Top 5 Anticipated Releases of Spring 2016

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The weather is (slowly) beginning to get warmer and spring is rapidly approaching. Winter here has actually not been all that intense this year, but I am definitely still looking forward to nicer temperatures. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy snow to some extent, but one massive storm is enough for me! 😛

This season brings new life into both the outside world and the book world—and there is a pile of fantastic looking releases coming over these next few months. I am particularly looking forward to this book release season. Excitingly enough, I have ARC copies of a number of new releases, so expect to see some early (spoiler-free!) reviews up on here in the coming weeks! 😀

Here are the top five spring releases that I am particularly looking forward to getting my hands on!

1. Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey (April, 19th, 2016)

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Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions…and Juliana herself.

2. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (May 3rd, 2016)

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How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go…an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

3. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (May 10th, 2016)

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Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hard-working student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper—the mysterious, out-of-print cult-classic—the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that sometimes rebellion comes at a high price.

A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.

4. Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black (May 17th, 2016)

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Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass. 

Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.

In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a heart-wrenching depiction of loss and hope.

5. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (June 7th, 2016)

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There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor. 

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.

What new releases are you most looking forward to this spring? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

-Ariana

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March 2016 TBR

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Happy March, everyone!

My second favorite season of the year is on its way, and I am really starting to look forward to the warmer weather! I’m still catching up on a few reads, so this month’s TBR is mainly going to consist of review copies that I need to work on. Also, I am hoping to begin getting reviews out a bit more frequently this month. I like writing a good variety of posts, and I feel like I want to be getting reviews out slightly more often than I have been. I tend to be too much of a perfectionist when it comes to my reviews (and I write way too much to begin with!), so that’s definitely been slowing me down quite a lot. My goal is to start trying to get out about two each week, so we’ll see how that ends up going! 🙂

March TBR

1. Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black

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The synopsis for this novel has me extremely intrigued. It promises to have a mix of both fantasy and realism, which is a style that I always love. On top of that, there is going to be a musical element to it—that completely sells me on this! It seems like it will be an emotional read but an incredibly unique one, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what it’s all about.

2. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

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I am so incredibly excited about reading this novel! In fact, I’ve already started it because I just couldn’t wait any longer, so this should be my first completed read for the month. I’ve not actually read a novel by Matthew Quick yet, though I have had a few on my TBR for a long time now. I can’t wait to finally give his work a go!

3. These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

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This is the one novel on this list that isn’t an ARC copy, but it is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Since it isn’t a review copy, it’s not a top priority on my TBR, but I am still really hoping I’ll be able to get to it this month. I’m too excited to wait much longer!

4. The Haters by Jesse Andrews

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As well as not having read any of Matthew Quick’s novels yet, I’ve also not yet read Jesse Andrew’s other novel—Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl—yet, though I have been meaning to for a while. I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions about his work, specifically the humor that he uses in his stories, so I’m really interested to see where my opinion falls.

5. The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates

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This is one final ARC that I need to review soon. I don’t intend to read the entire book this month, but I would like to get started reading some of these stories over the course of the next few weeks. I prefer reading collections of short stories in small bursts anyway—I think it’s more fun to spread them out as you read other novels, rather than rush through them all in one go!

Read in February

I’m still in the process of dealing with these migraines I’ve been getting, so my reading and reviewing pace is not quite up to snuff just yet. I definitely hope to pick up my normal speed again soon, as I begin to feel better. However, while this was a rather slow reading month for me, it was overall enjoyable, so I’m feeling good about it!

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1. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – It’s taken me forever, but I’ve finally started to continue on with this series and it’s so nice to dive back into this world. Full review coming soon!

2. Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle and Jason Katzenstein – I was in the mood for a new graphic novel this month. This one was an ARC that had been on my reading list for a little while, so I decided to give it a go—and I absolutely loved it! This was a quick, fun, and satisfying read with some wonderful artwork to boot. Click here to read my full review.

3. The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee – This was a novel that I had heard very little about, and picked up randomly a few months back. As I expected, it was an extremely unique, fantastical, and intriguing story. I will definitely be posting a more in depth review very soon! I’m looking forward to discussing this one.

4. Doctor Who: Deep Time by Trevor Baxendale – If you haven’t yet been able to tell, I love reading Doctor Who novels! This was another ARC that I had on my reading list for the month. There will be a full review of this coming very soon.

