Friday, 24 April 2015

Review: The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan - A thrilling ending

The Wondrous and the Wicked (The Dispossessed, #3)

Title: The Wondrous and the Wicked (The Dispossessed, #3)
Author: Page Morgan
 Random House Canada
Publication date: April 14, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult (Historical/Fantasy/Paranormal)
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Since the Waverlys arrived in Paris, the streets have grown more fearsome by the day. As Ingrid learns to master her lectrux gift, she must watch Axia's power grow strong enough to extend beyond her Underneath hive. By all indications, the fallen angel's Harvest is near-and the timing couldn't be worse.

Targeted by vengeful gargoyles, Gabby has been exiled to London for her own protection. Meanwhile, the gargoyle castes are in disarray, divided between those who want Luc to lead them and those who resent him and his fondness for humans. The Alliance is crumbling from the inside as well, its members turning against one another, and possibly against the Waverlys, too.

Axia has promised that the world will burn. And now, unable to trust the Alliance, separated from Luc, Gabby, and her twin, Grayson, Ingrid is left to face the demon uprising alone.
The Dispossessed trilogy is officially one of my favourite YA trilogies. This trilogy has everything in it: supernatural, historical, paranormal, fantasy, romance, and kick butt feminist protagonists. This trilogy doesn't have a single POV, it somehow switches from one to the other, including the main protagonist Ingrid, her twin Grayson, her younger sister Gabby, as well as several other secondary characters (though at a minimum). Usually this would create confusion and you immediately like and dislike some of the POVs, however in this trilogy, and specifically The Wondrous and the Wicked, I loved all the POVs.. however I do have a favourite and it is Gabby. She's the youngest but she's so independent, and I just love her determination.. also her love interest is very swoon worthy. 
When I started The Wondrous and the Wicked, I was afraid I would have forgotten many things from the first two books, but even though I read them a year ago, I was able to remember everything. Only a few books tend to do that, and those are the unique ones you would never be able to confuse with all the other books you read between the previous book and the sequel. The author doesn't waste time trying to recap every single thing that happened previously.. and I'm glad.. I hate it when books spend pages recapping everything. We dive right into the action and it was marvellous. I was hooked from the beginning and just couldn't imagine how everything would go down and how every one of the main character's as well as secondary character's problems will be solved by the end of the book. 
I said it before and I'll say it again, Morgan knows how to blend all of the different genres and not overwhelm the readers as well as the plot. I've recently read a few books who couldn't handle just a mix of two genres, let alone the five Page Morgan was handling. I just adored this whole trilogy and the action scenes were fantastic. A blend of paranormal in the form of gargoyles, supernatural in the form of powers given to certain people, set in early 1900 in paris. Let's not forget the very memorable and kick butt female characters as well as all the male counterparts and the superb romance. I definitely will be recommending this trilogy to any fan of young adult, and even adult genres. Thank you so much Page Morgan for writing such a fantastic trilogy and for introducing me to the world of Ingrid, Gabby, and Greyson. Two weeks after I read this last book and I am still heartbroken that it is over. 
My reviews of the the rest of the series:

Friday, 17 April 2015

Review: The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler

The Truth About Us

Title: The Truth about Us
Author: Janet Gurtler
 Raincoast Canada 
Publication date: April 7, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 304
The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.
She's made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she's paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The truth is she wishes she was the care-free party-girl everyone thinks she is.
She pretends it's all fine. That her "perfect" family is fine. But it's not. And no one notices the lie...until she meets Flynn. He's the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens.

The truth is that Jess is falling apart – and no one seems to care.
But Flynn is the definition of "the wrong side of the tracks." When Jess's parents look at him they only see the differences-not how much they need each other. They don't get that the person who shouldn't fit in your world... might just be the one to make you feel like you belong.
The Truth about Us was a total whim read. I received this book from the publisher during their spring preview and I never really thought about it since then. However last month, I wanted to read something quick and breezy and I decided to try it out for two reason 1) Janet Gurtler is a canadian author, 2) I was in a horrible reading slump and needed a contemporary I knew nothing about. I am so glad I picked up The Truth about Us because it was fantastic! It definitely took me out of my reading slump and now I will be picking up all of Janet Gurtler's books. I actually own Who I Kissed so that will be next on my list. 
The Truth about Us revolves around Jess, a girl coming from a rich family.. but definitely not a perfect one. It seems like her family is falling apart. Her mother is in her room all the time due to an incident the readers are kept in the dark about. Jess's dad is working constantly, while her sister pretty much moved into her boyfriend's family's house and is never seen at home. This leaves Jess alone all day, or hanging out with her one friend.. who is a horrible influence on her. Jess ends up getting in trouble for something stupid she did (she bought a ten thousand dollar dress online), and her dad finally puts his foot down. Next thing she knows, she is signed up to volunteer at a soup kitchen called New Beginnings. 
Honestly? Jess is so down to earth, I loved that she wasn't the stereotypical rich kid. Yes, she isn't used to poverty or seeing poverty. Yes, she was uncomfortable during the first days at New Beginnings, but who wouldn't be? when one has only known luxury living? What was more interesting to me was how everyone pretty much discriminated against Jess for being rich. It was so shocking how she was ostracized at times just because she has more money than them. I just feel like only when someone rich discriminates against someone poor does it turn into the issue.. but when the opposite happens… then it is justified. I really do not like the double standards of our world. I loved the friendship Jess strikes up with Whilf, a 70 year old who takes care of the greenhouse he gave to the soup kitchen. I loved their banter together and enjoyed their scenes. As for Flynn, the love interest.. I really really liked him. He had his insecurities and it was so cute seeing them together.. however, I truly did not like the ending… it felt like Janet Gurtler tried to deviate from the typical YA endings, but decided against it in the last minute. This was the one time I was happy if the couple didn't end up together because it felt realistic and appropriate. That is mainly why I didn't give The Truth about Us higher than 4 stars. Still, overall this was such a quick and enjoyable read and I can't wait to see what else is in store for me when I pick up more of Gurtler's books. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Salad Love: seafood and asian ingredients

