Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

Title: The Snow Queen
Author: Hans Christian Anderson 
Publication Date:  October 4th, 2016
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Source: from BloggingForBooks
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

Gorgeously packaged with intricate illustrations from Finnish illustrator, Sanna Annukka, this new edition of Hans Christian Andersen's well-loved fairy tale, The Snow Queen, is the perfect holiday gift for adults and children alike.

Hans Christian Andersen's magical tale of friendship and adventure is retold through the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in deep blue, with silver foil embellishments, The Snow Queen is elevated from a children's book to a unique work of art. It is an ideal gift for people of all ages.
This is a super short review, since the book itself is short, but even though it is short, it was still enjoyable.

The Snow Queen is a classic tale and Sanna Annukka's illustrations added vibrant colors and pictures to the story. I am very familiar with the story but it has been a long time since I sat down and read it. But I loved the pairing of the illustrations with the story. I really enjoyed Annukka's illustrations. They are very abstract and vibrant and really added a different feel to the story. It was not the illustrations I was expecting, but they fit in perfectly. This was a super quick read that I really enjoyed and really enjoyed the illustrations to go along with it.

*Thanks to BloggingForBooks for providing a copy of the book for review*

Monday, August 15, 2016

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date:  June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
“Why won’t you leave me alone?” I whispered one night as he hovered behind me while I tried to work at my desk.

Long minutes passed. I didn’t think he would answer. I even had time to hope he might have gone, until I felt his hand on my shoulder. 

“Then I’d be alone, too," he said, and he stayed the whole night through, till the lamps burned down to nothing.” 
I don't know how to write a review that will do this book justice. So I'm going to do something I haven't done yet and do a gif review! Siege and Storm was just like Shadow and Bone where I flew through it. 


This one took more than one sitting sadly because of work and life, but hey it gave me more time to savor it. So this book starts off quite a bit after Shadow and Bone. Which is good because the characters have settled into their new roles and we get right to the action and plot. Alina is very different in this book. She is more determined and has a semblance of a plan to save Ravka. For me, this trilogy is all about the Darkling and how much I love his characterization. Yeah he may be the "villain" but I also think his character is too complex to be categorized as such. After the huge role he played in Shadow and Bone there was not nearly enough of him in this story for my taste. Every time we did get him, I was all like:

I know everyone obsesses over the Darkling and I'm definitely one of them. Another aspect that made this second book so great was all the new characters we got to meet and get to know. Nikolai being one of them. I love how he is first revealed to be the Prince and how much mischief he can get up to. While I'm definitely pro Alina/Darkling, I had a few Nikolai/Alina moments where I was all: 

I definitely cannot wait to start Ruin and Rising and see how Leigh Bardugo finishes up the trilogy, but at the same time I'm super worried about the emotional toil it will take. I have fallen so in love with this world and these characters that I'm scared to see what she has done with them in the final book.

I also have that small voice in the back of my head warning me about disappointment with final books in series (but it is just a super small voice because I know almost everyone loves this trilogy in its entirety).

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

Title: A Book of Spirits and Thieves
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publication Date:  June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.
“Tears aren't just for babies. They're proof that you feel something and aren't afraid to show it. It's those that won't ever allow themselves to cry that are the weak ones.”
I rushed to finish this book before The Darkest Magic came out thinking I would pick The Darkest Magic up right away but I should have know. The book has been out for a week and a half and I have not even started it.

This book was very interesting. We have two coinciding stories being told that are both interconnected in a way that is still mostly unknown. These two stories are told from four different characters point of views. You have Maddox, Farrell, Becca, and Crystal. One story is in modern day Toronto and the other is ancient Mytica. It was fascinating to read this book and see how Morgan Rhodes was connecting the two very different worlds.

