Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: Seconds

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Release date: July 14th, 2014
Read: January 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Format: Hardcover, 323 pages
Series: stand-alone
Source: owned

Description from GoodReads: Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

Review: First things first, the art in this book is gorgeous in all its details and expressions. Not to mention Hazel's outfits are to die for.
   The plot, while generally done before, had many interesting plot twists that made it a unique and surprising story. It's characters were flawed and realistic, if a little annoying at times. Just like actual humans. Katie was definitely a little off-kilter, but that's what made the story possible.
   Altogether it was a great read, and way worth the purchase.

Quotable Quotes:
"Adult life is terrible, Hazel. Never grow up."
"There are somethings we can't change, and we just have to accept that. And maybe that's some sort of grace."

Rating: 9/10

Read if You Liked: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Eleanor & Park, All Our Yesterdays, quirks

Optimistically yours, Ola <3

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What about... Wednesday: Prettiest Covers

Hello readers!
   Today is a bit more of an "artistic" edition of our "What About Wednesday" sieries- prettiest book covers! Without further ado, here are everyone's picks!

1. Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis
2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
3. The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
1. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
2. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
3. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

1. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
2. Rooms by Lauren Oliver
3. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Your friends here at the Autumn Bookshelf

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: the Mazerunner

The Mazerunner by James Dashner 

Released: October 6, 2009
Read: October 2015 (and once before that)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Paperback, 375 pages
Series: Book #1 in the Mazerunner series

Description from Goodreads:

"If you ain't scared, you ain't human."

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

   When I first started reading the Mazerunner, I was thrilled: I knew as much as Thomas did, and didn't know what to expect. I felt oblivious to the world I was entering and wanted to know about everything: where Thomas was, what year it was, what was his backstory, why he was in an elevator, and who sent him to the Glade.
   The idea of having a book based on a maze is quite brilliant. Everyone knows about mazes and labyrinths, but no one would know why these shanks were put there. Readers would instantly want to know the reasoning and how they manage to escape. Do they find a secret passageway? Does the exit involve a code or are they rescued? The questions go on and on, and, after finally admitting defeat, they'd need to read the book.
   James Dashner, who I've met a couple times already, uses his humour to add hope and brightness to this dreary book. By having characters such as Chuck and Newt, you can clearly see each main characters role. Thomas, for example, is the key to everything, Newt is the optimist everyone looks up to, and Minho... well, you get the idea. Everyone and every scene is significant to the storyline, which fits together like a gigantic, ever-changing puzzle that resembles a lot to the maze itself. 

Favourite Quotes:

  • “'Shouldn't someone give a pep talk or something?' Minho asked. "Go ahead," Newt replied. Minho nodded and faced the crowd. 'Be careful,' he said dryly. 'Don't die.' Thomas would have laughed if he could, but he was too scared for it to come out. 'Great. We're all bloody inspired,' Newt answered.”

  • “It's kind of hard to ask a dead guy what he did wrong.”
  • "Just follow me and run like your life depends on it. Because it does."

  • Rating: 9/10

    Recommended if you like: mazes, James Dashner (he's hilarious), challenging/solving problems, books that have a lot going on at once (but not very obviously), half animal half robot creatures, dystopian, action/adventure, comedies

    Keep flipping pages,


    Friday, April 22, 2016

    Book Review: Tell the Wind and Fire


    Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

    Released: April 5th 2016
    Read: April 2016
    Publisher: Clarion Books
    Format: Paperback ARC, 368 pages

    Description from Goodreads:
    In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets. 
    Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.
    Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.
    Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

    What I liked about “Tell the Wind and Fire”, was that it was a unique retelling of a particularly famous novel. It seems that most retellings are simply told in the modern day, or well into the future. This book tried to tell “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens in an alternate reality where magic is the law of the land. It was interesting to say the least, the idea extremely clever. Who wouldn’t  want to read about Light and Dark magicians battling it out in two halves of New York, both needing the other because the Dark use the blood of the Light for magic, and the Light need the Dark to do so because they may overuse their magic and die? But the Dark are kept in their own faction and are ostracized by the Light, while the Light live in luxury. And the Dark can make doppelgängers that are made to save someone from death, but only when they are almost dead, and those creatures are forced to wear hoods and to stay away from their real counterparts. Are you a little confused? Because I certainly was. The novel was built on a fantastic idea, and it kept carrying it to halfway through the book. However, then the world building and history came into play and it got confusing. It didn’t help that it seemed as if the world building went on and on for chapters. Yes, whole chapters at the very beginning devoted to building the world. Brennan tried to explain this in easy terms, but it came across as weird and forced. Had it been explained over time as the story progressed, it would have been more organic than stuffy and forced. And I have to say that the main character had very little emotional range, as when she was speaking of the time she saved her dad it sounded very insincere. Almost like a narrator telling the story, not a girl who had to risk her life to save her loved one. This book was really great to start off with, and it just unfortunately didn’t pan out. 