5. The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – I (finally) began reading this at the end of the month, so it is technically rolling over onto my March TBR. As I said earlier, I like to take my time with short story collections, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing with this one. But, whenever I do complete it, you can be certain that there will be a full (probably very fangirly) review! 😀

February Book Haul

Okay, so I may have gone mildly overboard with my book buying this month…But in my defense, I haven’t been buying all that many books lately. Also a few of these are ARCs as well…

Nope, still can’t justify this. I went overboard…but I’m a happy little book nerd. 😀 ❤

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  1. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
  1. The Haters by Jesse Andrews (ARC)
  1. Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black (ARC)
  1. These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
  1. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

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  1. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  1. Soulless by Gail Carriger
  1. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  1. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (ARC)
  1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

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  1. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  1. Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
  1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

All right, no more book buying for me for a little while… 😛

What books do you have on your TBR for March? Are you looking forward to any new releases this month? Do any of you guys need to join me in my book buying ban? Let me know in the comments! 😀

-Ariana

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Review: Doctor Who: Death Riders by Justin Richards

doctorwhodeathridersDoctor Who: Death Riders by Justin Richards

My Rating: 3.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: November 19th, 2015

Publisher: Penguin Random House UK

Pages: 160 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: The Galactic Fair has arrived on the mining asteroid of Stanalan and anticipation is building around the construction of the fair’s most popular attraction – the Death Ride! But there is something sinister going on behind all the fun of the fair; people are mysteriously dying in the Off-Limits tunnels. Join the Doctor, Amy and Rory as they investigate…

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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This is a spoiler-free review.

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory land on Stanalan—an asteroid used for mining—which, as they soon find out, contains an entire civilization. The caretaker, Perpetual Pete, who has been there far longer than anyone living on Stanalan can even remember, has marked some of the old mining tunnels as Off-Limits. He claims that they require maintenance, says they are liable to collapse, and forbids anyone from traveling down them. With the arrival of the Galactic Fair and the construction of an attraction called the Death Ride, Pete has his hands full attempting to keep the workers from building parts of the ride’s track in those tunnels. However, people begin to turn up dead in those Off-Limits areas, appearing to have died from something far worse than collapsing walls.

I found the plot to be fairly predictable, but that did not take away from my enjoyment of it. Richards did a wonderful job of building intrigue and tension in the opening chapters of the novel. He unveiled the important details at the right pace to create the tense and mysterious atmosphere that the story required. I do wish there had been a bit more use of the Doctor, but given the length of the story, I thought there was a decent balance in the attention given to each character; each member of the trio contributed an equal amount to the progression of the plot. There were times that the story felt a bit choppy or like it was jumping a bit too quickly over certain aspects, but those sacrifices are to be expected in a shorter novel, and I felt that Richards handled it well.

I definitely felt that the first half of the story was a lot stronger than the second half. The ending was quite clunky and had me shaking my head on numerous occasions. It seemed like it was trying to be fairly typical of a conclusion to an episode of the show. However, they had gotten into such a predicament that there was very little that could be done to avoid a “deus ex machina” sort of situation. Though my suspension of disbelief is pretty good for Doctor Who in general, this ending was maybe just a tiny bit too farfetched even for that.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style quite a bit; it was easy to follow and flowed very nicely. His descriptions were very detailed and clear, and I was easily able to picture all of the settings and characters in my mind. Richards did a great job of building up an image of a bleak world slightly brightened by the presence of this fair. Yet behind that, he creates an underlying sense of tension and mystery, even before the unexplained deaths actually begin to occur.

The only complaint I had in terms of the writing might simply be caused by differences in location and subsequently dialect for me. Throughout the entire story, every single time the word “around” was used, Richards exchanged that with “round”. This is something that I am accustomed to hearing used in speech, so its use in lines of dialogue felt appropriate. Until this novel, however, I have not seen it employed in regular lines of text, such as in descriptions, and it felt quite out of place in those instances. Frankly, the constant substitution began to feel rather repetitive and awkward. As I said though, this may just be a question of dialect and writing style that I am not entirely familiar with given my location compared to the author.

Richards did a solid job of accurately capturing the personalities of the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, and Rory. Their deliveries of dialogue as well as their interactions with each other were spot on. This was a short novel, so there was not nearly as much time available for the author to flush out the supporting characters. Richards still managed to do a good job of vividly portraying them and their interactions with the main trio. The fact that he worked everything together so well so quickly served to make the novel feel even more reminiscent of an episode of the show.

The main complaint I had in terms of the characters was that I occasionally felt that Amy was acting out of character, and I found that to be a bit frustrating. There were times when she sounded like herself but felt like a different person. A number of times, I questioned why she was acting in certain ways because those actions did not match the true intelligence of her character. Despite that, the characterization in this novel was truly a high point for me.

Overall, this was a very fun and quick read that definitely did the characters and the television series justice. Like the show itself, there is limited time to develop plot and characters in a story of this length, and I liked how much that made it feel like watching an episode. Despite being out of the target age range and not entirely loving the ending, this was still very satisfying and enjoyable to read. This is a story that Whovians of any age will enjoy.

3.5 TARDISes

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