April Book Reviews

A wee bit late, but here’s my April wrap-up! Every month I say time has gone by too quickly, but April in particular just disappeared. Seriously, where’d it go? This has been an interesting month for me. Injuries and lots of life changes have kept me rather preoccupied so I haven’t been posting or reading very much lately. I only got through two books this month, but they’ve been waiting on the TBR shelf for a while. So feeling rather satisfied to check them off the list.

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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Read it? Dear Lord, yes.

I loved A Darker Shade of Magic to pieces. Really, really loved it. I was worried AGOS would let me down. The plot pacing was much slower in this one. So much time was spent on the Essen Tasch and various romantic side stories in this one, while the real dangers brewed and festered slowly in the background. Not to say there weren’t some epic moments along the way, but we don’t get much real excitement related to the central plotline until right at the very end when we’re left with an excruciating cliff-hanger. Nonetheless, I was still drowning in feels and I very much enjoyed this sequel. Schwab has a way of writing such brilliant, real, lovable characters that it really makes up for any of the other issues for me. I’ve already started reading A Conjuring of Light and am already sad because this series is coming to an end all too quickly. Please stoooooop.

 

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The Night Circus by Erin Mergenstern

Read it? Sure, why not.

Whimsical, but unsubstantial. The Night Circus is full of vivid imagery, unique ideas and rather curious circumstances. But underneath all the flowery writing and mysterious characters, we just don’t get a lot. I expected a “duel” similar to the Prestige, if you’ve seen that movie. Intense, and obsessive, but it’s all very mild. There’s really hardly a sense of competition at all and the conflict seems kind of forced, the ultimatums full of loopholes.  That combined with all the time skips,  perspective shifts, and various sub-stories, The Night Circus can be difficult to follow and fully grasp sometimes. I’m somewhat tempted to re-read it and see if it changes anything. Overall, I thought it was an entertaining read. Discovering the world of the circus is definitely enchanting, but there’s nothing to invest in here really. You don’t get to intimately meet your protagonists or feel the tension of their struggle. Fun ideas, but it read one-dimensionally to me.

March Book Reviews

Holy cow, has it really already been a whole month already? This year is literally flying by. Please make it stop. This month was pretty uneventful for me up until I sprained my MCL a few days ago. Pretty bummed about that, but at least I don’t need my knee to read. Here’s my wrap-up for March!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Read it? Stick it out. 

Fayre is prejudiced, single-minded at times and I found her narration to be repetitive at the start. While everything leading up to Prythian was well-paced, the stories slows to a drag once she’s actually there. It picks up significantly once we start to meet the other types of faeries though. Not graceful creatures, but decrepit monsters, which are infinitely more interesting to me. Monsters + more lore kept me in race. And I’m glad I did. While the first 75% of the book is a rather standard retelling of Beauty and the Beast as we know it, the last quarter of the book elevates it to another story in its own right. Action-packed, the end is where I really started to like Fayre as a character. I ended up loving Lucien and the introduction of Rhysand.

So while a little slow at the start, let it simmer and finish it out. I’m glad I did. My only disappointments were that we didn’t get more complexity out of Amarantha as a villain and surprisingly, Tamlin’s character. I found him to be rather flat, he doesn’t grow nor is he memorably characterized. In a way, what happened with Tamlin is what often happens with female love interest characters.

Also as a full disclaimer, the story is surprisingly dark. Feyre endures a fair amount of violence and humiliation. It’ll be interesting to see how those cracks will change her character in the next book, but if any of that is off-putting to you, definitely do not pick this up. There are also a good number of unnecessary sensual or sexual scenes, not all of them consensual, that may not be your cup of tea. While it added nothing for me, it wasn’t a terrible turn-off. Overall, I’m hopeful for the rest of the series and I’m intrigued to see more of the world.

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Read it? Yaaaaaaaas.

