The Chosen (Contender #1) Blog Tour Plus Review

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The Chosen (Contender #1)

by Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: June 4th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series. 

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

Cade was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. He has been spending the last six months of his life at a boarding school for troubled boys, but he doesn’t fit in there. He never committed a crime, he actually enjoys learning and History class, and he isn’t “troubled.” As he counts down the days until he will be able to get out of the school, he sees his dreams slipping away. He will no longer be able to go back to the advanced school he was in, he will probably be unable to go to a good college, and his parents’ lives have been ruined as they have to pay for this school and for his court case. Just when Cade thinks things couldn’t get worse, he wakes up on some foreign planet. Something called a Codex follows him around and tells him that they have some sort of battle coming up. Cade doesn’t want to play these games, but the more he explores the planet, the more deadly things become. Cade has an important choice to make, one that could lead to either life or death.

I love Taran Matharu’s books! I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Summoner series, and I have the last two sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. When I found out that he had a new book coming out, I knew that I wanted to be one of the first to read and enjoy it. Matharu definitely didn’t disappoint!

I truly sympathized with Cade from beginning to end. He never wanted to be a hero, and he never was a criminal. All he was a kid that happened to be in the wrong room at the wrong time, and who was racially profiled on top of that. This one case had ruined his and his parents’ lives all at once, and it wasn’t his fault in any way. It was sad because it seemed so realistic, like some boy in a rich boarding school could actually have this happen to him. I completely forgot about the “traveling to another world” storyline as I read this part of the book. I honestly could have read an entire book about Cade in his boarding school, and even though it wouldn’t have been happy, it would have been interesting.

Once Cade was in the new world, things really got exciting. I won’t spoil anything as this is the majority of the book. All I will say is that I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book once he landed on the foreign planet.

The only thing that I disliked about this story was the middle. The transition from the real world to the new planet was not as smooth as I thought it could have been, and I felt like I was confused as it kept dragging on. After I got over this part of the novel, everything else went smoothly and I enjoyed myself.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new YA fantasy/dystopian novel!

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31557553-the-chosen

Amazon https://amzn.to/2GIudjG

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-chosen/id1439079557?mt=11

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-chosen-taran-matharu/1129098221?ean=9781250249753#/

Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Contender-Chosen-Taran-Matharu/9781444938975?ref=grid-view&qid=1556265959093&sr=1-1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/es/en/ebook/contender-the-chosen

Google Books: https://books.google.es/books/about/The_Chosen.html?id=bWxVuQEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013. 

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on Wattpad.com. The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: https://authortaranmatharu.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979840.Taran_Matharu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaranMatharu1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortaranmatharu

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taranmatharuauthor/

TOUR SCHEDULE

https://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/tour-schedule-chosen-contender-1-by.html

Moodboard!

Rambling about Into the Spiderverse (With Spoilers!)

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This has honestly been the greatest animated film that I have ever seen. That’s the one thing that I want to make clear in this review. The art in this movie is absolutely stunning. Sometimes I had to remind myself that I was watching an animated film and not a live-action movie. The characters just seemed so alive. They all had their own personalities, their own personal quirks, and this was shown both through the voice acting and the animation. Each character had their own way of speaking, moving, and interacting with the other characters on screen.

To be honest, I haven’t read many of the comics, so I wasn’t sure how old Miles was supposed to be. When I found out after seeing the film that he was supposed to be 13 I thought that the age fit him, but to be honest, anywhere between 12 and 15 could have fit him. He goes to a private boarding middle school in NYC, away from all his friends, and he is extremely smart. One of my favorite parts of the movie was when he cheated his way into getting a failing grade by figuring out what the right answers were just so he could put the wrong ones down and try to fail out of the school. The teacher caught on and assured him that he would eventually fit in at his school and that he just needed to give it time.

