July Book Reviews

Soooooo, it’s totally not July anymore. It’s barely even August. To be honest, I didn’t get much reading done in the past month anyway.

Not sure if it was a slump or if I was just too busy, but I think I just needed some time away from this little space. I’m happy to be back though! With a new round of rapid-fire reviews to boot! Whoo. Lesgo.

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The Final Empire ( Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Ah, Mistborn. This brought me back to my early reader days, when I would stay holed up in a treehouse totally engrossed in fantasy stories for hours and hours. It had all the elements of a good fantasy but without a lot of the cliches, no dragons and princesses and such. I loved Sanderson’s world and discovering all the nuances of allomancy. The plot was action-packed, emotionally charged and totally unique in my opinion. Some kinda meh points though :

1) Occasional slow pacing

2) The narration felt really distant from the characters sometimes. I wish we got to know more of them more intimately

3) Fight scenes could be difficult to follow at first, especially when you’re still trying to remember the mechanics of all the pushing and pulling.

4) Totally detached from the Elend / Vin romance. Though I appreciate the general lack of relationship drama through most of the book. This is definitely an action/fantasy adventure – not a romcom disguised as one – and I love that.

Other than that though, I really enjoyed this one. Been a while, but can’t wait to pick this series back up.

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Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

World-building was rushed, not elegant in typical schwab style. There were too many elements, not all of which add to the story. I wasn’t particularly invested in the characters or side characters. The villain/threat felt underwhelming. Stakes didn’t feel high enough because of the general lack of investment. The idea and the premise seemed interesting enough, but I felt like it wasn’t sufficiently fleshed out. From the lore behind the monsters to the two main characters themselves, we weren’t given the time to really immerse ourselves in any of it. End of the day, I was pretty disappointed by this one. To be honest, my library books were due and I didn’t care enough to finish this series out. So I left the last quarter of the book alone and I’m not sure if I’ll go back.

 

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Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

So my sister churned through all these audiobooks insanely fast and told me she was pretty disappointed with how the series played out. I, on the otherhand, felt like the second book gave me what I kept expecting from the first one – all the action and gore of war. Some part of me missed Kaoru when she was just Kaoru because she had a light-hearted, almost naive fearlessness that her Madrigal counterpart seems to tame down a little. But anyways, I was so much more intrigued by the fallout of the star-crossed lovers tale than the tale itself that was presented in book one. Not to mention, all our secondaries (Ziri, Liraz, Hazael, Zusana) get more screentime in all the Eretz madness. Me gusta. All in all, a solid sequel, I think. I may even like it more than the first one.

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Welp, I think that’s it from me for now! Hope ya’ll didn’t miss me too much, ha! Can’t wait to get caught up on all your wonderful posts.

Happy Reading!

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Featured Follows | More Blogs You Should Read

I started this series of posts to highlight the blogs I follow/follow me that I really enjoy reading or interacting with. Check out the last featured follows here!  

 

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Is book porn a thing? I’m not talking erotic novels, I mean book porn like food porn. I’m talking photos of books and bookish things that are so pretty and visually stunning that it makes you want to buy new books and read all day. That’s what you get from Ramsha @ The Booknookae. Her gorgeous bookstagram photos plus her one or two liner reviews and recommendations make this an easy blog to prowl through.

 

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Author and blogger, Lyndsey @ Lyndsey’s Book Blog, has got it all on her blog. Writing tips, book tags, reviews, book crate unboxings…it’s a combination of all things bookish and to top it off, she seems like a genuine and approachable person.

 

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I’ve been following Savannah @ The Book Prophet for a long while, pretty much since I got back into blogging. Her reviews are thorough without being long-winded and I love that you can always skim just the bolded parts and hilarious gifs for a TLDR version. Lots of books on my TBR list have come from her suggestions. My favorite posts are probably her discussion topics though! Sometimes it gets a little repetitive to see the same book tags across all the blogs you follow and Savannah always has interesting, original discussion posts that get me thinking!

 

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Have any great blogs you think I should check out? No shame in volunteering your own, hahah.

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Happy Friday, ya’ll!

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Daughter of Smoke and Bones | Review

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ARGH. Such mixed feelings about this book. I finally picked it up and finished it in a week, hopping between the audiobook and the ebook. First off, it was probably the best audiobook I’ve ever listened to. Christine Hvam’s narration brought the story to life in a way for me that was more intriguing than when I first attempted to read the book a few weeks ago.

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What I liked : 

The world is gorgeous. The chimaera and angels, their worlds, the whole idea behind Brimstone and the teeth…it was all vivid and surreal. From Zusana’s quirky charm to the pitiful, yet grotesque Razgut, Laini Taylor’s characters were equally captivating.  So imaginative, I felt like there was an immense amount of potential to the story.

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What I disliked :

Things started to fall apart for me when Akiva came into the story. I was hoping he would be our story’s villain, to be honest. But then our epic fantasy action mystery adventure slowly devolved into a romantic tale of star-crossed lovers. The world around it was still incredible, but I was disappointed at the romance being the central and driving factor for the story.

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Plus, I wish their backstory was revealed slowly throughout their journey through Elsewhere. Instead, we have this epic story set-up that kind of just grinds to a halt as the backstory becomes the whole second half of the book. It doesn’t feel like a climax, it feels like two separate stories, instead of that mysterious history unfolding along with the rest of the plot. Harry Potter, Shades of Magic and even The Mortal Instruments series does this pretty well – giving you nuggets of answers across a series of subplots. Also even the original romance felt kind of…rushed? All of sudden? Kind of beastiality-ish?

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TLDR :

Daughter of Smoke and Bones is chock full of gorgeous, inventive dark characters and worlds, but is ultimately let-down in the latter half of the book with an overdose of romance and cheese.

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By no means is it a bad book though, there’s definitely enough here for me to pick up the second book. I just wish there was more action and less heart fluttering. I’m impressed with Laini Taylor’s creativity though. It may have bumped Strange the Dreamer much higher on my TBR list than it used to be.

Happy Reading!

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

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Happy Middle of June! Except not quite because I missed it by a few days. Meh, when am I ever on time with blog posts though? Anyways, I first peeped this tag over at Steff @ Little Booky Nook ! I love a blogger with a sense of humor and good taste in books. Don’t you? Check out all her reviews, collection of tags and – my personal favorite – all her book rants.

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Best book you have read so far in 2017

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Shades of Magic Series. This is tough ’cause I’ve read some good ones this year, but nothing stole my heart quite like V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series. So much so that I’m giving away a copy of the first book in the series. 

Best Sequel of 2017 so far

A Gathering of Shadows. I’ve actually read more sequels than usual this year. Namely Prodigy, The Rose Society and now working through A Court of Mist and Fury. A Gathering of Shadows still tops the list for me though.

New release you haven’t read yet, but you want to

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Want by Cindy Pon

If a gorgeous cover and a diverse character/setting isn’t enough to intrigue you, perhaps this review by Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks will convince you. It sure as heck convinced me.

Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017

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Not sure if there’s anything I’m absolutely dying to get my hands on right away. Maybe it’s because my TBR list is far too long already, but I haven’t kept an eye on what’s coming up lately.

Biggest disappointment

Paper Princess by Erin Watt

So much hype. So little plot.

This is our story by Ashley Elston

Actually came onto my radar as an under-hyped book. Turns out I agreed with the lack of hype. Wasn’t much here for me.

Biggest surprise

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Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. 

This did not go the way I thought it was going to go. Why did it go that way. *cries quietly*

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

Obvi V.E. Schwab. Even when I don’t love the plot or pacing of her novels, I really do enjoy her style and characterization. Also Laura Ruby though! Bone Gap was one of my favorites last year and I haven’t gotten too far with York yet, but I’m definitely already a fan of her writing.

Favourite new character

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Is it terrible to admit that I’m just too lazy to pick?

Book that made you cry

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. 

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I mean really, need I say more?

Book that made you happy

All the books I’ve read this year have broken my heart, which has made me happy in the sense that they’re great books. …But not too many happy ending reads so far. It’s all dark, stormy clouds over here.

Favourite book to movie adaption you’ve seen this year

Haven’t seen too many adaptations this year to be honest. I did really love Logan though, which was very loosely inspired by Old Man Logan, a comic arc which I also loved.

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Favourite review you’ve written this year

My reviews are more a collection of rapid-fire thoughts than actual reviews…so to be honest, I don’t think much of them ha! Here are two of my more popular sets of reviews this year though : March Book Reviews | April Book Reviews

Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year

Now this isn’t beautiful in the traditional sense, but I just started listening to the Daughter of Smoke and Bones audiobook. Oh my goooooooosh. 

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Christine Hvam does the most incredible voices. Her narration enriches the story so much for me that despite wanting to whip open the actual book to see what happens, I find myself just waiting for long car rides so I can listen to her read it instead. One of the rare instances in which I think I prefer the audiobook. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to her version of it (which is available on Overdrive), check. it. out.

I recently got my older sister back into reading (score!) by getting her a kindle and introducing her to audiobooks on apps like Overdrive. We both just happened to start this audiobook at the same time and it’s a glowing endorsement from her as well.

Books you need to read by the end of the year

I really want to get through ACOMAF and ACOWAR just to catch up with the rest of the book world, but they seem to take me forever to get through so we’ll see how that goes. There are also a bunch of new contemporary releases that have been pretty well received (i.e. When Dimple Met Rishi, The Hate U Give, etc.) but I have been on a pretty long fantasy binge lately. I’m not quite seeing a light at the end of that tunnel yet, so who knows if I’ll squeeze in any of those this year.

 

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Anywho. Like I said, I’m pretty late with this tag and don’t want to go about tagging folks that have already done this one, so if you haven’t…I tag you! Feel free to link your posts below if you have done this tag! I’d love to check them out.

Happy Reading!

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A Darker Shade of Magic | GIVEAWAY

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Image Source : Folded Pages Distillery

Hi friends!

Guess who’s doing another GIVEAWAY! 🙂 This girl. Anywho. You all know I love this series and all of you, so I am gifting a paperback copy of A Darker Shade of Magic to one lucky winner. This little giveaway box will include the book as well as a few other reading time goodies, which I will keep as a surprise for the winner!

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I’m running this giveaway through rafflecopter! So just enter here or click the big old “click here to enter” banner below. Make sure the email you enter with is a valid one so I can contact you if you win!

The giveaway ends on June 30th. I’ll declare a winner and ship out your box that weekend! Hopefully you’ll get it in a week or so depending where you are. International entries are totally A-OK! Aaaaaand….that’s it! Hope you guys enjoy! If this goes well, I’m open to doing a lot more giveaways in the future. Anything to help spread the book love!

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As always, Happy Reading!

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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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