**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Shadow's Seduction by Kresley Cole


Shadow's Seduction by Kresley Cole

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Paperback : 248 pages
Publisher: Valkyrie Press
Release date: February 27th, 2017
Series: The Dacians #2 & Immortals After Dark #17

Source: 

Reviewed by: 

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

In this scorching Immortals After Dark/Dacian novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole brings together a wicked vampire prince used to getting everything he desires and a demon warrior who always felt like an outcast.

A NIGHT OF DEBAUCHERY . . .
Prince Mirceo Daciano and his new friend, Caspion the Tracker, comb the streets of Dacia, drunkenly seeking out pleasures of the flesh. In what should have been a typical night, they coax a bevy of nymphs to bed. To impress their females, the demon and the vampire kiss on a dare.

CHANGES THEM FOREVER . . .
Once they finally break away from their soul-searing kiss, they find themselves alone--and shaken. Had they imagined their explosive chemistry? Obstacles--ranging from a death sentence to exile in a war-torn dimension--threaten to destroy their lives . . . and the vulnerable promise in that one kiss.

HOW LONG CAN THEY RESIST THE FIRE THAT BLAZES BETWEEN THEM?
Even if Mirceo accepts Caspion as his fated mate, the seductive vampire still must convince the stubborn demon that their bond is forever. And any royal Dacian union must receive the blessing of King Lothaire, an unpredictable and savage killer. . . .
Mirceo is the youngest male royal in the Dacia family and has always counted on his charms to get him whatever he wanted and when he meets Caspion, a self-destructive depressed demon, he finally finds a run for his money. They are suchs opposite and despite that, they become great friends. And yet, Mirceo wants more. Will he succeed?

Shadow's Seduction sit somewhere between a short story and a full length novel and I wish it were actually a full novel. I understand though, with the book being m&m, that Kresley Cole decided to make it a short non-mandatory story within the overall Immortals After Dark story arc. Not everyone is willing to read male to male romance and I have to admit it was a first for me. I've never been incline to pick up such book before but since I love this series so much I decided to give it a shot. Did I enjoy it? yes. Will I pick up more books from this genre? Probably not, unless it's part of a series I already love.

The reason why I wish it were a full length novel is because I felt things were rushed at time. The shory started VERY abruptly with Caspion and Mirceo being at the same brothel and all of a sudden, totally randomly, Mirceo is entranced by Caspion and decided he wanted to have him (Mirceo is bi, but Caspion is straight). It really felt completely out of blue because of the lack on context, and background story. You literally jump right into that scene and it's how everything starts. You then fast forward to how they eventually became good friends but you don't witness it, and I honestly wish we did. Eventually it gets better and we live events right by their sides, and Cole is usually really good at getting you engrossed in a story and I think the shortness of this novella is what limited Cole in developing those events.

I really loved their stories though with how eccentric Mirceo is, how volatile his actions are but how dedicated he is to Caspion and how determined he is to prove him he can be the man he needs. Whereas Caspion is living in total denial of his growing feelings for Mirceo. He does not what to be gay (or bi) and exiles himself for hundreds or years hoping it'll go away. He grows hard, stubborn and hateful and at some point Mirceo's good mood rubs on him and everything changes. Their life-altering courtship was really great and I wish we got to see more of them when they finally committed to each other.

Reading this novella I thought the next book would be about Bettina because of events taking place and I was really surprise to see the story is about two completely different characters. Hopefully we will find out what happens to her (or maybe we already did in a past novel and I forgot??).

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this story and I would recommend it. If you are homophobic then this might not be the book for you. There are graphic scenes of sex between two male in this novel.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover: 532 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release date: January 3rd, 2017

Series: Passenger #2

Source: 

Reviewed by: 

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.
I loved this epic conclusion to the Passenger duology! It was definitely easier to get into than the first simply because it is driven by action and there's not as much set-up needed. Just for fun, you might like Alex Bracken's Pinterest board on the series, which has some fantastic images of an astrolabe and other beautiful imagery. If you haven't read it, there might be a few spoilers below...

