The Sunshine Blogger Award

the sunshine blogger award

I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Sara of The Bibliophagist. She post awesome stuff and great book reviews (and she’s also super nice) so check out her blog.

THE RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you by linking their blog.
  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 11 blogs with 11 questions
  • List the rules as well as display the Sunshine Award Logo on your post.

11 QUESTIONS FROM SARA @ THE BIBLIOPHAGIST:

1. What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

Sadie by Courtney Summers, which comes out in September. Courtney Summers has always written stories about difficult topics and Sadie is no different. Somehow, it just packs a whole hell lot of a stronger punch. This has got to be Courtney’s best book yet and I can’t wait for all of you to get it come September.

2. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Oh goodness, I want to go everywhere, but I have a love for the old world so most of the place/countries in my travel bucket list reflect that. I want to visit Greece and see the Parthenon and other sites that I’ve only ever heard from movies and books. Then there’s Rome in Italy, though if I’m there already I’m pretty sure I’ll make several side trips to the Italian countrysides, maybe even Florence. I also want to visit Prague in Czech Republic, and Slovenia. Of course, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England are also in my list. (See, told you I want to go everywhere.)

3. Do you use your local library?

Yes, but mainly for e-books and audiobooks because I have many (still unread) physical books at home.

4. What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Do I really have to pick just one food?!? I love breakfast!!! And breakfast foods!!! I could eat them for lunch and dinner and the snacks in between those two meals. Beef tapa with garlic fried rice with a fried egg on the side is my go to breakfast meal when I can’t think of anything to eat. But really, you can feed me pancakes, sausages, hotdogs and any other breakfast food the whole day and you wouldn’t hear any complaint from me.

5. Do you have any pets? Feel free to share photos if you do.

Yes, I do. I have a dog.

This here is Sirly.

sirly

Don‘t ask about the name, my sister named her but she‘s my doggo ❤️❤️❤️

She waits up for me to come home from work every day. She‘s great! I don’t know how exactly but she just seems to know when I’m sad because she’ll stay by me more than usual. I love her.

6. Do you plan out what you’re going to read next or are you a mood reader?

I think I’m a mix of both. At the end of each month I typically make a list of books I want to read for the next month. It’s usually a mix of ARCs I need to read before their publication dates, newer books I’m really excited for and older books that have been on my TBR for a long time. But I don’t always adhere to this list. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a certain book or a certain genre and I’ll pick another book, usually from my deep TBR pit.

7. Do you prefer to buy books at physical bookstore or online?

I’ll always prefer buying books at a physical bookstore. There’s just something oddly calming about being inside a bookstore. It’s a safe haven for me. Plus, I like being able to inspect the book I’m getting to make sure it has no damages (folded cover, pages, stains, etc.) Doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t buy books online because I do. It’s just convenient, and sometimes online retailers offer discounts and free shipping, both of which are wonderful incentives if only to tell myself that I’m actually saving money. (I’m not. I swear sometimes I feel like I’m only working so I can keep myself in books.)

8. I’m always looking for new people to follow, so what are some of your favorite book blogs?

Marie @ Kookbookery 🍂 Jennifer @ Tar Heel Reader 🍂 Shelea @ The Bookshelf Bitch 🍂 Jess & Teagan @ Fiction No Chaser

9. What’s your favorite TV show right now?

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I have a few favorites (if you consider Netflix as TV). Sharp Objects is a new favorite. I’m also catching up on The Crown’s season 2 and am anticipating the third one. Then there’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and Daredevil. (Superheroes, I know!) I also love Chef’s Line. I actually need recommendations, so if you have any, hit me up with them.

10. What’s your favorite trope?

The enemies-to-lovers trope! Then there’s also the best-friends-to-lovers trope. I’m a sucker for both!

11. What’s the last book that you recommended to someone?

It has to be the whole In Death series by J.D. Robb. A friend of mine was looking for something that mixes romance, suspense of a crime thriller and the whodunit mystery of a police procedural, and the In Death series has that all. (Of course I have an ulterior motive. I need her to be as addicted to the series, and Eve and Roarke as I am! *Queue evil laugh*😈😈😈)

I’m nominating: Jennifer 🍂 Shelea 🍂 Marie 🍂 Jess & Teagan 🍂 Shruthi & Jen 🍂 Amy 🍂 Aneela 🍂 Mandy

My 11 questions:

  1. What is the first book you’ve bought using your own money?
  2. If you could write a book, what genre will it be?
  3. You’re going on a road trip, which 3 books are you going to bring and why?
  4. Tell me one myth/legend/folklore from you country. (Or if you can’t think of one, an urban legend in your town/state will do.)
  5. If you could talk to one author who will it be and what will you ask him/her?
  6. What do you think of love triangles?
  7. Name the craziest thing you have on you bucketlist?
  8. If you could re-write a book, which book will it be and what changes will you make?
  9. Which do you prefer to drink while reading: coffee, tea or hot chocolate? (If you prefer something else, please feel free put that down instead.)
  10. What’s your favorite book to film (or book to TV) adaptation?
  11. What’s the best thing about being a book blogger?