My God, I love this book. I am already sad because I know there are only two more left in the series for me to read. I loved the dynamic between Kell and Lila. Their slow-brewing friendship and respect for one another was a much needed breath of fresh air from all the crazy instalove in NA and YA nowadays. In fact, romance takes a seat on the back burner altogether and I loved that. Their partnership and chemistry made so much sense. Kell, despite being one of the most powerful beings in the world, is rather gentle-hearted, timid with his power and just so good. Lila on the other hand, is at first sight, just a human, a starved weak one at that. But she’s fiery and bold with a reckless desire for adventure and that little something more in life. She gives Kell a sense of fight and urgency. In return, Kell anchors her morality and selflessness, turning her from a wannabe pirate into an unlikely hero. I love the pair. And that’s just our protagonists. I loved all the characters surrounding them, too. Prince Rhy, Holland (oh, Holland), Astrid, etc. I do wish we saw more female characters aside from Lila and Astrid, but nonetheless, I felt like we got a genuine cast of characters.

The three Londons we get to visit are in drastically different universes that combine the best parts of the popular YA genres. In White London, we get that dystopian feel with a militant government and disgruntled, dangerous population. In Gray London, we have a historical, but otherwise real-world setting. And in Red, we get all the vibes of a classic fantasy adventure. I’m hoping we get to see even more of the worlds in the next installation.

The plot was creative and compelling. The treatment of magic was different than most of the fantasy books I’ve read and while I’ve read other reviews, I don’t think the pacing was slow to start. It felt action-packed with the right amount of build up. It’s honestly a great read for all fantasy buffs.

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This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

Read it? Skip. You’re not missing out. 

I had trouble getting into this one. I just find Kate unmemorable and I’m kind of detached from the story. The mystery is barely kept me in for the ride, that and it’s a fairly easy read.

I’m so disappointed with this read. I really wanted to become captivated by this mystery and fall in love with the River Point Boys and Kate the way Maggie Stiefvater made me fall in love with Blue and the Raven boys. But the characterization was so poor, I could barely differentiate between the boys. Elston just barely scratched the surface of their personalities and I wasn’t invested at all. Kate was literally the most bland narrator. She was so unimpactful, I didn’t even dislike her. I felt nothing towards her at all. The writing style and the story is so straight-forward. There’s no surprise or twist at all, it just takes a long time to play out. Far from gripping, this lacked all semblance of suspense. Overall, just not a winner in my book.

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The Unique Blogger Award

 

Hey folks!

Look, more blogger awards! Whaaaaat. These have been so much fun to be a part of. Not just answering them, but in passing them along and reading all of your responses. All of the ones I tagged for the Liebster Award have been a blast to go through. It’s cool getting to know all of you.

 

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Anyways, I was nominated for the Unique Blogger Award by Evy @ Evy Reads Books Blog! She’s got great reviews happening over there and her gif responses always crack me up, so do visit her site and give her some love.

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

Questions:

Which book do have to keep close to you, or have to reread frequently as you love it so much?

I’m actually not a huge fan of re-reading lately. Even when I do re-read, it’s a book that I haven’t touched in years and want to revisit for nostalgia’s sake. So I rarely keep something on hand to re-read often. I do always have my Kindle on me though.

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Which author would you spend a day with, and what question would you definitely ask him/her?

Leigh Bardugo, possibly? Or Maggie Stiefvater or V.E. Schwab. I love the worlds and adventures and character they’ve built and I would interrogate the shit out of them as to what influenced them and what they’ve got up their sleeve next. I would also totally ask them to fancast their own characters. It’s always interesting to find out who they imagine playing the part.

Do you like book to movie adaptations? Which one is your favourite?

While I always feel like I’m disappointed with movie adaptations, I do love them. The actual writing and plot pacing never lives up to my expectations, but I love seeing how well the cast embodies the characters I’ve envisioned in my mind. I also love seeing the sets and worlds come to life especially with dystopian, fantasy or sci-fi novels. I think the Harry Potter ones were spot-on. The Mortal Instruments movie and series were stylistically cool to see, but the acting is just too cringe-y sometimes. The Maze runner was another one that I feel fell short, but loved the casting.

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New questions:

  1. If you could have any animal or mythical creature from a book as a pet, which would you pick?
  2. Who is one of your least favorite characters of all time?
  3. Name a supporting character that you love more than the main protagonist.

Nominations

I am nominating some of my most recent follows and followers. Can’t wait to read all your responses! 🙂 8 to 13 is a lot of people. Forgive me blog world, but I’m gonna stick to six for now!

Tinka @ The Crazy Reader

Brookie @ Brookie Cowles

Kevin @ Bookevin

Kiersten @ Once Upon A Spine

Masa and Nusa @ Whispers of Thoughts

Maxine @ The Rogue Storyteller

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More Covers I Love

I was out exploring downtown this past weekend, when a sudden shower of rain appeared out of nowhere. Luckily, there was a Barnes & Noble right on the corner, so I popped in to browse and sip my coffee. I’ve already got more than I need on my TBR so I was just window shopping. Nonetheless, there were a few really cool covers that caught my eye.

Spindle by E.K. Johnston

The world is made safe by a woman…but it is a very big world.
It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen drove the demon out of her husband and saved her country from fire and blood. Her family has prospered beyond the borders of their village, and two new kingdoms have sprouted on either side of the mountains where the demons are kept prisoner by bright iron…

Gorgeous whimsical typography plus that beautiful color palette. Me gusta, me gusta.

The Education of Margo Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

I love that pop of yellow on a super cool illustration.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

I’ve seen this book around, but the cover really is crisp and clean in person. SHINY.

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I’m such a sucker for a good cover art.

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February Book Reviews

Hi folks!

Happy March! This past month has been a great one for book blogging. While I didn’t get to finish nearly as many books as I would have liked, I’ve followed tons more blogs and have had a lot of fun doing book tags and making book friends.

But without further ado, here are my quick reviews for what I read in February!

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Read it? Do it now. 

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his over…

I have no idea why I put this book off for so damn long. Despite the rave reviews, I think some part of me always felt like it would let me down. It did not. This cast of characters is believable and lovable in a way that makes everything that happens so heart-wrenchingly tragic. I managed to stay spoiler-free until now and found myself genuinely intrigued by every twist and turn. Reading this book is like watching a runaway train. You know it’s going to end in disaster, but you can’t look away and every bit of you is reaching out to try and save it. Easily one of my favorite reads in a long time.

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Read it? Give it a try.

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .
Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

There was so much hype around this book and its release. While I wasn’t mind-blown, I also wasn’t disappointed. The mysterious world of Caraval was full of whimsy and kept me captivated the whole time. Garber’s flowery prose was decorative and colorful. Not always in a sensical, useful way, but beautiful words nonetheless. The downside however was that Scarlett was unfortunately dull as a protagonist. While her development from a cautious, pragmatic girl into someone more bold and confident was relatable, it was underwhelming. There are a handful of other interesting characters, but we aren’t given enough depth on them to really fall in love. I’m hoping we get to see more of Julian, Dante and Donnatella in the sequel. Overall, a refreshing read that felt different enough in the world of YA to warrant giving it a try despite its flaws.

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Prodigy by Marie Lu

Read it? Thumbs up. 

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring…

Legend left me rather underwhelmed, especially because I loved Lu’s other series, the Young Elites. Prodigy, however, was everything I wanted from the first installment. Complete with much more world-building, further exploration into the characters and powers outside of June and Day and a more action-packed plot, Legend kept you excited the whole way through. I don’t, however, find myself rooting for June and Day as a couple. The plot around their romance and love interests were dull to me – sometimes even annoying. Though to be fair, the voice actors from the audiobook may have exacerbated my annoyance with the characters. It’ll be interesting to see how Lu wraps it all up in Champion, especially with what we learn at the end. Looking forward to it!

I started so many other books, but won’t be sharing my thoughts on those until I’ve fully wrapped them up.

What did you read this month? Share your wrap-ups below and I’ll check them out!

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Anticipated Releases | March 2017

Hi Folks!

While my TBR list is already pretty stacked with 2016 releases and even older reads, I’ve still been eyeing what’s coming soon. Here are my picks from the March 2017 release list. Have any of you read ARCs for these? What did you think?