This book gave a lot of great backstory on Mytica and how they go to where they are in the Falling Kingdoms Series and I really loved the extra information. As for the Toronto story, I have been to Toronto only once in my life but I knew exactly where a lot of the landmarks Morgan Rhodes uses were. And I loved that she was descriptive enough and used names that I recognized, it just added to my investment in this story.

I definitely have a favorite character after this book but based on what happened I do not want to say who it is. I will just keep that to myself and see what said character does in the next book. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent (Waiting on Wednesday #21)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that everyone’s eagerly anticipating!

ONE SPARK WILL RISE. Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The Flame Never Dies will be released August 16th, 2016 by Delacorte Press!

The first book in this duology was a huge surprise for me. I won it in a giveaway and new nothing about it but had heart great things about Rachel Vincent's Shifters Series so I dove right into it. And I loved it. It was this great paranormal/fantasy story about a girl fighting to keep her family and her city safe. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this all ties up and where Nina and Finn go on their adventures.
What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Title: The Great Hunt
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publication Date:  March 8th, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.
“Fear was a dangerous, unpredictable weapon.”
I really enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing YA romance with a tiny, and I mean tiny, amount of fantasy. I really wish we had gotten more world building and explanation of the Lashed and where they came from. But this is a Wendy Higgins novel, so I expect romance to be at the forefront.

The relationship between Aerity and Paxton actually did not bother me as much as I thought it was going to. I think Wendy did a good job of having it slowly grow into something while still starting out with that fire.

There was a huge chunk of this book that was boring to me. The hunters were doing the same thing day in and day out and there was not enough going on to keep me fully invested in the story and the characters.

Overall, this was a good "light" read. It was light in the sense that it was not the typical high fantasy, intricate magic system I have been reading lately. This book is definitely not for everyone especially when it is marketed as a fantasy and definitely leans more towards romance centric.

I look forward to seeing how Wendy Higgins ties everything up in the next book since this is one of those rare YA duologies.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast

Title: Amber Smoke 
Author: Kristin Cast
Publication Date:  June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Source: Borrowed from Library
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
There is a world that runs parallel to our own, a world in which the souls of the damned are caged, where they are looked over by the Furies, and where they spend eternity in torment, mirroring the devastation and mayhem they created when alive.

Someone has opened the cage.

The worst of terrors has crossed the barrier that separates our world from theirs, and the Furies send a great, albeit untested warrior—their only son, Alek—to try to bring those souls back. He is young and handsome, headstrong and impulsive, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Eva has grown up, beautiful and beloved, but surrounded by secrets. First, she will be hunted in an ancient feud that will threaten her life. Then, she will become the hunter.

With the police closing in and two worlds on the verge of crumbling around them, Alek and Eva must find each other, discover the limits of their powers, and work together to save everything they hold dear, including one another. Blending elements of mythology with the dazzling storytelling that her fans have devoured through the House of Night series, Kristin Cast weaves a spellbinding and passionate tale that starts a thrilling new series with an explosive charge.
“Not all of your foes will appear in their true form. You must learn to trust your instincts.”
So this book. I do not know what I was expecting going into this, but I am not really sure it matched the expectations. I am not a fan by any means of the House of Night Series. Eventually I want to read them all, but I am in no rush. For me, the downfall to that series is its length and mediocre writing. This book reminded me of the same things that irk me when it comes to HoN.

The writing in this book left much to be desired. There is nothing spectacular about it and the plot and characters are not exciting enough to make up for it. I cannot pinpoint exactly what it is about the writing style that does not work for me, but I just know it is not my cup of tea.

As for the actual story and characters. I did not fall in love with any of the characters. Alek and Eva have this ridiculous insta-love stemmed from fate and destiny, but we do not even see any of that romance. It was such a strange concept for me.  We have them talking about love and needing each other after only spending like an hour together. I was expecting this book to be a paranormal romance and what I got was set up of a journey with a whole lot of destiny and backstory. 

