WWW Wednesdays #135 – May 3rd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’ll probably finish Anything For Her by Jack Jordan later today, which has been a very good thriller read so far. I’m definitely glad I finally picked it up! And as soon as I’m finishing that title, I’ll be diving into another Netgalley ARC: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite. I’ve heard great things about that title and it has all the signs it’s going to be another Bookouture winner! I’m also still reading Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw, although it’s still temporarily on hold until I’m in the mood for (high) fantasy again.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first title I finished since last week is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, which turned out to be a brilliant read. I’m still kicking myself for not picking it up sooner! From the writing style, character development, plot to it’s very important topic; I just couldn’t find one detail I didn’t like about this powerful story.
* I then read The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero, which I ended up having quite a lot of issues with. It took a long time for the chapters to connect, the plot felt chaotic and there was excessive swearing, but that was only minor compared to my biggest problem with this story: the main character. I absolutely despised him and it was really hard to enjoy a story involving such an arrogant, cheating, drunk, womanizing bastard. Definitely not for me…
* Afterwards I decided to try my hands at fantasy again, especially since I enjoyed the first book of The Hero Rebellion series last year. Riven by Belinda Crawford was without doubt an entertaining read and the best part is that it’s a YA sci-fi series that is actually 100% romance free. Yes, you read that right, there’s no romance in this series and the story focuses on the worldbuilding and action instead. It took me a bit longer to adapt to the worldbuilding and some of the unique features and the plot wasn’t as strong as the first book, but there is definitely a lot of potential for what is still to come. Action-packed and very entertaining!
* The last book I picked up is Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh, one of my most anticipated releases this year. I still can’t believe my request was actually approved!! I had high expectations after reading a teaser earlier this year, and somehow this book managed to be even better than expected. I practically devoured its pages and LOVED it. The setting, the writing style, the characters (Mariko, Okami!!!), the plot… It doesn’t happen often I have two 5 star reads in a week, but I just couldn’t give this one anything lower than perfect rating. The wait for the sequel is going to be painful though…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Like I’ve said before, I still have a huge pile of ARCs pending so I’ve made May into another ARC month. I have the following four ARCs lined up to be read next, depending on the genre I’m in the mood for... Be My Killer by Richard Parker and The Roses Of May by Dot Hutchison are both Netgalley ARCs and titles I’m looking forward to. Heartborn by Terry Maggert is another pending fantasy ARC I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I also want to pick up the ARC Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel, which sounds like a fascinating read.


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ARC REVIEW: Riven – by Belina Crawford

Title: Riven
(The Hero Rebellion #2)
Author: Belinda Crawford

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
First published: October 4th 2016
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Finished reading: April 29th 2017
Pages: 250

Instead, she reached out to touch her mum’s mind. And ran smack-bang into a mawberry-flavoured wall. She glared at Fink.

He twitched an ear. Manners, he thought to her.

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Riven is the second book of The Hero Rebellion series I started reading last year. It’s also probably one of the few YA sci-fi/fantasy series out there that is 100% romance free thanks to the fact that the author Belinda Crawford probably dislikes cheesy romance as much as I do. I enjoy reading the genre and tend to tolerate the romance since it seems to go with it, so not having to deal with it in The Hero Rebellion is definitely a rare treat. This story focuses on the worldbuilding of Jørn instead and is stuffed to its limit with action and more action. As soon as you start reading, you find yourself right in the middle of the action and that won’t stop until you reach the last page. The worldbuilding is interesting and I love the idea behind it; the Jørn creatures and the many street races are probably my favorite part of this series. The main character Hero’s powers and colorful ‘thought’-speaking can get a bit confusing if you are not used to it (it took me a bit longer to get used to this time), but there is no doubt it is one of the most original features of this sci-fi world. Riven ends with a cliffhanger that definitely makes me want to find out what happens next… Because there is still much to learn about Jørn and the main characters. I did feel the plot wasn’t as interesting as in book one, but that just might be because part of it was a preparation of what is still to come. If you enjoy the genre and like me are allergic to romance, this one is just for you!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first  book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Hero Regan is a telepath and the first of a new subspecies of human; an experiment to try and find a way for the human race to survive on Jørn. But something seems to be wrong after all that happened lately. Her brain is acting up, and that might just be directly related to the ‘bad thing’. Her genetically engineered companion Fink is acting up as well… And even though she already has too many things to deal with, the Librarian once again needs her help to save the world and it doesn’t seem like she has a choice in the matter. Will Hero be able to deal with all of this?