    Favorite Quote: 
    “I wasn’t showing what I really felt. Real grief is ugly and uncomfortable. People look away from grief the same way they look away from severed limbs or gaping wounds. What they want is pain like death on a stage: beautiful, bloodless, presented for their entertainment” 
    - Sarah Rees Brennan

    Rating: 4.5/10 Stars

    Reccommended for people who enjoy: romance, magic, paranormal

    Happy Reading,

    Monday, April 18, 2016

    Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

    A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

    Released: February 24th, 2015
    Read: March 2016
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Format: Hardcover, 400 pages

    Series: Shades of Magic #1

    Description from GoodReads: Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.
       Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

    Review: Reading this probably took me longer than it should have, which isn't a bad thing, but it lost some of the details or emotional attachment for me. Altogether though, it was a really great book!
       The main characters (Lila and Kell) are loveable and complicated with flaws that make them human and realistic in a world of fantasy. Lila, with her tomboy (I hate that word, but what else can I use?) personality and cutthroat attitude was a lovely balance to the consistently frightened, forever on the run Kell. They had some really nice, deep conversations that showed their differences and how they got along better because of them.
       Along with that, the world-building was amazing. It really made me want to visit Red London, even after being shown the underbelly of such a wonderful city.
       The plot was different from what I was expecting but also not at all what I was expecting. Books that don't really tell you at least what the basic plot is in the description, are a little annoying and usually disappointing. Thankfully this was not that disappointing of a book.

    Quotable Quotes:
    "I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."
    "Some people steal to stay alive, and some steal to feel alive. Simple as that."
    "A life worth having is a life worth taking."

    Rating: 8/10

    Read if You Liked: Harry Potter, Carry On, anything adventurous or magical basically

    Optimistically yours, Ola <3

    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Book Review: Wink. Poppy. Midnight.

    Wink. Poppy. Midnight. by April Genevieve Tucholke 

    Released: March 22, 2016
    Read: March 2016
    Publisher: Dial Books ( Imprint of Penguin Random House)
    Format: ARC, 256 pages
    Series: stand-alone

    Description on Goodreads:
        Every story needs a hero.
        Every story needs a villain.
        Every story needs a secret.
        Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbour girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
        What really happened?
        Someone knows.
        Someone is lying.


        With every paragraph, page and chapter that I read, I couldn't help but think what the heck? Everything each character thought and did, was creepy in some way. Like when Midnight waits and is fine with Poppy climbing into his room at night even though he's trying to get over her. He was supposed to be with Wink! Was he just leading her on?
        And then there were the Orphans, aka Wink's siblings. There were so many of them and they didn't have distinguished personalities. They acted like a mass of small, childish innocence that didn't play much of a role at all. Poppy on the other hand was the most complex and strangely interesting character I've ever met. She could control everyone as if they were puppets and she the puppy master. She could get anything and anyone she wanted (*coughALMOSTcough*), and yet that was never good enough for her. She just wanted her parents to consider her mature and no longer their 'little girl', and to be viewed as an equal. 
        One part of the novel I really did enjoy though, was the ending. You can tell that much thought and detail was put into creating how the conclusion came to a close. The back and forth plot, the Is she alive? Is she dead? Is she a ghost?, kind of threw me a bit, but I'd be open to read more about something like that.

    Favourite Quotes:
    • “When you look into the darkness, the darkness looks into you.” 
    • “Revenge. Justice. Love. They are the three stories that all other stories are made up of. It's the trifecta.” 
    • “All good Heroes are scared, if they know the evil they face.” 

    Rating: 5/10

    Recommended if you like: novels about story-telling, mystery, manipulation, bullying, books about books, very psychotic plot twists, 

    Keep flipping pages,

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    Double Review: Riders

    Riders by Veronica Rossi

    Released: February 16, 2016
    Publisher: Tor Teen
    Format: ARC, 368 pages

    Description on Goodreads:
    For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

    Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

    Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen--Conquest, Famine, and Death--are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

    They fail.

    Now--bound, bloodied, and drugged--Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he's fallen for--not to mention all of humankind--he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

    But will anyone believe him?