What I thought was a little strange at first was how he didn’t talk to his roommate at all. We don’t even get the roommates name, they just completely avoid each other in the tiny dorm room. This didn’t seem realistic to me, especially for 13-year-old guys. From what I’ve seen, most 13-year-olds instantly make friends with each other at day camps and that sort of thing, and I’m sure that the school would have had icebreakers on the first day. Even my COLLEGE had icebreakers. I feel like there was originally going to be a scene about this that was deleted so I will be waiting for the deleted scenes to be released and see.

I LOVED Miles’ relationship with his uncle. His uncle was so cool and supported his art. He DID kinda bring a 13-year-old kid into some sort of abandoned subway service area to graffiti, which wasn’t the best idea, but he was supportive. He was like the cool older brother to Miles who only had his strict and not very emotionally available policeman father. I was absolutely CRUSHED when he turned out to be helping Kingpin. That scene where Miles was hiding in the apartment and listening to his uncle talk to Kingpin, I was just shocked. That scene had me nervous and I was just watching it! And then he found out that he had been fighting his nephew the whole time and got killed for it. I may have hated what the uncle was doing, but he didn’t deserve to die, and this hurt the family so much.

I also think that they did the romance well in this movie. Since Miles is supposed to be so young, he doesn’t have any relationship experience. He likes Gwen and his uncle tries to give him advice, but he ends up just ruining everything anyways. Then she turns out to be a Spider Person from another universe, and they decide to just stay friends. This was way better, as having a 13-year-old relationship scene would have just been awkward. They have future movies to start being romantic if they decide to be romantic at all.

I also loved that we got to see different Spiderpeople. Gwen was a female Spiderwoman, then we had a Spiderpig, and SpiderNoir from the 1920s, and a grown SpiderMan, and then a Japanese Spiderwoman. The movie wasn’t just about a “black Spiderman.” It was about everyone seeing themselves in the mask, saving their own communities and universes. And this was so cool!

The only thing I wish we had seen was more of Miles in action! He is just figuring himself out for most of the movie, so we only see a few of his Spidermanning skills put to good use. Most of the time he is accidentally getting stuck to buildings or to Gwen’s hair, rather than actually doing stuff “on command.” This is definitely a more realistic portrayal of a superhero, as it doesn’t make sense that you get powers and all of a sudden know how to make a suit and web-shooters and stuff. But I can’t wait for the sequel to see how he will be when he has full control over his powers.

I’ll admit, this movie is rather dark for a PG film. Yes, Into the Spiderverse is PG! I personally think it could have been PG13, as the scene with Peter Parker’s death is really dark. You literally see Peter on the ground, in pain, and then the giant KingPin just slams his fists down on his body, instantly killing him. I mean, there’s no blood, but that was still pretty intense. Plus Miles’ uncle is shot right in front of him. Comparing this to another PG film like Frozen or Finding Dory, and you see how this is a bit more intense. Parents still take their little kids to see PG13 Marvel movies, so nothing would change. But if you have a sensitive child, this might not be the movie for you. I cried for hours at Baloo’s death in Jungle Book when I was like 5 or 6, no way I would have been able to handle this one as a little kid.

The scene where they were transporting all the different Spiders back to their own universes was so intense. I felt as if I was in some sort of light show, there was just so much going on. The universes were colliding with each other so there were colors all over the place, and then there were different enemies that needed to be defeated. I don’t know how long it took to animate that one scene, but it was more intense than any other part of the film. And it came out beautifully. I can’t wait to rewatch the movie when it comes out on Netflix just to see that one scene!

I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for an amazing Marvel animated film.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 paintbrushes

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The Color of Lies Blog Tour Plus Review

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TheColorofLies-Cover.jpgABOUT THE BOOK

The Color of Lies
by C.J. Lyons
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Genre: Young Adult — Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author CJ Lyons comes The Color of Lies, a world drenched in color and mystery.

High school senior Ella Cleary has always been good at reading people. Her family has a rare medical condition called synesthesia that scrambles the senses—her Gram Helen sees every sound, and her uncle Joe can literally taste words. Ella’s own synesthesia manifests itself as the ability to see colors that reveal people’s true emotions…until she meets a guy she just can’t read.

