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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (ARC review)

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Source: ARC from Rachel at Rachel Reads (Thanks, Rachel!)
Series: Yes, this is book #1.

Rating: 4.75 out 5 stars



Synopsis: 
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

-From Goodreads


Review: I will admit that I was a bit hesitant going into this one. I was worried about the hype. Everyone that has read this so far that I've seen has raved about it. It's still early since the book just released this week, but I was still nervous going in and pushed myself to go in with a blank slate and just enjoy the book for what it is/what I would make it out to be. I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed, not in the least. This new series is promising lots of things that I love to see....fantastic worlds, complex characters, action, and romance. 

The world. This book is set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy (Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm, and Ruin & Rising). In this world, there are Grisha which have magical abilities to manipulate different types of things. Heartrenders, like a character in this book, can manipulate a person's body, such as stopping their heart or closing up their lungs. A few others include Fabricators which can manipulate materials (like fabric or metal), Tidemakers which can manipulate water, and healers that can heal. There are more complex parts to this world and the more I learn about it, the more I fall in love. My favorite parts are seeing what the Grisha can do with their abilities, it's just so fascinating to me. 

The complex characters. Each of these characters are developed so well throughout the book. We start by knowing very small, basic things about the characters but grow to learn so much more. The alternating chapters between all the perspectives really helps to show different sides of the characters and the underlying reasons behind why they're doing what they are doing and who they are. I grew to care about each of the characters in this book. 

Also, the witty banter was a favorite of mine throughout this book. Like most heists, you have a bunch of smart and clever people together that might not always get along and have some interesting and occasionally hilarious things to say about each other. I really enjoyed seeing these playful type of interactions among the characters, I loved that it added a bit of humor into the story. 

The action. There is no shortage of action and adventure in this book. I think Bardugo did such a great job intermingling action with characters and other pieces of the story all within a well-balanced plot. There wasn't a time where I was bored when reading, in fact, I didn't really want to put this book down. This one did take me a few days to read but I was glad because it was that much longer that I got to live in the world. 

The romance. I have so many ships in this book that I think my heart might have exploded. I was rooting so hard and reading quickly (as I could without missing anything) at points because I was so excited and had to know what was going to happen next with my ship(s). I love everybodyThe only thing about the romance plots that I wasn't very fond of is that there seems to be pairings that fit a little too perfectly. I just wonder about why characters have to be paired off..can't they just be awesome without having to have romance in their storyline? I don't have any complaints about specific romances in the books, I love them all, but I wonder about this in general when things seem a little too good to be true.  



Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Who are you shipping? Have you read the Grisha trilogy, and if so did you enjoy getting back into the Grisha world? What were some of your favorite parts in this book? 




Monday, September 28, 2015

#slaythatseries Readathon TBR

There's a readathon going on this week hosted by booktubers Sara from SarawithoutanH and Chami from ReadLikeWildFire. I decided to jump in because there have been some series that I've been wanting to slay. The goal of the readathon is pretty simple, to slay any series you want to. You can marathon a whole series or finish up a series, or just catch up on series.

There are two series that I'm hoping to slay. My tbr is rather ambitious but I'm hoping to read as much as I can and see how far I get.

The first series I'm planning to slay is the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce. 


When the readathon started yesterday, I had about 50 pages left in the second book in the series, The Hand of the Goddess. Next up I'll be starting The Woman Who Rides Like a Man and then finishing up with Lioness Rampant. I definitely want to finish these this week and I think I can for sure get through them. At least I'll slay one series I hope!

The next is another fantasy series, the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. 


The first book will be a re-read for me. I read it awhile ago and can't remember a single thing! So after finishing up the Song of the Lioness quartet, I'll be re-reading The Demon King and then hopefully getting through the rest of the series. I've heard they read pretty fast, so fingers crossed!

What series are you slaying or would like to slay?






Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: The Edge Chronicles; The Twig trilogy

Just a note before the reviews: There's something a bit unique about the series that I'm going to review today. I've recently read and fallen in love with The Edge Chronicles, a middle-grade fantasy series. The unique thing about this series is that it's made up of trilogies. Books 1-3 are the Twig trilogy, books 4-6 are the Quint trilogy and books 7-9 are the Rook trilogy, book 10 is The Immortals which is the "final" non-trilogy book. A recent trilogy(?) has started called Cade, book 12 and 13, the first two books with Cade have recently been published and therefore I'm not sure if this is a trilogy or not.
Also, on a side note: Some have recommended to start with reading the Quint trilogy first, followed by the Twig trilogy and then lastly, the Rook trilogy (followed by the others in order). In fact, Goodreads has started to list Beyond the Deepwoods as book #4 in The Edge Chronicles. Also, it seems the series must be going through a re-design and cover change because new editions (paperbacks) I've found also list Beyond the Deepwoods as book #4. I didn't know this until I had already started reading Beyond the Deepwoods and I couldn't stop reading it (I literally couldn't put it down, lol) so I just read them in the order of publication. So far I haven't really noticed any big differences in reading it this way, but then again I have only read the Twig trilogy. I just wanted to through this note in here in case you decide you'd prefer to read them this alternate way :)

Now onto my reviews for the first three books...non-spoiler reviews, of course. To avoid spoilers, I'm just including the synopsis for the first book.



Title: Beyond the Deepwoods
Author: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Publication: June 22nd, 2004
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Source: Bought it
Series: Yes, this is book #1, I'm also going to be reviewing book two and three down below!

Rating: 5 out 5 stars



Synopsis: 
Young Twig lives in the Deepwoods, among the Woodtrolls, but he isn't one of them. In a brave attempt to find out where he belongs, Twig wanders into the mysterious, dangerous world beyond the Deepwoods. He meets a collection of odd companions, such as his wise guardian, the Caterbird; the Slaughterers, a peaceful race who butcher animals for their livelihood; and the vicious, bile-swilling Rotsucker. Always watching out for the horrible Gloamglozer, whose presence haunts the thoughts of all the inhabitants of The Edge, Twig steadfastly pursues his quest until he discovers his roots, not among the trees, but in the skies....
-From Goodreads


Review: First off, I need to thank Sanaa from InkBonesBooks for talking about this series and raving about it. Without her, I don't know if I ever would have picked it up. I really do enjoy reading middle grade, but often put off reading it for some unknown reason. When I picked up this first book in the series, it was exactly what I was looking for... I wanted something whimsical and imaginative with lots of adventure and that's exactly what this book (and series so far) has delivered.  

Throughout the book are illustrations and Chris Riddell makes some beautiful art. It really added to the story and placed me right in the midst of all the shenanigans that Twig seemed to fall into. The illustrations really added to the book in such an atmospheric way. I felt like I was on the adventure with Twig and it made me like Twig and the book even more. 

Twig was such an interesting character to follow. He's full of such hope and goodness that I found him rather endearing. He seemed to keep landing in these situations where I wondered how in the world he was going to get away (and I was actually scared for him!) but yet he somehow found the courage or hope to do something about it. 

I started out with the first book in this series and then started to take out the following ones from the library, but I've loved the first three books so much that I've started to collect the rest of the series. I am way, WAY excited to read these with my kiddos when they get older. I think this series is definitely one that is underrated. If you like fantasy, whimsical and unique worlds, please pick these books up..or even just the first one of wherever you want to start in the series, I think it'll hook you in and have you dying for the next one, like it did for me ;)



Book Two: Stormchaser (mini-review)


Immediately after finishing Beyond the Deepwoods, I NEEDED to have this book. I couldn't get enough of the world and the adventures. This book dives even further into the world and even introduces some new and exciting aspects...like sky pirates! Once again the illustrations were on point, and delivered such an atmospheric tone to the novel that put me right there with all the characters. Speaking of characters, I really enjoyed getting to know some of the new characters and also continuing to get to know some of the ones from the first book. Twig grows up a bit more in this book and that was something that was really to see happen. While this one didn't quite have as much of the unique world in it as the first one as far as creatures that they meet, I still quite enjoyed exploring a different part of the world and learning more on a grander scale. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. 


Book Three: Midnight over Sanctophrax (mini-review)


Once again, I dived right into this one after finishing Stormchaser, because, seriously you guys, I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS WORLD AND ALL THE ADVENTURING. This one dived yet even deeper to the world and also brought back a lot of the whimsicalness that I was missing in the second book. Also, Twig grows up even more and watching him grow up through the three books had me grinning like an idiot.. Also seeing other characters grow with him was wonderful too. I didn't expect to start caring so much about these characters but the more I've gotten into these books, the more that I've dived deeper in caring for these characters. I really love the world that Stewart and Riddell have built and it's a new favorite that I am happy to get lost in. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.



