Monday, February 29, 2016

The 15 Weird Questions Tag

Yesterday I saw that Jen @ The Starry Eyed Revue answered 15 weird questions and since it looks very fun and since I'm super weird, I decided to answer them as well. Here we go

1. A nickname that you get called

It used to be Tweety up until a few years ago. These days I'm called by my name, which is kinda good. Makes me feel slightly normal, which is a nice feeling :))

2. A weird habit

My habits aren't weird, they're just unique. Before I get out of the house, I triple check everything, from the stove, to the windows, to the doors. EVERYTHING. If I don't do that, I will be bothered by the idea that I may have forgotten to check something all day long. That sounds OCD-ish, doesn't it?

3. A weird phobia

Spiders are disgusting. I am also terrified of the times when I need to get up on a chair to reach something in my upper kitchen cabinets.

4. A song you are ashamed to like so you blast it in private

I'm not ashamed to like any songs, really. I do make sure I'm not surrounded by minors if I blast some hip hop because you know... curse words.

5. A pet peeve

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"A" pet peeve? I like how this one is phrased. Like I have just one. The biggest's... Look. I have sensitive hearing. I hate repetitive noises. Like people who click a ballpoint pen on and off. WHY THE HELL DO YOU DO THAT???? WHY? After 5 minutes spent in the company of those people I wanna smack them. Hard.

6. A nervous habit

Cracking my knuckles, bouncing my feet, tapping my fingers. You know, signs of a well-adjusted individual *laughs nervously*

7. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

The middle. I have a big-ass bed, so I get to sleep in the middle.

8. The name of your first stuffed animal.

Benny. It was a pink bunny that has somehow survived for nearly 3 decades (gosh, I'm old!). I still have it today and he sometimes makes himself noticed in some of my Instagram photos. But he's a shy bunny, so he doesn't let me take photos of him every day.

9. What do you buy at Starbucks?

I live in Italy, so no Starbucks, at least not in my town. But I usually get espresso when I go to cafeterias. On rare occasions, I'll drink cappuccinos, which are delicious, but not strong enough :)) I've also discovered ginseng coffee recently. It's not bad, and the coffee fiend in my appreciates it, but again I need something stronger.

10. Beauty rule

Whatever you decide to do, try out a new haircut, put on makeup, dress in fancy clothes or comfy clothes or whatever, do it for yourself. Because you need to like yourself, regardless of what other people think of you.

11. Which way do you face in the shower?

Ummm...I...rotate? I mean... Damn, I never thought of that. I usually stay with my back to the shower, because I need my back to be warm, otherwise I don't enjoy my shower. Does that make me weirder?

12. A weird body skill

I'm flexible which in my case is a negative thing. I can bend my left thumb backwards to touch my forearm. I can bend my toes and keep them in a "fist" for long periods of time. I'm too flexible, which can create problems and in fact has created some problems in the past for me.

13. Comfort food

Chocolate. I eat chocolate when I'm sad, when I'm happy, when I'm feeling crappy because of my period (TMI there, I know), when I feel like I need to reward myself after managing a full week of healthy diet. Chocolate is very versatile for me :D

14. A word or phrase that you say all the time

Do curse words count? Hell, I say hell a lot.

15. What do you sleep in?

A t-shirt. Or sometimes, if I'm really cold, I'll sleep in a PJ shirt.

This was fun! I might do more tags soon. If you want to do it, go ahead. Let me know so I can check your answers :D

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Book Soundtrack #20: Firstlife by Gena Showalter


Sunday Book Soundtrack is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books, where I share some of my bookish soundtracks. Since I discovered my passion for reading years ago, I've discovered that more and more of the songs I loved remind me of certain books. So I thought I'd share my playlists with you. If you want to listen to the songs, I'll post a link to a Youtube videos for each and every title. No copyright infringement intended! I'll try to find the official videos for each song. There's no set number for each playlist, sometimes I might have 10, sometimes 5, sometimes if I'm one of my moods I'll have 15. If you want to read more about this feature, click the "show more" button below. 