Another month, another post of SALAD LOVE! This time I went a little eastern (the far east to be specific) and made a crabmeat, avocado, cucumber, and nori salad! One thing I did change was the cucumber. Unfortunately I thought we had some at home but turned out we were out. So instead of cucumbers, I added raw zucchini and honestly? I think that was more delicious than just adding cucumbers. 

As usual, this recipe had a "raw alternative" and that was basically replacing the crabmeat 
with something vegetarian. I really enjoyed making this salad and it was definitely less work 
and effort than the previous two that I made. 
You'll be seeing more cooking/baking posts in the upcoming months. They are such a nice change from the monotonous book reviews. Do you guys like them? 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Review: Mr.Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas - Veronica Mars love

Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2)
Title: Mr.Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2)
Author: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
 Random House Canada
Publication date: February 3, 2015
Genre(s): Adult (Mystery)
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Pages: 330
The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?
Mr.Kiss and Tell was another great addition to the world of Veronica Mars. I am a huge fan and have been since the show was airing back in 2004-2007. Seeing the Veronica Mars world told in books brings me so much joy and I really enjoyed this second installment. The mystery aspect was a plus and I enjoyed guessing and trying to figure out (and always failing!) who the perpetrator is. 
In Mr.Kiss and Tell, we get to meet many of the old Veronica Mars crew and actually spend time with them. This includes Weevil, as well as Wallace and Mac. I really love the three (V, Wallace, and Mac) and their scenes together were hilarious, as usual. Having Rob Thomas be a part of the book is so important for keeping the authenticity of the characters and their voice. We also see more of Logan, hallelujah! I have been waiting so long for this and was slightly disappointed when all we got were Skype sessions on The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. Logan and Veronica just give me all the good feels. They are one of my favorite tv couples ever and I love them together. So bonus to Mr.Kiss and Tell for finally giving us marshmallows more scenes with those two. This book is a mystery, and it was definitely an interesting one. It is interesting how even the mysteries (whether victims, accused, or witnesses) always tie in to people we already have seen or caught a glimpse of in the show. 
The mystery in Mr.Kiss and Tell definitely made my blood boil. Because it is basically about someone who raped and then physically abused a girl and dumped her like a piece of garbage on the side of a road. I wanted the rapist and abuser to be caught so badly and the book definitely taunted us with those feelings. I like that even with the mystery, multiple stories are still continuing including the problem with the corrupt sheriff's department, as well as Logan's impeding deployment. I definitely enjoyed Mr. Kiss and Tell and I can't wait for more books in this series. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

The books on my ASAP TBR

This is for the books that I've been neglecting for ages. Ones I was SUPER excited to read when I bought but never had the chance to pick up. This is my shout out post for these neglected books. 

Because I've toned down my review book requesting by a lot as well as putting myself on a book buying ban, I've had more time to read my own books. Here are some of the books I'm reading (see? not hoping to read, or wishing to read, but straight up reading) this year:

All of these are sequels to series that I've already started. I really want to 
finish The Vampire Academy series. I read the third book, Shadow Kiss, in 
March and want to continue and finish it this year so I can start the Bloodlines 
series. I love Katie McGarry and recently read Breaking the Rules (Pushing the 
Limits #1.5) and now want to continue and read about Isiah's story in 
Crash Into You
Since The Lux series is over, I really want to finish it. I only own Origin but 
once I read it, I'll buy Opposition and read that. I read The Girl of Fire 
and Thorns back in 2012 and I loved it.. but embarrassingly enough I still 
haven't picked up the sequel The Crown of Embers yet. I wanted to wait 
and read Cress closer to Winter's release date which is this year, so that's 
what I'll be doing. I read Archetype last year and thought it was a fantastic 
futuristic NA novel. It is a duology and I want to finish it with Prototype
I love any book written by Jenny Han. I didn't want to start the Burn for Burn 
series until all the books are out… and they're all out so I now am free to marathon 
it all. Dangerous Girls has been on my list for years because I love 
mystery/thrillers. I finally bought it but seem to always forget that I actually 
own it. 
Ten things we did (and probably shouldn't have) was one of the 
first ever contemporaries I had my eyes on.. but for some reason I never 
actually read it. I read an excerpt of Live Through This before it came out 
and I was hooked.. it is actually a very short book. I need to read it
Seconds will be my first attempt at reading a graphic novel. 
Angelfall and World After: I own the first two and now knowing the 
series has been demoted to a trilogy, where the last book will come out 
this year, I can go ahead and read those two!

I love Maggie Stiefvater, and The Scorpio Races is the only book I haven't read by her (I don't count the fae series she wrote)Uninvited was on my wish list as soon as I read it is about genetics and now that the sequel (it's only a duology) is coming out soon, I want to read it then if I loved it, I'll buy and read the sequel 

In my attempt to read more adult books, I'll be picking up Written in Red. I know the third book is coming out (already came out?) this year which means I can pick this one up. I am obsessed with mystery/thrillers and The Cuckoo's Calling is exactly that. It doesn't hurt that JK Rowling wrote it. She's only just my queen.