Sunday, May 20, 2018

Science in Fiction (#40): Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris


Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm featuring Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris!



I read Unraveling years ago, but only very recently read Unbreakable. It's the sequel and conclusion to this science fiction duology, an "older" one in YA. This series is filled with action, tension, and high stakes. I loved the pacing of this novel, and coupled with an intense plot, the story was unbeatable. It's a story dealing with parallel universes and exceptional abilities (in one character's case, anyway). 

So today, I'm going to talk about parallel universes!

I may have talked about this before. It's a strange topic in science because it's not proven - so it's not really science. But just because something isn't known doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I can't provide any facts for you today, but I think it would be interesting to consider the possibility of parallel universes.

I recently read an article, published on May 9th, 2018, about parallel universes. The article, which can be read on Space.com, breaks down five different types of multiverses, which I thought was neat.

1. Infinite universes: space-time is flat and infinite, and many universes exist.

2. Bubble universes: each universe is in a bubble, and it grows within its own bubble. This means that other universes could have completely different laws of physics, which is really, really cool.

3. Daughter universes: think of it this way: for every outcome that a decision could have (at least two outcomes), there is a universe. This is similar to the idea brought about in Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke. That was an excellent book, by the way!

4. Mathematical universes: basically, structural mathematics could vary depending on the universe, and things could be very different without human understanding. This one is kind of vague and doesn't really make sense to me, but I'm sure scientists know what they're talking about.

5. Parallel universes: space-time is flat, the number of particle configurations is limited, and particles repeat themselves in terms of arrangements. This lends itself to the idea that there are many parallel universes, many universes just like ours but slightly different in some way.


Personally, I like the idea of the daughter universes. It is the whole premise behind Dissonance, one of my favorite YA science fiction books. What you could travel to a universe where you could see how things turned out if you made a different decision? That would be neat. And scary too. The parallel universe theory doesn't have a lot of support or science behind it, but it is something cool to think about. For now, we can enjoy the science fiction created from it!

- The Chronicles of Narnia
- Men Like Gods
- "Back to the Future"
- His Dark Materials
- "Stranger Things"
- Dissonance 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#282)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!


So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, May 13th to Saturday, May `9th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:



Phew! That was a lot. All of them were unsolicited except Zodiac, which I received via trade. I just love that original cover. Thank you, Mia, and all the publishers! (Penguin Random House, Berkley, Harper, HMH Teen, and Simon & Schuster)


From Edelweiss:

    


I downloaded Ace of Hearts on a whim and really enjoyed the book! Then I downloaded Knuckle Down and liked it though not as much as the first book. And then Going Rogue appeared on Edelweiss later this week! I love the timing. I'm reading it soon!


Reviews from this week:

  
(Click on the covers to go to my reviews!)


Favorite Instagram post from this week:

None this week!


It rained and rained and rained this week! The weather has really brought morale down and I'm over it. Isn't it amazing how weather can affect your moods?

Friday, May 18, 2018

My Favorite Books that were Recommended to Me

Happy Friday, bibliovores! Today is another day in which I didn't feel like writing/posting a review, but did feel like posting something... so I'm doing another favorites post! You can check out my my favorite YA books with "blood" in the title HERE, favorite YA books that need a sequel HERE, favorite YA books with hate-to-love romance HERE, favorite books with the word "shadow" in the title HERE, favorite adult books (alphabet style) HERE, favorite Jane-Austen-Inspired YA books HERE, favorite YA foreign editions posts HERE, favorite YA books (alphabet style) HERE, favorite YA books with one-word titles HERE, favorite swoons from YA books HERE.

Here are some of my favorite books that were recommended to me! 

Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)

The whole series was recommended to me by the wonderful Pili, but I especially loved Fated!

Time Served (Time Served #1)

One of my favorite adult romance books of all time recommended by Dear Author!

Beauty and the Barbarian (Highland Force, #3)

I read this one quite recently and loved it. Thanks, Renee!


Quite possibly my favorite Tessa Bailey book of all time. It's an old one, recommended by Jessirae!

The Naming (Pellinor, #1)  The Riddle (The Books of Pellinor, #2)
The Crow (The Books of Pellinor, #3)  The Singing (The Books of Pellinor, #4)

I read these books a long time ago, when I was a young teen. I enjoyed them then, but I have a feeling I would enjoy them even more since time has passed. They were my sister's favorite books back in the day (and still are). Thanks for the rec, Lily!

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)

I remember seeing Ashley pick up this book and love it. She has good taste!

The Deal (Off-Campus, #1)

A looooot of people recommended this book to me, but I remember Nereyda pushing it hard!

