Se spune că nicio poveste bună nu ar începe cu „Mîncam o salată”. Drumul lui Robert începe exact cu această masă banală. De fapt, drumul său începe mult mai devreme, cu dragostea pentru muzică și cărți, un tată abuziv emoțional și o fostă prietenă care este vinovată pentru toate, desigur. Urmează o slujbă într-o corporație, insomnii și un drog nou, conversații în baie cu prietenul său cel mai bun, o relație cu neobișnuita elevă căreia îi predă lecții de vioară și o adevărată obsesie pentru imaginea femeii ideale.
Un roman despre identitate, anxietate și ispite, Stresul dintre orgasme caută să descopere acel greu de găsit lucru de care avem nevoie într-o lume grăbită.
„M-am născut stresat și tremurînd, dar îți garantez că nu a fost nimic față de ce a urmat. Tensiunea nu se eliberează niciodată, toate orgasmele, toate satisfacțiile sunt doar puncte maxime de încordare, fără să existe o explozie, fără să se elibereze elasticul, e întins, e întins, cît te mai poți întinde?”

My opinion:
Only love and death will change all things.
Trăirile și sentimetele reprezintă o bucată mare din ființa noastră, pentru că ne gândim, ce ne-am face fără ele? Ce am face fără ele? Am umbla ca niște zombii ambulanți și nu am fi în stare să strângem la piep un fluture, dar nici să omorâm un gândac. Am fi nimeni. 90% din viața noastră e trăită în emoții și sentimente. Când ne aducem aminte de ceva, ne aducem aminte de acel sentiment, nu de amintirea în sine. Sentimentele au menirea de a ne umple golul sau de a vărsa plinul, rareori. Mai niciodată nu dăm curs sentimentelor. Niciodată nu ne gândim la ele ca la ceva concret. Le simțim. Dar, Ana Mănescu ne arată prin magnifica ei scriere cum acestea pot fi așternute pe foaie și să te cuprindă pe tine, cititorul, în toată voluptatea lor.

Citind cărțile ei, am învățat să acord o mai amre însemnătate lor, să transpun ceea ce ele îmi oferă în viața de zi cu zi. De la ură, la emaptie și fericire, orice mic sentiment pe care îl trăiești trebuie „văzut”, interiorizat și trăit la intensitate. Nu îl ascunde într-un colț al minții tale, pedepsindu-l pentru că tu nu ai timp de el.
La fel ca restul cărților ei, Stresul dintre orgasme nu dezamagește în ceea ce privește scrisul autoarei. E tot acel plin de sentimentalism și poetic cu care ea ne-a obișnuit. Scrisul său parcă este cuprins de o magie, specifică literaturii columbiene, care imbină realul cu magicul, dar care oferă un plus de vrajă scrisului. Îmi pare, când citesc rândurile scrise de ea, că o vrăbiuță molestată de viața în care trăiește, își dă sufletul pentru a ne face să înțelegem durerea ei și rolul ei în viață. Iar pe lângă asta, îți oferă și o poveste demnă ca rol moralizator. Psihologismul din ea este dusă la cote maxime, exploatțnd ființa atât trupește cât și mintal și susufletește. Pentru că una nu ar exista fără cealaltă.
Aș putea să mă duc până în extrema extremelor și să o numesc pe Ana Mănescu doctorul sufletelor. Cel puțin din perspectiva mea, fiind singura scriitoare care a vorbit sufletului meu îngrijit, arătându-i ce îi lipsește pentru a deveni complet. Mi-a intrat pe sub piele cuvintele și gândurile pe care le-a investit în carte, că nu m-aș mira ca acestea să se fi impregnat adânc pe organele mele. Când citești Stresul dintre orgasme respiri și trăiești cuvintele autoarei, ca și cum ele au fost scrise cu propriul sânge doar pentru satisfacerea ta internă și emoțională.

La fel ca și protagonistul cărții, ea îți oferă o scăpare, dar necesită parcurcerea cu aceași învolburare pasională cu care autoarea ți-a oferit șansa de salvare. Te prinde de la prima pagina, primul cuvânt, chiar de la prima literă. Salvarea e în fața ta, că e în bibliotecă, că e în librărie, e la latitudinea ta dacă o iei și o devorezi ca un leu mâncându-și lent ultima sa masă :)

 If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.