Review: “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh

36464087Title: Ghosted

Author: Rosie Walsh

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin Publishing Group

Publication Date: July 24, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐1/2

Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-million

(Digital ARC graciously provided by Penguin Publishing Group via their First to Read program)

 

Romance, mystery and family drama abound in Ghosted, Rosie Walsh’s first novel published under her real name.

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

Goodreads

It seems like the typical love story.

Sarah and Eddie meet in a quiet rural lane in Gloucestershire. Their attraction is instant, immediately becoming lovers only after a whole day together talking over drinks at their local pub. They spend six more days together, cocooned in the bliss of their newfound love. Their week is halted, however, when Eddie leaves for his planned vacation to Spain. Secured in the knowledge that they will see each other again, Sarah and Eddie part exchanging phone numbers and social media details so they can still keep in touch.

Eddie neither calls nor texts. Even on social media, he is silent. Like a ghost, he seems to have vanished into thin air. Distraught and worried that something bad might have happened to him, Sarah stalks his accounts, sends him numerous messages and calls his number all to no avail. Friends tell her to let Eddie go, to accept that he has changed his mind about her and them, but Sarah just cannot, convinced there is a reason behind Eddie’s radio silence. When she proves herself right, she must confront ugly events from her past if only to have a chance at a future with the man she has fallen in love with.

I really, really wanted to love this book. It just looked like something that I might like, but a couple of days after finishing, the only thing I’m feeling for Ghosted is ambivalence.

Without even giving much focus on their insta-love, Eddie and Sarah’s characters just felt flat to me. I couldn’t connect with them no matter how much I wanted to. Shallowly drawn and caricature-like, there wasn’t much to go about these two. I did not care what happens to them, if they get back together or not, probably because I did not get to know Eddie and Sarah well enough to even develop a bit of empathy for their characters. The same goes for the rest of the cast. Even the extraneous plot lines featuring these secondary characters – the affair between Sarah’s two best friends, Jenni’s IVF, her ex-husband’s new relationship – felt surface and don’t add anything to the story as a whole.

The mystery element of this story, however, was what kept me reading.

The puzzling letters, the constantly mentioned but absent younger sister, the dropped clues about a tragic accident – all these were intriguing enough that I continued reading Ghosted.  Things started to become interesting about halfway through the book when, finally, more details about Sarah’s younger sister Hannah and the accident she was involved in were revealed. But this high point did not last long for me as the twists Walsh kept on throwing got very old fast. The revelations felt contrived and unbelievable, and by the end of the book, I just did not care for it anymore.

Rosie Walsh, who has written several books under her pen name Lucy Robinson, definitely had some good ideas for this book; it was in the execution of these ideas though that she failed. I hate to admit this, but Ghosted just was not for me.

 

Review: “Sweet Black Waves” by Kristina Pèrez

31179006Title: Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1)

Author: Kristina Pèrez

Publisher: Imprint/Macmillan

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-million

 

 

 

Odai eti ama. I hate and I love.

That line just about sums up what I feel about Sweet Black Waves, the first book in what is to become a trilogy inspired by the Celtic legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

Goodreads

Sweet Black Waves centers on Branwen, Princess Iseult’s cousin and lady-in-waiting. Orphaned when she was a young girl after both her parents were murdered by Kernyvak raiders, Branwen is taken in by her mother’s sister Queen Iseult and raised in court alongside her cousin Essy, the only child and the heir of Iveriu.

Apprenticed to her aunt and serving as lady-in-waiting to her cousin, Branny lives a seemingly content and peaceful life. But all these is turned upside down when a striking young man washes ashore, half-dead. Branny saves him without knowing that he’s an enemy, that their meeting will change everything for both of their countries and for themselves.

My feelings for this re-telling is a mix of good and not-so. The fact that this one is based on Tristan and Iseult is already a plus for me. I’ve been waiting for so long for a re-telling of this Celtic legend. I actually cannot believe no one has done this sooner. But while it does base a lot of its elements on the ancient legend, being super familiar with it is not a pre-requisite. You could easily go in blind and still enjoy this book.