In the last post, I promised to talk about Etta and Nicholas's romance, which develops throughout Passenger. Here in Wayfarer, Etta and Nicholas's romance is somewhat tempered by time/space but is no less a part of this novel. In the first, they fell in love, but here they have to overcome odds to even see each other again since Etta's timeline was destroyed and Nicholas believes Etta dead. It makes things more meaningful because they are carrying on without knowing what has become of the other in the hopes that there is some sort of future for them after everything is said and done. For Nicholas, Etta is the first person to recognize him for himself and not for his skin, his status, or his potential. Etta finds Nicholas to be a person she can depend on and who has a good and kind heart but is also self-sacrificing and brave. Their romance is sweet and new for both of them, and for time-travelers, seems to be a first step multi-racial couples!

Because this novel follows two separate storylines of Etta and Nicholas/Sophia, we see how much their first journey has made them change their priorities a bit and show drastic character development from the beginning of the series. Before, Nicholas wanted only his freedom and his own ship but otherwise had accepted his lot in life. Now, because Etta has come into his life and he's seen his grandfather's thirst for power, he recognizes that he is not his skin color/race nor his past and has a real future with Etta and her ideals. Nicholas has grown to realize he has a choice and his own power. Sophia, alternately, has developed from blindly accepting what her grandfather tells her to making her own choices, discovering love, and distinguishing between family who is genuine and family who manipulates. She also has to do all of this with a significant handicap and that makes her more in tune with reality than her former version of the truth. Lastly, Etta, of course, has transformed the most, seeing as she knew nothing about her mom or dad or anything about the past or her time gene. However, we see how she has matured from simply reacting with anger/frustration to understanding and acceptance of her circumstances and determining to make the best possible choices. She now knows of sacrifice and consequences, something she didn't really grasp when it related to her mother. They've all become strong hero/heroines, no matter the outcome of their quest.

In Wayfarer, there is a larger element of mystery and secrets as the story of the Ancient One is told and how he is still searching for the last astrolabe and pursuing Rose Linden for years. When Nicholas and Sophia are traveling in search of Rose/Etta, they come across the trail of this Ancient One and its minions, finding themselves stalked by monsters, but making a key ally of Li Min, a traveling mercenary. The looming threat of the Ancient One is what changes the entire story as it wants to destroy all of their timelines except its own.

One of the truly spectacular things about this book is the time traveling and the possibilities. Bracken has some fantastic writing and setting description here. It is quite exciting to visit any point in history just from a time passage and prompts thoughts of when/where one might choose to link to other favorite periods. In this book, we visit San Francisco before the earthquake, Petrograd and Czar Nicholas II, Carthage before it was destroyed by Rome, the Vatican City during the Middle Ages and more. I found these glimpses fascinating! It takes your imagination one step farther because you're picturing the characters navigating these relics of history and experiencing that period of life then jumping to a new one.

The last thing I want to point out is how Wayfarer continues those themes of diversity and challenging the social norms of the period because we meet Julian, who confronts his own idea of racism/sexism, being male and white and the only member who is inconspicuous, and comparing his ease of traveling versus all the others, who have to take precautions to not draw attention, break laws, or embroil themselves in a dispute or timeline change.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stacking The Shelves (253)

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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 Happy weekend everyone!


I haven't been around in a while, because of well, work and life. The craziness has been winding down so hopefully I'll get the chance to read these soon enough.



Purchased


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich


I stopped by a Barnes & Noble in Naples, FL where I was visiting last month and I simply had to get a signed copy of Turbo Twenty-Three. I was lucky enough to snag the last signed copy in the store! Since Janet Evanovich lives in Naples, I took the chance that she might have stopped by and left a few signed copies, and I lucked out.


What did you add to your shelves lately?