Hey guys! I've discovered the magical place called Spotify, which means I get to make bookish playlists so much easier. I'm also thinking about uploading my old Sunday Book Soundtrack playlists there soom. Thank you Kara @ Great Imaginations to recommend it to me *sends hugs and kisses*

This week's playlist is inspired by Firstlife by Gena Showalter. I loved this book so much and I had fun creating this playlist. I hope you enjoy it. Also, if you want to check out my review, click here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Obsessed With Covers #33: 5 to 1, Rebel of the Sands, Mind Games

Y'all know how much I love a pretty cover. I think about...40% of the books that end up on my shelves (be they physical or digital) do so because of the covers. Call me shallow but you have to admit that a pretty, shiny cover will catch your eye faster than a dull, boring one. Two, simple rules that I'll follow:

  • 1, 2 or 3 (no more than 3, though) covers per week;
  • books should be new-ish; no more than 2 years old.
Oh, before I share the covers that made me drool or want to stare at them for hours and hours, I have to say something. This is a semi-original idea. Why semi? Because almost every book blogger has something similar. The only thing I came up with was the title. If by any chance there's another blogger with a similar feature with the same title, I assure you I'm not stealing your idea. I'm just THAT bad with titles. Believe me, I'd love to be smarter and have a witty name for this feature, but I don't. So, no copyright infringement/theft/steal or anything of the sort was desired. All I can say is sorry :P


This week's edition of Obsessed With Covers is inspired by Zentangle. I recently discovered the pleasures of Zentangle and of making something out of my random doodles and these covers are way too pretty not to resemble some of the best doodle art I've seen so far.

I've always been fascinated by the art of henna tattoos. They look absolutely gorgeous and I always get curious to know if the designs mean anything, either spiritually or just if they have a hidden meaning for each person that wears them. It's no wonder that the cover of 5 to 1 caught my eye. Just looking at the cover, however, I don't really get a sense of what the connection between the cover art and the title is. I did read the blurb, so that helped me understand that connection a bit more. I also love the different colors used to make the drawings pop.

5 to 1 - Holly Bodger

That's a lion, right? I'm not the only one who sees it, right? Having recently watched Aladdin, it is very easy for me to make the connection between the cover art and the entrance to the Cave of Wonders from the movie. And that is such a cool thing, because it makes me instantly interested in reading the story. I love how the mane was drawn. I love how the rider is so small, making it seem like the viewer shouldn't see him, like he (or is it she?) should've managed to get out of the frame unseen, undetected. I also love the sand dune and the sand lines overlapping most of the photo, almost as much as I love the silhouette of the palace.

Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton

I love how simple this cover is, and yet it really makes the title make sense. I really like the placement of the words. It's almost as if the mind games refer to what you see, not what you think. Does that make sense? That's the idea that I get from the cover. I am very curious about this book, based only on the cover. I wish the paperback version were embossed, though. I feel like that would be such a cool thing, for the cover to be embossed. Or maybe the background is matte? All I know is that I can't wait to get out of my book buying ban to get my hands on this pretty :D

Mind Games - Teri Terry

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday Chatter #13: Does it matter if you don't connect with characters?

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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Hey guys! Happy Wednesday! Today I want to talk to you about characters. I said this in a comment for a blog post a few weeks ago (if I find the post, I'll share!), but for me a lot of times the characters are more important than the plot itself. It's good to read about a good story, but most of the time how I relate to characters, how I feel about them, influence my reading experience.

When I was in school, I used to not enjoy most of the books that we had to read for Literature class. And that's due in part to the fact that they were classic novels, which bore me, but also to the fact that I really didn't care about the characters. The books that I did enjoy were the books that made me give a damn if a character lives or dies.

So this got me thinking. Of all the books I end up DNFing, how many of those are influenced by my lack of connection with the characters? The answer is about 70%, which is a lot. But seriously, most of the books I love are books that made me feel something for those characters.

I usually struggle the most with books written from one character's POV. If I hate that character, or if I don't understand their reasoning, chances are I won't like the book. My problem however doesn't stem from not relating to the character. This probably is due to either my brain being wired differently, or to the fact that my day-to-day job is as a psychologist, but I don't believe I need to relate to a character or to know what they're going through in order to understand their story or to like it. My problem usually involves those characters that I can't stand. Or those characters I can't understand, the ones that make me roll my eyes so hard, I get dizzy and get a headache over they're actions.