Cartea are 167 de pagini, coperta paperback și o putetți comanda de pe site-ul Editurii HergBenet. Acestă carte face parte din colaborarea blogului cu editura, mulțumind din suflet celor de la Herg Benet pentru că au ales blogul nostru și ne-au trimis această minunăție de carte. :)

Favorite quotes:

Când ești etern, îți permiți să fii și copil.

Să respectăm regulile care țin de bine și de bun-simț, dar să le călcăm în picioare pe cele care ne îngrămădesc drepturile firești.

Doar pentru că ne-am născut oameni nu înseamnă că nu putem fi zei.

O carte pe care nu o atingi e ca o femeie pe care nu o iubești.

Speranța aparține vieții, e viața însăși care se apără.

Nu e nimic greșit în a fi normal sau ciudat, cât timp e natural.

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Synopsis: Two weeks. 



That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 



Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.



But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

Rating: 3/5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Previous books in the series:
My thoughts:

Sequel Syndrome strikes again. Alas, Map of Fates was, sadly, a disappointment. My excitement and almost-childish awe of the first book dissipated, because the glamour of The Conspiracy of Us somehow failed to etch into its continuation, bringing the dull instead. However, there were two things that somewhat saved me from rating this one poorly: the killer second half and, most importantly, Stellan. 

The first half of the book was bland. Flat. Meh. Sigh-inducing. Eye roll worthy. Frustration trigger. Boredom incarnate. All the jumping from one corner of the world to another while breaking (really easily, I might add) into museums and following clues for solving the greatest mystery of all is in theory a great adventure. IN THEORY. In reality though, there was no real blood-pumping action. No real toe-curling romance. No real engaging plot. Hoping for new developments along the way is far from my definition of a plan for saving the world of impending doom. Thus, I was in no way invested into the story and, on top of that, Avery infuriated the hell out of me. 

The second half however, was undoubtedly GOOD. I suddenly couldn't put the book down. The action spiced up, the mythology finally conjured something interesting and the characters were developing, even if at a snail's pace. Good stuff, good stuff. 

Do not get me started on the love triangle. Jack was so very protective and so very careful that he started to resemble a fretting hen. He ended up being soft and weak and not one time did I imagine him as a knight in shining armor. He was okay in the first book but now he totally aggravated me. 

Avery, besides being again one-dimensional and naive, was also awfully dramatic, especially in the romance department. I'm not saying she lamented constantly about having two hot guys at her disposal, but that she was perfectly comfortable in that grey zone of "it's complicated" -- rightfully so -- where she could jump from one boy to another whenever she felt like it. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Stellan is the Russian version of Jace and I love him. He was honestly the only character I completely liked -- he was sincere, sarcastic and had layers of personalization. The fact that he was hot was pretty much the cherry on the top. I liked his dynamic with Avery and I can only hope they'll end up together because they'd be a hella power couple. 

The secondary characters -- Elodie, Luc, Colette, Lydia, Cole -- were a bit underdeveloped and I would've liked to see them bond more with our trio. Despite that, I did enjoy the teen drama of secrets and past relationships even if it undermined the vibes of "seriously dangerous situation". 

Plot wise, there were some boring outcomes and a few really awesome twists and turns I did not expect, especially what the blood union unraveled. The villains took down their masks and it was the OMG type of reveal. On the other hand, I also felt they were not constructed accordingly, like not complex masterminds of evil, but sad substitutes with a fetish for ruling the world and killing left and right.

In the final scenes, I felt the distinctive need to face palm Avery thanks to a 'nice' decision that eventually bit her ass. Granted, the ending felt a bit rushed and not thoroughly developed in order to create the emotional wreck the author (supposedly) hoped for. Still, it was entertaining and promised lots of action for the last installment and I am pretty pumped for what's to come. World War III between the most powerful people in the world, you say? Bring it.

Map of Fates could've been a glorious sequel, but, although interesting and satisfactory, no way near the grandeur I thought it will encompass. I know I emphasized a lot of bad aspects, but it is still a good book, though, and I'll definitely read the last one because things are about to get down for real.