Have you read any books in this series and if so, what did you think of it/them? What did you think of the world and illustrations? Were they different than you pictured? What are some of your favorite middle-grade fantasy books? (this series has sparked a new love for middle-grade fantasy for me!) 




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR Pile


Hosted by the lovely ladies at the Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is one of my favorite seasonal topics to pick out. I love picking out seasonal tbrs, it makes me look forward to all the books I will be reading that season, especially the ones for the fall since there are some good releases to look forward too and also since Halloween is around the corner, I love reading some creepy/scary books as well!

Here are the TOP TEN BOOKS ON MY FALL TBR






Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - I've heard so many good things about this book that I actually pre-ordered it and I don't typically pre-order books. I'm SUPER excited to read this one soon!

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich - Look at that creepy cover! It's coming upon the creepy time of year and I always get the urge to read some creepy books. Looking forward to reading this creepy-looking tale!

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee - I'm not quite sure what is driving me to this book, but I have a feeling I'm going to like it. a lot. I think I've heard this is a Frankenstein retelling? Sounds right up my alley for this time of year.

BONUS: I forgot to picture this one, but also dying to read Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch. This sequel to Snow Like Ashes is one that I'm so wanting to read and find out what happens...Snow Like Ashes ended on such a cliffhanger!
AND
Winter by Marissa Meyer - I'm definitely going to be picking this one up when it comes out!





This is a bit embarrassing, but yes I believe each of these books were on my last year's fall tbr and I still haven't read them. Therefore..it's happening this year (I think I said that last year too...BUT I'm still super excited to read each of these)






These two series I've been devouring lately and want to continue to read throughout the fall. 

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews - This is an urban fantasy series that I have completely fallen in love with. Pictured are #4, 5, and 6 as I've already read #1-3 (the first one is called Magic Bites). The books in this series keep getting better and better.

The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce - I really enjoyed the first book, Alanna: The First Adventure and as I have the next two checked out from the library, I'd like to continue on with this series and hopefully finish it (I can get caught up while I wait for the last book to come in at the library).






Last year I read a Stephen King book in the fall before Halloween. I picked out and read Carrie last year. I wanted to continue on this tradition and pick up what I've heard from some people is his scariest novel, aka The Shining. I have seen the movie a few years ago, I don't remember all the details so I'm looking forward to reading this one and maybe re-watching the movie again.




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I'm jumping in and joining #bloggiesta


I have heard about Bloggiesta before, but haven't participated before. So I'm excited to say that I'm going to be participating this week. As I've recently come back to blogging after a hiatus, I have some work that I need to get done and what better than to get the work done in good company with other fellow bloggers :)

My To Do List
1. Catch up on writing reviews - currently have 5 to write
2. Update reading challenge list and about me page
3. Cross-post reviews to Goodreads
4. Comment on fellow Bloggiesta participant's blogs
5. Develop at least 3 posts from my idea list
6. Do two mini challenges

Bonus: I'd also like to do something on Pinterest. Add another board of some type and tie it back to my blog. I need to do some brainstorming on this one. 

If you'd like to join in, click here to see sign-up post! Also check out the Bloggiest blog and twitter!



Review: P.S. I Still Love You

Title: P.S. I Still Love You
Author: Jenny Han
Publication: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought it
Series: Yes, this is book #2.

Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars


Warning: Spoilers ahead for the first book in the series, To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Don't go any further if you wish not to be spoiled on the first book.

Synopsis: Lara Jean didn't expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren't. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean's feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

-From Goodreads


Review: I really enjoyed the first book in this series and I was hoping that this one was going to be just as good. This book carried on a few of the elements of the first book that I really enjoyed, such as the family dynamic. I LOVE the focus on family that runs through the first story, and for those of you that love that too, don't worry, it continues on in this second book. 

I have two sisters, like Lara Jean, so I really related to her on that level as well as the other sisters. I'm the oldest in real life, so it was really cool to get a different perspective from the middle sister. I was the first to move out and go off to college, so seeing how the sisters still at home dealt with that during the book gave me some insight as to how my sisters may have felt. 

