Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal, from Emily Rodda (Rowan of Rin #3)

Hi, there! I *finally* sat down to write the last review on my reading marathon for Rowan of Rin series!! Yay *–* Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal is the third book in the Rowan of Rin series, by awesome Emily Rodda ❤

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from my Instagram 😀

the story

All was well in Rin until Rowan and his mother’s summoning to Maris, the sea shore village. Their source of magic and power, a mysterious Crystal, is in danger as its keeper is dying and, for political reasons, the task of picking up another keeper falls on Rowan’s family hands.

As it usually goes regarding the candidates for the position, the mission is risky and dangerous for Rowan and his mother, but they have no choice. If Maris fall, the whole land will be easy prey for the Zebak to conquer.

The thing is, Rowan’s mother is poisoned on the first hours of the competition and Rowan has to take her place and safe her life. His only help are the three people suspect of poisoning his mother.

Will Rowan be able to think clearly enough to safe his mom? Will he be able to choose the right person to be the next keeper of the crystal?

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the analysis

Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂

I just wanted to start this review by saying that things got even more intense so sudden on this book that I actually shivered a lot of times and was left second-guessing even Rowan, the main character. I WAS LEFT SECOND GUESSING BY A BOOK THAT IS RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN! I’m amazed with Emily Rodda’s writing skills. She proves that a good children’s book is never silly on the eyes of an adult, haha! I mean, this is a middle grade book, but still. If this volume was any indication, I’m positive that things will get even darker in the next two volumes and, knowing Emily as I do, the end will blow my mind and leave me hangover, haha! But without further ado, FIVE STARS! ❤

The narrative follows the previous’ volumes style, always in third person from Rowan’s point of view. I really like how he is growing up and maturing little by little on each book and how he manages to remain true to his feelings and beliefs even when facing the most terrifying situations. AND WITHOUT STOP BEING A KID! HOW DO YOU DO THAT, RODDA?!

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The plot got more complex this time. As a web of lies is in front of Rowan’s eyes, we can’t be really sure of anything until the very end. Rowan is a great observer and very tenacious for his age, but he lives a situation that would make even an adult go insane. It’s normal to see him afraid, unsure and second-guessing even himself – and taking the reader with him. I almost ate all my nails reading, haha!

As Rowan leaves Rin once again, we meet new characters and I really wish we get to see some of them again, as they left a very good impression, haha! I loved to read about Maris and to see how they are different of Rin’s people and from the travelers. The most surprising was to see that no one cared about the differences, facing it all with normalcy and respect. It’s wonderful to see so many cultures coexisting in such a beautiful harmony. No one loses their identity and they still mix wonderfully! I wish real world was like that too, haha!

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I would like to highlight how the maturing process of Rowan reflects directly on the story. As a child, he saw everything black and white. Up until the last book, he still saw a lot of things like this. On the Keeper of the Crystal, Rowan starts to understand the grey area and how to deal with it. Seriously, Rodda simply rocks hard!!! ❤

I can’t wait to put my hands on the fourth volume of the series and, if you like fantasy, adventure, riddles and wonderful protagonists, YOU HAVE TO START READING THIS SERIES!!

5star

Thanks so much for reading! ❤ Have you read anything by Emily Rodda?

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Ps: Here are the reviews for the previous volumes on Rowan of Rin:

RODDA, EmilyRowan of Rin, Rowan of Rin #1 (review here!)

RODDA, EmilyRowan and the Travelers, Rowan of Rin #2 (review here!)

I also made a huge post about my love for Emily Rodda, that you can check here 🙂

#DustOffYourBookShelves: The Scarlets, from Madeleine Roux

Hi, there (again!) I bet you thought that I had forgotten that Thursday means #DustOffYourBookshelf day over here!

No, I did not, haha! I was just really lazy busy yesterday to leave all posts scheduled, oops!