Alec is a mystery to Ella, a handsome, enigmatic young journalist who makes her feel normal for the first time in her life. That is, until he reveals the real reason why he sought her out—he wants to learn the truth behind her parents’ deaths, the parents that Ella had always been told died in a fire. Alec turns Ella’s world upside down when he tells her their deaths were definitely not an accident.

After learning her entire life has been a lie, Ella doesn’t know who she can trust or even who she really is. With her adoptive family keeping secrets and the evidence mixing fact and fiction, the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

Perfect for fans of Caroline B. Cooney, Ally Carter, and Jennifer Brown, The Color of Lies blurs the lines between black-and-white facts and the kaleidoscope of reality.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads    Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository   IndieBound

TOUR SCHEDULE

My Review

I’ve always been interested in books where a character has synesthesia, and this book was a thriller that had multiple synesthetes! I just knew I had to pick it up.

Ella is the only one in her family who seems to have a form of synesthesia that allows her to still live a normal life. Her grandmother and several others live their lives as recluses, avoiding sounds and words that might make them physically ill. Ella knows that her parents died in a fire when she was three, but then a boy named Alec comes along and turns her whole life upside down. He claims that her parents did not die in an accidental fire, that they were murdered. He says that he met Ella when she was younger, but Ella says that she was never at the scene of the fire. She must decide whether to trust Alec or to go back to believing her version of her parents’ death.

Alec was trying to work with Ella to figure out the truth. It was definitely awesome to have a diverse group of characters in this story. I found that I didn’t quite connect with him at certain parts of the story, but I was with him by the time that I reached the end.

The way that I would describe this story would be with the letter A. There are a lot of things going up the slope to build to the climax, and it seems a little bit slow climbing up the steep slope. Then, there is the top. The climax is abrupt, and almost out of nowhere. Lastly, there is a huge downward fall, where everything seems to happen all at once. And then we have a time skip at the end, and an almost “where are they now” with the characters, which I really enjoyed.

The story was good and had a lot of suspenseful details leading up to the climax, but because the ending felt so rushed, I still lost track of things. But I really enjoyed the book up until that point!

Ella in particular also went through a lot of character development as she started to remember things that she had forgotten over the years. I really loved her character, and how much she cared about her family. She was never a spoiled teenage brat, even if she didn’t have the best circumstances.

Overall, this was an addictive thriller, and I enjoyed my time reading it! I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new YA mystery-suspense novel.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

CJLyons.jpgABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

Two times winner of the International Thriller Writers coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net

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Prize: 5 Copies of The Color of Lies by CJ Lyons (USA only)

Ends: 11/16/18

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Acception Webtoon Review

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I love Webtoons because their comics are so diverse. This one does not disappoint. Arcus is a boy who loves to wear bright colors and has rainbow hair. People at this new school in the Netherlands automatically choose him as a target, but they don’t know that he actually runs a really popular fashion blog that most of them follow. Arcus just wants to make new friends, and he runs into a girl named Maud who also doesn’t fit the fashion status quo with her dark hair, dark makeup, and dark clothes. He is determined to be her friend, even though she seems like she would rather have nothing to do with him.

What I like in this comic is that the author did not automatically make Arcus gay for lying to wear colorful and “different” clothes. It really emphasizes the fact that clothing does not have anything to do with sexuality.

Also, let me mention one thing. I am not actually completely sure if Arcus is a boy in this book. He has male “parts” as was proven in one bullying scene, and people usually refer to him as male throughout the book and there is no discussion of him being non-binary, but when the character descriptions were written at the start of the comic, his gender was just question marks. I think that at this point in the comic, he identifies as male, so I am referring to him as such, but that could be a plot twist that is spoken about later in the story. If I am wrong, I apologize, I’m just going by what I saw from what I read!

I also like the fact that there are other unique people in this story. Maud has a very interesting backstory, and that is really the only person I want to talk about at the moment for fear of spoiling something. This one is truly a gem.