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

Pili (who is spot-on with her recs for me) recommended the whole series, which I enjoyed, but I particularly loved book one! The conclusion was also really good. =)


I'm a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, and these wonderful people deserve a shout-out for recommending books that I ended up loving (and honestly, just recommending books in general). There are many more that I am not thinking of, and these are just a few of my favorites. As always, if you have any recommendations for me, please tell me! =)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#277): Ace of Hearts by Chantal Fernando


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is from Ace of Hearts by Chantal Fernando!


He gently pushes me back into my room and closes the door behind us, this time pressing the lock.

"Is that what this is? Connection?" he asks me, sounding doubtful.

Before I can reply though, he lowers his head, cupping my cheeks in his warm, rough palms, and kisses me. Gentle at first, soft and sweet. Unsure. All that soon changes as we melt into the kiss, his lips becoming demanding, greedy. His tongue slips inside my mouth, and his hands move from my face to my waist, pulling me closer. I moan as he dips me back, my back arching, like in a romantic movie. His thumbs caress my hips, and I'm lost in the sensations. I've never been kissed like this in my life, and I have to wonder if I hadn't met him, if I ever would.

- eARC, 30%

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ace of Hearts review | Knuckle Down review


I loved this book! I also read the sequel, Knuckle Down, which wasn't as good but it was still not bad. I just downloaded book three, Going Rogue, from Edelweiss, and I cannot wait to start it. This series is going well for me so far - I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#281): The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family's enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good. 

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.



This sounds so trippy! I've browsed through some reviews on Goodreads and it seems like this book is really intriguing and twisted. And there's a star-crossed lovers romance. I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (12)


Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is: 

Books I Disliked/Hated but Am Really Glad I Read

Image result for city of fallen angels book coverThe Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, #3)Nightshade (Nightshade #1; Nightshade World #4)
Warrior Witch  (The Malediction Trilogy, #3)Weather Witch (Weather Witch, #1)Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1)
Insatiable (Insatiable, #1)The Crown's Fate (The Crown's Game, #2)Tell the Wind and Fire
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes, #2)Promise of ShadowsThese Ruthless Deeds (These Vicious Masks, #2)


This was an easy topic for me. I feel like I tend to read books in a series that I know I won't like, just to keep going and finish the series. You'll notice that most of these books are sequels. It's a continuity thing - I like to finish what I start. But at the same time, it probably would be easier for me if I just stopped in the series when I think I won't enjoy the rest. It's so risky though! What if the series gets better? Such a struggle.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Knuckle Down by Chantal Fernando


Knuckle Down by Chantal Fernando
Book Two of the Cursed Ravens series
Publisher: Pocket Star (Gallery)
Publication Date: July 9, 2018
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

A single father struggles to change for his daughters and the woman he loves in this second book in the Cursed Ravens Motorcycle Club series from New York Times bestselling author Chantal Fernando.

As a single father of two girls and the sergeant at arms for the Cursed Ravens Motorcycle Club, Jack “Knuckles” Chester doesn’t have much free time. And having earned his road name from his reputation as a fighter, Knuckles isn’t one to back away from a challenge.

But what he'll never admit out loud is that his two daughters have changed him irrevocably, softened him even. And these two girls are the only women who will ever hold his heart forever. That is, until he meets the cousin of another biker’s old lady.

Celina is nothing like the women Knuckles used to date. She’s a journalist for the local newspaper, dresses well, and basically just has her life together. And the last thing she wants is to be involved with a Cursed Raven. But when the ripped, badass biker worms his way into her heart, she has trouble remembering all the reasons they would never work.

But when a scandal at her newspaper breaks the thin trust she has with Knuckles, will she walk away for good? Or will Knuckles fight to keep Celina in his life?

What I Liked:

This book was an honest-to-goodness roller coaster. It had a little bit of everything in it. There was a tough, guarded heroine, a sexy and sweet hero, his two daughters, some baby mama drama, arrests, pregnant strangers, sabotage, plagiarism (our heroine is a journalist)... there was a lot going on, in this book. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about everything. I know I didn't like this book quite as much as I liked Ace of Hearts. That book had a fresh, sexy feel to it. This book involved a lot more drama, and I don't really care for drama. But I did like the protagonists. There were plenty of things to like, but plenty of things that I didn't care for, so I'm torn!

Celina is Erin's cousin (Erin is the female protagonist of Ace of Hearts). Despite her and Erin's age difference - Erin being in her early twenties, Celina being in her late twenties - she and Erin are very close. When Erin invites her to her birthday party at the Cursed Ravens clubhouse, Celina isn't going to say no. There she meets Knuckles, the MC's "protector", and Erin's and Ace's friend... let's just say neither Celina nor Knuckles had a chance, after meeting each other. But both of them have been burned by previous partners, and both of them have trust issues. When Celina's job as a journalist interferes with their fragile trust, she and Knuckles will have to decide if it's game over between them. Celina runs when things get difficult, and Knuckles hides behind his temper. But they both can't hide their feelings for the other, and they both will fight for what they have. 

Knuckles was one of my favorite characters from Ace of Hearts, so it was no surprise that I really loved seeing him in a closer light. He's the rough-and-tumble protector of the MC - hence the nickname - but he's also a teddy bear sweetheart. He has two girls - Willow and Westley, around the ages of nine and thirteen, and he loves them dearly. Despite his relationship with their mother Flora not working out, Knuckles has kept things cordial with Flora, and he has gone above and beyond for his daughters (more than Flora). Knuckles is kind and persistent, protective and genuine. He's loyal and honest and just a good person all around.

I loved his relationship with his girls, and I loved the girls too. Usually I do not go for romance novels that feature the hero or heroine with children from a previous relationship. I do not like romance novels with children involved, or surprise pregnancies. But I liked Willow and Westley a lot, and I was pleased with their growing relationship with Celina. She accepted them as Knuckles' children, and she also didn't try to become their mother.

Celina is a tough nut to crack. She has so many walls up because of her last relationship (mind you, she was in a relationship with someone who is still a coworker, which is awkward). She doesn't let anyone in, so it's a miracle that Knuckles got past her defenses. Celina is a strong independent who don't need no man, but she finds one anyway, and he's a strong equal and complement. I liked Celina, I didn't like Celina. Let's put it this way - I liked her sometimes, and other times, I wanted to press her mute button. She was annoying sometimes - her logic didn't always make sense. She passed blame around and didn't accept any, and this always gets on my nerves. But she wasn't all bad, and I definitely see why Erin admires her so much. 

As far as Knuckles and Celina's relationship goes, I'd say they are a great match. He's a tough alpha male (though not an alphahole), but also a sweet protector and caregiver. Celina is a tough woman who is guarded but also loves with her whole heart. They get comfortable and peaceful with each other fairly quickly, because they clicked fairly quickly. Their personalities fit together, and their chemistry definitely did too.

I want to say that Ace of Hearts was steamier, but this book had its fair share of sexy times. I feel like the author didn't write out as many though - there were a lot of fade-to-black sexy times.

I said this earlier, but this book was a roller coaster! There was a ton of drama, and a ton of events occurring back to back. You'll have to read the book to see what I mean. But the plot didn't stop until the very end, when the book was over. The ending was a very cute HEA, which is always a good thing. There was a lot going on, but a good HEA makes up for a lot.

What I Did Not Like:

There was a lot of drama in this book, and I personally don't like too much drama in romance novels. For one, Knuckles has a baby mama, and while she doesn't show up for most of the book, she does show up towards the climax, and she's a mess. There is some baby mama drama and it felt so unnecessary and petty. It didn't belong in the story.

And then there was another thing that presented some drama, which I won't talk about because it's super spoiler-y. That thing also felt a little unnecessary, though I do understand why the author worked that trope into the story. It just felt sudden and also near-impossible.

And of course, this book features two protagonists who experience second love with each other. Each of them dealt with lying, cheating exes, before meeting each other. I have nothing against second love romances. It's second-chance romances that I don't like. But somehow, this second love romance had a little too much drama for me. Leave the exes out of the story. But sides of exes felt unnecessary to the story.

I mentioned above how I didn't always like Celina. Sometimes she was irritating. She didn't know how to accept blame, or accept the fact that she was also at fault and also needed to apologize. Knuckles shouldn't be the only one swallowing his pride, at the climax. She needed to fight for him just as much as he fought for her, because the issue was mostly HER fault (not his). He reacted badly, but anyone would, when what Celina did came to light. I felt bad for her because she didn't do everything wrong, but in the end, she should have also been apologizing and trying to win back Knuckles, and not just the other way around. This really irritates me, when it's only the man groveling and begging, but it's the woman who is at fault and should be begging.

I felt like there wasn't as much involving the motorcycle club, in this book. Perhaps because most of the book was spent at Celina's house or away from the clubhouse. I liked how Ace of Hearts showed life inside the clubhouse, and the brotherhood, and the motorcycles. This second book could have been a non-MC-romance novel, honestly.

Also, more sexy times! More written-out sexy times! The fade-to-black scenes were numerous and frustrating. Great chemistry needed to unfold on the page!

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend book one, Ace of Hearts. It has basically no drama, no baby mamas, no [insert trope here that I absolutely hate], no children (not that I minded Willow and Westley), and the heroine (Erin) was likable in her entirety. This book... I don't really recommend it like I would the previous book, but it wasn't that bad. Mostly it just wasn't for me.

Rating:

3.5 stars -> rounded down to 3 stars. I feel positively towards this book, but I just didn't love it like I loved Ace of Hearts. I am really excited about Going Rogue though. Rogue is so dreamy, and I LOVE the sweet nurse + alpha bad boy trope. I can't wait!


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