The story of this one takes a bit of a turn than what I thought it would. I didn't see it becoming so realistic of a relationship, especially Lara Jean and Peter's relationship. It went in a totally different direction than I thought it would, but it all felt, as I was reading, like that's what should be happening. The introduction of a new love interest was welcomed on my end since I wasn't completely on board with Peter from the first book. But I still feel like everything ended as it should, even though the ending felt a bit rushed. 

I loved watching Lara Jean grow throughout the book as well. And seeing the other characters growing as well. She seemed more mature to me in this book. Though there were still a few moments where it seemed she was a bit immature, her character grew up since book one and I really liked seeing that. I was surprised at the realistic aspects that made me appreciate the book even more. The realistic way that Lara Jean and the characters have grown up and forward paired along with the relationships that continue or develop along the way all felt natural to me. 

There is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end that has me wondering if there is going to be another book... Do you think there will be another book?



Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What did you think of the new love interest? What were some of your favorite aspects of this second book? 




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top Ten Books I Should Have Read Already




Hosted by the lovely ladies at the Broke and the Bookish.

This week was a freebie to choose what topic we want to do. Lately, I've been thinking there's some books that I need to read. Either I've been putting them off for too long, or they just keep getting pushed to the side. Whatever the reason, I should have read these books already and I haven't yet (but maybe I can hope to read them soon :))



Grave Mercy - I had this one on last year's fall tbr...and maybe even the year before that. I think it's time to read this one, for real this time. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - This is one book that I've been scared to read. I've heard the hype and think I might even like this one, but scared about entering into this series. I just need to jump in!

The Book Thief - I might be the only person that hasn't read this..okay I know that's not true. But I do need to read this one. Once again, the hype is huge for this book and I'm worried about not liking it. Also, I've heard it brings all the feels and I haven't felt prepared yet. Still, this is one I need to get to.

The Last Olympian - Shaking my head at myself realizing I have this last book in the series to read and I haven't read it yet. I really need to finish this series so I can go onto The Heroes of Olympus series. 

The Well of Ascension - I LOVED The Final Empire and this is a series that I have an urge to marathon and finish, but the length is a bit intimidating. and also the hype of the series. 

City of Fallen Angels - I have been so fortunate to avoid spoilers for this series, but that won't last forever. This is another series that I need to marathon and finish up!


A Great and Terrible Beauty - This is another book that I've thought about a few falls and still haven't gotten to. It just keeps getting pushed down the pile, but I still really want to read this one, especially because I loved The Diviners also by Libba Bray. 

Shadow of the Wind - This is a book that I've heard is one for book lovers. I think I'm going to love this one, but is yet another book where the hype intimidates me. I just need to read this one and see for myself how it goes.

Vampire Academy - I found this whole series on sale at a book sale for just $3. I bought it and have been putting off reading it. I think it might because I'm a bit over vampires, but I still have heard some good things about this series and have lately been having the urge to pick it up and start it. Also, I think I'm one of the last ones to start this series >.<

The Name of the Wind - I am such a fantasy lover and have heard so many people say that this is a definite book to read for those that love fantasy (and even those that don't). It's some people's favorite book that I share the same book taste with and therefore I'm thinking I'm going to like this one. a lot. 



Monday, September 14, 2015

Reviewing a gothic, fantasy fairy-tale retelling

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Publication: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: Bought it
Series: No, I believe this is a stand alone!

Rating: 3.5/4 out 5 stars


Synopsis: "Our Dragon doesn't eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that's not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he's still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we're grateful, but not that grateful."

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows-everyone knows-that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn't and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. 

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

-From Goodreads


Review: This book has had quite a bit of hype, and I'm afraid that the hype got to me a bit. I heard so many people talk about it, a few said it was about dragons, and some said that it was best to go into blind, without reading the synopsis. So I went into it thinking it was about dragons (which it's clearly not, after reading it..and it says its not in the synopsis) and didn't even read the synopsis because I heard it was best to into blind. I expected this one to blow me away, but it didn't quite meet that level for me. However, I still enjoyed it and thought it had some wonderful elements to it.