Speaking of backstory, the one thing I really enjoyed with this book is the level of backstory we got on the Furies and why Alek and Eva have to save Tartarus. I also enjoyed the sisters fussing over Alek. As for plot this whole book was a drawn out forty-eight hours or so. Parts that were supposed to be suspensful and thrilling left me indifferent. I was not pulled into this story and what was happening. Typically when a character is being threatened and hurting you want to see them get better and have that small voice in the back of your head that questions if they will really make it out of this okay. I did not feel any of these thoughts or feelings at any point in this book. I just did not have a connection with the characters that comes with experiencing the story.

I have the sequel Scarlet Rain also checked out from the library, but I am not sure I even want to continue with this series at this point. But on the other hand, these are short books, so it is not a huge time commitment to read them. However, I am not at all invested in this story. I am a little curious to see what happens to Tartarus but I am not entirely motivated to continue.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Review: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

Title: City of Blades
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Publication Date:  January 26th, 2016
Publisher: Broadway Books
Source: From BloggingForBooks
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?

While I did not love City of Stairs, the first book, in this series, I still really appreciated the world and everything it had to offer. This book however, was a let down. I felt like it was all over the place and the characters I had come to know did not live up to my expectations.

I do not know if this sequel was initially planned or only came about as a result of the success of the first book, but I was left with more questions than answers with this one.

Other people seem to absolutely love this book, but I'm not one of them. I do not know if I hyped it up too much for myself or what, it just was not a good read for me. I have been reading a lot of other fantasy books and this one just did not have the same world building I need in a great read.

Lastly, I did enjoy the characters in this book. It was definitely the saving aspect of the book. General Turyin Mulaghesh was definitely a strong female character with a lot of spunk. 

This was a hard review to write since I did not have many good thoughts about this book and in many places skimmed. I may have been in the wrong mind set when reading it. But overall it just was not the book for me.

*I received a copy of this book through BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review*

July 8th Recommending Reads

For today's edition of recommending reads, I'm going with my favorite duologies. Duologies are those rare group of books where the story is told in two parts rather than the traditional three. I think a lot of authors, and even publishers, push for the standard three parts because that is the norm. But I really believe that the story and characters should determine how long the books last for. Whether that is 1 book, 2 books, 3 books, 4 books, etc. Every story is unique and deserves to be treated that way rather than trying to fit it into the standard way of doing things.

This are in no particular order. Plus for a few of these I have not even read the second/last book but I loved the first enough to know it would make the list. This was a lot harder to do than I was expecting because it is so rare for duologies. There are a few really hyped ones where the second one is coming out next year such as The Crown's Game/The Crown's Heir by Evelyn Skye, Passenger/Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken, and The Star-Touched Queen/Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. But I have not read even the first book in those yet.

  1. Winger and Stand-off by Andrew Smith
  2. If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman 
  3. Sekret and Skandal by Lindsay Smith (still need to read Skandal)
  4. Control and Catalyst by Lydia Kang (still need to read Catalyst)
  5. Not A Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis (still need to read In a Handful of Dust)
  6. An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (This makes the list because the first was so amazing I trust the second one will be too when it finally comes out)
  7. The Wrath the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh (again still need to read The Rose and the Dagger)
So as you can see because of my problem with finishing series, I have many of unfinished duologies left on my shelves. But I'm slowly working my way down my shelves reading all the unread books and trying to catch up and finish series. 

What are some of your favorite duologies?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date:  July 5th, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
“You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn't matter if you're monster or human. Living hurts.”
I do not know where to begin with this book. I do not think anything I write will do it justice. This book had everything I wanted and needed. There was so much to fall in love with.

I'm a huge fan of Victoria Schwab and everything she has written, this book being no exception. She just has this way of writing that pulls you right into the meat of the story and the world. So Verity is an amazing setting. From the first page I was obsessed with learning as much as I could about the city and its strange inhabitants. Victoria did a fantastic job of giving us the information about the world as we needed it. The story unfolded in a great way that keep me hooked all the way through. For me there was very little down time at all, I was eager throughout the book to see what was going to happen next.