Two things I loved about Sweet Black Waves: the writing and the main characters.

Pèrez’s writing is just so beautifully evocative you’ll be transported to a lush and untamed alternative version of ancient Ireland and Cornwall. From the first line down to the crushing end, I was hooked. Poetic and lyrical, readers are sure to find Pèrez’s story immersive. She overdoes this though at some points, dipping into purple prose territory, something I’m hoping she’ll be able to rein in in the coming sequels.

As gorgeous as Pèrez’s writing was, ultimately what made me keep on reading were the characters. I was just bound to love Branwen. Strong, loyal and dutiful, she is oftentimes caught in between her role as Essy’s handmaiden and keeper and working for peace between Iveriu and Kernyv. She is flawed as she is passionate, rash as she is cautious – and, for me, it made her character only more believable.

Then there’s Tristan – charming, sincere, romantic, good-hearted and fierce Tristan who also has loyalties of his own, duties of his own to his land and his king. It was hard not to like him.

Together, these two characters make for a compelling story. The pair of Branwen and Tristan, dare I say, is the best thing in Sweet Black Waves. I breezed through pages featuring these two, just wanting to know what happens next. It was interesting to watch Branwen and Tristan’s dynamic evolve from enemies to unwilling friends then finally becoming lovers. Their attraction was instant, something I was wary about at the start of the book though I got over it after seeing the obvious chemistry between them. These two are totally shippable! (I do, I ship them!!! 😍😍😍)

Now, for the not-so-good parts of this book.

As much as I love Sweet Black Waves, there are still things in it that I didn’t much like. They aren’t really big blunders, nothing as bad as that. I think it’s more to do with my preferences, so take this with a pinch of salt.

I’m writing this review a couple of days after I finished the book, so I had the time to let the story sink in. I just can’t help but think that Pèrez could have cut a bit more of the book’s bulk. At 400++ pages, Sweet Black Waves is a long book. I understand that this being the first installment of a planned trilogy, the author wants to lay down the building blocks of her world, and she succeeds half of the time. The other half though, she wobbled, forcing in the details so her characters arrive at a pre-planned conflict. I totally read through some of the foreshadowed events, and while it did not stop me from enjoying this story, it did take out the element of surprise the author intended for her readers. This problem was most noticeable in the second part where the story moved the slowest, the characters plodding through the thick plot Pèrez set up for them.

Another bit that could have been done better – the secondary characters. While both Branwen and Tristan’s characters are well-developed, the characters who support them just felt flat to me. King Óengus was almost non-existent. Essy and Keane, meanwhile, were two-dimensional, oftentimes playing foil for Branwen and Tristan.

For all its imperfections, however, Sweet Black Waves is a thoroughly enjoyable and emotional read. It’s an interesting and creatively imagined re-telling, and I’m sure going to grab the next two books especially after that punch-in-the-gut ending. I highly recommend this to readers of fantasy romance.

P.S. (because I just got to sneak this in) Essy annoyed me throughout the book. She doesn’t deserve Branny’s devotion. The brat! (You could tell, I still have a lot “feels”. Sorry, not sorry.)

P.P.S.The second book already has a title!!! Wild Savage Stars!!! 🤩🤩🤩

The 20 Questions Book Tag, or Zombie Rachel Answers Book Tags

Book Tag

I just came off the graveyard shift and I’m without sleep. I’m basically a zombie 🧟‍♀️🧟‍♀️🧟‍♀️So, what do I do instead of sleeping? Well, answer book tags of course. (Ha!) I was tagged by Jen of Reading Recluses for this one. (Thank you, Jen! 😀) This is my first time to be tagged so I’m excited!!! Let’s get into the zombie nurse’s answers, shall we?

  1. How many books are too many books in a book series?

This is a tough question. It really depends if the story calls for it, like in the Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson books, which have 7  & 5 books respectively, the expansive world the story runs through calls for more books. Personally though, I think authors could wrap up a story in 3 books – the beginning, the middle and the closing. Making it longer may otherwise just drag the story on. (Yes, that’s a shade thrown the way of The Great Library series)

  1. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

Cliffhangers ending books 1 & 2 of a series are fine and an intriguing way to conclude that part of the story. It makes me want to have the last book even more.

Cliffhangers at the end of book 3/last book in the series or a standalone, though, is just plain EVIL 👿👿👿 Just finish it, dear author, even if it’s an open-ended conclusion, just please finish it and leave us with a little peace of mind.