Anyway, this is a meme hosted by my dear friend Mandy, from The Reading Diaries. Make sure to check her blog if you haven’t ❤

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Da Rulez:

Dust off your Bookshelf was originally created to share books that have been on my “to read pile” for a long time. Some so long I’ve forgotten that they are there, and have purchased duplicate copies. Each week I will share on my blog as well as Instagram a new title. Some may be newer and some so old I have forgotten they are there. I do have issues with buying books and never reading them. I’m hoping that by share them I will be motivated to read them. Plus it’s always fun to find new books hiding within the bookshelves. Feel free to join in and share on Instagram or your blog. Just let me know so I can check out your choice this week too. Just use #DustOffYourBookshelf

My chosen book

This week, I’ve chosen a book that’s been sitting on my shelf since last June: The Scarlets, from Madeleine Roux.

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Goodreads’ blurb:

When Dan and his friends meet Cal in Sanctum their impression of the privileged New Hampshire College student is less than stellar. But Cal wasn’t always the cold, sarcastic guy he is now. In this digital original story preceding the events of Sanctum, we meet Cal when he is experiencing college like any other kid with a group of close friends and a dad who piles on the pressure. Only, when the pressure starts getting to him and Cal accepts an invitation to meet a selective group of students and alumni known only as the Scarlets, the course of Cal’s life changes forever. And the price of joining the Scarlets might be higher than he can pay.

With plenty of twists, turns, and thrills, The Scarlets is an exhilarating installment in the Asylum series that can stand on its own for new readers or provide a missing piece of the puzzle for series fans.

I haven’t read this one yet because around June I started to use my book jar box to decide my free-willed next reads (as you may already know, I review books for authors, tours and publishers now, haha!). The box-jar hasn’t spit out The Scarlets yet and I keep waiting…

That’s it, haha! I’ll keep waiting for my chance at reading The Scarlets 🙂 Thank you for reading!

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Viscount’s Wager, from Ava March (Gambling on Love #3)

Some days ago, I’ve received an early 21º birthday present from one of my favorite authors ever: Ava March. Her new book, Viscount’s Wager, will be out on August 10th (two days before my birthday), but Ava sent me a copy practically a month earlier ❤ Thank you again, Ava! Best gift ever ❤ As a loyal fan, I cheated on my book jar-box and already read it, haha!

Warning: this book is about a male homosexual romance in the 19th century. If you don’t like this gender, you should stop here 🙂

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From my Instagram account 🙂

Viscount’s Wager is the third and last volume on Gambling on Love series and is set on Regency London, in 1822. Anthony Hawkins, Viscount Rawling, was already introduced in the first book, All In With The Duke (by the way, you can check its review here! :D) and Gabriel Tilden, his pair, was introduced in the second book of the series, Sharp Love.

Anthony is a noble who doesn’t pay much attention to his duties as a viscount, as he has a huge secret to keep – something way bigger than his social status. Since he inherited the title, at the age of twenty-one, Anthony tries very hard to be a good son to his mother, as his father’s loss was very hard for her. The couple was a love-match, something very rare in London Society at the time, and this marriage so full of happiness and love inspired Anthony since he was a little boy; his dream was to find true love and be able to share the small things of life with this person until the end of their days.

Gabriel is the middle child of a good family, but not a noble one. Being two years older than Anthony, he ended up marring a woman when he was only 18 and lost her six months before the real start of the book – just clarifying, his marriage was not a love-match, so he feels very guilty for being a free man again.

Anthony and Gabriel had a small and brief affair when they were teens, at a house party held by Gabriel’s family, but they lost contact shortly after Gabriel’s engagement. After his wife’s death, Gabriel comes to London and sees Anthony again in a soirée. Their desire was immediate and mutual, so Anthony didn’t let the chance of offering to be Gabriel’s city guide pass.

Soon enough, their passion burns and they start a sort of relationship, but Gabriel insisted in something more casual and distant, as he didn’t thought himself worthy of Anthony’s heart after everything he had put his lover through. The first thing that Gabriel thought when he saw Anthony again was “I’m so sorry I hurt you”. And I think I waited more than Anthony to actually hear Gabriel saying those words, as Anthony didn’t know of Gabriel’s capacity to store guilty in his heart and mind, nor how many times Gabriel thought this single sentence during the book, haha!

