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The World of Ice and Fire: The Official History of Westeros and The World of A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin, Linda Antonsson, Elio M. Garcia jr.
Eleanor and Park
Rainbow Rowell

The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson 4 1/2 stars!!

The Queen's Army

The Queen's Army - Marissa Meyer You have to be an evil queen in order to take 12 year olds away from their families to be genetically engineered into murderous beast for your private army.

Great ending!! Wolf ♥

El Silmarillion

El Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien, Luis Domènech, Rubén Masera Buddy-read with Markus!

Is this book really that hard to read?
No, if you take it the right way. This books was not written to make readers like an specific plot twist or character. No! This book is solely the recompilation of various tales that happened in the world where The Lord of the Rings was settled in, from the beautifully written Ainülindale and the creation of Eä, to the end of the Third Age and the Fading Years.
That being said, you'll understand that it's not odd at all to find chapters entirely dedicated to geography or genealogy.
Am I making it sound like a boring book? Let me fix that. This is a small list of cool things that you can expect:

The awesome Valar




Morgoth, the Lord of the Dark




Beautiful stories about Arda's astrology




Elves behaving badly (Men did too, and dwarves. But mostly elves)




Elves being awesome




Epic battles




Breath taking love stories




Tales about friendship




Unbelievable places




Bad-ass heroins




Incest



Yes, I was surprised about that last one too.

I truly hope that all this artwork is persuasive enough for itself.

Scarlet

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer BR/Re-read with Xime, Liz, Vicky, Mics, Nanu and Betza over at Emma’s Tea Party.

Rating: 3½

The addition of more (cool) characters helped a lot to make it more fast paced and entertaining than Cinder. Keep being as predictable as a retelling can be. There is still a lack of a decent world building, but here I was, fangirling about cherry blossom.

Glitches

Glitches - Marissa Meyer Glitches brings us back to the moment when Cinder meets her new adoptive family.

The little winks to [b:Cinder|11235712|Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)|Marissa Meyer|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388186881s/11235712.jpg|15545385] are quite fun: Cinder discovering her little orange light and wondering what it might mean, Peony talking about her future husband.
It doesn't really bring any new information concerning the characters or plot. The secondary characters we know keep being as unidimensional as in Cinder and the one interesting character who's new (Garran) doesn't get any development.
But we have Iko and a sakura tree, which is nice!

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland - Rene Cloke, Lewis Carroll Emma's Tea Party buddy read :)

Cinder (Crónicas Lunares, #1)

Cinder (Crónicas Lunares, #1) - Marissa Meyer, Laura Martín de Dios Buddy read with the ladies from Emma's Tea Party

Rating: 3 ½ stars

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman Becoming an adult means forgetting a million things, like the fact that those couple of trees in the backyard could easily be an enchanted forest...
This book is an ode to childhood. Gaiman will carefully open a little door in your brain and take you to a place with all the familiarities of your early years: the monsters you feared, the magical places you lived in, the critical importance of friendship and those alien, weird beings called adults.

“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age”

Our protagonist is an adult, a man attending a burial in his old town and finding himself incidentally driving to the farm at the end of the lane where his best friend Lettie used to live. He sits in the bench in front of the pond and memories start suddenly flooding: the Mini, the miner, the tragedy that set all things in motion... He soon becomes that lonely kid that he once was, a kid living an adventure.

The plot is not particularly complex, but nevertheless engrossing. For its simplicity, it could easily pass like a children bed time stories, a very creepy one at that.
The characters are all very endearing and some of them quite mysterious; little is resolved about who they really are or why they are here.
The magic that Gaiman uses is always completely unattached to logic which I can accept, mainly because he knows how to write you into those worlds he creates, but this one seemed to go a little too far at times.

A much recommended read. Maybe if you are lucky enough, that little door won’t get closed once again.

“Nothing’s ever the same,” she said. “Be it a second later or a hundred years. It’s always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.”

Gone Girl

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn Buddy Read with the ladiest ladies: Andrea, Lau and Liz*

Actual rating 2½ stars

In the most Amy style…
You’re reading this review because:
A) It just popped up in your feed and you said “What the hell, I’ll read it!”
B) You’re meaning to read this book but you’re not quite sure.
C) You’re almost half way through this book and you’re not feeling it.
If your answer is C, let me tell you that you should keep going. That’s exactly what happened to me! The first part of the book, the one that is supposed to be thrilling and all mystery was quite meh.

Amy Dunne went missing the morning of her fifth anniversary, leaving clear evidence of struggle. Husband Nick will narrate step by step the police investigation and we will soon discover that he’s a big fan of the lie of omission. Amy, in the other hand, will feed us information about their relationship through diary entries, from the day they met towards the very day of her disappearance.

First person narrative (little annoying at first, like how many times can you say “my stomach went oily”) adds to the general feeling of “Was this a thriller?” Sure… there is a crime, there are suspects, and there is an investigation and lots of pieces of evidence being found. And yet it was a little bit boring. A perfect couple with first world problems. Until the 50% mark, when everything recovers a new meaning, and you realized that the way the author structured the book is, actually, quite clever. The plot twist per se is not entirely unpredictable, but it clearly marks a before and after.