ENJOY! <3

It's Ella's senior year of high school and she and her best friend Linds plan to make it the best year ever. At Brock Cochran's end of summer pool party, the girls vow to have as much fun as possible before they head off to different colleges next fall. But when Ella is mysteriously attacked on her way home from the party, everything changes. Ella's carefree senior year plans disintegrate as she finds herself at the center of an attempted murder investigation.

Ella tries to move on, but her attacker isn't done yet. He shows himself in the form of horrifying signs and symbols: a clown mask strewn on her bed, a dead bird in her backpack, a shadow moving past her window in the night. And as the weeks pass, it turns out that Ella isn't the only one being tormented.

With the help of an old flame, Jensen Carver, and her friends and family, Ella tries to attain some sense of normalcy, but she can't seem to shake the feeling that there's a dark pattern hidden in the killer's every move. Suddenly, even those in her innermost circle seem suspicious. In her seemingly safe West Virginia town, Ella starts to wonder who she can trust.



O VIAȚĂ CURMATĂ PENTRU FIECARE RĂSĂRIT DE SOARE

Într-un ţinut aflat sub domnia unui tânăr rege însetat de sânge, fiecare revărsat al zorilor sfâşie sufletul unei alte familii. Califul din Khorasan, un băiat de optsprezece ani, nu este altceva decât un monstru. În fiecare noapte, Khalid cere mâna unei fete, ca apoi, în fiecare dimineaţă, să curme viaţa noii lui mirese cu o frânghie de mătase. Când cea mai bună prietenă a Șeherezadei îi cade victimă lui Khalid, ea jură să se răzbune şi, în ciuda vârstei ei fragede, de doar şaisprezece ani, se oferă să-i devină mireasă califului din Khorasan. Șeherezada este hotărâtă nu doar să rămână în viaţă, ci şi să pună capăt, odată pentru totdeauna, domniei despotice a lui Khalid.

Seară de seară, Șeherezada îl atrage în mrejele sale, ţesând poveşti încântătoare, ce-o ajută să mai trăiască încă o zi, deşi ştie prea bine că următorul răsărit de soare ar putea fi ultimul. Dar lucrurile iau o întorsătură cu totul neaşteptată: Khalid nu este nicidecum aşa cum şi l-a imaginat ea. „Monstrul” este doar un tânăr cu sufletul sfâşiat de o suferinţă covârşitoare şi îndelungată. Iar Șeherezada descoperă, pe zi ce trece, că se îndrăgosteşte de el. Cum este posibil aşa ceva? Inima ei se dovedeşte, astfel, o trădătoare. Dar Șeherezada înţelege, încetul cu încetul, că nimic nu este aşa cum pare în palatul de marmură şi piatră al califului. Este hotărâtă să descopere tainele ce bântuie locul şi, în ciuda iubirii ei, este pregătită să-i ia viaţa lui Khalid în schimbul celor curmate de el.

Oare dragostea lor va supraviețui?

Inspirată de poveștile celor O mie și una de nopţi, cartea de față este ea în sine o lectură fascinantă şi grandioasă de la început până la sfârşit.

,,Cei care îndrăgesc personajele puternice și poveștile minunat reinterpretate vor adora această carte.” – THE HUFFINGTON POST

,,Intrigă politică, revoltă mocnită, loialitate pusă sub semnul îndoielii, dragoste arzătoare și o boare de vrajă – totul într-un deșert aspru și neprietenos –, iată ingredientele romanului de față, ingenios și frumos construit. – BOOKLIST

„O nestemată îmbătătoare şi uluitoare. Nu trebuie să vă miraţi dacă paginile cărţii vă răpesc şi vă poartă în ţinuturile nisipurilor aurii şi calde, unde vă veţi trezi bând vin presărat cu mirodenii într-o curte pavată cu marmură rece… Vă veţi îndrăgosti, cum am făcut-o şi eu.” – MARIE LU, autoarea seriei Legenda

O poveste fascinantă, învăluită în mister, dar mai presus de toate, una care va deveni ea însăși clasică. – VOYA

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LIES & LULLABIES by Courtney Lane
Genre: Dark Romance
— SYNOPSIS —
On the weekends, she’s Sugar, a woman free of the pretty prison constructed by her domineering father, who combs the dangerous streets in search of something she never quite finds. During the week, she’s Simone, the good girl and the illegitimate daughter of the most powerful and hated man in Los Angeles.
Catch—aptly named for his “career” choice—is a man shrouded in mystery with one dangerous purpose. After a whirlwind encounter, Catch draws Simone into his dark and tangled web.

