19. ruj 2015.

ARC Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

My rating: 4.5 stars

Book summary:

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.


      Every once in a while I stumble upon a book that reminds me of something my favorite collage professor told us, back then first year literature students, about the art of reading. About it being interactive process. It is not just you holding this seemingly harmless object in your hands, following words on paper and converting them into the pictures in your head. Books can be dangerous things. Break the rules. Bring down oppressive societies.  Make people think with their own head and stop being part of the zombiefied mass. Tell the truth. And if you read just so you can escape reality and live in the la-la land of fairy tales (which are again construct of various ideologies), you are burying your head in the sand. Literature shouldn't only make you feel content and happy. Literature has to be brutal. Honest. Cruel. Make you feel angry and horrified.It has to push the lines. Protest and rage. 

      Aaron Hartzler wrote a book like that. 

      The rape culture and slut-shaming. Social media sites. These are basically topics of What We Saw. Based on real events. Real. As in this happened somewhere to somebody. What We Saw made me feel angry. I am still angry. It made me obsess over things we do not take seriously - like our children walking around with smartphones and not knowing basic rules of what is polite, safe and sending them into the big (virtual) world thinking that they are going to know to make difference between right and wrong, and pick right, hopefully, every time. That is where parenting stops. That is where murky world of modern society takes hold. And everyone hides behind the screen of the pone or computer, not realizing what "empathy" means. Turning real people into pixels, hashtags and number of likes and shares.  

      I have to be honest and admit that I wasn't completely won over by this book when I first started reading it. I was annoyed with main character, with how shallow and mindless she is sometimes. I am so happy that I read this now. What We Saw is the book we should make our kids read - no matter if you are a parent or a teacher. Make them read it. And talk about it. Talk, talk, talk. That is the only way to make a difference.

*ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.*

18. ruj 2015.

ARC Review: The White Rose by Amy Ewing

Buy the book at 
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Book summary:
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.
But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.
But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?
The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.
          It's been a while since my girl Emma and I did a read-a-long so when we figured out that we both had this book, it was easily decided. While we both enjoyed some parts of this book, I'm quite sure that Emma loved it more than me. It wasn't a bad sequel there were just some things that bothered me here. But more about that in our little discussion (if you're new to our read-a-long, the idea is that we come up with questions and then both of us answer them, thus forming a review).

You can check out Emma's answers at Never Judge a Book by its Cover

The feelings you expressed after finishing this book? 
Honestly, mine were torn. While on the one hand, I really enjoyed how this world building developed and some secondary characters really surprised me, somehow I couldn't enjoy this book fully because of Violet. She is a cliche character and at that very predictable which made some part of this story predictable too.

What part of the world-building did you enjoy the most? 
For sure the whole idea about Auguries. It's such an interesting concept and while not new, it was a bit different here. As soon as we left The Jewel and got to the island I really liked how it expanded and the whole background of it.

Speaking of it, which Auguries would you want to be able to control? 
Third one for sure. The first two are about the appearance and while I don't say it is not important still the last one controls what truly matters.

Your thoughts on Violet's character? 
Here is where it gets tricky, as she is the main issue for me here. There is so much about here that was cliche and that bothered me a lot. It influenced the story as well and therefore I couldn't enjoy it fully. It's always hard when you cannot connect with the main character.

How did you feel about Violet and Ash? 
It started off on a wrong foot in the first one. I know that many complained about it being insta love which it was back then. I'm happy to say that it progressed nicely here. It's still not something that I could say it OTP, but maybe it will get there.

What's your favorite secondary character? 
RAVEN! No words needed!

Which one did you like more: The Jewel or The White Rose? 
Honestly, it's hard to decided. While you'll notice that I gave The Jewel 4 stars it doesn't mean that it was better. I like both, but wasn't blown away by either.

Rating: 3 stars.

Until the next time,
*NOTE: Copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Thank you!

17. ruj 2015.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 5 stars

Book summary:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


 Buddy read with lovely Emma from Never Judge A Book By Its Cover.

      Nicola Yoon won me over with her debut novel Everything, Everything. Beautiful and fluid writing, intriguing story and likable characters are what makes this book so good. Young girl who spent her whole life locked inside of the same house, not being able to go out because of her illness. Empty house next door that one morning isn't empty anymore. Boy who wears all black and doesn't give up on the weird girl who stares at him from her bedroom window. Emails. Hawaii. And then everything unravels. 
      Everything, Everything does start a little bit naive, it reminds of the child's play in its emotional simplicity. But nothing is as it seems. Don't give up on it. Just read and you will see.

Dear Maddy

From: glass.amra@gmail.com
To: madeline.whittier@gmail.com
Subject: Hello

Dear Maddy!
I hope that it is okay that I sent you this email.  You seem like a really great girl and I wouldn't mind being your friend. After all, you are the fellow bookworm and us bookworms have to stick together. 
You and Olly - I approve. He's a great guy. Anyone who got through so many obstacles just to get a moment of your time, is worthy of your attention. 
I think you are brave, Maddy. You took the risk. You went after what you wanted. And you were still a little bit scared, but you didn't let something trivial like fear stop you from experiencing things. 
You deserve happiness, Maddy. I do hope that you found it wherever you are now.


Maddy writes on the inside of the book Reward If Found. What would you put on yours?

      Oh, I loved that part of the story. I?ve been thinking about this ever since I finished reading Everything, Everything. Maybe something like this:
Enjoyable picnic at the Moon (or Moon-like surface if original is not yet available) and interesting conversation that will include debate about awesomeness of Star Trek and how it relates to our modern world technology, why chocolate is the best food ever, what is the best time to read and other equally interesting topics. (If you are my boyfriend, possibility of some serious make out session is not excluded.) 

Maddy got one chance to go outside with Olly and the place she chose was Hawaii to see the state fish with weird and long name. If we had one chance where would you want to go, who would you go with and why? 

     Do I really have to pick just one place? One one person? If I really have to make a choice, I'll go with my boyfriend to Tokyo. We are both fascinated with Japanese culture and lifestyle, how different everything is from where we live. 

In the end...

     Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is brilliant debut novel you should not miss. I won't lie to you and say that I didn't have some issues with it, but all of those things were something I was able to look over because rest of it was so, so good. Extra advice? Read it with a friend. Emma and I had great time chatting about it. Make sure to check out her review as well at Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

Happy reading,

4. ruj 2015.

The Misanthrope: Stone’s Story by S.M. Boyce

Buy the book at 

Book summary:
Before Stone trained Kara Magari or taught the First Vagabond to master the Blood loyalty, he was nothing more than a slave boy named Terric.
Terric is a curious loner hellbent on reading his master’s forbidden books. When one heist goes wrong, Terric abandons his old life and runs for freedom—only to fall prey to a ruthless man named Niccoli.
Niccoli is an isen—a creature of magic from the hidden world of Ourea—and he awakens within Terric an unimaginable gift. But this gift comes with a catch. Suddenly in control of newfound power he is forbidden to freely use, Terric realizes too late he simply traded one master for another.
In Ourea, a world dominated by the gifted, few isen dare defy their masters. Until now.
         In case you missed it somehow I'm a huge fan of The Grimoire Saga, which is actually from where the characters of this, and those to come, short story is coming from. So after the original saga ended, Boyce said that she would write the short stories for the three, for me the most interesting side characters. I was thrilled.

        That's how we got to the Stone and his story. Now in this short story we see how everything started for him and what he actually was before we get to meet him as Kara's coach in a way. His story is quite interesting one as he started as someone not that important, but his desire to knowledge led him to the place he is when we first meet him. Not to spoil things for you, he goes through a lot in order to become somebody.

       Now the thing with me and Stone is that we never had some special connection. Yes he was always an interesting character, but never really someone I couldn't wait to see in the book. So for me it wasn't really a surprise that I couldn't quite connect with him in this book. I did enjoy the story and really interesting world building, though.

       But for everyone who has read or plan to read The Grimoire Saga, I recommend to read this story too. It's also a different view on Ourea (I won't say more).

Rating: 3.5 stars.

Until the next time,

2. ruj 2015.

Waiting on Wednesday (#147)

You know the story. This is a meme created by Breaking the Spine and every week we pick books we're waiting for. Here are our picks for this week.

Our pick

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Told in alternating points of view, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Expected publication: February 9th, 2016

We'd love to see your picks so feel free to link them up.

Until the next time,


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