[inlinkz_linkup id=710969]

Friday, April 21, 2017

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover: 648 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: September 1st, 2015

Series:  Throne of Glass #4

Source: 

Reviewed by: 

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Celaena Sardothien aka Aelin Galathynius has been through a lot, especially for someone so young, but her troubles are far from being over. She met and bonded with her precious Rowan during her oversea quest, but now she's back to Ardalan, on her own and needs to learn to fight without her magic powers once more. Her mission is quite simply, retrieve her cousin Aedion from the execution block, free magic, kill the King and free (or kill if it comes to this) Dorian. Easy peasy!

I loved this series and it's been a very long time since I've read the previous books, and I must say, my lack of memory was my worst enemy when reading this book. All through the novel Maas refers to past events or previous characters and while it 'rings a bell' she didn't provide enough information to really remind me what she was referring too. It was very frustrating to KNOW I should remember something, but not have a clue. Keltain and Elide were to two most frustrating characters for me for that reason, because I had no idea who they were! After searching online I found that Keltain was rich self-serving b*tch from book one (and dear lord did she change!) and Elide was the daughter of a maid who helped protect Aelin as a child. Maas did not provide enough details in Queen of Shadows for me to remember them while reading. Did you have the same problem? It might just be me...

I have really mixed feelings about the installment. I read it pretty fast because it's full of suspense and fairly action-packed, keeping a fast pace despite this book being so long (almost 600 pages!) but some parts of the plot seemed impossible. The whole book Aelin sets out on her own doing god-knows-what and later on surprises us with a certain plot twist and we are suppose to believe she plotted the whole things days / weeks before. It made things interesting, but didn't seem plausible.

On the other hand, we got to know Lysandra really well and she was truly a star for me. I learned to hate her in the previous novels but it turns out it was all an act and she is beyond awesome! I really enjoyed her company and her witty lines. We was a happy surprise! As was Nesryn, a rebel solider with wicked bow skills and she's Chaol's second-in-command.

I wasn't a fan of Manon (a witch) at all, and her chapter bored me at first, but she grew on me has she finally showed a bit of balls toward the end of the book and I am really curious about her future role in the final battle. She is currently fighting on the side of evil, but shows signs of redemption. Who knows where it will lead her!

Overall, I'm still in love with the series and plan to read the fifth installment (Empire of Storms) very soon. The events of Queen of Shadows are game changers and I'm really anxious to know what comes next. If you haven't tried this series, I would recommend starting with the novellas (Would can find them bound in a single book titled The Assassin's Blade or purchase 'em individually for e-readers) has the events taking place in those are crucial.

Happy reading!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stacking The Shelves (252)

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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 Happy Easter!


I hope you are all having a wonderful time with your families!


We just had a Easter eggs hunt here at casa Tynga and the kids were thrilled :D



Please show me the new books you got!


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover : 496 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: January 5th, 2016

Series:  Passenger #1

Source: 

Reviewed by: 

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

I was a huge fan of The Darkest Minds series and thought it was one of the best, most underrated dystopians since it didn't get as much hype as The Hunger Games or Divergent. When I saw she was coming out with something new, I knew I had to wait a bit before beginning it because I'd probably want to read everything at once!

I loved the uniqueness of this book! It was not what I was expecting at all, not that I had much of an idea to begin with. However, let's start with the cover. It's absolutely beautiful. First glance shows a glass bottle with modern day New York inside, and underneath a second faded glass bottle with an eighteenth century ship. It's so understated and yet shows a quick glimpse of the book. Great job, Disney Hyperion Marketing and Design departments!

At first, I had a bit of a hard time getting into it because I was trying to grasp all the details of time travel, how it's possible, and how it relates to Etta. Because Etta is largely in the dark about...well...mostly everything, so is the reader. That got a bit frustrating because we have to wait until Etta meets Cyrus Ironwood to get a little more insight. The two characters closest to Etta, Sophie and Nicholas, are themselves similarly fairly powerless in the scheme of things: Sophie is a girl who can't inherit and is thought to possess frailties due to gender and also is actually a bit of a rebel despite being Ironwood's granddaughter while Nicholas is Cyrus's grandson and a bastard, his mother having been a slave who was assaulted by Cyrus's tyrant son, and remember, during the eighteenth century, anyone black or having mixed blood was still considered of lower status in the American colonies.