I will do a full review of the comic, with spoilers, once it is finished, but for now, I will just advise you all to not pass this one up!

I would recommend this comic to anyone looking for a story about people learning their own identities in junior high school, with a lot of diverse characters.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

The Redeemed (The Almosts #3)

The Redeemed: A Snowverse Novella (The Almosts, #3)Fiona has returned from the dead, just as Kara had finally been able to find peace with herself for killing her. Kara has to complete a mission for Moira, but most of the team is planning on retiring. This is going to be their toughest mission yet, but Kara can’t even focus due to Fiona’s return.

I have had my ups and downs with this series, but I definitely liked this ending. Kara is finally able to talk to Fiona about what happened in Book 1. She is able to truly get over that event, and lose at least some of the guilt. She doesn’t feel like a murderer since Fiona survived, but now she has to learn how to work with a woman that she already tried to kill.

This was also my favorite book in the series because it relates more to the rest of Snowverse. Finally, I was able to see how the characters and stories truly lined up, as these events are almost parallel to some of those in the main Freya Snow series and the Lady Caroline series. I was happy to see some old faces, and I was also glad to see how the new faces in the other series made their way onto the team.

This also felt like one of the shortest books in the trilogy, even though it wasn’t, which was sad because I actually wanted to learn more about these characters. I had struggled through the first few books, but just as the characters started to become likable to me, the series was over. I hope to see some of them in future books!

I won’t spoil too much, but this was definitely a good trilogy that I would recommend to Snowverse fanatics like me. If you are new, I suggest that you read the Freya Snow series up to the current novel and then get started on these novellas, just so that you don’t spoil anything for yourself.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Aru Shah and the End of Time Review

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

I waited quite a while to read this book, and I was super excited to read it! Even though my experience with this novel was mostly positive, I did have some issues with some of the things in it.

Let me start off by saying that I loved the inclusion of mythology in this novel. It was all so unique, and unlike the other gods and goddesses I read about in other novels, these gods and goddesses just seemed to be so COLORFUL. They all had their own vibrant personalities along with unique stories. I still want to learn more about them, even though I have finished the book.

I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Aru. I didn’t like the fact that she was just lying to all of her classmates and people she knew to try to make them “like” her. I could understand her motives, but I’ve known too many kids in real life that do this all the time to just let her off the hook. It’s a really crappy thing to do most of the time, especially when kids try to create a “sob story” to make people feel bad for them. I know that it was supposed to make her realistic, but in that case, she is a little “too realistic” for me. Eventually, once I got over this character flaw I was able to like Aru, but this did trip me up a bit at the beginning. She also does kinda receive a punishment for her actions by being “forced” to light the lamp, so that definitely helped me to get over this flaw.

I also didn’t like Mina that much. She seemed to be the typical “nerdy” sidekick, allergic to everything and having asthma. and don’t forget the bad skin and braces. As a person with allergies and former braces, and who knows people with asthma and allergies, this is just starting to be a tiring representation. Not everyone with allergies and asthma is a scrawny person who can’t go outside or do anything. Half of the time, we take tons of allergy medicines just so we DON’T have to slow down and succumb to sicknesses.  Even though I liked Mina by the end of the book, once her good qualities had been revealed, I found myself rolling my eyes once I read her original description.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t really get into the main characters, I DID enjoy the story. I want to know who the other Pandavas are, and hope that they will be revealed later in the series. Aru’s backstory was definitely interesting to read, and I want to learn more about her family in the future novels. That’s what I really felt at the end of this novel. I felt as if it was a prequel to the next few novels in the series.

I’m not sure if I would recommend this book or not. While it was interesting, I did struggle a few times as the plot seemed to drag about halfway through. Add this to my issues with the main characters, and this was a pretty average reading experience. I would definitely recommend it to middle-grade readers, but I am not sure if I would recommend it to people who are typically interested in YA and Adult books.

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars