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December Wrap Up

Well, what a busy month this has been, and honestly, I read more than I thought I would get time for! Before we get started, I just want to say that I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a safe and happy New Year! Now, let’s get to it!

 

9780545224901_mresThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater

5/5 Stars!

If you have seen any of my previous blog posts about this book, you will already know that I fell head over heels for it. Lock, stock and barrel, I am obsessed with it. There is something magical about an island in the middle of nowhere, with mythical horses born of the sea. A young man, wiser than his years, with a knowledge and passion for said horses. A young woman who is filled to the top of her head with courage and a need to prove herself for her family. This book is amazing and is definitely up there as one of the best books I’ve ever read.

 

 

27268998New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson

3/5 Stars

This book had been on my radar for a long time, I had seen it all over Bookstagram and lots of positive reviews on GoodReads. When it was sent out in an OwlCrate box, I figured it was time that I read it! However, I did have a few issues with this title, more to do with the pacing, the writing style and the un-likability of the protagonist. That being said, it is a good read and I will be reading the next book to see what happens, purely because the last 50 pages really lifted the entire feel of the book.

 

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Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart

4/5 Stars

This book intrigued me, as this year there have been a lot of releases about lying, fraudulent activity, hiding who you really are, etc. So naturally this title demanded to be read. In true e. lockhart fashion, this book was incredibly well written, engaging and fast paced. However it was hard to keep up with the constant change of perspective, with the murdering and the no consequences of any illegal actions. But I think that is the point. It is designed to be entertaining and take you on a ride. I did enjoy it, but there was a point near the end where I said to myself, ‘what the heck have I read?’.

 

51JcHGZ6ERL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_New World: Ashes by Jennifer Wilson

3/5 Stars

Well, I don’t really know where to start with this one..This book actually made it onto two lists! It also features on my Books That Let Me Down This December Post! Click HERE to read!

If you haven’t read my post that I mentioned in the above sentence, it let me down. 290 pages were literally us watching as Phoenix is tortured, forced to fight children, forced into electro-shock therapy, conditioning, you name it, she went through it. It was hard to read, and it left me feeling traumatized and stressed because of it. That being said, the last 40 pages were amazing. It picked up the pace, the characters grew, the dialogue got interesting. And then the book ended. So I’m going into New World: Inferno with no expectations, I just hope that the torture aspects are gone..

 

38464193More Than We Can Tell By Brigid Kemmerer

5/5 Stars

This book was amazing. It was refreshing as well, within YA fiction these days, books tend to overlook the issues that seem common place, and go for the out there things. This book embraces ‘common’ issues for teens. It is modern, moving into the outlook that girls can be gamers, that they can be coders and that they can create games that hundreds of people can play. This book looks at adoption and foster homes in a whole new way. We see Rev in a loving home, we know he is adopted, but that fact only comes into it when we need to hear about his biological father. Which is another aspect that is so incredibly moving. Once again Kemmerer has created a masterpiece. Her writing style is so easy to read, the pacing is always perfect and her works are always about something current and the content always hits you on a deeper level.

 

So that was my December in books! I am pretty happy with this Wrap Up, not only because of how I enjoyed the book I read, but because I read two of the books I had on my December TBR, usually I write a TBR and then read nothing on it, I tend to choose books based on how I’m feeling. I also feel a little bad, because I have a stack of NetGalley ARCS that I was hoping to get to, and didn’t. So after I finish my current read, look out ARCS!

Have you read one of the books in my Wrap Up? Comment below and tell me what you thought!

 

Thanks again!

Julie

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review and Ramblings: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

As always, here is your spoiler warning, loud and clear. This review will go into detail about everything that happens in this book, from page 1 to page 407. HERE is your spoiler free GoodReads Review. If by chance you haven’t read this book, I suggest you pop on the above link and save yourself from ruining this amazing book.

 

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The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

5/5 Stars

 

 

Wow, why did it take me so long to read this book? I went into this book knowing only that it was about horses in some way, and woah was I surprised with that I found! I love Stiefvaters writing style, it draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the last page has been read.

I am loving Puck and I think her nick-name fits her perfectly, she is plucky. Brave, smart and full of energy, she loves her family, her horse and wants to better herself and her chances in life.  In saying that, I also Love Sean, and by love I mean love. He is the book boyfriend type, good with horses, a man of few words, and has the power of the sea in his suggestions. He is also quietly confident in himself, he knows his abilities, knows that people’s safety and ultimately, their lives rely on him and his abilities. A lot for a 19-year-old to deal with.

I need to know how Sean got his ability, to whisper with the power of the ocean and have his intentions heard and heeded. Was this his wish that was granted from the Horse Goddess and the Riders Festival? Or was he born with a connection to the ocean that he uses to assist his talents with horses. I think that there is something we aren’t being told surrounding this question. We are being told that he gets another wish, which hints that the first was his ability to speak to horses on a level that they understand. Also How did he learn all of the hints and tricks with the Capalls? With the stones, berries and tracing clockwise circles on their veins.  Was it his father who taught him, or did he just come to know it all through his work with them? Or is it also  an aspect of his gift?

 

My heart is actually breaking for Sean, he gambles everything and lost it all, his income, his job, his place to live, and his soul. By losing Corr, he has ultimately lost his soul. He has spent 7 years working with Corr (I know, 7 years!! Makes him incredibly young when he started) and now he has lost the one thing that makes him who he is. Or so he thinks. Corr to me is Sean’s comfort, his security, he feel that as long has he has Corr, he will be okay, he will have something to aspire to, to care for and be cared for in return.

The connection Sean has with Corr is incredible, we already knew that from the first half of the book, but now I am into the second half  and see Sean and Corr save the lives of countless men and horses, all due to their connection and Sean’sability to whisper his intentions and have them heard and heeded. We see in all of the other Capall Uisce, that they are damaging, violent, wild things, but Corr wants to please Sean, he wants to look after him, to let him teach him new things. He loves Sean, as Sean loves Him.

The Water horses are mesmerising… or they would be if we were given images to look at. Just the descriptions of them are incredible. Part of me wishes they were real. The folk-lore surrounding them is fantastic, they are these sentient beings, swimming through the ocean, targeting drowning sailors or swimming children, mostly content until November when the oceans get wilder and the rains come, drawing them up onto the beach in inland seeking food. The fact that they are almost impossible to hear coming, that they eat meat and that they are as fast as the wind, are all just chilling factors that make them even more appealing to me!

Time after time the people of Thisby rely on Sean Kendrick to save them. He is who they go to when something happens with a water horse, the one who drops everything to help them, to save them and the horse. Yet he is the outcast, the person no one likes or wants to be around. They all depend on him, yet no one shows him an ounce of kindness. I guess it is true what they say, ‘It is lonely at the top’.

Sean offering Puck a ride on Corr is like him offering her a piece of his soul. Like he so wants her to see the real him through Corr. He wants to be near her, to have that companionship, but he wants to make sure she will respect and care for the one thing in his entire world that means more to him than his own life. Sean and Puck, they make sense, they complement each other and they also challenge each other. Their strength and passion for horses draws them together, but they are both too stubborn and set in their ways to act on their feelings. In a way I am glad for this, this book is amazing as it is without a romantic spin, it doesn’t need it to make the story better, but I would like to see Sean happy. He deserves it.

Omg yes finally a kiss! But it is so much more than a kiss, it is a proclamation, a directive that they are a team, that they are in this thing together and will fight for each other.

George Holly… what an interesting character. He encourages Sean to be his best self, to realise his self-worth, he is also investing in Seans advice, in his knowledge, but he also pushed him. He pushes Sean, he pushes Malvern and he seems to do so in a quite manipulative fashion. What is this guys deal? Is he friend or foe?  I think he may be a friend, after all, he has stuck around for Sean and helped him discover what it is that he really wants from life. He is almost a father figure towards the end of the book. Holly hits the nail on the head when he tells Sean, and I am paraphrasing, that his dream is to return to Thisby and purchase the colt from the pairing of his brood mare and Seans Stallion Corr, that he will find Puck in Seans bed and a paddock full of horses in his yard. I think that Sean is also starting to realise that this is his dream. To be recognised properly for all of his hard work. To have someone to believe in him is turning him into a man, just as quickly as finding the woman who will fight with him, and stand by his side.

Mutt Malvern, what a disgusting excuse for a human being. He is malicious, callous and cares for nothing and no one who isn’t himself. The way he can destroy an innocent horse’s life, just to stab Sean in the heart, because of something his father said, is absolutely horrific. This character is definitely the villain of our story. He isn’t even the tiniest bit likeable. I feel pity if anything for him, that his father regards him as a bastard, that he isn’t good enough to be trusted to catch, break and train his own capall uisce. He is cowardly, he makes his decisions based on hate, then doesn’t follow through once he has been confronted. When he took Corr to the beach, he did so because he wanted to show up Sean, not because he thought he could control the horse. He is full of spite and hate and cowardice.

Heck yes Puck Connoly, you did it! You faces the odds, the hundreds of people who doubted you and you won. Your island horse out ran the Capall uisce, she fought hard and bravely and you held her to the finish line! What an achievement. Yes, your achievement is bitter-sweet, poor Sean, poor Corr, but the beauty of Corr being Sean’s is that now he can use him as a breeding stallion to set up that future he never thought he would have access to. Any other owner would simply put him down, but not Sean, if he can get him from Malvern, he will rest him, heal him and together they will build a future.