Etta, with her modern way of thinking, does not recognize these social norms of the day, and when Sophie and Cyrus treat Nicholas like a servant or furniture rather than blood, Etta rather views him as a partner and her equal, a relationship he's never had before and never known was possible. Etta too is constantly underestimated for being female and merely a pawn for Cyrus Ironwood, though she at least knows what possibilities exist in the modern world. These themes of sexism and racism are explored and Etta herself confronts them when she acknowledges what a privilege it is not to worry about the color of your skin and how that affects various aspects of your life especially if you lived in these periods.

I found the glimpses of historic time periods and exotic locales to be fascinating. From rainforests and temples near Thailand to Egypt to eighteenth century New York and London during WWII...the fun way they skip about history is a gem to discover, especially if you research it at the same time they're flitting about. It gives a fuller picture of the settings.

Overall, I really liked this book despite how it took me about 25% of the book to get into, which other reviewers have pointed out. This is not your usual fast-paced YA because Bracken takes time to really develop the feeling of confusion and the unknown for Etta. Once I was in, though, I was hooked, and was totally caught off-guard by the typical Bracken doozy of a cliffhanger at the end. Absolutely had to get my hands on Wayfarer asap! Look for that review soon as there'll be more about the romance and other secret plot developments!

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Stacking The Shelves (251)

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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Happy Saturday everyone!


I haven't bought any books this week, but please do share your new goodies :D


[inlinkz_linkup id=708458]


Friday, April 07, 2017

Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
eBook: 356 pages
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: February 13, 2017

Series:  Wildcats #2

Source: 

Reviewed by: 

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Robyn Sheffield wants her life back.

As the only female stray in the US, she's had to deal with bloodlust, flashbacks, a lack of impulse control (which might not have anything to do with being a shifter), and weeks under house arrest for crimes she never meant to commit. But when she overhears the territorial council plotting to marry her off to an eligible tom? It's time for this chick to fly the coop.

Titus Alexander wants recognition.

He’s spent the past year carving his territory out of the Mississippi free zone, forming a community for strays exiled and forgotten by the US Prides. As the first stray Alpha, he’s sworn to bring the toms under his authority the rights, support, and respect that official confirmation from the council will bring. But then the council’s precious female stray sneaks into the free zone in the back of his car and demands sanctuary.

The council gives Titus a choice: send Robyn back and have his Pride acknowledged, or prepare for war. Citizenship for his men is within his grasp. So why is it so hard for him to let one rebellious tabby go?
Robyn has been on house arrest for what seems like eternity after she killed multiple shifters' murderers and now she's done. The first opportunity she has to escape presents itself in the form of a sexy stray and his unguarded Mercedes SUV. Robyn doesn't think of possible consequences (which is a pattern for her..) and dives into the car to hide and run away once she's in the free zone. Sexy Titus finds out though, and everything he is worked for is jeopardized by this young wild tabby.

I love Rachel Vincent, and I always recommend her Shifters series, but I must confess, while I enjoyed the Wildcats books, they are not as great as the Shifters series.

Robyn has a lot of potential, I like her spunk and how she fights for her ideas. BUT she comes off a bit childish and self-centered. She falls in love with Titus and decides to help him save his pack and all, but if she'd just taken her responsibility from the beginning, it would've been much easier. On the other hand, I like Titus. He is doing his best to be responsible, making the right decision but he also has a very passionate side I really appreciated.

I think one of the biggest elements that make me favor Shifters vs Wildcats is the action and the passion and the drive that was omnipresent in the Shifters series but cruelly absent in the Wildcats novels. Everything is about politics and what should or shouldn't be done. Lots of talking, and not much action. I really miss the down and dirty fights, the thrill of the chase, and the knock out suspense of not knowing if someone will die in the battle. I know Wildcats books take place in a time of 'peace' but I need to find that passion again! In the first book, Abby is more of a subdue female so I expected that from her, but Robyn is a firecracker so I was hoping I'd get more action and I was disappointed.