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Riven is without doubt an action-packed and entertaining sci-fi read and the best part is that it’s 100% romance free. I struggled a bit more to get used to the whole ‘thought-talking’ and ‘colored/scented thoughts’ thing, but it is without doubt a very original concept. The plot itself wasn’t as strong as in Hero, but it did sound promising for the things that are still to come. I will be looking forward to book three!


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ARC REVIEW: Hero – by Belinda Crawford

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Title: Hero
(The Hero Rebellion #1)
Author: Belinda Crawford
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
First published: September 21st 2015
Finished reading: May 22nd 2016
Pages: 242
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“All my life, everyone has used my ‘ilness’ as an excuse to take my choices away. I’ve been locked up, told what to eat, who I can be friends with, where I can go to school. They even forced those damn meds down my throat.” She paused, breathing hard. “It’s my life. Even if I’m sick, I’m the only one who should get to choose what I do and how I do it.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I am becoming seriously tired of the fact that EVERY single YA fantasy/sci-fi series I decide to read seems to be having either a love triangle, insta-love where a strong female main character falls hopelessly in love with the pretty boy or sappy romance scenes in general. I like the genre too much to give up on it all together, but I have started screening my potential reads… So you can imagine how happy I was when Belinda Crawford contacted me about her novel Hero with the promise that it would be a proper science fiction story without any focus on romance. In fact, in her own words:

A large part of why I wrote Hero was because I was sick of all the female protagonists losing their brains as soon as a cute boy came along. Drives me nuts.”

How can I say no to that? Hero ended up being just as good as I was hoping for. First of all, the worldbuilding is really intriguing. The story is set on the distant planet of Jørn and kind of has a dystopian/futuristic feel with all those scientific elements and genetic engineering. The main character is interesting and I can’t wait to learn more about her in the sequel, although I do think I liked her ruc-pard Fink even better. In fact, the companion animals and the streetrace scenes are probably two of my favorite elements of this story, although I really enjoyed reading Hero in general. With its fast pace, interesting prose and worldbuilding and the promise of no romance, this first book of The Hero Rebellion series is without doubt worth reading!

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After careful observation centuries ago, the humans decided to colonise the planet Jørn on the far side of the galaxy. They arrived in big colony ships and settled on the surface of the planet, but soon found out that a native spore was slowly killing them. With the help of genetic engineering, the scientists were able to blend Earth and Jørn DNA and create new hybrids for their crops and livestock. Unfortunately, the same didn’t seem to work for humans. They were forced to leave the surface and turn their ships into cities that floated in the sky. Only trained teams can now travel to the surface and while Hero Regan’s mother is involved in the organization, Hero herself won’t be seeing the surface any time soon. To make things worse, she is special; surrounded by bodyguards and tutors all day and insulated from the outside world. Her only companion is a huge genetically engineered ruc-pard named Fink, who she can even share her thoughts with. One day her situation seems to improve as they allow her to attend school in Cumulus City. She will be having more freedom than ever, but things are getting more and more dangerous as well…

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It is not every day that you find an entertaining YA science fiction novel that doesn’t include any sappy romance scenes, insta-love or love triangle and this fact should definitely be celebrated. But more importantly, Hero is so much more than that. The worldbuilding is intriguing and I really liked the idea of hybrids, companion animals and humans living on a distant planet in a dystopian future. The prose is easy to read and the ending definitely left me wanting for more… If you like the genre, make sure to read this book.