A dangerous game ensues, lives are lost, truths are exposed, and one man may shatter the foundation of a powerful organization on the brink of extinction.

The game of truth or dare won't end until Catch and Simone strip each other of their façades and uncover the reality of who they were, and who they are fated to become. 


Want a free novella? Sign up for Courtney Lane's newsletter below!



— ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
COURTNEY LANE has been creating her own little world since she was very young. When she was eight years old, she began to bring her worlds to life with a pen and paper. 

While many of her works touch several different genres, she has an archetype when it comes to the female protagonists in her stories — they have to have certain brand of strength, be deeply flawed, and harbor layered personalities. In her books you will find themes that reflect the darker side of life with a tremendous amount of depth and complexity. She also has an affinity for characters that aren't necessarily the girl or boy next door, or the people you'd encounter in everyday life. In other words, she prefers to explore characters who aren't easy to fall in love with. 

Currently, Courtney can be found either working on her next book, playing the latest role-playing game on her X-Box (preferably a game by Bioware), or spending time with her family.

— SOCIAL MEDIA 
Email: AuthorCourtneyLane@gmail.com


════ GIVEAWAY ════


Synopsis: Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right. 

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.


Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Previous books in the series:

My thoughts:

As soon as I finished The Orphan Queen, I dreamed about The Mirror King and I wanted it like yesterday. And, surprisingly, I got it back in September -- thanks to the Edelweiss gods. And then I read. And read. And read. But I was in no way invested into the story. I was probably not in the right mood, but suffice it to say, I dropped it at 43%. Still kept it on my currently reading shelf though. And now that it was finally published, my conscience dictated -- get your shit together and finish the damn book. 

And I did. 

And *gasp* I actually liked it! 

“This was love without masks.”

There were several big flaws that led to the initial dropping. First and foremost, the first half was, simply put, B-O-R-I-N-G. Uninteresting. Moving at a snail's pace and without an adequate plot. Not even Tobiah's and Wil's sexy chemistry were able to keep me glued to the pages -- the situation there was already effing weird since Tobiah was on his way to marrying Meredith, which I quite liked. Coming back though, there was a clear juxtaposition of mere secondary plot lines thrown into our faces without bringing out the big guns. Imagine, I was downright disappointed. 

Secondly, the problem that irked me to no end was how the romantic closure was handled, I mean -- come on, we all knew and expected that Tobiah and Wil will somehow end up together; it's just one of that predictable aspects every series has. AND I WAS PUMPED FOR THAT. But still, even if the cliche is there, you wish for it to be handled in a clever manner. And that is certainly not what happened in TMK. It's the reason why I dropped it, the reason why I thought I'd DNF it. Because it angered me, disgusted me and simply left me speechless at such a crap way of twisting the plot to the author's liking. I wanted something plausible, something sneaky, not something so straight-cut it's basely. I was pissed off and thank goodness I was because in the end that's what prompted me to give it another shot and another go -- which, in turn, culminated with a higher rating than the one I would've given it if finished then (probably 1 or 2 stars). 

Thirdly, Wil -- she was stupid stupid stupid. Not on the whole -- she had a fantastic character development, she was standing her ground, becoming a young and fair leader; kind, resourceful, bold, all attributes a queen should have and I admired her for her queen like demeanor. 

No, she was stupid in one department only -- her relationship or rather her communication with the wraith boy, Chrysalis. Everything that went awry in the first part, eye-roll inducingly so, could have been avoided if she had sit down, overcome her prejudices and understand and unravel this creature she conjured into being. Living under the impression that by locking him away into a closet all problems would be solved only managed to render her an idiot and trigger lousy plot-developments. I was embarrassed by her embarrassment, for goodness's sake! 

Thank the heavens, that also changed once we crossed the half threshold. I'm not kidding, it was like a totally different book, at least that's the vibe I got. Suddenly, the book was unputdownable. I was hooked. I was enjoying the political undertones and Aecor's dilemma of red vs blue. And, most importantly, I loved seeing Wil develop on her own, separated from Tobiah, proving that she's just and has lots of integrity. 