The intrigue was interesting though and I had a really strong opinion about what happened and who was the culprit (I won't go into details, don't want to give it away) and it turned out I was wrong. Which was an happy surprise. I liked how that particular mystery unfolded and I think it was very smart of Vincent to play it that way. On the other hand, The very conclusion, the way the characters dealt with the consequences seemed fake. I think Rachel felt like we should get somewhat of a happy ending but I just know the council wouldn't settle for that so I'm on the fence. *Tiny spoiler* I think Robyn should've gone back to the council and from there work out the details and consequences and that she'd have to work her way back to Titus in another book maybe.

I know my review isn't super positive and I did enjoy the book. It just didn't live up to my expectations. Will I read the third book? Yes, definitely. Would I recommend this series? If you love the Shifters series and want more of this world, yes. If you haven't read the Shifters series yet, then pick that one first!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science-Fiction
Hardcover : 468 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: January 17th, 2017

Series: Carve the Mark #1

Source: 

Reviewed by: 


Order: Amazon | Book Depository

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.

The Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth's stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

This highly anticipated new series starter from Veronica Roth is NOT Divergent (nor should it be). Even when reading blurbs I still didn't know what to expect as there have been a lot of conflicting reviews. Add to that the allegations of racism for poor Miss Roth, and we've got quite a bit of dissension. However, I hope I can shed some light on this book for everyone, since I took a different approach than my fellow reviewer Stéphanie who talks more about the main characters, though I might be proven wrong in subsequent books. This is my interpretation and I encourage everyone to have their own!

First, most readers are going to be expecting another Divergent in this series which it's not. Divergent was fast-paced, relied heavily on action, and used more of the character's reactions to certain events as a plot device. Instead, Carve the Mark is very introspective, and I would argue, very adult in its slower pace and buildup. The main characters sort of force much of the action in Carve the Mark because of the inner battles they are facing-an inward to outward shift of character that is complete opposite to Tris who made a lot of decisions outwardly and then came to understand them inwardly much later in the series. It's going to be hard to get a reluctant reader into this series (very unlike Divergent!) and might even be better off for older teen/young adult (college) or adult readers since it deals with this coming-of-age theme in a much more mature, thought-provoking way.

Second, I think the racism allegations are kind of missing a few key ideas. The Thuvhe live at the extreme north of the planet, where everything is cold and ice etc. Let's try and re-cast them into a modern idea, one that might be the first impression...

The Shotet by contrast are a little more hard to understand and picture. Under the Noavek's rule, they are considered brutal, bloodthirsty, violent and fierce, leading raids and dead in their wake. Most Shotet are described as brown skinned or golden. The first idea of them might resemble...

  • People from the Mediterranean (think Spain, parts of Italy, Greece and upper Africa) and the idea of the Gypsy or Romani people in history or Native Americans. They have a bit darker skin and hair with more variations in hair, skin, and eye color. Some Native American culture and Romani culture place emphasis on being nomadic and moving from place to place. Both have a high regard for religion and made use of things others would discard. Both have a strong history of oppression and have been described in some instances as violent (or perhaps take violence in more acceptable form - passion).

Let's also note that it is well known that geography and relation to the sun has resulted in the variety of color and skin tones we see in the world today. How should that be no different for the ice-loving Thuvhe and the once-nomadic Shotet?

However, according to Roth's specific writings which she covers in this blog post, the Shotet and the Thuvhesit are much closer than they may appear to be at first glance, which some readers have painted as racist and black vs. white, brutal vs. enlightened, etc. Because of each side's extreme attitude toward the other, they don't have any reference for how they might have commonalities among their cultures. There is light and dark in both Thuvhe and Shotet which Akos himself represents as having a "Shotet name" belonging to a Shotet religious leader and can naturally speak Shotet yet he is fair skinned (and no mention of his parents being anything other than typically Thuvhe). This is the version I've read as Cyra herself describes her brother Ryzek having "skin so pale he looked almost like a corpse [in bluish light]".

As for the Thuvhesit considering the Shotet violent, this is automatically understandable as Ryzek, like his father and grandmother before him, is a power-crazed dictator not unlike Hitler, so their reputation is gained from their leader and his orders, much the way Germany's was in WWII. However, the history of the Shotet that Cyra relates to us is not violent but reverent of the currentstream and following it on a religious pilgrimage every year and using other cultures' castoffs to find use or beauty. This book does not make the idea as generalized as black vs. white, Nordic/European vs. African/Native American etc., barbarian vs. enlightened, but more about two halves of a bloodline that is messy yet prejudiced against the other [I can oversimplify here and say the bloodline of Ishmael or Arabic/Palestinian vs. Isaac or Hebrew/Israeli--not intending to offend people with this oversimplification, but just trying to draw some generic parallels that have occurred in history]. The Shotet and Thuvhesit are very mixed and quite hard to generalize if one pays close attention to the descriptions, the history, and the fact that both cultures misunderstand the other.

As for the ableist remarks, Cyra's currentgift manifesting as chronic pain and use as a weapon and how anyone possessing a disability or having chronic pain and calling it a gift is actually not a gift, one should also be reminded that Roth herself suffers from chronic pain [she revealed this after the book was published and allegations were raised, and we also know that Roth has had certain anxieties from social interactions and her fame, so it's no wonder this didn't come out before! She likes to be super private!], knows others in chronic pain, and her character Cyra does not think of this as a gift no matter that others seek to use it to their own ends. Instead, Cyra is part of the very rare few (currently we do not know of any others but there may be) whose currentgift, which is the current's manifestation of personality, harms herself and harms others. She did nothing to deserve it, does not seek to use it for her own selfish reasons, and doesn't understand it. Neither do any doctors/scholars they seek understand it or how to help her be rid or helped with it. It's true that the terminology makes the ableist accusations problematic, but currentgift is used synonymously with ability. Everyone has abilities and disabilities. Everyone has a currentgift. Most everyone's currentgift (that we know of) is an ability. However, Cyra's is most definitely a disability as it limits her mental and physical functionality. Yet once again, she doesn't think of it as a gift or skill or something to be favored or used, so I would argue that she is a main character with a disability who everyone judges, shuns, uses, or limits/labels her based upon her disability. Thereby, she is a main character exposing the ableism present in her society, but not advocating for ableism. Instead, this illustrates Cyra's powerfulness as a heroine--she suffers from chronic pain and is abused by her brother for her pain, and yet she constantly seeks to function past it--to live, survive, make her own choices--even when she is forced to use it against others.

Nevertheless, like any book with a lot of controversy, the reader should be free to judge for oneself. 

Lastly, Carve the Mark seems more like a (pardon me for oversimplifying again) version of Romeo and Juliet without the level of tragedy and star-crossed romance as two sides who hate each other have two teens who are bridging that gap to change their world. I found it to be really inspiring, thought-provoking, harder to jump into than most YA, but still a great story. Read-a-likes for this title could be other space fiction like Star WarsIlluminae, the Red Rising series and Starflight.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Stacking The Shelves [250]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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Happy April, readers!

I have quite a few books to share with you that are waiting on my shelves to be read, most came from my library because I could finally find them checked in on the shelves!

    the dark days club by alison goodman


the dark days pact by alison goodman    


frostblood by elly blake     


Truthwitch and Windwitch (ARC) by Susan Dennard


The Dark Days Club and The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman


The Novice and The Inquisition by Taran Matharu


Frostblood by Elly Blake


The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron


His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Temeraire #1)


Pathfinder Tales: Gears of Faith by Gabrielle Harbowy (ARC)


So far, I've only read The Dark Days Club and needed to take a short break to finish up something else.


What are your recent additions?




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