interactions with others. She was an unexpected character in the book because unlike other protagonists in other books, she really treasures her peace. I felt like I can relate to her about some points, and disagree with her about others. Lumikki felt like a Sherlock Holmes character to me, she was smart and isolated, and was pulled into others’ affairs without wanting to be involved. Overall, I admired the main character’s role in the whole book.

 The side characters were also an unexpected treat. The three kids who brought Lumikki into their mess were surprisingly relatable and human. Elisa, despite being a rich kid, still wants company and her family be faithful to her, and Tuukka and Kasper were delinquents who didn’t understand the consequences of their foolish actions. I liked how the side characters were not perfect despite their importance to the story. The antagonists were also engaging. They admitted their own faults, but continued to commit crime anyway.

 The concept of the story was loosely based on Snow White and other fairy tales, with a mix of suspense and action. There were gang bosses, crime lords, and other shady characters in the book that made the fictional part of the story realistic, which, in my opinion, is a good mix for a mystery novel. I also liked the setting of the story, and how it stayed true to its origins (Lumikki had a Finnish name).

 After reading this book, I give the book four out of five stars. I would recommend this title to my friends who enjoy mystery and suspense books, with a dash of fantasy.

Spelled

Standard

Title: Spelled

Author: Betsy Schow

Type: Adventure, Fantasy, A little bit of Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

cover58454-medium

All spell is about to break loose in this madcap fairy tale mash-up
Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.
Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks–like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.
Talk about unhappily ever after.
Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

I loved this book! I liked the fantasy, the less-than-perfect characters, and the concept of the story. This story is based on Grimm’s Fairytales and The Wizard of Oz, both I which love. I would definitely read more books from this author.

The main character of the book, Dorthea, is a princess of the Emerald kingdom. She is spoiled, haughty, and uncaring towards people who are not interesting enough or have lower status. Initially, I really did not like Dorthea’s personality and the way she treats her parents and other people. Her attitude towards her imprisonment is not something to be admired, and her selfish wishes are entirely self-serving. However, I loved how Dorthea developed into a great character later in the book. Her development throughout the book was amazing, and her transition from a snobby princess to a wise one who knows what the concept of friendship, love, and family really is believable and relatable. Another thing about Dorthea’s character development: she still retains the bad things about being human. Unlike other characters in other books who change from bad to good, Dorthea actually makes mistakes when she takes a turn for the good side. Also, her relationship with her kind-of-friend Rexi (I say this because of the rocky relationship between the two), and her love-interest, Kato, is highly amusing and interesting. Their relationship keeps readers interested on what is going to happen next between the three.  Kato, at first, seems extremely arrogant and above everyone else, but when he turns into a beast and understands his feelings toward Dorthea, he turns into a more reasonable and infinitely more likeable character. I loved how loyal he was to Dorthea even when she made her wish. He’s like a rock for Dorthea, and I love that about him.  Rexi, Dorthea’s friend, is the only character I’m undecided on. She has her nice moments, but I didn’t like how disloyal she was towards her only friend. I also didn’t like her cowardice, but everyone has their moments, right?
Finally, the storyline. I loved it, even though it went off course for a few chapters. It took a while for me to realize that the book was also based on the Wizard of Oz, but when I finally understood the reference, I enjoyed the book even more. What I really liked about the storyline was that even though it was based on Grimm’s Fairytales and the Wizard of Oz, there was still originality to it. I liked the idea of the Makers and the antagonists, which added flavor to the story.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and family, and would read more books by the author. My rating: five out of five stars.

Girls Can’t Be Knights

Standard

Title: Girls Can’t Be Knights

Author: Lee French

Type: Adventure, Fantasy, Action

Rating: 3 Stars

cover67107-small

I really wanted to like this book. I really did. I just tried…but I couldn’t! So much frustration…

Let me explain. When I read the blurb of the book, I was like, “wow! Looks like this book will be going to my favorite bookshelf!”. But no. This book had so much potential, and I was left disappointed. If you liked this book, then I respect your opinion. There are some good points in the book, which is why I gave it three stars, but to give it a full five stars? I’m sorry, to be honest, I can’t do that. Okay, time for my detailed explanations.

First of all, the characters. When I start reviews, I usually start with the main character and my opinion about them, but the main character just blended in with the rest of the characters that I didn’t know who I should focus on! So, the protagonist, I think, is Claire, a girl who lost her family. She’s coping with her grief, and combined with bullying at school, she is obviously not liking her life. Claire was actually a cool character, only there was nothing amazing about her. She had a personality, like characters should, her opinions, like characters should, she contributed something to the story, which characters SHOULD, but nothing really happened. She just realized what her parents wanted for her when they died and became a Knight. The end. There was one problem I had with Claire, however, and that was her beginning lust for Justin. Ummm…lusting over a guy who is married to a perfectly nice woman who also cares for you is not cool. Did I also mention Justin has kids? I understand that yes, there are hot guys out there that we do appreciate, but thinking about a married man is not a good thing to do.

That brings us to Justin, the rescuer of Claire from her horrible life. He has a wife and kids, and is a perfect family guy. He’s also pretty rude to Claire (inside his mind) because he complains about Claire’s attitude (I think her reaction to things are fine), wishing that his daughters do not end up like Claire. Wow. He’s also quite dense, like not being able to create a plan even he was a grown up when trouble struck, and doing REALLY stupid things in front of Claire, like when he cut off a kitten’s head in front of her (the cat was possessed, but still). I didn’t totally hate Justin because he was so nice to his kids and loves them, which I found adorable.

The antagonists weren’t really how I thought they were going to be. Sure, they did some ‘evil’ stuff, but nothing that characterizes them as truly ‘evil’. Their goals were pretty basic, like get power or dominate the whole world. Yay. I did find it interesting that one of the villains had a son who bullied Claire in school, and that connection surprised me a bit ;).

And now for the story. This is what I was frustrated about. I thought this book would focus on how the main character struggles to find herself in a male-dominated position, and how she’ll through some trials and crazy adventures while she’s trying to achieve this. I also expected the fantasy part, with the phasms and Knights, which made me pretty excited. However, I read about a main character (Claire) agreeing to go with a guy who she doesn’t know about just right off the bat, and finding out about Knights, her locket, and her parents. It was just…ugh. The first few chapters also just talks about Claire’s discovery about Knights and it goes on and on and on…then after a few chapters, we finally get to the action, which was nonexistent. There was a harebrained plan to break someone out, some kidnapping, and phasms chasing after the characters, but that was it! Nothing else. Even the kidnapping wasn’t exciting. Sigh. The ending felt to rushed, and the girls can’t be knights part just appeared just there (maybe just a tiny, tiny bit in the beginning) and that was all.

My final verdict? I would maybe consider recommending this book to my friends, but I can see more room for improvement in the future for the author. This book had so much potential that it only had to expand more to make it a great book :(, which makes my rating a three stars over five.

*I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*