Not to mention those two jaw-dropping twists I seriously did not see coming -- James; Tobiah. The one concerning James I prepared myself for since it was hinted at from the prequel, but I didn't have a clue what it could possibly be about. And oh dios mio! That kind of revelation messes with your head. And I was instantly grateful I finally found the cleverness I wanted woven into the plot. 

The Tobiah one, on the other hand, left me shell-shocked. I had to pick up the remains of my mind after being blown away. Consequently, these two twists combined to offer surprises in a wonderful manner. 

I'm not gonna lie, the wraith business felt all over the place during both books. No rules, no clear understanding of how it works, how it can be fought and how it must be approached. Add Chrysalis into the mix and, essentially, the weirdness is at a whole other level. It did provide thrills, however. And honestly, this particular spin on magic was compelling. It's just, you know, a superficially constructed "villain". 

Other things I should mention: I liked the tension that Prince Colin and Patrick brought to the story and I loved a certain brilliant (although gut-wrenching at the time) twist that enabled Wil to inherit what was rightfully hers. Melanie and the remaining Ospreys were nice and supportive. Meredith was a great character as well. James was from another planet, because he was practically perfect. It was like seeing Chaol under a new personality. On top of that, his dynamic with Tobiah was all Chaol and Dorian, Dorian and Chaol and my heart was quadrupling itself whenever they were around each other. Also, the friendship between James and Wil was sweet and gave me giddy feels. 

Despite my issues with the romance, I did not hate THE ROMANCE. You get me? That I adored. Tobiah and Wil are so head over heels in love with each other and the few and far off between times in which they got hot and busy were deliciously torturing and addictive. They truly complete each other. THE SHIP HAS LANDED IN THE HARBOR AND MY SOUL SINGS SERENADES. 

“I want every part of you. The nameless girl. The Osprey. The vigilante. The queen. Wilhelmina, you have a hundred identities and I love every one of them.”

But oh those final scenes killed me from so many points of view. First, there was a sob fest and I wanted to hide under the covers and cry for the rest of the night. Prepare yourself, it's cruel. Afterwards there was an avalanche of heartwarming, fuzzy FEELS starting from the idea of an army of tiny vigilantes and that freaking perfect list that had me grinning like a moron. I was in LA-LA-LAND. So happy and satisfied. It was a good, strong conclusion, with the emotional turmoil set to make it unforgettable at least for a while. 

For all its faults, I still loved this book. It just occurred to me that was my same stance on the first installment. It's kind of my guilty pleasure -- enrapturing, chaotic and eternally romantic. The Mirror King has the subtle magic of a light, entertaining read and the icing on the cake is that it has flavors of forbidden love, political schism and innovation. Proper tasty, indeed. 

ENJOY! <3

Review Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Synopsis: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Genres: High Fantasy
My thoughts:

“We're meant to go. We're not meant to stay forever.”

I'm not gonna lie, Uprooted is a strange book. Not what I expected, but best-described as bewitching nonetheless, captivating and purely interesting. Prior to actually reading it, I might've painted it in a Deathless manner, hoping for a radical fantasy, dark and shiver-inducing. I partly got that, but my high expectations sizzled out to embers when it sometimes turned out to be too intricate to understand or too vague to comprehend, although unique. 

Welcome to a world of magic and corruption, where the Wood wreaks havoc on kingdoms and souls alike, having a mind of its own, with a glorious intention of creating chaos and destruction. This idea of something made of power and corruption being the ultimate villain is SO NICE. Sadly though, I've already read about it. Twice, if I might add: in the Orphan Queen, where the Wood equates to the Wraith, and then in A Darker Shade of Magic where Vitari is on a whole other level. However, the world-building in this regard is developed differently, especially in the end of the novel, where I had sudden visuals of Game of Thrones' Children of the Forest. 

In this world, the Dragon, a powerful wizard and overlord of the valley, takes a different 17-year old girl every ten years to his tower, without other apparent reason than his like to do so. He releases the girls unscathed once time's up, educated, in finery and with dowry. And this where our heroine enters the play -- Agnieszka is chosen after living her whole life rest assured that her best friend, the all too-perfect Kasia, will be taken. Plot twist for her, I suppose.