All those repressed feelings end up driving Gabriel to a strong vice in gambling. In a determinate point of the book, he simply won’t leave the hells anymore and Anthony finds out about his problem through a favor from Max, the protagonist of AIWTD. Anthony tries to wait, to give a chance for Gabriel to tell him the truth by himself, but this never happens and they have a big fight as a result.

What Anthony didn’t know was that Gabriel had to leave town when he left his lover, as he had got loaned a very large sum with a moneylender to keep gambling and now he hadn’t any means to pay the man back before putting his propriety at Derbyshire in perfect order. Gabriel explains all of this to Anthony in a letter that he sends in the same day that he arrives home, but the viscount wouldn’t see it until three weeks had passed after their argument.

After resorting to Max’s help once again, Anthony finally was able to go to Derbyshire to set things right with Gabriel, but the two still have a long way before their “happily ever after”.

As I commented on the beginning of this review, I’m a great fan of Ava and her works, so I won’t promise an impartial review, haha! Now let’s go to the analysis 😉

Something that is very characteristic of March and that I like very much in her books is that her stories always end up connecting to one another. If she’s writing a series, the probability of meeting previous characters again is very high. I love this, because when a book ends, all that we know about that little world also ends. Even when it’s a book series, as soon as it is finished, it’s hard to learn something new about those characters, as it is a cycle with a beginning, a middle and an end. This may sounds a bit obvious, but I’m that kind of person that, sometimes, gets depresses to know that everything that I know about a story is all that I will ever know.

Anyway, March entwines her stories in such a way that we learn new things about past characters, those who already had their moment to shine and had their story on first frame. It’s also amazing how she illustrates the social circles of the ton – deep down, everybody is connected in some sort of way. It’s a highly interesting social phenomenon, proven by several historians, but that I have never seen put into light by any other romance author so far.

In Viscount’s Wager, we can see how are Alexander Norton and Thomas Bennet, from the opening book of Brook Street series (My True Love Gave To Me); Linus Radcliffe and Robert Anderson, from the third book of the same series (Rogues); Jack Morgan and William Drake, main characters of the second book in the Gambling on Love trilogy (Sharp Love); and, obviously, Max Arrington and Tristan Walsh, from AIWTD. It was very good to see them all again. I missed you, boys! Hahaha!

To be honest, I didn’t really like Gabriel until the book was close to its end. As I already was found of Anthony since the first book, I thought that Gabriel didn’t deserve him until writing that letter. After that, everything changed, haha! I still don’t consider him as one of my favorite characters, but we are in good terms now, haha! I have a serious issue with characters that are in “eternal” denial of themselves or of their tastes. Everybody has some sort of insecurity; this is natural of being human. But Gabriel didn’t know when to stop :/ I guess that him and Julian Parker, from the second book in Brook Street series (Fortune Hunter), were the main characters who frustrated me the most in March’s books to this day. I try to be very understanding when I’m familiar with both sides of the story, but these two are a lost cause, haha!

As we just met Anthony for good in this book, I was very surprised to see how he can be a very optimistic person in the hardest times. I don’t agree with several of his attitudes during the story, but he is that kind of character that we simply love no matter what, haha!

Besides, if you look into each one’s personality, you will find that Anthony and Gabriel have a natural balance, an harmony in their qualities and defects. Also a trace of March’s couples: they always complete each other, in a way that both men will be better people after the coupling.

In narrative terms, the book is great. March manages to balance in a brilliant way her characters consciousness with the events around them and the time passages. It’s a fluid and quick read, as March’s language is not tiresome or the type that asks for a pause. She involves and makes her characters become best friends with her reader. It’s just like when someone is telling you a story over audios at Whatsapp and the person never finishes: this is the longing and the craving that March incites. You need to know how everything will end and the only way to do so is keep reading like crazy.

