Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: Soulless

Pages: 395
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Initial Reaction:
Cute hamster!! - Creators' Stickers:
Welcome to Soulless.
We are the generation that laughs at death.
Reincarnation; what was once considered a gift of immortality has become an eternity of nightmares.
Nadia Richards lives in a world plagued by reincarnation, a system of recycling souls where all past memories, personalities and traumatic events are relived daily in disjointed sequences. Trapped within their own warped realities, not even the richest and most powerful are saved from their own minds unraveling. Madness is the new human nature, and civilizations are crumpling beneath themselves trying to outrun it. 
Within a society that ignores death, Nadia appears to be the one exception to the reincarnation trap. Born without any reincarnated memories and with printless eyes, the hot tempered 19 year old quickly becomes the ultimate prize to all those wishing to end the vicious cycle, or for some, to ensure they could evade death forever.
Look at me, getting so many reviews up! Okay I head a deadline for this one but still, it got me reading which is a relief. This book drew me in because of the gorgeous artwork on the cover and while the synopsis didn't exactly seem up my alley, I thought I'd give it a try. Soulless is a dystopian novel with a dark premise. For generations, people are being reborn with all the memories from their previous lives. In order to bring peace amidst the chaos, a group called the Elites rise up and build the broken society except the world they put in order glorifies them and them only while the rest of the population is left to fight for themselves. 

Our main character is part of the lower class and she has a special predicament. While everyone else in the world has some sort of special pattern in their iris that identifies who they were in their previous lives, Nadia doesn't have anything. Her eyes are completely blank and that makes her a target. We follow Nadia as she is taken into a prison and becomes a personal pin cushion to a crazed doctor and her escape and life as a fugitive. The characters are so complex and frustrating at the same time. 

With Nadia, it was a bit of a struggle seeing her constantly having to fight for her life and there were times where I just didn't know how much longer she could keep going. She honestly goes through some terrible things but it always gets to a point where I'm purely reading to see if she makes it through. Our other main character is a brooding and slightly mental terrorist by the name of Diesel. He's so bipolar it drives me insane sometimes. He'll be "sweet" and do some nice things but then he'll turn around and be so rude and I just want to punch him. With the characters, it was a bit of a hit or miss but in the end it was just incredible to see how amazingly complex everyone was from our MCs to the Mad Dogs to the snobby Elites. 

This book was a bit more...bloody than I originally expected but it goes with the harsh cutthroat world. One of the biggest points about this book that I really liked was how Jacinta Maree focused on the action of the story over the romance. I don't think there was a certain confirmation of the romance until well past the 50% mark. While the book started off a bit slow, the emphasis was all on the build up and letting everything fall into place. I've heard so many amazing things about the next book in the series and with how things wrapped up in this book I'm definitely intrigued. Soulless is just a really action packed novel that views life, death, and society in a much darker lens.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday Tracks: Bounce by Boyfriend


Hey everyone! It's been a hundred years since I've posted a Thursday Tracks and I've been in the mood to share something new with you guys. My music tastes generally range from 90s pop to country pop but this summer my friend finally got me interested in Kpop. As of right now, I'm trying so hard not to fall into the crazy hurricane that is the Kpop fandom because I simply don't have the energy or time but I have found a couple of songs and groups that I'll be sharing with you guys (hopefully) over the next couple of weeks.

So this week I have Bounce by a group called Boyfriend and this is the single off their album titled Boyfriend in Wonderland. I actually came across this song because I saw they had a dance video with SISTAR's Bora who is on my growing list of biases and once I watched the video I could not get the song out of my head.

The music video itself is just so interesting and I can't stop playing. It's bad and I'm trying so hard not to fall too deep but this group is just sucking me in.

Now this can't be a Thursday Tracks post without linking it to a book and this one was actually kind of difficult. I don't think this song connects to many books (might be the fact that I can't understand 99% of the lyrics) but the MV is inspired by Alice in Wonderland (as is the entire album) so I decided to go with that and chose Insanity by Cameron Jace.

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll's paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland's real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science. 

I read Insanity a while back so I don't remember much but from what I remember and from my review, it was a crazy adventure full of some dark and unexpected twists of the classic Alice in Wonderland tale.