The Dragon, is simply put, an asshole. Behavior-wise, I mean. A prick, arrogant, stuck-up, old and cranky asshole. But damn it, he's lovable. I did not like him one bit in the beginning, especially with his superior demeanor, but he grew on me the sneaky bastard. And ohemgee his sarcasm is from another planet. Teach me your ways, master! 

What I appreciated the most about him though was the realistic depiction of how time, or rather immortality, cripples you of humanity, of relationships and of sensibility. The utter loneliness, the incapability of putting down roots when time whisks them away bit by bit like grains of sand, the fact that someone needs to teach you to appreciate life and love and the days yet again is just plain... sad. But it still had a great impact on how it built the Dragon's character, it made him who he is, along with his overly posh and knowledge-hungry persona. 

“What an unequaled gift for disaster you have.”

Agnieszka is totally original and different from any other heroine. Innocent and brave and with the spunk and terrifying determination to make even kings shudder. I thoroughly enjoyed her inquisitive mind and her kindness, not to mention her fierceness. I would've liked not to have been reminded every two pages though that she's not the prettiest of the bunch or that she's incredibly messy. I got it the first 100 times, thank you. 

“I was a glaring blot on the perfection. But I didn't care: I didn't feel I owed him beauty.”

The plot centers around the Wood's evil plans and strategic approaches to bring doom to Polnya, but despite being well-crafted and exciting, I felt my mind wandering off. I kept reading though. I kept picking the book up every time I put it down. Just because my curiosity got the best of me and needed to see how it all unfolded. But that doesn't mean I was completely engaged and immersed into the story. 

Another of the aspects that ticked me was the world-building as in the sense that it had barely any logic, or if it did it lost me on the way. I had to read certain revelations multiple times to truly understand what was happening and other times I didn't even bother. For a standalone, it's too complex and I constantly felt that the essence in the plot and universe were underdeveloped. The language, for once, which was confusing and tiring and basically random. The Slavonian and Russian mix of folklore. The endless unanswered questions I was left with: how does magic appear? What happens in the University? Why not show us Rosya? What is Agnieszka's connection to Baba Jaga? What does it mean for her and the other wizards and magic in general? As I said, underdeveloped and surface-deeply approached. In addition to all these, there were a plethora of wonderfully nuanced secondary characters that I would've loved to find out more about, Alosha and Solya in particular, but didn't get the chance. 

There was a drop of romance and I selfishly wanted more. In spite of the action-focus and magic whirlwind, the ending gave my heart a few happy sighs and satisfying smiles and I need to admit I was fangirling. I'm guilty of falling for anything romance related. 

“I wanted to rub handprints through his dust.”

The writing style was... weird. It had astounding potential and it attested Naomi Novik's skills at handling a fantasy world, but fitting it into a seventeen year old's school of thought was forced and somewhat artificial, its normally enrapturing nature being at odds with the redundancy of mundane thinking. 

I can understand the enchantment surrounding Uprooted, but the colossal hype is beyond me. Or perhaps that was my undoing -- the fact that this hype had me expecting... more. Do not misunderstand me, it had everything I could have wanted, but my detachment from the plot grated on my nerves. 

All in all, Uprooted was a different, but fascinating tale. I urge you to give it a try, even if it seems I downright hated it. Which I most certainly did not. On the contrary, I liked it a lot, just not enough to call it a favorite, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. 


ENJOY! <3


Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

A dark twist on the genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him.

SUMMONED is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Note: SUMMONED contains strong language, naughty scenes, mature content, terrible wishes, mystery, violence, discomfort, explosions, and an apple.