 

I’m not crying, you’re crying! What an ending! What an amazing horse, what an amazing read. The strength it took for Sean to let Corr go, to where he could heal and be free, and Corr couldn’t go without Sean. He cried and keened for him to follow, and when Sean didn’t enter the ocean, Corr came back. Needing Sean just as much as Sean needed him.

This book was something else, something special. Showing that love truly does conquer all. That there is strength in friends, in the people you choose to surround yourself with. The character development we see within this book is incredible. We see Puck go from a slightly outspoken child to a brave, strong woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and go after what she wants in life. We see Sean taking advice from someone he never expected to walk into his life, an ally he didn’t know he needed. We see him realising what it is that truly makes him happy, that breaking horses for Malvern isn’t all he needs or wants from life. We see him grow from a boy to a man.

What I love the most about Puck and Sean’s relationship is that there is no obvious sex orientated scenes, like we see in so many young adult novels. They share one kiss throughout the entire book, they barely touch and yet their connection is so strong, it leaps from the pages. That is the kind of relationship I want more of. Which brings me to needing another book. Come on Maggie, tell me more about Sean, more about his and Puck’s future. More about Corr and Holly. There is so much more to be told and experienced.

 

“I will not be you’re weakness, Sean Kendrick”

“It’s late for that, Puck”

 

I’ll leave you with that

Julie

Uncategorized

December TBR

This TBR is the one that has me the most worried, I know I am not going to have time to finish all of these bad boys, on my list, I may not even finish two. December is always a flail-fest when it comes to finding a tiny bit of time for myself to read. But lets be optimistic, If I manage to get through 2 of these books, I’ll call it a success!

 

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  The Scorpio Races – Maggie Steifvater

Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

Synopsis: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

This book is the only one by Maggie Steifvater that I haven’t read… and may be a little cheeky to add to my TBR seeing as I am halfway through it already…. That being said, it is an incredible read, I love the incoporation of horses and a whole new folklore surrounding them!

 

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Shadow of The Fox – Julie Kagawa

Published October 2nd 2018 by Harlequin Teen

Synopsis: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

I received a copy of this book in an OwlCrate, I had seen a few ARC’s floating around the place and thought it sounded cool. So now that I have a copy, I thought I’d add it to my TBR. I’m hoping that the hype doesn’t turn me off the book when I start to read, so often I find myself hating books that are so hyped over on Bookstagram.

 

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LifeL1k3 – Jay Kristoff

Published May 29th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

A dear friend of mine Tamara (Booked for the Weekend) kindly gave me an ARC of this book, before it was published. But did I get time to read it? No. So here it is, on my December TBR. I am into Sci-fi, but I haven’t really liked Jay Kristoff’s solo books. Hopefully this one is different…

 

27268998New World Rising – Jennifer Wilson

Published January 5th 2016 by Oftomes Publishing (first published August 14th 2014)

Synopsis: Worlds collide in debut author Jennifer Wilson’s graphic dystopian series where Divergent meets Mad Max.

Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words – to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls – outside of The Sanctuary – is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself…

The first of a trilogy, New World Rising is an epic tale of survival, instinct, trauma, and the extraordinary power of human connection.

Yet Again, this is a title that I have had in my TBR for too long, so long that the sequel has been published…

 

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What The Woods Keep – Katya De Becerra

Published September 18th 2018 by Imprint Macmillan

Synopsis: On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

This book was on my radar before its release. Anything that combines the supernatural, creepy woods, and a coming of age story thrown into the mix has my name all over it. But what made me buy this beauty was Jayse (ItsmeJayse) He loved it and raved about it all over Bookstagram, so naturally, I needed to have it and read it asap. I would love to get to this one this month.

 

And that brings me to the end of the list of books that I want to read this month… I also have a short list from NetGalley that I need to read also. Here they are!

Hannah Who Fell From The Sky – Christopher Meades – Publication date Dec 4 2018 by Harlequin

War Bride – Sal Mason – Publication Date August 2018 by Rapid River Publishing

The Truth Aboout Leaving – Natalie Blitt. Publication Date January 22 2019, by Amberjack Publishing.

Camouflage by Sarah Bargiela – Publication Date 21 Feb 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

I love NetGalley and am so thankful for the opportunity to read fantastic books for free, in exchange for an honest review! But NetGalley can be overwhelming if you do what I did, when I first joined and requested way too many books. Read my tips on managing your NetGalley titles HERE

 

Well that brings my December TBR to a close. There are 8 titles here, and I am under no illusions that I’ll get to them all… But I like to have a target and a list to check at the end of the month!

Are any of these books on your TBR?

 

Thanks

Julie