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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WWW Wednesday #5

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly MEME hosted by Taking on a World of Words. Simply answer the following questions.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


 

What are you currently reading?

 

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I had actually never heard of this book until all the hype about Caraval kicked up, which often referenced this novel. It’s whimsical and intriguing so far, albeit somewhat hard to follow. Eager to see where it goes.

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What did you recently finish reading?

 

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This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

Underwhelmed and disappointed by this one. I think it actually put me into a reading slump because I didn’t really feel compelled to finish it. Sad face. That’s it for the past couple of weeks though. Things have been pretty slow on the book front for me.

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What do you think you’ll read next?

A Gathering of Shadows. Rare that I have a definite answer to this part of WWW’s, but my book hangover from A Darker Shade of Magic has finally faded and I’m ready to move on with the series. You guys ever get that? Where you get so sad about a series eventually ending that you refuse to read the next one? So bittersweet when that happens.

Happy Reading!

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WWW Wednesday #4

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly MEME hosted by Taking on a World of Words. Simply answer the following questions.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


 

What are you currently reading?

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This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

I’ve had this one in my peripherals for a little while now. It’s popped up quite a few times on other bloggers’ underrated lists and the cover and synopsis sound intriguing. I also felt like I needed somewhat of a fantasy break, but wasn’t feeling a contemporary romance type novel. So hoping the mystery element keeps this intriguing for me.

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What did you recently finish reading?

A Darker Shade final for Irene

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Guys, help. I  think I am in love…with this book. I want more, but I’m also stalling at starting the next one because I don’t want it to end yet. I’ll have a full review up in a couple weeks, but it’s basically just gushing. Fangirling over here.

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What do you think you’ll read next?

A Court of Mist and Fury is still on the list as is the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows. I think it’s mainly between those two and I’m leaning AGOS, though there’s been much push from all of you guys to get into ACOMAF already hahaha. So I guess we’ll see!

Happy Reading!

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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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The Sick Book Tag

Hey folks! Time for another book tag, whoop whoop! Here is The Sick Book Tag, which was first created by Dark_Chickie on Wattpad. I stole this from Duckess @ Hook a Book. 

Diabetes- a book too sweet, like really sweet

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | My Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | My Review

Jenny Han and Rainbow Rowell are the queens of sweet, sugary fluff. Sometimes I’m a fan, sometimes I’m not. But you can’t deny the sweetness. These books are like literary sprinkles.

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Chicken Pox- a book you picked up once but will never pick up again

The Selection by Kiera Cass | My Review

Soundless by Richelle Mead

There was a lot of love for the Selection series, but I really couldn’t stand it. I was confounded by the world and setting, the characters were unlikeable and quite frankly, nothing happened. Soundless, however, was just a terrible book. Though an interesting concept, it was poorly written. The execution there was just flat. Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy is pretty popular, but Soundless? Hard pass. Needless to say, I won’t be finishing or re-reading these anytime soon.

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Influenza- a contagious book that spreads like a virus

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments started off as a trilogy but grew into a series, which then got a movie and a TV show. Then, we have the Infernal Devices and multiple one-off stories plus compendiums. Cassandra Clare’s supernatural world blossomed into a huge franchise. I think I was thirteen when the series first started. Crazy to think of how much it has expanded.

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The Cycle- a book you read every month, year, or often

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It’s been a long, long time since I’ve re-read a book, especially since the TBR pile has grown so big lately. When I was a kid though, I had collected almost all of the Series of Unfortunate Events books and re-read those again and again. I also read through Eragon multiple times while waiting for the sequel to come out. Ironically, when it did, I didn’t have the time to read it anymore and actually never got around to it.

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Insomnia- a book that kept you up all night

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera 

I mention this book in way too many of these tags, but I got sucked in and stayed up way too late reading this on my kindle under the covers. Another perk of having a kindle – getting to read in bed without having to keep the lights on.

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Amnesia- a book that’s forgotten and didn’t leave a powerful impression in your memory

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

This wasn’t a bad read by any means. I actually rated it rather highly, but it just wasn’t super memorable for me. Even now, I can’t quite remember my thoughts on it, especially since I never got around to writing my review for it.

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Asthma- A book that took your breath away

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater | My Review

For a young adult novel, it felt refreshingly different in tone and plot. The characters were whimsical and dark and the mythology of everything was superb. I still need to finish this series. I don’t know why I’ve been sitting on it for so long.

 

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Malnutrition- a book that lacked food for thought

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Paper Princess by Erin Watt | My Review

This was all hot guys and sex and scandal without a ton to think about or think through. It kind of read like smut or weird high-school erotica to me.

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Travel Sickness- a book that took you on a trip through time and space

 

The Firebird Series by Claudia Gray | My Review

I had my issues with this series, but there’s no denying it took you to incredible places. The characters literally travel through  different dimensions. And while technically, the time isn’t actually changing, the worlds’ different progression rates leave them feeling like parts of the past or future. End of the day, these were still entertaining reads. I just got so annoyed with the protagonist in the second novel that I’m not sure I can fight my way through the third.

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Tagging the following wonderful  book bloggers and anyone else who wants to this tag!

Swetlana and Sandra @ Reading Through the Nights

Kiersten @ Once Upon a Spine

Michelle @ Book Adventures

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