Data aparitiei: Nov 2, 2012
Tip coperta: Cartonată
Format: 150 x 217
Nr. pagini: 656

În inima Bibliotecii Bodleiene din Oxford, profesorul universitar Diana Bishop descoperă în cursul cercetărilor ei un manuscris alchimic – Ashmole 782 – aflat sub o vrajă. Deși se trage dintr-un neam vechi și celebru de vrăjitoare, Diana a renunțat de mult la moștenirea familiei sale în favoarea cercetării universitare și a unei vieți obișnuite, așa că, după o analiză sumară, returnează manuscrisul. Dar descoperirea ei pune în mișcare o întreagă lume fantastică, atrăgând pe urmele sale deopotrivă demoni, vrăjitoare și vampiri. Printre ei se află și Matthew Clairmont, un vampir genetician pasionat de teoriile lui Darwin, pe cât de periculos, pe atât de enigmatic. Relația care se înfiripă între cei doi amenință să spulbere pacea fragilă care domnește de secole în lumea lor. O poveste romantică sofisticată și plină de suspans îi unește în încercarea de a descoperi secretele manuscrisului, între ale cărui pagini se află cheia unui trecut misterios și a unui viitor nesigur.

Synopsis: The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

Rating: 4.5/5

Genres: High Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Previous book in the series:



My thoughts:

“The rose’s rarest essence lives in the thorns.
The Rose and The Dagger is an exquisite, superb, satisfying and clever finale. It will render you speechless with its intensity. Crush your heart a bit every few pages. Transform you into an addict of its gorgeous prose. But its true beauty lies in the fact that, somehow, you welcome it all with open arms. 

If you don't get along with romance, shy away. Seriously, shoo. I'm just putting it like it is -- the romance and love story are what make these books great, the dominant ethos, the insanely good aspect. Sure, it has elements of magic, politics, self-discovery, but its core is represented by the power of love. And for a love-hungry sap like me, THAT'S AWESOMENESS INCARNATE. 

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”

There were two equally amazing things I absolutely loved. First, there's the fact that, thanks to the multiple POVs, it's not just Khalid and Shazi's dreamy love that has readers all hot and bothered and ethereally happy. Nope. Surprisingly, it's also Rahim and Irsa. And, of course, Jalal and Despina. All three relationships wonderfully developed, made with the intention of pulling on your heartstrings. 

Secondly, there's a certain KICKASS aspect. Women. Empowering, badass, strong, young women. The truth is that, in this universe, the women are put on a gold pedestal (rightfully so). They are revered, respected and treated as queens. There were so many instances were women had a role in the novels, starting with Khalid's mother's death that changed him forever, then the cruel curse unraveled because of a woman, 100 women doomed to die and a freaking war started because of a woman (insert Shazi here), the plot evolved thanks to these glorious characters and so they became the axis of the world and girls continued to omen the legacy in TRaTD. Marvelous Shazi, with her awe-inspiring backbone and infinite determination. Sweet Irsa, with her fair perspective on life and kind heart (who also reminded me so much of Prim from HG). Sneaky Despina, with her snark and cunning mind. And even Yasmine, who completed the set with a surprisingly emphatic behavior.  

Coming back to the essential though -- Khalid and Shazi. These two are like magnets, soul mates, whatever you want to call them. There was a particular scene that ripped me to shreds where they were fighting to protect each other in the face of imminent and immediate danger. I think that visual captured the couple perfectly -- Khalid is not painted like a knight in shining armor, neither is Shazi painted like a damsel in distress. Far from it, actually. They are pictured as they should be -- a king and a queen that would rather die than see their loved one suffer. They are menacing, commanding and hella sexy, royalty coursing into every inch of their veins. 

"Cut the strings, Shazi. Fly.”

Our spunky heroine did not change much, besides the short-lived interactions with her magical tendencies. She's still stubborn, feisty, arrogant and silver-tongued, but fierce, caring and astoundingly determined as well. What surprised me was her optimism, I didn't previously perceive her as the one to bring it forward, yet in comparison with the brooding, sulking caliph she was like a minion from Despicable Me.

Like the yang to the yin, Khalid completed Shazi in a regal manner. A strategist, an intelligent engineer and a terrifying swordsman, but this boy-king is still a boy and a romantic one at that. Holy intense, a goddamn poet that could turn us all enraptured girls into husks of die-hard fangirls and a devoted husband (that's putting it lightly). I've said back in my Wrath review, this man worships his wife and it was astounding to see how easily she can bring him to his knees. Yet he transforms. He starts to bear hope for a bright future with his love, in which they are together, with him healthy and 100% alive. And he starts fighting for it, making sacrifices and walking over his ego and colossal pride to ensure such happiness will be attained. 

