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?

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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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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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Rapid Fire Book Tag

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Book Tag Yay! I’ve never done a book tag before, but this was pretty fun. Send me more, friends! I stole this tag from Jess @ BeaucoupBooks.

1. E-book or Physical book?

E-books! While I love actually having physical books, I find that I’m reading a lot more with e-books. They’re so portable and wallet-friendly. I’ll still go out and buy a book if I really loved it though or if the cover is amazing and I neeeeeeeeed it.

2. Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback. Unless there’s a super pretty hardcover version. I’m a sucker for pretty things.

3. Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

I like browsing in-store and then actually pulling the trigger on books online. Maybe it’s nostalgia from going to the library every weekend with my mom, but I love the smell and feel of libraries and bookstores. Plus I like touching all the books.

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4. Trilogies or Series?

Trilogies. Either is fine really, but sometimes series can go on for too long, whereas trilogies tend to have a nice conclusion.

5. Heroes or Villains?

Heroes. I got a soft spot for the good guys. Too many superhero shows and comicbooks as kid. Not to say there aren’t great villain stories though like Marie Lu’s The Young Elites.

6. A Book You Want Everyone To Read?

The Harry Potter series. A common answer maybe. But I was one of those weirdos that didn’t read this until I was twenty-one because I thought it was way too mainstream and hyped growing up. When I finally decided to read them, I binged all the books and all the movies in a couple of weeks. So sad I didn’t read them earlier as a kid.

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7. Recommend an Underrated Author?

I actually can’t think of one off the top of my head. 😐 Recommendations below pls!

8. The Last Book You Finished?

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

It’ll be in my February Book Reviews post later, but long story short, I loved this one.

9. Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

Toilet paper. Clean toilet paper, guys, obviously. But let’s be honest, everyone reads on the crapper and when you need a bookmark, the TP is there.

10. Used Books: Yes or No?

Yes! I used to raid the Goodwill bookstores where they have used books for $1 or $2. I’ve been reading almost exclusively on the Kindle lately though, so used books aren’t really an option.

11. Top Three Favourite Genres?

Fantasy, Contemporary, and Sci-Fi.

12. Borrow or Buy?

Borrow! I’m pretty sure I’m a library felon because I’m terrible at returning books on time so I haven’t checked out an actual book in a long time.  I do, however, love Overdrive and Hoopla for borrowing e-books and audiobooks.

13. Character or Plot?

Mmm. This is difficult because why would you want a book that only had one or the other. That being said, if I absolutely had to choose, I think I’d go with characters. Believable characters are what drive emotional investment for me and a plot can be found in solid character development.

14. Long or Short Books?

Either or. It’s all about that pacing. Short books can still drag and long books can still fly by.

15. Name The First Three Books You Think Of.

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

16. Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silver

I’m not a book-laugher I guess, but I’m definitely a book crier. The last two heart-breaking books I read were probably these two. Maybe not sobbing, but definitely teary-eyed.

17. Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Our world. I can’t remember the last time I read a fantasy novel.

18. Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes? I’ve never successfully finished one. It always takes long to listen to one than to read a book obviously, but I’ll listen to a few chapters than get overeager and just read the rest. This happened with The Martian and Red Rising. Though I recently started listening to Prodigy by Marie Lu and I may actually finish that one. We’ll see.

19. Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Guilty.

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20. Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

TV Shows. Especially with a lot of YA series, I feel like you get more out TV adaptations. Plus, you get to see all your favorite scenes and more with shows. I feel like movies always lose out on something. There are exceptions of course where a movie makes more sense. (i.e. Gone Girl or Perks of Being a Wallflower)

21. A Movie or TV Show You Preferred to the Book?

Book-snob here. Let’s be honest, the book is always better.

22. Series or Standalones?

Meh. Either or. Though I don’t like reading series where you get no closure until the final installment. You gotta give me a little something along the way. I have no patience.

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Tags:

I’ll tag some of my most recent book blogger follows and anyone else who wants to do it. Happy Tagging! 🙂

Priscilla @ Rand0m Book Girl

Wing Yee @ Bibliphilic Med Student

Ashley @ What’s She Reading

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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.