In terms of the characters, we have two completely different but also the same people. Kate and August were a great pair and I loved watching their chemistry unfold throughout the book. There is so much keeping them apart but they are thrown into this war. 

Victoria Schwab is one of my auto-buy authors. She is able to create these amazing worlds whether they are fantasy or a scary world not far from our own. Her world building is what first gets you drawn into each book, but then you meet the characters and fall in love with them too.

At her event this week, she talked about how her characters are all outsiders just trying to fit in and learn to live as an outsider. Something about that really stuck with me. I think that is part of why I'm so drawn to her books. They are not about the extraordinary person living a normal life. They are about the person who has never really fit in and never will. I really think August and Kate's story really works with this theme. You have Kate, the daughter of the "mob boss", trying to fit in and be like her father and you have the monster, August, who desperately wants to be human and live

Monday, June 6, 2016

Managing my TBR

I know, I know. I said I was back but took another break. I was supposed to have LASIK two weeks ago, but they ended up doing a different procedure that has a longer healing time, so I wasn't able to read or use the computer. And now I can see with no glasses for the first time since I was 6 which is amazing! Now, I'm much better and hope I can truly get into my routine again. 

Which brings me to today's discussion post. My TBR. As book enthusiasts, we all buy a crazy amount of books. I consider myself a collector as well, so I'm also buying to add to my collection. That being said, I struggle with keeping up with the ever growing TBR, last year I wanted to eliminate my TBR, but instead my TBR when from the 50s slowly up to the 100s, and now it sits at just over 200. And I know that is insane, but there are just so many books that look interesting that I buy and never actually get around to reading them because other books come.

With over 200 books to chose from when it is time to pick the next book to read, I've started to have no interest in reading simply because I cannot pick a book. It is a daunting task when you have so many options. I've have tried a TBR jar, but with so many books now it is not feasible to have a jar with that many choices. I used to have my friend choose, but she mostly choose my most recent purchase or a book she was reading so it was not working out.

So I've come up with a new method for choosing books that I'm going to try. I really enjoy doing #RYBSAT and the ease of choosing it allows. That being said, I'm going to start at the top of one of my large bookshelves and work my way to the bottom, then on to the next shelf, reading every unread book there is. I may or may not skip over the next book in the series if I have more than one unread, it will probably depend on how anxious I am to read the next book. I'm really hoping this method can help motivate me to read and keep my TBR more manageable.

Here is the first shelf I will be working on. It actually has more read books then unread which hopefully will help the process. So once I finish A Gathering of Shadows it looks like Cruel Crown shall be my first read. 

How do you guys manage your TBR? Does anyone else have the same problem with too many options being overwhelming?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (Waiting on Wednesday #20)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that everyone’s eagerly anticipating!

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
Nevernight will be released August 9th, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books!

This book like so many others has so many of my buzz words. We've got:
  • Gorgeous cover ✓ 
  • Fantasy ✓ 
  • Assassins ✓ 
  • Medieval setting ✓ 
  • Revenge plot ✓
Plus, all US preorders are going to be signed by Jay Kristoff. I've had this one preordered basically since you could preorder it on Amazon. I'm really looking forward to reading something new from Jay Kristoff that isn't part of the Illuminae Files (and I really need to get to reading the Lotus War).

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23 Recommended Reads

So I'm back after a long hiatus, but I'm really excited to get back into blogging and writing full reviews and reading what other people have to say about what they are reading. My first year of Grad School is over and I now have the summer to read and devote time to this blog and the community more than I did during the school year. Coming back there are probably going to be more discussion type posts and lists until I get back into the swing of writing reviews and posting them here.

That being said, I'm going to start a new series of posts today. Basically every once and awhile, I want to post a list of my top 7 books in a certain genre, of a certain length, or even that I read at a certain time. Plus I'm also open to suggestions of what you would like me to recommend. For this first post, I'm going to recommend seven of my favorite series (and series not trilogies, that could be a different post).

