Bitterblue

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3) by Kristin Cashore

2_stars

8 years after the story of Graceling, Bitterblue is queen and things are just not adding up in her kingdom and she is determined to understand would make her a better ruler.

The Story-What I felt when I finished book was that I spent the entire time under King Leck’s rule and couldn’t really understand what was happening. The resolution of all the problems was really underwhelming and I thought the length of the book was unnecessary for the end result. The book really could have just been a novella.

The World Building-This was the hardest part about this book. All the lies and uncovering of the lies really made this book really obscure. As the two worlds of Graceling and Fire were interwoven it made for a really confusing book.

The Characters-Bitterblue and Saf and was happy that the book didn’t revolve around the romance aspect of the book.

The Soundtrack– Jhene Aiko ft Ab-Soul – WTH

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Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore

 

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Even the Darkest Stars

33385230Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

1_stars

They climb a mountain.

The Story– I was really looking forward to this book. When I picked it up I said to myself, “Mountains, Gandalf! Mountains!”No joke, I like to quote LOTR aloud quite a bit. But you know what? That’s all that there really was to this book. Sure there was actual story going on in the background, but in the foreground? Climbing, hiking, snowing, falling, climbing, mountain village, mountain peak, valleys, forest, snow shoes, rope, rocks, etc. THEN at 90% the story changes, you get some answers from the questions that are just danced around through the beginning, and then it’s all “to be continued” in the next book. WHICH I REFUSE TO SUFFER THROUGH. I cannot believe I didn’t DNF this book. It was literally putting me to sleep every night. I would read two pages in bed and would doze off! If it was good, I would have had problems falling asleep because I would be so absorbed in the book. Frustratingly though, it wasn’t!

The World Building-I don’t mind the superficial magical world building that was involved in this book. But I do mind the fact that there were dragons in this book and they were basically just used as lamps. I’m not joking! I thought, ooooh dragons. But they weren’t anything but flying torches!

The Characters– I thought all the characters had really superficial personalities. Everyone had their skill and that was all was pressed upon. Either they were a good or bad shaman, a good or bad climber, or were just there for filler.

The Soundtrack– Mew – Snow Brigade

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A Conjuring of Light

29939230A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)

 

2_stars

 

An enemy finds its way from Black London to Red London and it’s darkness is seeping into the very souls of its citizens. Only the antari and friends (with their powers combined!) can stop this foe.

The Story-Okay, unpopular opinion time. I did not like this book at all. It was soooooo loooongggg. With that being said, there was so much that wasn’t necessary in the book. From points of views to full scenarios. There is some conflict that arises between the countries that could have been left out of the book entirely. The only thing it really offered was an out for some characters. I honestly think there was too much time breaking each character down that it ended up being wasted on me. By the time we finally got to the end, it was anticlimactic and really proportionate to the buildup that spent leading to it. I think some of the arena scenes in the second book lasted longer than what we finally got with Osaron, or at least it felt that way. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there wasn’t so much blandness in between though! It was only my determination and love for the second book that got me through this one.

The World Building– I think the thing that bothered me most about this book was that there was no explanation for our villain. Like what’s his deal besides needing more, more, more.

The Characters– I still adore Delilah and Kell. What I did like about this book was the background story for Holland and all that he endured. I was really happy to get to know one of our villains, except for the fact that we don’t really know anything really about Osaron. He is such a vague villain that we don’t even know what he really looks like.

The Soundtrack– Hawkboy – Scoundrel

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A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

Graffiti Moon

7863274Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

3_stars

Lucy is in love with Shadow through the art that he has sprayed all over town. Over the night of celebrating the last day of year 12, she and her friends embark on a mission to find him. When she does find Shadow he isn’t exactly who she had in mind, except that he is.

The Story– Okay, so despite this being a teenage romantic contemporary, it was far from the angsty stuff that we’re all used to. In fact, there are very few scenes were our characters were nervous about being near another, there insides getting all warm and tingly, or were there very few scenes where they boy has twinkling eyes of galaxies and smiles worth a million bucks.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a lot going to drive the plot to the end aside from the ramblings of artsy kids, who thankfully I can just slightly relate to (being married to an artist and all). I think for someone who isn’t very artsy or appreciates poetry might find the book a little convoluted. With that being said, I still think it sets itself apart from the rest since it isn’t the same dumbed down angst we usually get from YA contemporary.