Another strong point of March’s is the love. She doesn’t describe that water sugared love that makes you bored. The love between her characters is that real kind of love, of the simple things on life, that is hard, disappoints without abandoning, that lasts even after many probations and still can awake luxury in the end of the day. Anthony and Gabriel’s romance wasn’t any different: the feeling was involving, strong and vigorous until the last page, in each touch, each look. It’s that kind of love that touches my heart and makes me believe that the world can be a better place. However, aren’t they fictional characters? Yes, they are. Nevertheless, the feeling is real and that’s all that matters 🙂

I also need to bow to Anthony and Gabriel’s sex scenes. March is a very explicit author and she can leave anyone burning up after reading her couple’s plays. What really impresses me about her is how she manages to be explicit without being vulgar. Even when her characters do it without a strong affective bond, you feel on your skin that that’s what the couple wants to do, no matter the reasons why. The act has sentiment. The reader feels the desire, the willingness. This is an element very hard to find in explicit romances. It’s not the sex for the sex; it’s the sex for the company.

Something more personal of my reading was that was nice to be able to foresee some things in the story. I already read all March’s books at least twice (AIWTD I must have read at least a dozen times since its release in 2013), so I can recognize some patterns and know which will be the biggest problem of the couple in the book. The great thing is that, even guessing more or less where the story was going, I was still surprised with the turn of events. Honestly? This is priceless ❤ I cried in some parts, desperate for a way to see Anthony and Gabriel together and in piece and my tears weren’t in vain. As my mom would say, everything in life can be arranged, haha!

I confess I have a little negative critique to do, haha! If Anthony and Max are that close as the series makes us believe they are, how can they still have difficulties to discuss their relationships behind closed doors?! In the beginning, Max didn’t even want to say Tristan’s name to Anthony! I thought all this caution a bit too much, considering their friendship level. I mean, you both know a secret from the other that could have both hanged and you’re still reticent? Oh, please. Is Max the reserved type? A lot, but he also already made clear as crystal that he is comfortable enough to discuss serious things with Anthony and Anthony did the same.

That’s it! Thank you for reading, it was a long post, haha! But I’m not sorry ❤ Are you already familiar with Ava March’s work?

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The Ruins of Gorlan, from John Flanagan (Ranger’s Apprentice #1)

I would like to start the review thanking my book jar-box. After many studies, I decided to make my own book jar (it is a box, I’ll have to pay therapy for it if I keep calling it a jar xD) and the first raffled book was this one. My expectations weren’t high, so it was an amazing surprise!

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directly from my Instagram profile 😀

Anyway, let’s go to the book: this is the story of Will, an orphan boy who grew up as a protégée in a medieval castle, under the Baron’s protection, among other children. Nobody seems to know about Will’s parentage and, to avoid being mocked by the other orphans of the castle, Will makes up that his dad was a war hero and starts to believe so himself.

When the protégées reach 15 years old, they must ask for a tutor in the castle, to make themselves useful in some way to the feud. Will’s dream is to go to the Battleschool, but Sir Rodney, the captain, thinks that the boy is too thin and weak to that. So, to general surprise, he is chosen by ranger Halt, to be a Ranger Apprentice.

You see, the rangers were seem as some kind of magical people by the people of the feud, so Will is not sure how this will turn out – he only knows that anything is better to spend the rest of his life in a farm.

Halt trains Will to the point of exhaustion, but not in vain: the boy proves himself an excellent apprentice (we soon learn that Halt tends to be always right xD) and slowly changes, realizing that there are more ways to be a hero than to fight.

Mean while, Horace, one of Will’s colleagues, is accepted in the Battleschool and starts to suffer a heavy bullying from the older students. He used to be full of himself and to fight a lot with Will, as both were stupid boys (sorry, but it’s the truth xD), but he also changes. It is amazing how Flanagan can capture and show the effects of bullying. All the symptoms, the fear, the frustration… At first, I hated Horace. Now, I love him, haha!