From that point on, all the little mysteries will become certainties (sometimes explained in a little too obvious way), and the book turns into something entirely different. A critic towards media manipulating information, human relationships, psychological instability, irresponsible parenting... You name it!

Frankly, every single character is detestable. Each one of them is crazy, mentally sick in all seriousness. And this author, Miss Gillian Flynn, manipulates your mind, making you feel things about this despicable beings that you didn’t think you were capable of, which is really interesting! Dumb bitch.

Sadly, this characters are far from flawless in many ways. There are a couple of inconsistencies when it comes to their personalities. Example: Amy easily goes from utterly brilliant while plotting, to really dumb when she gets rob while on the run or abducted by Desi, to (again) absolutely clever when she gets back home. Same goes for the plot. Nick never realized that it was Amy setting him up, even when he’s asked about the google search “body floats Mississippi” that he never did, or the mysterious panties that belong to no one.

And the ending… completely wicked, but anticlimactic and a very sad ending. What was the author even trying to tell us with that? It seems fitting in some ways, but it doesn’t make any sense to me.

So in my personal opinion, every thought provoking aspect, and the only reason why I would think of recommending this book to anyone, is raised in the second half of the book. Not a good thriller, but it gave me a good idea of Flynn’s bizarre, dark mind. I’m in for another one of her books.

Emma

Emma - Jane Austen, Fiona Stafford 2½ redondeando para arriba a 3

Austenian Buddy-read with Denisse, Mitticus and Victoria.

Organization and Catering by: Liz* and Lau. Yums.

Tokio blues (Norwegian Wood)

Tokio blues (Norwegian Wood) - Haruki Murakami Actual Rating: 3½ stars

Primero que nada: Norwegian Wood de Los Beatles

La advertencia que se exhibe en la contratapa es completamente apropiada: Murakami –al igual que los Beatles- produce adicción, provoca numerosos efectos secundarios y su modo de narrar tiene algo de hipnótico y opiáceo.

Para una historia con una trama aparentemente inexistente y sin una dirección claramente definida, Tokio Blues es una novela fantásticamente atrapante.
Cuenta la historia de Toru Watanabe, un adolescente de 18 años de edad, que temprano en la vida tiene que enfrentarse a la muerte cuando su mejor amigo Kizuki se suicida. Watanabe, luego de éste acontecimiento, queda en un estado entumecido y aislado.
Naoko, la una vez novia de Kazuki, reaparece en su vida luego de muchos años y la melancolía que comparten los lleva a entablar una íntima y complicada relación.

Una vez que terminé este libro (y varios muchos días después) puedo decir con toda seguridad que esta es una historia de maduración, de crecimiento emocional, sobre la pérdida de la inocencia. Pero éste libro, que se supone es el más ‘directo y simple’ entre todas las obras del autor, es una mezcla constante de reflexiones y múltiples relatos con personajes más interesante y complejos que la trama misma.

Watanabe
Cuando uno está rodeado de tinieblas, la única alternativa es permanecer inmóvil hasta que sus ojos se acostumbren a la oscuridad.
Naoko
Si he dejado una herida en tu interior, ésta herida no es sólo tuya, también es mía.
Reiko
Lo que nos hace personas normales es saber que no somos normales
Nagasawa
No ambiciono el poder o el dinero. Tal vez sea un egoísta, pero es increíble lo poco que me interesan. En eso parezco un santo. Es más que nada curiosidad. Quiero medir mis fuerzas en el mundo cruel.
Midori
–Busco la perfección. Por eso es tan difícil.
–¿Un amor perfecto?
–¡No! No pido tanto. Lo que quiero es simple egoísmo. Un egoísmo perfecto.

Como mi primer Murakami, debo confesar que me dejó ligeramente shockeada por una interminable lista de características: la tristeza impregnada en el relato, lo cotidiano y aún profundo de la historia, la crudeza del sexo y la exposición de su poca o mucha relevancia, lo poético de la escritura, lo ligeramente macabro, la musicalización de las escenas.

Y, aún segura de que se me escapan un millón de rasgos relevantes (como el contexto histórico al cual presté muy poca atención), finalizo con una advertencia y un consejo.

Advertencia: No recomendado para personas depresivas.
Consejo: Leer durante altas horas de la madrugada.

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5)

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5) - Laini Taylor, Khristine Hvam, Kevin T. Collins Life doesn’t need magic to be magical.
(But a little bit sure doesn’t hurt.)



This story is short, cute and super funny; just like Zuze :D

Audiobook note:
Zuzana's narrator did a fantastic job! But, unfortunately, Mic's narrator was kind of boring and Mic is not boring!!!

Anyways...






All You Need Is Kill 1

All You Need Is Kill 1 - Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, Takeshi Obata Good one! Short, action packed and even romantic.

Better than the movie? I don't know, but most certainly different.

The Leopard Vanguard

The Leopard Vanguard - T.A. Uner 2.75 stars: The book was entertaining but couldn’t get me excited.

Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

A stolen treasure that hides a secret more valuable than gold itself, a recreated Roman Empire full of political intrigue where magic has been forbidden and almost forgotten, and a hero that will slowly unravel all the secrecy and mysteries.

From the very start of the book, our protagonist, Senior Centurion of the Roman Legion Tullus, will be riding into battle, what is nothing but promising. The particular turning of events will give him an unrefusable opportunity which will lead him to Rome and the possibility of a better life.

This is probably a good moment to insert a warning: if you haven’t read the synopsis of this book, please DON’T. Let’s say that it is a little bit too informative.

So, unfortunately, after that very well written first battle the plot soothes and left me reading a quasi-predictable story (at least until half the book), spiced up with gore and sex scenes, and with a bunch of characters I couldn’t really relate to:

- Tullus is a hero who is honest and does not so honest things to achieve the goals that he thinks are honest.
- The women, Ana and Eliana, are both portrayed as strong characters, but they both have a slightly neurotic side.
- Norbanus, the tribune, is the best developed character in my opinion. He lets us see his past and what exactly fuels his actions and his greed for power.
- Scorpio is that bad man that does bad thing. It would have been cooler if there was some development or a little more information about his past.
- Celestra, the incantra leopardess, that is as intelligent as any human being and posses the power of summoning thought provoked spells. She’s pretty awesome, I can’t deny.

In general, there is a palpable sense of drama that, for my personal liking, goes a little over the top drenching everything: the plot, dialogues, characters and the actions they take, making it all seem a little absurd at times (example: the whole leopard king disguise and act). But, of course, that’s a pretty subjective opinion.

Regarding the historical settings, I’m no Roman history expert, but it does feel really good. We set off from the prologue with the Tacfarinas rebellion, through the ascension of Emperor Caligula and until the actual change of mind during his rule which inspired lots and very interesting rumors that the author uses fully. It’s pretty clear that the author did a good share of investigation for this book.

As for the plot, there seems to be a separation between the trilogy plot and the actual plot of this book. This book establishes a well conformed, good paced story with a begining, middle and ending, but the trilogy plot seems to barely advance reveling very little about, for example, what happened to magic and air paladins or what is exactly the value of the stolen treasure.

Concluding, I would say The Leopard Vanguard has everything needed for a light, entertaining read: adventure, action, gore, sex and romance, with a strong point on historical setting. I wouldn’t jump into this looking for fantasy and lots of magic, complex plot or political intrigue (as it’s quite transparent to the reader).

A final thanks to T.A Uner for allowing me to read his books and being so very attentive during the whole process.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor The imminent Arrival is here, and Earth could be caught up in a war of another universe, a war that for once mankind didn’t asked for. Akiva and Karou’s once shared dream of peace reemerges, but for peace to prevail they must unite chimaera and seraphim and let go of a past full of death and hatred.



You would think this was a love story (although we had a good share of heated glares between Akiva and Karou), but in all honesty, this is in fact a beautiful story about destiny and faith.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters is the grand conclusion that this series needed, but it’s not simply that. Laini Taylor surely thought that telling us how our protagonist’s relationship would conclude or if eternal enemies could in fact overcome their differences in order to confront a greater evil wasn’t enough, so she added so much more.

Right from chapter one, we encounter a new character: Eliza, a young woman who suffers of vivid night terrors, dreams of gods and terrible monsters.
Scarab, the queen of stelian seraphim will make a new inclusion too; she’ll be out hunting for the powerful magus whose magic could be perceived around the whole Eretz.
Both character’s chapters would be scatter along the book to add to the general thrilling sensation and mystery.

A lot of our old character will either add little bits to the plot, or add lots and display a significant development. Some will die, and some will live with the guilt that surviving carries. Ones will make you want to become a fictional character for the solely reason of being able to punch their ugly faces, and others will make you laugh.

But how a story which main aspect is war could be fun? Taylor’s magic! She’s been able to write a dark and terrible story, lightened with cutesy and humor (as always brought by Mik and Zuze) and entirely focused on sending one positive message: “Cake as a way of life”.
Mmm, maybe that wasn’t the message. Let’s try again: “Hope makes its own magic”.

The explanation of magic is explored a little deeper, not yet reaching a full development. In many fantasies magic is a mysterious force that just works and exists, and this one is not the exception. A particular aspect of magic called telestethia was quite interesting, something similar to telepathy that gives the possibility of projecting feelings or memories to other person's brain.

The plot evolves in a good pace to the zenith of the story, but that will just be the starting point for Taylor’s stitching up every little thread she previously set in an unexpected and awesome finale. The ending is left purpously open, but instead of giving the story a sense of lack of closure, it in fact enfouces the story with more realism.
“It was not a happy ending, but a happy middle - at last, after so many fraught beginnings. Their story would be long. Much would be written of them, some of it in verse, some sung, and some in plain prose, in volumes to be penned for the archives of cities not yet built.”


Side note: La traducción al español es espectacular. No me digan que Advenimiento no suena mejor que Arrival!

American Gods

American Gods - Neil Gaiman I'm just going to say that I enjoyed more the process of reading this book and taking a glance at Neil Gaiman's marvelous and so very weird mind, than the actual conclusion to the story.


"Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives."