June Book Reviews

One week late? Oh wells. I’ve given up posting on time. Despite this being a crazy month with me training like mad for my third fight, I actually got a decent amount of reading in. Huzzah! Also seems like I was in a red book cover kind of mood. Totally not planned. Totally digging the aesthetic though.

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I can’t recommend this series enough. A Conjuring of Light was a heart-wrenching, action-packed, feels everywhere ending to a great fantasy trilogy. As much as I loved it, I think my favorite book in the series may still be the first one. There were moments of brevity and light-heartedness whereas A Conjuring of Light was heavy and dark – as all series climaxes should be. Regardless, I totally fell in love with all of these characters and the only reason I’m even remotely capable of talking about it reasonably is because I finished this book at the very beginning of the month. So I’ve had four weeks to mourn its end. Trust me, I was a wreck.

 

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Schwab comes up with the coolest premises and writes such believable fleshed out characters. Vicious was no different in that respect. I was disappointed though in the lack of scheming and complicated plotting particularly from a novel about two supposed geniuses. After reading the Shades of Magic series, I was expecting something a little less straight-forward. Either way, I’ll be picking up the sequel without a doubt!

 

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I actually wrote a full review for this one. TL;DR : I was super impressed with the world-building and creativity of the this book, but super disappointed to see it devolve into a story of star-crossed lovers.

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Yet another Schwab book! What can I say? I was trying to fill the void left by A Conjuring of Light. And yet again, cool world building, but I was left kinda of meh about this book. Even though I was left wanting more with Vicious, I still felt like her characters were unique and creative. What may have fell short for me here was that This Savage Song didn’t make me fall in love with its characters, nor did it have all those cool world-building details that the rest of her novels had. Maybe the fact that it was meant to be YA vs. an adult novel played a role. Idk. It reminded me a little bit of Legend by Marie Lu. 

 

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As usual, I’m also a bit behind on reading all of your posts too. Luckily, I’ve finally got a slow-paced weekend and I can’t wait to see what you’ve all been checking off your TBR’s!

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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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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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January Book Reviews

Happy February folks!

So bad news is that I got a terrible chicken-pox-like virus and have been stuck at home for weeks. Good news though is that being stuck in quarantine gave me way more time for reading than I normally have. So here’s to the first rapid-fire reviews of 2017!

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Read it? Read it.

A coming-of-age story thats full of the eccentricities of a small Southern town, where three friends struggle being outcasts in their own homes and community. Genuine characters with real flaws and lovable traits. Had my issues with it at times, but overall, a good one to add to your shelf.

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Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipota and Dhonielle Clayton 

Read it? If drama’s your cup of tea. 

A little bit Gossip Girl, a little bit Pretty Little Liars, Tiny Pretty Things follows the drama, mystery and brutal competition that exist in a prestigious Ballet Academy class. Well-written and definitely intriguing, I enjoyed the read, but it could be slow at times. By the end of the novel, not much was resolved and we aren’t left with much progression in terms of characters or plot. I just wish more had happened. This first book seemed like a really long introduction to the cast and setting. Points for having a diverse set of complex female characters though.

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Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Read it? Meh.

A love story that happens to involve interdimensional travel. The prequel had me disappointed with the lack of adventure and intense focus on the love triangle. BUT I did like Theo and Paul and Marguerite, so I picked up the sequel, hoping that going in with the right expectations would make this book more enjoyable for me. It is definitely action-packed and the plot progresses much further beyond the love story in this one. My main issues were one, how unlikeable Marguerite is, and two, how similar it is to the first one. Marguerite is judgmental and whiny and so very woe-is-me throughout this book. Not to mention her narration is a constant repeat of the same few thoughts over and over.  The formula here is almost identical to the first with Marguerite and Theo chasing Paul through various dimensions. Despite the fact that I love all the elements of this series, it continues to be underwhelming for me and I’m still on the fence about picking up the next one.

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Read it? Skip.

Trigger warnings all over this book. Bullying, rape, suicide, if any of those things are triggers for you, stay away. I wanted to be moved by this book, but I just wasn’t. It seemed like a bullet point list for Hannah’s suicide rather than a real treatment of the mental illnesses surrounding suicidal behavior. There were a lot of complex issues brought up and glossed over that would have benefited from better treatment. It’s interesting that this book is being turned into an MTV series and I’m hoping we don’t get a glamourized version of suicide.

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The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Read it? Sure, go for it. 

I was a pretty big fan of The Young Elites. Letting Adelina become the villain turned the story from an otherwise common fantasy hero story into something much more intriguing. This sequel, while it wasn’t mind-blowingly,  was a solid follow-up. Marie Lu seems to consistently do a good job of balancing character and plot development across her books and this one is no different. Adelina’s descent into the dark is believable and at times chilling. While I feel like toppling a government regime should be a lot more difficult than what happens here, this was nonetheless an entertaining read.

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Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Read it? Hard pass.

So this was smut. How did I get tricked into reading high-school erotica? I feel like I’m in the minority here since this book got some pretty remarkable reviews. But the center of this whole story is sex and quite frankly, there’s a good amount of sexual harassment that happens here. The Royal brothers do a lot of rather creepy things and our main love interest, Reed, says some rapey shit. At the end of the day, not much happens. For me, this book fails as a contemporary teen story and as a romance.

2016 Goodreads Book Challenge

Hi folks! Happy New Year!

Granted it’s a little belated, but I was a wee bit busy, as I’m sure you all have been. Anywho. Last year I set my 2016 book challenge to 35 books, but then I started training Muay Thai and fighting and such. Needless to say, there was a lot less time on my hands. Still managed to knock out 21 books though, which is 21 books better than none.

For 2017, I’m aiming for twenty-five! I’m already four books in so we’re making great time. Link me to your goodreads challenge and we can be goodreads friends! Happy Reading folks!

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