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Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths…

Zentner’s debut, The Serpent King, was a touching, bittersweet and well-paced coming-of-age story – one that was well-received by most of the community. So there may be a little bit of pressure for Goodbye Days to live up to that acclaim. Thus far, the Goodreads  reviews seem to be positive. I’m looking forward to giving myself another dose of heartbreak.

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You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up…

Julia sounds like a spunky, lovable main character and while I’m not chomping at the bit to get my hands on this one, I’d still like to get around to it at some point. It promises the same teenage sweetness and angst as Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and More Happy Than Not. I’m anxious to see if it delivers.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever….

So I admit I have not read any of the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series. It’s entirely a case of judging a book by its cover. BUT I hear Laini Taylor’s storytelling is lyrical and captivating so I want to give this new release a try. Also adding her other series to the TBR list. There seem to be a handful of those who got lost with this novel though, saying it was confusing and hard to follow. Fingers crossed!

What are you all looking forward to? Any I should be adding to my list?

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Valentine’s Book Tag

Happy Valentine’s Day Friends!

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I am stealing this book tag from Jessica @ The Awkward Book Blogger. I saw a bunch of other Valentine’s book tags, but I don’t read enough romances or care enough about romances to be able to fill them out. Luckily this one is all about love for books. That I have plenty of!

The creator of this tag is CC’s Books on BookTube.

1. Stand-alone Book You Love

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Whimsical, sweet, heart-warming. I found this story to be equal parts magical and endearing. Easily one of my favorite reads from 2016.

2. Dystopian Book You Love

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I guess I actually don’t read a lot of Dystopian…I never read the Hunger Games or Divergent despite the fact that they’re dystopian staples. Aside from Marie Lu’s Legend, I haven’t read anything recently. I do remember really loving Unwind by Neal Shusterman in high-school. So it’s an oldie, but I’ll go with that one.

3. A Book That You Love But No One Else Talks About

Lately I’ve been picking out books mostly from the suggestions I get from the Book Blogosphere, so it’s been a while since I’ve read one that isn’t being talked about. That’s definitely a book goal for this year though – to branch out and read more underrated, lesser known books.

4. Favorite Book Couple

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Mmmmmm. I’m trying real hard, but I don’t know if I have one. I love Petey and Finn from Bone Gap and Blue and Gansey from The Raven Boys….but maybe I’m just not an OTP kind of girl. Favorite is a strong word, I can’t commit. Help.

5. Book That Other People Love But You Haven’t Read Yet

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Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve heard so much about these and just Sarah J. Maas in general, but I haven’t gotten into them yet. Its a little intimidating with so many books already out. I’ll pick them up eventually though. EVENTUALLY!

6. A Book with Red on the Cover

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The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died…

So this one doesn’t come until later this year in November. I haven’t even seen any reviews of it yet, but the summary sounds interesting and I do loooove this cover. Just the tiniest bit of red. But hey, still counts.

7. A Book with Pink on the Cover

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You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student…

Yet another upcoming release. This one should be out in next month and the reviews are looking pretty solid. Not to mention the Goodreads page alludes to More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera and Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, both of which I really enjoyed.

8. You were given a box of chocolates. What fictional boyfriend/girlfriend would given them to you?

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I’m a sucker for them edgy, brooding types so while its super out of character for our Dream Thief, I would totes take chocolates from Ronan in The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

9. You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What movie would you watch?

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Blue Valentine.

This is kind of a tough question since I don’t think being single on Valentine’s Day would really change what I’m watching or reading. Instead, I’m going to pick my favorite sad romance movies. I love them sad, bittersweet ones because despite the sad endings, they feel more real.

10. You are in the book store. All of a sudden you get shot with an arrow by Cupid. What new release will you love?

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The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine

An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king…

Another super cool cover. I actually haven’t read the first in this series, but this one seems pretty interesting. Rumpelstiltskin was one of my favorite fairy tales growing up. He’s such a creepy interesting character, so I’m excited to see how this re-telling plays out. Plus it’s releasing today! How perfect.

If you haven’t already done a Valentine’s Day Book tag and are looking for one…I tag you!

Evelyn @ Evy Reads Book Blog

Alice @ Wonderful Words 101

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