The Characters-What made this book particularly special were that all these kids were from broken/poor homes, but weren’t exactly gripping about it either. They accepted where they were at in the social level without pointing it out. We had these kids that didn’t have any silver spoons, but still saw the world through gilded frames. Look, this book has me writing all metaphorically. Let’s stop that, because I don’t like to come off having feelings and what have you.

The Soundtrack– Elliott Smith – Twilight

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The Well of Ascension

6547260The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson

4_stars

The Story-So I wasn’t exactly hooked on this book as much as I was the first book, but I found it still intriguing. There was enough to answer for that I had to just keep continuing on to get the answers I needed. This book had quite a few fight scenes that helped pull the length of the story along. In fact, I thought it balanced out the politicking and world building that held a majority of the book. Unfortunately, I found the ending to be quite anticlimactic. I had hoped for more war battle scenes as well as conflict surrounding the actual Well of Ascension – since that was this books namesake.

The World Building– I think a big part of this book was world development with the prophecies and how our characters tie in with it as well as other elements that are changing such as the mists and koloss. I think some of my favorite parts involved the understanding the koloss as well as learning much more about the kandra. I sincerely hope that both still play a role in the next book as well.

The Characters– There are so many characters in this book to really touch on any of them. Sazed continues to be one of my favorite characters, and I was very happy to have more chapters from him as well as character involvement within the story. The other was OreSeur. Both of these characters bring a certain loyalty that is naturally unexpected from their kind, and I found that without them, I wouldn’t have liked the book as much.

The Soundtrack– Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing, Tiesto ft Tegan and Sara – Feel it in My Bones

This was a buddy read with Bentley and Chelsea. Check these two lovelies out.

 

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The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Winter

13206900Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

5_stars

In the conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles series, the girls and their beaus come together for a final stand against Levana and her rule on Luna and impeding rule on the Common Wealth. Though they all come from different backgrounds, have their own skills, and have their own end goals, they somehow band together against a tyrant that has been destroying their lives.

The Story– I absolutely adore these books, and the last one didn’t let me down at all. If you like a happily ever after, than these retellings definitely have it for you. The best part is that even though we all (probably) know the basic outline for these stories, Meyer has developed them into their own plot, and the story unfolds in such an exciting way that I could just not put it down till I had my happy ending – which at some points I thought was feeble. By the end though, I was happy and giddy and every other feeling a princess story usually gives me

The World Building-This book gave us a LOT more Luna, in fact a majority of the book is spent there. It was interesting to see how the Lunars were apart from just the thaumaturges, as in not everyone was power hungry narcissists.

The Characters– At first I wasn’t exactly sold on Winter & Jason, but by the end I found them just as swoon worthy as the other three princess/prince couples. I love how Levana ended up being the key villain along many platforms, even though there were a few different fairy tales interwoven.

The Soundtrack– Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

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13206828Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

 

Siege and Storm

35529904Siege and Storm (The Grishaverse #2) by Leigh Bardugo

3_stars

The second installment picks up with Alina and Mal no the run from the empire and the Darkling, hiding as a deserter and the Sun Summoner. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy to run away. The Darkling is relentless in his search for Alina and Ravka is falling apart. With new friends in tow, Alina learns more about her powers but starts to lose herself and perhaps everything she loves, including Mal.

The Story-It’s a good thing these books read so easily, otherwise I would have given up otherwise the boredom would have dragged this book far too long. Unfortunately, I am bent on finishing these books before starting the famed Six of Crows. A lot happens in this book, but what I remember most was how angsty Alina was towards Mal. You all should know by now, I appreciate love angst as long as it’s in the right element. While some is to be expected in a YA fantasy, this one really made me want to climb into the book and slap Alina for being so dumb. You know, the way a friend would to snap them back to reality. There really was a lot of development in this story, without it really being entertaining. There were a few exciting scenes yes, but unfortunately it was surrounded by Alina being affronted by Mal.

The World Building-I loved all the new folklore that was introduced into this book and how much it affects the character’s actions. I loved how these seemed to be a little more original on their spin offs, as so far there really isn’t a lot of similarity to actual Slavic folklore, despite the obvious continued inspiration for the rest of the world. I was really hoping for more building around the fold, since that is a huge foe (although intangible) aside from The Darkling. However, the development of powers kept me sated as far as that goes…I just wanted more.

The Characters
Alina – Okay, so although it’s really infuriating to watch a girl who has so much power flounder, it is absolutely believable that she would dive back into her self-doubt. She spent most of her life feeling inferior t Mal, and even though she isn’t now, she someone lets him have a hold on her. I loved her slightly darker development in this book, but appreciated how much she fought against it. Honestly, I think it sends a really bad message that it’s totally okay to keep trying to be with someone despite how awful they treat you. Alina would be such a better character if she grew to be strong enough not to need and rely on Mal so much.
Mal – IS THE WORST. So what if he had given up a lot to be with Alina, that doesn’t give him any excuse to treat her like dirt when he is “supporting” her with her decisions. Not saying he should sit back and just tag along, but he could actually be proud of what he can do to help her when she is so clearly struggling. It’s so frustrating because he should be someone she could go to, but he ends up being a hindrance to her.
Darkling – I was really hoping for more of this guy in this book. However, I did love his eerie lingering presence and what it means for his relationship with Alina. While I understand he is twisted and manipulative, there is something to say about how he actually understand Alina and her need use and grow her power.

Soundtrack- Taylor Swift- Call it What You Want

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36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You

3422009436 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant

2_stars

Hildy is doing it for the experience. Paul is doing it for the $40. When the two meet at a psychology study where all they had to do was ask a list of questions and answer honestly, Hildy and Paul didn’t expect the relationship they both desperately needed could be found in the other.

The Story-So this was pretty unique. Mostly told in the format of Q&A Hildy and Paul’s banter is pretty endearing. Unfortunately since the majority of it is in this format…it was like reading someone’s chat log >entertaining? yes, but a full story? not really. Thankfully the Q&A is broken up a little with real life story going on in Hildy’s life. However, the story felt unfinished. Through the questioning, we get that Hildy is having some family issues, but they were just lightly touched upon even though they were used as conflicts throughout the book. The book was short, so there was definitely room for this to be explored.

The layout was rather unique since it had some instant messaging intermingled. It gave a realistic example of how you can get to know someone through that channel despite not having any face to face interaction. This was used to add an extra element of humor as Hildy berated Paul on his grammar and use of words. It also helped keep the conversation light while they tiptoed around some pretty sensitive issues.

The inclusion of Paul’s doodles were also plus, it helped break up the monotony of the Q&A format that dominated the book.

The Characters– Even though the entire book was essentially used to learn some intimate opinions and stories out of each character, I felt like I still hardly knew them. I did really like Paul though with his no nonsense attitude, but still willing to just barely open up to Hildy. It took a while for him to warm up to her, which sometimes can be rushed in other books.

The Soundtrack
Elliott Smith – Say Yes
The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

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The Final Empire

6547258The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

5_stars

“The Hero of Ages shall be not a man, but a force. No nation may claim him, no woman shall keep him, and no king may slay him. He shall belong to none, not even himself.” 

Within the Final Empire the skaa have been enslaved for centuries by the Lord Ruler. Though the ashes still fall and the mists they fear still roil in each night, a rebellion has started to grow. A crew of thieves, each with their own unique specialty, have plans to turn this rebellion into a full on revolution.

The Story-I was fortunate enough that Bentley and Chelsea let me jump in on their buddy read. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much without their feedback, ideas, and understanding throughout the book. I seriously am so excited to start the next book. I have to admit, the long prologue and first few chapters weren’t the most exciting chapters ever, but from there the story really unfolds from slow burning to a full blaze. The story itself primarily follows Vin, who is a lowly thief, and her endeavors after she has been recruited by Kelsier, a man known as The Survivor of Hasinth for the biggest, craziest job he has ever planned. Mostly told between Vin & Kelsier the team is constantly berated by obstacle after obstacle that keeps you wondering if they will ever pull off the job or not. While an uprising isn’t some the most exciting, original idea, Sanderson did a wonderful job of introducing it as new through his wonderful world building.