This book is different than any other one that I've read. It's fantasy, but at the same time a fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It's gothic-toned and has some beautiful language, descriptions and settings. I loved these aspects. I loved reading about the village, the Wood, the world that these characters live in. The writing was also stunning, I couldn't get enough of the writing and the world. 

The tale is very character driven in the first half and I just couldn't quite connect to any of the characters in the first half of the book. They were entertaining, and I enjoyed reading about them, but I had a rather empathetic approach to them and their situation. Despite that, I did like the strong will that Agnieszka had and the actions that she took to follow what she believed was the right thing to do in situations. She was much more of a strong female character than I anticipated she would be. 

I also love the friendship dynamic. I SO appreciate seeing solid, strong, and supportive female friendships, and this book definitely has one of those. 

This story was pretty divided for me, the first half I found rather boring and confusing and would have really brought the book down for me had it not picked up in the second half. The second half I finally started to learn about everything I had questions about and diving into the deep and beautiful tale that the story tells. That made this book very hard to rate for me. I really appreciated it, and loved some aspects, but at the same time there were some points that really bothered me. And the first half, I really struggled to get through. Therefore I'm not sure if this is quite a 4 star read for me, but maybe more of a 3.5. 

I'd say go into this one reading the synopsis and being aware that there are no dragons, just a wizard that is called a Dragon. If you like fantasy, or fairy-tale retellings give this one a shot, I think you'll like it and if you don't, I think it'll still be something different from what you've read before. 

Also, shout out to the UK edition, because the cover is STUNNING.






Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What did you think of the world? Have you read any other fairy-tale retellings, and what are your favorites? 




Friday, September 11, 2015

A bit of book haulin'

This book haul includes some books I bought back in July, and a few I got at a big sale over the weekend, coupled with a book from my secret sister and an ARC from a friend. Here's the books I've gotten/acquired recently:  



Books I Bought:

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han - I bought this one in July when I was dying to read it and not wanting to wait it to come in at the library. I read it and really enjoyed it (more than I thought I would). I'm hoping to post a review on this soon.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik - I also bought this one in July...for the same reason. I was dying to read it and not wanting to wait for my turn at the library (plus I had a coupon to use at B&N;)) I have also already this one and hope to have a review posted soon!

So Half-Price Books was having their Labor Day sale this past weekend. So I, of course, had to pick up a few books. Here's the four books I got:

Emma by Jane Austen - This edition was stunning and discounted and I had to have it on my shelves. I mean...look at this beauty. 



Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays, and Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews - These are books 4, 5, and 6 in the Kate Daniels series. I've been addicted to this series as of late, and when I saw the next books I need to read at half price with an extra 20% off, I had to get them. Very excited to have these to continue on with the series. 

Books Gifted/Given to me:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas - My wonderful OTSP secret sister pre-ordered this one for me - Thank you, lovely sister! I just finished this one up last night and debating on whether I'm going to do a review or not...but first I need to get some coherent thoughts together. 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - My friend Rachel over at Rachel Reads had an ARC of this that she wasn't planning to read and offered to give to me after she heard that this is a highly anticipated book for me. So very excited to read this one (Thanks Rachel!) I'm planning to read this one very soon!

Have you read any of these? What'd you think of them? What books have you gotten recently?



Thursday, September 10, 2015

I've got the reading groove back.

A little update since my last post back in May, I've got the reading groove back. This calls for a

 photo giphy_zpslwwc1jbi.gif

I'm SO HAPPY to be reading again. 

With all the reading I've been doing lately, I've been sad that I don't have the same place to talk about books as I did before when I was blogging. Not many people around me in real life are readers, so I have no one to discuss books with. This is one of the reasons I originally started a book blog. Another reason why.. I've wanted to sort of keep a journal for myself on what I'm reading/enjoying and my thoughts on books I've read. Now that I've been reading more, I've missed doing this with the wonderful books that I've read. Also..I miss YOU GUYS. I want to talk about books again with you and share all the love for the books.

So, basically, I think I'm back to blogging. and it feels oh so great to be talking about books again. Some posts I've got coming soon, a book haul, and reviews of Uprooted and P.S. I Still Love You.

That all being said, let's get down to the good stuff... I'd love to hear what you've been reading lately. What is your last 5 star read? What book have you been recommending to everyone lately?