“No. He was not here to wreak revenge.
For revenge was trifling and hollow.
No. He was not here to retrieve his wife.
For his wife was not a thing to be retrieved.
No. He was not here to negotiate a truce.
For a truce suggested he wished to compromise.

He was here to burn something to the ground.”

On top of that, he really did mature. For once, you could say he forgives. His relationship with Tariq (yeah, there is one) had me nearly in tears and their interactions were so consuming. I loved his sincere attempts of creating bonds with Irsa and his sadness and helplessness at the situation with Jalal was hard to see. Also, his turmoil about the fate of Khorasan was awful, with self-loathing and doubt shadowing his thoughts. But he slowly crumbled his walls and lets everyone witness the thoughtful and passionate young man lurking beneath his stoic facade. He became a true leader. 

A wish of mine that turned true this installment was the deeper delving into the magic business. However, it was not as developed as I expected it to be. Regardless, I enjoyed the unique light upon Artan's legacy (a new and very interesting character) that added to the genius of the author's retelling. It was honestly brilliant. 

Other characters have changed the plotline numerous times. Jahandar, for instance, was horrendous. I loathed the guy. Greedy and power-hungry and with no sense of a moral compass, he continued to toy with the lives of others like he did in the prequel. On the other hand, Tariq, who is usually an amazingly lovable boy, possessed a recklessness and impulsiveness that had me preparing for every ill-fated new development with an "Oh boy". 

And so there were many such instances. I cried a bit at a particular scene in the end that had me internally screaming "IT'S NOT FAIR". My heart stopped soon after. And I picked up my jaw off the ground at some HOLY SHIT discoveries, the kind of twists that turn you stupid. Nonetheless, I smiled and laughed a lot. 

Vikram needs to be mentioned: he was awesome. There was not nearly enough Jalal and Despina, but seeing Jalal so heartbroken and lovesick messed with my brains. And Jalal and Khalid's friendship had a rough phase which was sad to witness. To compensate, we got more of Tariq and Rahim's bromance which inserted a light-tone every here and there, although they are indeed a true force to be reckoned with if together.

The epilogue was so fitting and wonderful in all shades known to humankind. I mean -- that name eeeep!! I was so euphoric and grateful for this heartwarming closure. One thing's for sure -- this duology will remain one of my favorite series because it's no easy feat to trigger the whole emotional palette in me, yet these books succeeded in doing so -- I was happy, sad, angry, frustrated, bewildered, amused, in love. And thankful for the thrills, romance and adventures. 

"It’s late,” Khalid said. “You should sleep.” 
“What are you talking about? I’m not doing anything.” 
“Stop smiling and go to sleep.” 
“How do you know I’m smiling? You’re not even looking at me.” 
“I can feel you smiling, Shazi.”

I wouldn't necessarily say this is better than Wrath (because honestly, in my view, it isn't), but I think I missed the mystery surrounding Khalid's killings the most. Since all was revealed, the slow burning intrigue and countless questions did not make an appearance in the sequel. However, that is not the reason I minimized the full rating by half a star -- the sole motive for that was that sometimes I simply felt my mind wandering off. Might have been my sleep deprived mind telling me to close the freaking book, might have been not. 

Renee Ahdieh has established herself as a thorough, original and downright amazing author. There was big pressure on her shoulders due to the overwhelming and well deserved popularity of the first book, but she did not succumb to the nerves in order to give readers a meh book. No, she managed to take the world of Khorasan to greater heights. She managed to captivate her readers with developed characters, an engaging plot and swoons. Most importantly, she managed to prove that she's a kickass writer and the first book wasn't a fluke. Her style is different and compelling and I declare myself a definite fan. 

The Rose and The Dagger is an empowering, achingly beautiful sequel to one of the loveliest books ever. Soul-wrenching, yet uplifting all the same, this book has it all, from political vibes, Arabian spins on a famous story, doses of humor, gorgeous love stories interwoven with thrills of action, magic and a kaleidoscopic turn of events. It delivers the perfect kind of tale -- one side dished with great amount of heartbreak. Even so, you want more, and that's what makes it best.

“As always. As ever. As a rose to the sun.”


ENJOY! <3