The World Building– I thought that as the story progressed Sanderson did an excellent job of unfolding more and more about the world as well as character development. The world building for me was by far the best part for me. While I have a lot of questions about some aspects, I can tell by the way Sanderson unfolded information in this book, that we will most likely have them answered in due time throughout the rest of the series. With that being said, I’d like to point out some of my favorite bits that I found incredibly intriguing.
The Special Abilities– I loved how in depth all of this was. There wasn’t just one type of power. In fact the major ability, metal burning, wasn’t even as straight forward as just having it. There were levels of ability, uses, checks and balances, using up and refilling, and tricks unique to each type of ability. At first I was a little overwhelmed by the different types of metal and what they did. I thought I might have to memorize all of them to keep up with the story, but Sanderson flawlessly reminded me of their uses as the actions were performed without sounding redundant.
Creatures, Races & Histories-There are a few different races mentioned in the book, and each had their own history, special abilities, religions etc. In fact, I loved how Sanderson created multiple religions within the one people as part of the world building, even if it wasn’t relevant to the particular world they were living it, it still helped support the story, and it was these small details that really put this book above the rest. The creatures were so eerie & unnatural. First of all, the Inquisitors off the bat were so creepy I got chills reading about them. The mistwraiths have all their superstitions wrapped around them along with the fact that they only roam around in the mists just made them über creepy too. These creatures along with the superstitions really set the mood for the world.

The Characters– Okay, there are too many characters to really do all of them any justice, so I am only going to mention Vin (who I consider the main character) and my favorite from the whole crew.
Vin-Now while Vin turns out to be a super bad ass chick, my favorite parts of her were her weaknesses. Despite her growth as a character in skill, confidence, and trust, she was still vulnerable to dangers, loss and disappointment. She never stops second guessing herself, she just pushes through because she simply has to. Just because she was certainly stronger and bolder by the end of the book, she could still cry out with relatively normal reactions.
Sazed-I loved this guy because he was entirely selfless. He only sought out the best for his friends, particularly in this book Vin, and even when they were stupid he did nothing but support them all. He is steadfast in his word and true with his friendship. For me he turned out to be one of the most intriguing characters, and I honestly think it was meant to be that way. He is shrouded in mystery for most of the book, despite his prominent presence, and I can only hope that he continues to play a big role in the upcoming books.

The Soundtrack
Radiohead – Daydreaming
Muse – Uprising
Thrice – For Miles

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Cress

13206828Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

 

5_stars

Cress has been in her satellite doing the bidding of Queen Levana for many years. But this is her chance to redeem herself for all that she was forced to do. Imprisoned on a Satellite with only the occasional supply visit she has little interaction with the outside world (errr universe). That is until she requests an escape from none other than Cinder, the fugitive she has been ordered to find for the Queen. This unlikely crew of rebels soon find out that they not only need to stay out of the clutches of the Queen but are probably the only hope of stopping her.

The Story-I can’t believe I put this book off so long. These books are just so stinking cute, I don’t even care if they’re cheesy or anything. They just make me feel good and sometimes you just need that in your life. Fairytale retellings in space? Seriously, so much fun. I know I am ridiculously late to this bandwagon, but I don’t even care.

Anyway, the pacing in book three stays steady with espionage, escapes, and even kidnapping. Along with all the sweetness these girls bring, the situations they find themselves in only keeps you on the edge of your seat with excitement.

The World Building-In Cress we start to get a little bit more of the Lunar perspective and it’s quite disturbing. It’s really quite chilling to learn what they are willing to do to hold and gain more as much power as they can. It was really interesting to see more of Earth and how they interact and handle Lunars as well. I am really curious how Earth is going to react in the next book with all that has happened in this book.

The Characters-So since we are starting to really collect a huge cast, I am going to focus on our title heroine, Cress. I am pretty sure she’s my favorite thus far and I think it’s purely for her sweet naiveté. Unlike our other retold heroines, she remains to be the girl you want to save. Not because she is exactly helpless, because let’s be honest, the crew would not be alive without her. It’s because I feel like there is something about her that needs to be persevered. I hated seeing her go through more and more troubles, but her relationship with Thorn is just so stinking cute. Despite the fact that she is the one being “saved” it was incredibly endearing how their friendship developed as he had to rely on her.

The Soundtrack
Anya Maria – Satellite Heart
Justin Bieber – Hit the Ground
The Chainsmokers feat. Daya– Don’t Let me Down

 

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