WWW Wednesdays #92 – May 25th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

Note: I’m actually out of town right now, but will be back before the weekend… Gotta love the post scheduling option! 😉

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have been seriously neglecting one of my favorite genres lately, so I decided to put all my planned books on hold and pick up a proper whodunit: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. I’m not far into it yet, but I hope to finish it before I come back! Also, I will try to read The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry during my trip. I’m ashamed to admit I have never read this classic, but better late than never right?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is Binge by Tyler Oakley, which turned out to be a really entertaining memoir even though I hadn’t heard from the author before.
* I’ve also finished Hero by Belinda Crawford, a very enjoyable ARC with an interesting worldbuilding, no romance and a fast pace. Definitely recommended!
* I also finally picked up my Spanish copy of the first Harry Potter book again. I have been wanting to read more books in Spanish and it was the perfect excuse to reread this series… Because no matter what language the story is told in, it always stays magical (Although I prefer the original version). I found out while reading Harry Potter Y La Piedra Filosofal that I’m still able to read Spanish with a ‘fast’ pace, so I’m quite a happy camper right now. 😀

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Once again I haven’t been able to start any of the books I wanted to read last week…Whcih is partly to blame to the lack of time and I was in the mood for different genres as well. But I’m going to try and read them this week though! First up is another ARC: Housebroken by The Behrg. I haven’t read a good horror story in too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I’m probably going to read A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas first since I’m not sure how much longer I am going to be able to resist the temptation.😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

WWW Wednesdays #91 – May 18th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I haven’t been reading much during the last two days, because I have been trying to reduce the backlog of reviews after the Bout Of Books read-a-thon. Still 5 reviews to go, sigh… I have started reading Hero by Belinda Crawford the other day, which is a very interesting read so far and I’m looking forward to continue reading this story soon. I’ve also picked up Binge by Tyler Oakley on a whim because I was in the mood for a light (and funny) read, and this memoir has been really entertaining so far even though I have to confess I hadn’t heard of the author or his youtube channel before.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Reader On The 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, which was originally written in French. I really enjoyed this story! Part of it felt a bit like Fahrenheit 451, but also completely different… And I loved the fact that the main character read random pages he had saved himself from the Thing.
* I then finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which I read for the The Revolving Shelf book club. I really liked that this story was a mix of elephant info, paranormal elements and a missing person case. Not perfect, but really entertaining.
* Stars Above by Marissa Meyer was my previous TBR jar pick, and turned out to be just as entertaining as I thought it would be. I liked some stories better than others, but the epilogue was without doubt brilliant. It might be a sappy happy ending, but I really didn’t care in this case. 😉
* I also read See How They Run by Ally Carter, and the sequel was almost just as good as the first book. A really entertaining spy thriller with an international touch that is definitely worth reading, even though the main characters can get annoying.
* My last BoB book I finished was Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, which has turned out to be yet another ‘unpopular opinion’ book for me. I didn’t really like this story: the way the main character treated the others; the way she was treated by most people; the stereotypes; the bullying… I just wasn’t convinced.
* I also read the classic The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which turned out to be a really short read and quite interesting.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I just realized that I have actually read or at least started all the books I mentioned here last week! That has to be a first… On to four fresh titles this week it is! First up is another ARC: Housebroken by The Behrg. I haven’t read a good horror story in too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I’m probably going to read A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas first since I’m not sure how much longer I am going to be able to resist the temptation. 😉 My new TBR jar pick is The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

Teaser Tuesdays #94 – May 17th: Hero

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve only started this ARC, but I’m really enjoying what I’ve read so far. Hero by Belinda Crawford is an interesting science fiction novel set on the planet of Jorn and is one of the few YA stories out there that has the promise of no sappy romance scenes or strong female characters falling for the typical male love interest. I can’t wait to continue reading this story!

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My teaser (5%):

“The memory of the cold, thumb-sized nozzle pressed against her neck, the way it hissed when it shot the meds into her bloodstream, made her stomach clench until she thought she might be sick. It was bad enough hearing voices, answering questions that no one asked, and having every friend she’d every tried to make give her that look, the special look.”

What are you reading right now?

Friday Finds #86 – May 13th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Books And A Beat and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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