So that's my Thursday Tracks! I'll probably be doing more of these in the upcoming weeks cause I've just been listening to so many new songs. If you have any recommendations let me know and if you've read Insanity, be sure to let me know your thoughts below!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review: The Afterlife of Alyx and Israel

ISBN: 978-1534673274
Pages: 230
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Initial Reaction: 
Emperor penguin brothers (English) - Creators' Stickers:
Once upon a lifetime, Alyx & Israel lost each other...
'In their new mortal lives, Alyx & Israel don't remember anything about their past. And they have never crossed paths. Until some old friends decide to secretly nudge destiny along, their efforts almost destroying everything…
Now Alyx’s life lies in the balance, trapped in a coma deep within a DreamScape maze city. The only one who can help her escape is Israel, a man she doesn't remember. They need to find a mysterious Mapmaker and solve his riddle. But is this Mapmaker hiding something?
Although this book is part of the Dark Angel series, it can be read as a standalone. 
I finished another book in college! I decided to read this instead of practicing cause I was just feeling no motivation to practice but I wanted to be productive anyway~ This is the sixth book in Dark Angel series and follows Alyx and Israel who seem like star crossed lovers at the beginning. Since I didn't have a lot of knowledge about the world, not having read any of the previous books, I wasn't sure what to expect. There's not a lot of backstory about the world that Alyx and Israel were part of in their past life and it took a while to piece things together. At the end, I'm still not quite sure about the world and their roles in that world but I guess things would be more clear if I had read the previous books.

As far as plot goes, it was fairly easy to follow so there's definitely no requirement that you need to read the previous books before reading this one. Alyx and Israel are soulmates who used to be immortal but something happened and they were forced to become mortal and live on Earth without any memory of their previous life. Alyx has this group of immortal friends who have been watching her and they decide to act when they find out that Alyx has gotten engaged to someone who is not Israel. This prompts them to mess with fate which sends Alyx spiraling into a dream world that she cannot escape without Israel. Throw into this mess, she must get out of the dream world before it turns winter or she will die.

There's a lot of hidden humor with the sarcastic comments between Alyx and Israel as they get to know each other better. I personally really liked the relationship between Vix, one of Alyx's friends, and Balthazar, a demon who decides to help bring the two soulmates back together, They have so much friendly hostility between to them it's so much to read about. In terms of Alyx and Israel's relationship, there are a lot of hints of their previous relationship as they slowly navigate their way through the dream world and regain their memories. To simply put it, they were bonded spiritually and mentally in sync and it was pretty neat seeing them rediscover that, especially in the scenes where they are fighting scary monsters with swords.

After finishing this book, I'm definitely interesting in picking up the other books in the future just to get to know more about the world and about Alyx and Israel's history. I don't know for sure if their story plays any important roles in any of the previous books but hopefully I'll be able to get around to it someday. 
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

TOUR: Blood of the Prophet

ISBN: 099723623X
Pages: 337
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Publication Date: September 12, 2016
Initial Reaction: 
The Little Mermaid - Official Stickers:  
Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.
The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That's what happens when you've been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…
It's only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King's dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius's mother with it. But they're not the only ones looking.
The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

Purchase The Midnight Sea (Book 1)
This book is probably one of my most anticipated releases for this fall ever since I read The Midnight Song (Review) earlier this year and to actually have the opportunity to read it right as it comes out was amazing. The Midnight Sea leaves off with so many possibilities and an endless amount of questions that were just left burning. Blood of Prophet continues with Nazafareen, Darius, Tijah, and Myrri journeying to the city to find the Prophet to find some answers. Like the first book, the sequel is action packed and full of new adventures that pull you right in.

There are so many amazing things that happen in this book, I can't quite pick a favorite moment. It was so interesting to see how Kat Ross incorporated different social issues from prostitution and slavery to religion and politics and just mixed them together. Since it's been a while since I read the first book, some of the different positions were a bit confusing but it was cleared pretty quickly. The story itself is just so incredibly diverse, it's absolutely impossible not to get sucked in.

Nazafareen continues to blow me away. She's such a strong female character who is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in even though the world she lives in isn't exactly the friendliest and saying the wrong thing could end up with your body hanging from the walls. (Such a lovely image...) Despite that, she doesn't back down and faces all the challenges head on. The only downside is that she'll sometimes act rather impulsively but that's where Darius steps in and balances out her fire with his calm. I can't talk about one bonded pair and not talk about Tijah and Myrri who have such an awesome relationship. Tijah is so fun and seeing her interactions with Myrri is so precious. 

One of the things I found really surprising but loved was how we also got the POVs of the bad guys. Usually, stories will focus on the perspectives of the good but being able to see from the eyes of the antagonists was really cool cause you get to see their schemes and thought process about everything. It also gives insight into their positions in society which obviously differ from the main four's status of criminal Water Dogs and bonded daeva. 

If it's possible, I think I loved this book more than the first book. It was full of all the right elements that made it such an awesome read. There was everything from heartbreaking scenes to happy ones. Honestly, this book has everything and I'm now dying for more.
(Click the banner to see the other stops on this tour!!)


Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

First Look: Red Winter

A New Series from Amazon Best-Selling Author Annette Marie, RED WINTER is coming 
Image“Her entire life had been forged by a terrible lie, and there was nothing she could do to change her fate.” 
In the enchanting new fantasy RED WINTER by Annette Marie, Emi Kimura has been preparing her entire life to become the mortal host of a goddess. When she discovers the lies surrounding her true fate, she makes a dangerous bargain with a fox spirit to seek out the truth. As her final days as a mortal approach, she must choose whether to bow to duty ... or fight for her life. 
Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess—and not once has she doubted her chosen fate. 
Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command—whether she wants him or not. 
On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate—but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope … and hope is all she has left. 

Releasing October 21, 2016.  

Pre-order Red Winter Now: 

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU |  Amazon CA 

Add RED WINTER to Your TBR List on Goodreads! 

Excerpt for RED WINTER (Red Winter Trilogy Book 1) 
The yokai didn’t move, just held her in place with a strength she couldn’t fight. She tipped her head back to see his face, to gauge his intent. His gaze traveled across her room, intent and analyzing. Then his eyes flicked down and he appeared almost surprised to see her staring up at him. His mouth curved into a sly grin, flashing pointed canines. 
His amusement at her terror sparked a tiny surge of anger. “Let me go!” 
“Ah, little miko, didn’t anyone ever tell you not to run from yokai?” His deep, purring voice sent a shiver across her skin. He leaned down as his hand on her throat forced her head back. He brushed his nose along her jaw, from her chin up to her ear. “It’s the surest way to make us pounce,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear. 
Goose bumps raced down the back of her neck and she clenched her jaw. “Get your hands off me.” 
He hummed as he pushed his face into her hair, inhaling through his nose. “But didn’t you put your hands on me first?” 
“I was treating your wounds.” She summoned her most commanding tone, desperately hoping her voice wouldn’t quaver. “You’re proving that your kind’s reputation is well deserved with such disrespect and ingratitude toward the person who saved your life.” 
His head came up and fear shot through her that she’d offended him, that he would surely kill her now. Instead, he made a thoughtful noise, and his hands fell away, releasing her. 
She almost leaped out of his lap but remembered his comment about running from yokai. With more self-control than she’d thought she had, she carefully stood, walked four steps, and turned to face him. He stayed where he was, lounging on the bed with his feet on the floor, casually propped up on one arm. His head tilted to one side as he watched her, and that slight, knowing grin played about his lips. 
She sank down to kneel on the floor, mostly because her legs were shaking so badly she was afraid he’d notice. As nonchalantly as possible, she slid her hands into the opposite sleeves of her kimono and pinched her hidden ofuda between two fingers, ready to pull the paper talismans out. 
“No need for that, little miko,” he remarked, each word almost caressing her. How could he have such an otherworldly yet still human voice? “I will not harm you.” 
She flushed, embarrassed she’d been so obvious, but didn’t let go of the ofuda. “What was that—that assault then?” 
“Assault, you call it? That little embrace?” 
“You—” She broke off with a small shake of her head. If he was determined to ignore the inappropriateness of forcefully holding a woman against him and rubbing his face on her, nothing she said would change his mind. “You have the manners of a dog.” 
“What did you expect? The ritual greetings of the imperial court?” 
“Some respect for the person who saved your life would have been welcome.” 
“Ah, yes, you did save me, and I am very grateful.” He idly tugged at a lock of his hair as his gaze slid down her and back up again. “I am in your debt. Tell me your desire and I will fulfill it.” 
“My—my desire?” she choked. 
He smirked again. “A favor, little miko. I am saying I owe you a favor.” 

Celebrate the First Look with a Giveaway!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Grand Prize: 1 Winner will Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card 
Runner-Ups: 3 Winners will Each Receive one $10 Amazon Gift Card Each 

ImageAuthor Bio:  
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy seriesSteel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nomineeYield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every book. 
Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities. 
To find out more about Annette and her books, visit her website 
Find Annette Marie:Website | Facebook |Twitter |Amazon |Goodreads