  1. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
  2. The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
  3. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini  
  4. The Falling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes
  5. The Chronicles of Nick Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  6. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  7. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

This was harder to do than I was expecting, but at the same time it really made me think about what it is about each of these series that has really stuck with me (even the ones that are not complete yet). There is just something special about a series that lets you completely immerse yourself in the world and the characters. And there is something to be said about the wait, whether it is a patient one or not, for the next installment to see where your "friends" are headed to next.

What are some of your favorite series?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Stievater
Publication Date:  October 21st, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.
“Humans were so circular; they lived the same slow cycles of joy and misery over and over, never learning. Every lesson in the universe had to be taught billions of times, and it never stuck.
It is no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with this series. I love the writing and the characters, but I've always felt very "meh" about the story and plot. I've just never connected with the story and the direction Maggie Stiefvater takes the story.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue started out the same way as the previous two. I loved reading about these characters I've come to love, but I had no interest in their quest and the story. For me, this series is a character driven story. I'm reading this series to get to know them and "interact with them". I love the sass, the teasing, and the ease of Blue, Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Ronan's eclectic relationships. They are this misshapen conglomerate of people that work so well together. While they may not always see eye-to-eye, we know they rely on each other.

This series takes place over a very short time period and in this installment the summer is ending and school is beginning. I really wish we had gotten more scenes of Blue and the boys at their respective schools. Aglionby has always fascinated me and I really wish we could have seen more.

This book took a really interesting turn about 300 pages in (rough 100 pages remaining). I started to become really attached to their quest and what they were trying to do. It took almost three books, but I'm now fully invested in this series. It is about more than just the characters now. I also want to follow them on this quest to Glendower.

This book had a lot of heartache. There was so much sadness and I'm now even more scared of what is to come in The Raven King. I'm also very glad I already have The Raven King in my possession, because the ending of Blue Lily, Lily Blue is not something you want to sit on, having to wait to see what happens next.

This is a super long review, but basically for me this was the book that made me fall in love with this story completely. I still would not consider this a favorite series, like many others do, but I now understand the unconditional love people have for this series. I get the devotion to both the characters and the story. It just took me a while longer to get the story part.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Review: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: Tell the Wind and Fire
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publication Date:  April 5th, 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: ARC from Publisher
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?
“I know there is nothing between us and there never could be. But I would do whatever you asked. I would do anything you want. If I had anything worth giving to you, I would give it. If I had anything to sacrifice, I would sacrifice it for you.”
I'm so in love with this book. I loved the writing, the characters, and the story. A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books of all time and Sarah Rees Brennan has crafted this amazing retelling of the classic story. She definitely made it her own with amazing characters, doppelgangers, and magic.

Even though I knew how this was going to end and I knew I was in for a world of hurt, I still was not prepared for just how horrible the ending was going to be. And I say that in a completely positive way. This story still managed to shock me in every way and I truly felt for the characters as they went through their own Revolution.

This story really gets at who you are and what you are willing to do both for your beliefs and the people you care about. Lucie, Ethan, and Carwyn each had complex backstories and situations that lead them to this story and how everything unfolded. There were so many choices that led to what unfolded and how it unfolded. 

That being said, while I knew how the general story was going to go, there were still many twists and turns that kept me guessing as to how exactly things were going to unfold. I'm so lucky that I got an ARC of this book and I cannot recommend it enough to people. Especially fans of A Tale of Two cities and fantasy books. Plus this book has amazing writing and so many gorgeous quotes throughout. I have so many post-it notes lining my ARC in places where I loved the writing.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffins
Source: Bought It
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Summary: Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.
“You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can't carry on at all.”
Wow! I don’t even know where to start with this book. This was definitely one of my most anticipated books (especially in terms of standalones and not continuing a series). I feel in love with the characters in Fangirl. I obviously loved Cath and Levi, but I also loved the bits we got of Simon and Baz. So a whole 500+ page book about Simon and Baz was super exciting.