What about you? Do you care if you don't have any feelings, positive or negative, towards a character? Is it a deal breaker for you and does it make you DNF a book faster than a book with a not-so-good plot?

Book Review: Dead in the Water by Hailey Edwards

Author: Hailey Edwards
Series: Gemini #1
Publisher: CrushStar Multimedia LLC
Release Date: January 30th 2016
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Camille Ellis is the Earthen Conclave’s golden girl. Her peculiar talent solves cases with a touch. She isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty, but every bright star casts a shadow, and her deepest scars lurk just beneath the skin.

A routine consultation goes sideways when a victim’s brother gets involved in the investigation. Riding the edge of grief, the warg will go to any lengths to avenge his sister’s death. Even if it means ensuring Cam’s cooperation at the jaws of his wolf.

When the killer strikes again, Cam is caught between a warg and a hard place. To save the next victim, she must embrace her past. Even if it means dragging her darkest secrets into the light of day.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and CrushStar Multimedia LLC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It's always a pleasure going back to a favorite author, if for no other reason than knowing I'm going to enjoy reading their book. So it shouldn't surprise you when I'll say that I adored the newest book by Hailey Edwards.

Urban fantasy, with a kick-ass heroine, a hot hero and a dangerous mission? Yes, please and thank you! I started reading this book not realizing that it was connected to two other series. I found that little detail a few days ago, on the author's website. The thing that surprised me a lot, though, was the fact that reading the book, there isn't a sense of something missing or of confusion. Which is such a great thing, because it is really easy to get me confused if I read books out of order. This just felt like I was getting little pieces out of a giant puzzle, that make sense separately, but that when put together they make up a giant picture. So I'm definitely going to check out the other books.

My heart broke for Cam the entire time I read this book. During the entire story it seems like she's on a mission to redeem herself, all the while punishing herself. It was sad and heartbreaking. To add to her pain, her boss is horrible to her. I do want to know more about Cam's powers, because they're very interesting and unique. I also want to know what else she can do.

Graeson is a very hot warg, let me start with that! The poor guy went through a difficult time in this book, which is probably why Cam was able to relate to him so much. I respect his sense of duty. Even though he was in pain, he managed to overcome his need for revenge and try to do the right thing. I can't wait to learn more about him and about his role in the warg pack.

There's a secondary character that I absolutely adored, named Harlow. She was absolutely hilarious at times and I loved her a lot. I can't help but keep my fingers crossed that she'll one day get her own series, because this lady deserves it. Plus, it would be highly fascinating to be in her head for a while.

I have to talk about the ending as well. It killed me. One moment I'm reading and turning the pages on my app, the next thing I know, it's like I'm watching a two-part tv show episode and they say "Tune in next week to learn how this story ends". WHAAAt? This book ends on a major cliffhanger and I was shocked by it. However, I have to say, this makes me even more curious to see how the story ends, if the good guys win, if the bad guy is caught, if the bad guy turns out to be who I think he/she is, and all that.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book a lot and I can't wait for more.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Obsessed With Covers #32: Masquerade, The Republic of Thieves, Masks and Shadows

Y'all know how much I love a pretty cover. I think about...40% of the books that end up on my shelves (be they physical or digital) do so because of the covers. Call me shallow but you have to admit that a pretty, shiny cover will catch your eye faster than a dull, boring one. Two, simple rules that I'll follow:

  • 1, 2 or 3 (no more than 3, though) covers per week;
  • books should be new-ish; no more than 2 years old.
Oh, before I share the covers that made me drool or want to stare at them for hours and hours, I have to say something. This is a semi-original idea. Why semi? Because almost every book blogger has something similar. The only thing I came up with was the title. If by any chance there's another blogger with a similar feature with the same title, I assure you I'm not stealing your idea. I'm just THAT bad with titles. Believe me, I'd love to be smarter and have a witty name for this feature, but I don't. So, no copyright infringement/theft/steal or anything of the sort was desired. All I can say is sorry :P


Tomorrow the Venice Carnival ends and I thought it would be good idea if I went searching for some carnival inspired covers out there. I found a few gorgeous, gorgeous ones that I'm very happy to share with you.

