Monday, March 28, 2016

Cloudy Musings #1 : Romance, Betrayal, and Danger

Considering I never quite have time to fully articulate my thoughts into reviews, or at least in pace with the breakneck speed I like to read books at I thought it would be nice to have a weekly feature where I briefly update with all the books I've read the preceding week or so. Thus, this series was born, and hopefully it won't flop like my previous endeavors. I may go back and flesh these into more solid reviews, but until then, here's my two-pence on all the books I've read. 

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

 An honorary shout-out to one of my loveliest friends Nazeefa, who adores this series. And after finishing the second book, I can see why. It sounds contradictory for me to adore such a book, especially with the blaring warning signs of love triangle written all over, but this book doesn't mess around with soapy nonsense. The three main characters are so brilliantly characterized it makes me my heart hurt whenever anything happened to them, and well Pearson definitely doesn't pull any punches with the emotional angst they go through. There's a depth and richness to the fantasy and history of the world she built, and the intriguing contrasts between the different kingdoms rang true to the heart. Also the ending was brutal, to say the least and I need the sequel like I need air.

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

I can never pass up a retelling, especially one for Peter Pan, one of my all time favorite tales. This was engaging in its premise, a darker Neverland, where nothing was at all it seemed.  It was very intriguing to see how the original tale and its rather beloved characters brought to life but with depths and dimensions that I missed in the original. Dashing characters, menacing creatures, and malevolent "fairies" splashed in with adventure and a hint of romance make for a recipe I savored. Although it felt a tad lacking to me because I could not quite fall in love with the characters, for the most part I was impressed by the take on the classic tale, and especially the ending of the book, where the author put in a gut-wrenching scene that made my heart break.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for the review copy.

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken

I should be more objective towards this book, but truly I adore Liam Stewart, and much of my love towards this book is centered on this fact. While this book is a little slow on the initial pages, it impressively wraps itself into a deadly and brilliant finale, and my inner conspiracy theorist was smitten. Like the predecessor, this one is slow paced, but it's like a rollercoaster, when you go up that first hill, steadily moving up to the burst of adrenaline that will hit you when you reach the peak. The characters are as colorful as ever, ironic when you consider the colors that represent what their abilities are and as the distrust and betrayal seep into you, it's difficult to put down and away, hence I spent an entire morning consumed by this book. If you don't have patience, this book might not be the one for you, but I definitely consider it well worth the time it takes for the plot to unfold.

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin

World War II and its devastating and fascinating impact on the world has always pulled me in, and I've always had a weakness for picking out books that deal with the might have or alternate universe scenarios and settings. This particular book deals with the biggest twist of them all: what if Axis powers had prevailed? In the midst of a world where her very existence is a danger, the main character Yael undertakes a catastrophic mission: don a persona and win a race that will let her meet Adolf Hitler, and kill him. Of course the stakes are raised when two other figures enter the race, people who know her persona intimately, and its a heart-pounding and heart-breaking book. It's definitely more of an action book, which I haven't read in a while, but it almost felt like a movie, and I was done before I even realized.

All For You (Paris Hearts #1) by Laura Florand

Many thanks to beloved Lisa who is an avid romance reader, with the best recommendations. This is the only non-YA title in this post, but it deserves a highlight of its own. Florand is one of the most impressive authors I've come across in romance, from her precisely-crafted characters to the purest form of delight her books give me, mouthwatering descriptions of chocolate included. Her books are all set in the beautiful France, Paris to be more precise. In this book, Celie, a chocolatier is blindsided with her teen crush showing up out of the blue into her life. Even more upsetting, Joss claims to have left for the Foreign Legion for her, and was in love with her as well. Joss is a sweetheart while Celie is an absolute delight. Reading this was almost heartbreaking when you  This book is one of the sweetest books I've read, from the romance to the fluffy moments of friendship and camaderie between the other characters. It's truly a joy to read any of her books and I wholeheartedly recommend them for the sincere and poignant heart that hides behind the love and light that shines in her books.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The freshest of the batch, Illuminae is a conundrum and a delight in one. While I don't really dip into science fiction all that much, this was a rare book that I just had to pick up because like most, I'm attracted to the hype books, curious to see what has so many raving(also the gorgeous way the book is packaged-the cover alone made me tempted.) While the book itself dragged at times due to the sheer page count and aesthetic of the AI character in the book, the plot itself was quite thrilling, and also intense in ways that were unexpected. Despite the pretty package, it's quite grit and gore in certain scenes, and I am infinitely glad this is a book and not a movie, since the visual aspects would be quite nightmare-like. I read in an interview that the authors had an astrophysicist read through the science parts, and while I can't be quoted on this observation, from what I could tell the book did an excellent job of being futuristic and cutting-edge without overextending the limits to our imagination. I am very excited to read the sequel, especially since the main characters have been announced, and hello I ship it already. My motivations are not wholly focused on the ship even if it might seem so, I am also quite interested in how the plot will move forward, but the potential of these new characters is a very alluring selling point for me.

Books that didn't make the cut: Fortunately or unfortunately, I only cast off one book in the last two weeks; Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contereras. I have a slight aversion to second-chance romance when there's a deceased partner involved, needless to say I wasn't quite sold on the story or its heartbreaking emotional aspect . Harsh, but with romance and new adult, I'm only really there for the swoon, and I discarded this one almost immediately.

Disclaimer: Apologies if this post is a little wonky; apparently hashing out details about several books in one post tends to make me either sound redundant or an idiot. I'm also attempting to figure out my writing style; it's going a little poorly, probably due to my lack of classes that have any essay assignments involved in the past semester or so. 


  1. Okay - reading your mini-review of Heart of Betrayal is making me itch to (finally) start reading the series! I gotta admit that I'm a huge sucker for love triangles (as long as all characters are explored thoroughly, of course!) so I'm a bit excited to see how I'll end up liking this series!

    Illuminae sounds AWESOME. Like you, I don't really read a lot of Sci-Fi (but daaaamn you got it to a T - the cover was so hard to ignore) but it sounds pretty fast-paced, so that's always a plus.

    Okay I also have a copy of Unhooked but I'm a bit wary of that heartwrenching scene you mentioned! I love retellings though, so definitely bumping this up my TBR.

    And like you, I never did finish Kaleidoscope Hearts - it didn't compel me in any way.

    Great set of mini-reviews, Eri! :)

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant

    1. It's definitely a slow one, so I'm more hesitant to push this book to others, but do let me know what you think of this one!

      Oh I hope you do read Unhooked and Illuminae, they're both really well done I think, and hahah the heartwrenching scene is well...I'll let you decide on that one.

  2. I'm happy to find a another Laura Florand fan! She's amazing, right? I think you'll love Chase Me even more than All For You. Illuminae was fascinating! I think the hardcopy is a must with all the extra details.

    Rachel @The Readers Den.