    Lauren's thoughts

    Read: February 2016

        Veronica Rossi has outdone herself with this timeless retelling of the classic four horsemen legend. The novel was oddly staged, letting you know right from the start that they failed, but that didn't stop me from diving right in.
        The idea that each horseman had to die before becoming a horseman, and that the way they die is related to their powers, was extremely cool. It gave me a sense of everything tying together and that each of them was an equal part of a well oiled machine. The exception was Daryn of course. She herself was a part of this 'machine' even though she was more of the mastermind behind everything. She was a complex character that knew more than she let on, and was strong even when she didn't have to be.
        What I really enjoyed about this book was the constant plot twists and the ever-rolling action. Even the way everyone met was action packed! I mean, seriously, meeting another horseman at an audition? So creative, I would never have thought of that. The adventure, continuous threat of danger and non-stop hilarity kept me on the edge of my seat, and I can not wait to read the fabulous sequel when it releases.

    Favourite Quotes: 
    • " If there was one thing I understood, it was that grief was an opponent you didn't play fair with. You did whatever it took to not let it beat you. You fought dirty against grief, period."
    • " I don't think that incident necessarily defines you as bad. I think it makes you human. And I believe you would have stopped yourself. I think that's what makes a person good. Not that you make mistakes, but that you recognize them. You feel remorse for them. You want to correct them and do better."
    Rating: 9/10

    Ola's thoughts

    Read: February 2016

    Review: This book was great! It begun slowly, but eerily and it introduced the characters in a way that I haven't seen in a while, maybe ever.
       The plot was a little confusing as the four horsemen of the apocalypse were evil in the original stories, so why were they good here? My favourite theory is that they were sent by the devil, but at this point it's unclear.
       There's a lot of masculinity. Like a lot. You may not notice it the first time you read it, or maybe you do. Female characters are either mysterious and difficult, or evil. Even the names are really masculine! But the horsemen are nice, and their back stories tie in well to their powers and personalities. I liked them.
       If you skip over that, the fight and action scenes are confusing and difficult to follow (but that might just be me). The whole ending bit? It's been months since I read it, and I'm still confused.
       Altogether it's pretty good, and I'm looking forward to where they take it next.

    Favourite Quotes:

    • "Everything was awesome, now that I wasn't in the mental clutches of a demon."
    • "My team - an actor, a drunk, and a sociopath - didn't exactly inspire confidence."
    Rating: 8/10

    Recommended if you like: the four horsemen, fantasy, mystery, small semi-there romances, comedies, action/adventure, supernatural beings, demons, life or death situations, horses

    Your friends at the Autumn Bookshelf

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016

    What about Wednesday: Best Villains

    Hey everyone, we're here to share our favourite villains from books. Of course, this doesn't mean that we don't love the main characters or love interests (because duh), but the villains are the point here. Really, there wouldn't even be a novel without them.

                                          CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

    Ola's Picks:
    2. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (Ambrosius Goldenloin)
    3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Aaron Warner)

    Mari's Picks:
    2. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen  (Henry Crawford)
    3. Outlander by Diana Galbadon  (Captian Jack Randall)

    Lauren's Picks:
    1. the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (Bellatrix Lestrange)

    That's it for today!

    Your friends at the Autumn Bookshelf

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016

    Book Blitz: The Glittering Court

    We here at The Autumn Bookshelf are so excited that THE GLITTERING COURT by Richelle Mead releases today and that we get to share the news, along with a special giveaway!

    If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Richelle Mead, be sure to check out all the details below.

    This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book and a $25 Sephora Gift Card courtesy of Richelle, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

    About The Book:

    Author: Richelle Mead
    Pub. Date: April 5, 2016
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook

    The Selection meets Reign in this dazzling trilogy of interwoven novels about three girls on a quest for freedom and true love from #1 internationally bestselling author Richelle Mead.

    "Brilliant and original, Mead’s new series starts off with a bang and will leave readers on the edge of their seats until the very end."
    —School Library Journal

    For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

    After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him. 

    Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else's property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

    Exclusive Excerpt:

    About Richelle:

    Richelle Mead has written over twenty-five novels for teens and adults. She is the author of the international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series and its spinoff series, Bloodlines. Her recent standalone novel, Soundless, draws upon Chinese mythology and history, and her forthcoming series, The Glittering Court, follows the adventures of girls destined for arranged marriages in a fantasy world inspired by colonial America. A lifelong reader, Richelle has always had a particular fascination with mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses to wear on tour. She is a self-professed coffee addict, works in her pajamas, and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is hard at work on her next novel.

    Giveaway Details:
    1 winner will receive a hardcover of THE GLITTERING COURT & a $25 Sephora Gift Card. US Only.

    Ends on April 15th at Midnight EST!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway - Your friends at The Autumn Bookshelf