  1. Hardback or paperback?

I actually don’t have a preference. I have more paperbacks though probably because they are cheaper than hardbacks. For me, as long as I could have the book and read it, I’ll be good no matter what format. (Okay, maybe that’s not the full truth because I do prefer hard copies vs ebooks)

  1. Favorite book?

Oh, I have a lot!!! I mean A LOT 📚📚📚 Divergent and Insurgent (Veronica Roth) come to mind first. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), the whole Harry Potter series (especially Order of the Phoenix) (J.K. Rowling), Beauty Queens (Libba Bray), Naked in Death (J.D. Robb), the whole Young Elites trilogy (Marie Lu), We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) are among my most treasured books.

  1. Least favorite book?

Allegiant. I think you could tell why.

  1. Love triangles, yes or no?

As a whole, NO. But, again, if the story calls for it and if it is well-written and well-developed, then I’m willing to make exceptions.

  1. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

The Death Code (Lindsay Cummings). That book just had so many problems I gave up on it even though I was almost 70% through.

  1. A book you’re currently reading?

Ghosted (Rosie Walsh). I’m 15 chapters in and still don’t know how I feel about it, which is not good. I’m sticking around more for the mystery than the romance.

  1. Last book you recommended to someone?

The entirety of the Red Queen series (Victoria Aveyard). I recommended it to my chat group. Actually, I recommended it to anyone and everyone who’d listen to me. 😂😂😂

  1. Oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Pride and Prejudice which was first published in 1813. (If you haven’t go watch both the 1995 BBC TV adaptation of P&P and the 2005 movie adaptation. The TV series starred Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie Bennet, while the movie featured Keira Knightley, Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone and Carey Mulligan)

  1. Newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Sadie (Courtney Summers) which will be released September 4th of this year. That book gutted me. I love it!!!

  1. Favorite author?

Neil Gaiman, Marie Lu, Veronica Roth, J.K. Rowling and J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. I’d read anything from these authors.

  1. Buying books or borrowing books?

I don’t have anything against borrowing books, but I prefer buying. I want to have the book on hand any time I want to re-read them. Also, there’s a certain pleasure from seeing them all shelved neatly on my bookshelves.

  1. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

All The Bright Places (Jennifer Niven) and Rainbow Rowell’s books.  I just can’t get into these books. I cannot connect with the characters in All the Bright Places. They felt shallow to me and I’m just ambivalent towards Rainbow Rowell’s books. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it…I just don’t feel anything for it. I read all of her books hoping I’ll love at least one of them, but alas, it was to no avail.

  1. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Definitely bookmarks. I ❤️❤️❤️ bookmarks. I have a collection of them. Also, I cannot find it in my heart to dog-ear book pages.

  1. A book you can always re-read?

Divergent, most definitely. I keep a paperback copy of it because I know I’ll re-read it again and again. Naked in Death, too. I think I’ve read it 5 times now since I discovered the series 2 years ago. Last but definitely not the least, the entirety of Marie Lu’s Young Elites trilogy. Give me Adelina all day, any day, every day.

  1. Can you read while hearing music?

No. I want to concentrate on the book I’m reading as much as possible and music distracts me from doing so. (I love music though, just not while I’m reading.)

  1. One POV or multiple POVs? (POVs = Points of View)

Personally, I prefer single POV, but I’m willing to make exceptions. If the narrative calls for it, if it is necessary, then, I’m all for multiple POVs. There are times when the main character is away from the main action/the rest of the key actors, and an author would need to employ another character to narrate. But if the main narrator could narrate it, please dear authors, just stick with them.

  1. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

I used to be able to read books in one sitting. Unfortunately, I cannot do that anymore. A demanding job plus adult responsibilities take a lot of my time, so I usually read books over multiple days.

  1. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

The Wrath and the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh). The cover was just so pretty I bought it without reading the blurb. It turned out great though so I have no regrets.

There you go! I hope I somehow made sense even though I’ve been awake for almost 18 hours now and my brain feels like it’s turning into mush.

To continue this very fun thing, I tag Marie of Kookbookery 🍂 Sofia of Bookish Wanderess 🍂 Richard of The Humpo Show 🍂 Cassie of Rants of a Bibliophile 🍂 Susan of Susan Loves Books 🍂 Clarice of Thalassics

If you see this post, come tag yourselves and answer the questions on your own blog, then comment here with your blog post’s link so I could check out your answers as well 😀

‘Til next time. I’m off to sleep 💤💤💤

💗💗💗

Rachel