I loved that this book starts during their last year at Watford where they have already faced many challenges and overcome them. Instead we get as much information as we need as the story goes instead of a crazy summary of the previous years. Rainbow Rowell did a fantastic job of weaving in the past experiences. I also loved the pace of this book. We got straight to the point without a bunch of world building and explanations.

As soon as I started the book, I already felt like I knew the world. I do not think this was because I was already introduced to the world in Fangirl, I think it was just written well enough to not have a learning curve. There are many similarities to HP but I think that is part of The Chosen One trope and the fan fiction meta aspect of this book. I really loved how Rainbow Rowell did her own thing with the Chosen One arc. She had her own ideas on how Simon and his friends would deal with the evil and how everything would turn out.

I will admit my one concern going into this book was the fact that this was a book about fanfiction of a fictional book from a different fictional book (and yes it is that complex). So I was worried it was going to be too much meta but I did not feel that way at all. There was really nothing relating to the original fanfiction from Fangirl other than character names.
I already want to reread this book and I really want to read Fangirl now. Both will probably happen by the end of the year so I can revisit these characters. This book is very different than Rainbow Rowell’s other contemporary books, but she did a great job with this fantasy story!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Review: A Study in Charlotte

Title: A Study in Charlotte
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publication Date:  March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
"The prompt didn't help me much, since all poems were difficult for me to write. They were like mirrors you held up to a black hole, or surrealist paintings. I liked things that made sense. Stories. Cause and effect."

This was a great retelling of some of my favorite characters, Sherlock and Watson. I really enjoyed Brittany Cavallaro's take on these characters using their descendants as the main characters. This was a really well done debut novel that I basically read in one sitting. I've lately really gotten into Sherlock retellings reading Jackaby and Lock & Mori.

This book definitely kept me enthralled and invested in these characters and their quest. The writing in this book was really well done and there were a lot of great witty phrases. For me the best part of the writing was the dialogue. It was so well done and made the story.

The only real issue I had with this book was the pop culture references. I only mind them because it dates the book and makes it relevant now, but potentially not in the future. However, I cannot wait to read more from these characters and see what Jamie and Charlotte get up to next, I believe this is a trilogy and I'm already eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Completely, unrelated but the epilogue to this book is spot on. It really tied the entire story together and made it that much better.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Title: The Grownup
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publication Date:  November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Crown
Source: From BloggingForBooks
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the "psychic" visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan's terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan's teenage stepson, doesn't help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.
I have only ever read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and I loved it and how twisted it was. I had high expectations for this book. Especially in terms of twists and creepy factor. But I'm pretty disappointed in this short story. It started out great with this unnamed character, who I wanted to hate but could also sympathize with.

However, without giving to much away, as the story progressed I felt that there was so much missing in the story. And yes this is a short story so things are not fleshed out like they would be in a full length novel, but I feel like this was  all over the place in terms of where it was headed and what was happening.

This story left me very unfulfilled at the end. I know to some extent that was the point, but at the same time, it seemed worse than it was intended. Overall, I was not super impressed with this story. It had the creepy factor and the great writing but it left me too unsatisfied for it to be enjoyable.

*I received this book from BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review*

Saturday, January 16, 2016


I know I have been mostly nonexistent on this blog in the past few months and that is due to my school schedule. I started grad school in the fall and it takes up most of my time. I do not have the free time that I used to to truly dedicate to the blog. I really would like to be able to post once a week, but most weeks that is not plausible. I am still reading and I do write mini-reviews on Goodreads, but it is not the same as my true reviews here. I really hope I'm able to have more time to dedicate to the blog during the summer and my breaks from school, so for now, I would suggest following me on Goodreads if you want to see my thoughts on what I'm reading.