Both boys exceed in their apprenticing and become friends after an almost death experience sponsored by two angry boars (this is one of my favorite scenes in the book, by the way!). Things would only get dangerous when Halt and Will depart on a very important mission, as one of the greatest enemies from the kingdom is about to rise.

I simply loved it. I love Young Adult Novels and this one surpassed any expectations. The characters are strong, the action is real, the book is fast paced, but not too much that you get lost or miss details and is about the power of friendship. One of my June favorites ❤

That’s it! Thanks for reading 😀 Have you ever read Ranger’s Apprentice series?

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June Book Haul!

Hello, everyone! I had to do a post here about my June book haul, as I went a little crazy this month… I bought 15 books, OMG! Hahaha!

Anyway, those are the new kids in town:

. Paris Secrets, from Zoé de las Cases

IMG_4065 A beautiful coloring book that stole my heart ❤ I already did some of the coloring, check it out:

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. The Little Prince, from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

IMG_4074This edition has a beautiful hard cover and features an illustrated biography of the author, it’s awesome ❤

. Deu no New York Times – Larry Rohter

IMG_4073This is a Brazilian journalistic book, gift from my bff @jenny.miers. It’s an analysis of how Brazil is viewed by outsiders, very cool. Thanks again for the gift, by the way 😀

. The Burning Bridge (Ranger’s Apprentice #2) – John Flanagan

IMG_4072I just finished reading The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice #1, review here!) and I fell madly in love with it. I had to get myself the next one, haha!

. The Heir (The Selection series #4) – Kiera Cass

my baby <3
my baby ❤

As a good fan of The Selection, I couldn’t resist to this beautiful hard cover Brazilian edition (even though my whole collection is in English and that I want to read The Heir in English as well xD)

. The Scarlets (The Asylum series #1.5) – Madeleine Roux

IMG_4071I went mad reading Asylum and Sanctum earlier this year and Catacomb, the third book in the series, won’t be out until September, so I have to hold my fire for now with the spin offs, haha!

. Austenland – Shannon Hale

my baby with one of my favorite necklaces <3
my baby with one of my favorite necklaces ❤

This book has a funny story. I bought the second volume of the collection by accident (from the series saw the cover and bought it), but I didn’t have read the first and I’m very methodic. So, as soon as I could, I purchased this and started reading it (it was before my book jar-box thing xD). You can see my full review here!

Ps: here’s the next book, that started all of this:

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. Pokémon Official Guide to Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby

IMG_4068I’m still trying to be the greatest Pokémon Master since the 150 first ones, so I felt I needed this to keep going on my mission, haha!

. Grey – E. L. James

IMG_4070This one I have to admit that I’m VERY curious to read. I’ve read Fifty Shades of Gray to do a book report for my college and I hated the main character. I always caught myself wondering what Christian would be thinking to fall for someone so obnoxious. Now, I will find out, haha!

. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty – Anne Rice

IMG_3387I’m a great fan of Anne Rice’s works, but I only learned about this book recently (like two or three years ago, when the whole fairy tale gone bad thing exploded). I LOVE fairy tale gone bad books and I think Rice’s will be a blast, once she is the master of the supernatural world ❤ You can check here more reasons to read it, haha!

. Great Women Writers Box

IMG_3348Another funny story, haha! I love to sign up for newsletters and, while checking one of them, from a local bookstore, I saw this beautiful box set with four books inside for an awesome price. Bought it in the act, haha! We have Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights 😀

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. Emma – Jane Austen

IMG_4075I am full of funny book stories this month, haha! My book jar-box told me that I would be reading Emma after I finished Ranger’s Apprentice #1. The thing was I only had it on a beautiful large and not at all logistic edition of the complete works of Jane Austen. My dad, seeing my distress in the first day reading the book, took me to the bookstore and told me to look for an edition of Emma that I could read, LOL. I love my dad ❤

Ps: this was the other edition:

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That’s it, guys! This was my June book haul, thanks for reading! Which books did you buy this month? 😀

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