There's something about the full mask that makes this cover very mysterious. I love the fact that I can't be sure if that's a woman or a man behind the mask. I also love that there's no color on the mask at all, highlighting the cover model's gorgeous blue eyes. And I like that the mask is bigger than Rialto bridge's silhouette. I want to know what secret the model hides, I want to know why the mask is needed. I assume there's something revolving around her/his identity, maybe they did something terrible in the past or maybe they just hide from their family's legacy. Simply put, I want to know everything there is to know about this person and their secrets

Marquerade - Melissa de la Cruz

The fact that this cover features one of the most famous Venetian masks is why I noticed it in the first place. I also can't help but notice that despite the title, it seems like the masked woman either just killed someone or barely escaped a brutal fight. Either way, I love the contrast between her black clothes and bloody swords, and the pristine red robes of the man behind her. It seems, in a way, that she's protecting him at all costs, while he hides behind her, plotting. The foggy background makes me think that this idea of someone plotting isn't too far off (I always think someone plans something entirely evil on a foggy day. Foggy days are creepy to me, okay?). I also can't help but notice that the cover isn't similar to the other covers from this series (bummer!). But the cover is gorgeous and I want to know what the series is about.

The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch

I love the colored smoke. Despite the mask, the smoke is the first thing I noticed. Plus, the violet and blue combination of colors, which is one of my favorite color combo ever. The one thing that I can't get past though is the fact that not only is the person wearing a mask to conceal their identity, they also have their eyes closed. So you really have no idea who is behind that mask, not even a tiny clue. I'm also intrigued by the curtains, which made me think about the opera or a theater. So I get the sense that this person is really powerful, influential, but also someone that is controlling things from behind the scenes if that makes sense. Also, I love how the "shadows" from the title are around the person, while the building almost has a spotlight on it. I'm very curious about the book, now.

Masks and Shadows - Stephanie Burgis

Monday, February 1, 2016

Early Book Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Author: Gena Showalter
Series: Everlife #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: February 23rd 201
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):



Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

*Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this copy from Netgalley and Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Life after death is one of those topics that will always be of interest to people, for various reasons, whether it's scientific curiosity, fear of the unknown or personal beliefs. I've always been fascinated with how different people interpret and imagine it, which is what attracted me to requesting and reading Firstlife.

I was very fascinated with the mythology of this world, the idea that you can choose where to go in the Afterlife, either Troika or Myriad. Usually the story of the afterlife is pretty much the one we've grown up with, that if you do good in this life, you end up in Heaven, if you do bad things, you end up in Hell. So I really enjoyed that aspect of free will and the fact that no matter what you do, you can choose how life after death is going to be like.

Tenley, or Ten as friends call her, is in a really bad place at the beginning of this book. I admired her courage, her stubbornness, and her conviction. I personally would have folded and would have accepted anything just to make my life easier. I liked the fact that she was also very loyal to her friends and that she had that "no man left behind" code, when a lot of other people wouldn't have given a damn. I also enjoyed her fascination with numbers. I thought that made her a very unique character and made her stand out more.

The boys, Killian and Archer, make the entire story much wilder and interesting than I first imagined. I didn't get the feeling of a love triangle, which made me insanely happy. Instead, I got the impression that they were willing to put their differences aside and make the right choices for the things they believed in, even if it might have gone against their world. There's an interesting dynamic not only between the two guys and Ten, but also between the guys themselves. There's definitely a story worth exploring there and I'm sure that there's a lot of other stuff that wasn't mentioned in this book that I want to see mentioned in the next books.

Aside from being a fantasy, dystopian story about life after death, I feel like at the core of this book there's the theme of parent-child relationships. I felt like the asylum was a giant metaphor for dysfunctional, toxic relationships between a child or a teenager and whoever raises them and is their legal guardian, be they a biological parent or whatever. It was something that honestly surprised me a little bit, because I wasn't expecting that, but it was done beautifully and I am glad that this was one of the many themes in the book.

As far as pacing goes, I felt like it was well paced, not too fast, not too slow. The ending came out of nowhere and I was shocked that it ended the way it did. It was a massive cliffhanger in my opinion and I am curious to see when exactly will the story be picked up in the next book.

This was a fantastic read and I am very, very excited for book number 2 and the (hopefully) many more books to come.

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