Paper Girls

28204534Paper Girls, Vol.1 by Brian K. Vaughn

3_stars

I have a small weakness when it comes to book related art. So naturally I am drawn to graphic novels with pretty artwork. I have read the entire Saga series up to date by Brian K. Vaughn so when I saw Paper Girls was a new novel written by him, I had to give it a try!  This is a different artist than his Saga series so I had a completely different feel from the first page. While this wasn’t quite as good as Saga, I was still instantly wrapped up in the story of the Paper Girls! I mean who doesn’t love a kickass group of girls who deliver papers in the 80’s with their neat-o jean jackets and walkie talkies? I almost got a feel of a female version of Stranger Things at some points in the story. (And I LOVE Stranger Things!!! Eep!)

The art in this is beautiful with the pretty neon colors that relate to the 80’s. I got caught up from time to time just staring at the pictures on the pages before I would flip to the next to continue reading.  I think sometimes I get so caught up in the story that I forget to stop and enjoy the art that goes along with it. It was nice that this was simple enough that it didn’t feel like I was missing anything, but still pretty and to the point.

The girls are all extremely unique with very different personalities, but all with the same job to deliver papers and to look out for each other in the process. I loved the little pointers they had for each other on who to stiff since they hadn’t paid their fees, and which roads to avoid at certain hours. Their camaraderie was fun to see progress as they are thrust into one adventure after the next.

It quickly turned very sci-fi with little explanation as to how things came to be, or what is exactly taking place. It all gets very confusing once the time travelers are introduced, most of which is actually better explained in later volumes but this was my main reason for the lower star rating. It was frustrating to have such a strong start to become so muddled once the action began. It wouldn’t take away from the plot if just a little more information was given in the beginning, and i think that made me like it a little less. All of Vaughns other story lines are beyond well planned and thought out, so I knew there would be a reason for the vagueness, but at the time it really bothered me.

In the end we are left with a cliff hanger that only makes you want to grab volume 2 and begin right away (which is exactly what I did). I am pretty sure I read all four volumes available in one night. I had to find out what happened after I got intr

o it! These would be a great into read in the Graphic Novel world because they are different enough to stand out, but still simple enough that they don’t overwhelm you. I really enjoyed this and will be continuing to read these as they are released!

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Let’s Talk About It

Does anyone else love to read graphic novels mixed in with their full length novels?! There’s just something about the art to go along with the story that really draws me in. Do you all have any favorites? Favorite author, or illustrator? And for all those graphic novel veterans, what was the first one you read? Mine was Saga, and I was hooked from the start! Let me know about your experiences!

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Bullet Journal 2018 Weeks 27, 28 and July Monthly Spreads

I might normally apologize for missing a weekly post of bullet journal, but I’m not going to apologize for having fun!

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July Spread

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You guys, we are halfway done with the year. Where did it go?

I can already tell you that the To Be Read column is full of books to start this month, as well as a bunch left over from last month. I am trying to focus on finishing up some ARC’s too, I have a quite a few, and it seems like that is all I am really putting effort into reading. At this point, I want them out of the way so I can read other published work that I have been snail pacing through. I think taking on less buddy reads is really going to help with this. Because Lord knows I’m not going to stop requesting ARC’s.

Okay so this is new this month. If you haven’t notice I have really stepped up my Instagram game this month. I have a new aesthetic that I am working with consistently with, and have taken on a few challenges. I am participating in the BookQueensJuly18 photo challenges as well as with some from my boxes (LitJoy & Whimsify). All of these have encouraged me to post more and to have different things going on in the pictures as well. If you struggle with ideas for your Instagram I highly recommend taking on some of the ideas on the challenges. It also is really fun to see what other people do with the prompts.divider

Week 27 Spread

Okay, so I didn’t really do anything here. I had company here all week and didn’t plan on doing much besides working and having as much fun as I could. Which is why it is mostly occupied by a “Happy Independen -ce Day”. I really should practice my calligraphy with my Tombow pens more, but I am so awful at it that I am usually discouraged. So here we are with my shotty spacing and inconsistent pen pressures.

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Week 28 Spread

And here we are, back to the grind. Daily squares for work & etc, read more for the obvious reading I am planning on tackling, socialize more to keep me hopefully on track with blogging/Instagram/Goodreads/etc., and harvest more because the garden is getting a little out of hand. Does anyone want to come weed, harvest peas, or prune the tomatoes?

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I’m Curious  \ ^_^ /

Do you like my new spread? Do you use your BuJo daily? Have any fun bujo hacks? Who do you like to follow on Instagram? What types of tools do you use?

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Kiss of the Royal

32173635

Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

3_stars

ARC received via Netgalley for a fair review.

The Forces of Darkness seem to continue to grow stronger, no matter how many battles the royal army wins. They have fought the war for 500 years, and every princess has the power to Kiss their prince to enhance their abilities, and Princess Ivy is the direct descendant to the original queen and therefore has the most powerful kiss. Because of this she must have the most powerful swordsman, Prince Zach at her side. Together their combined magic would be able to finally put an end to the war. The only problem is Zach wont Kiss Princess Ivy.

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The Story

I loved the underlying concept in this book, but unfortunately the delivery just wasn’t all there for me. As the story progressed there was a lot of repetitiveness as Princess Ivy told the reader how powerful she was rather than showing. She also spent a great deal reiterating why things were, usually one chapter after a massive info dump. I felt this stunted the pacing of the book, and ultimately made it a lot longer than it needed to be.

However, the story itself was fun and I loved how much of a slow love story it was, at least on Princess Ivy’s side. There was a lot of action sequences that helped break the story up as Ivy & Zach encountered more and more dark forces.

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The World Building

I had a hard time really getting into the world that this story was set in. First of all the princes and princesses were descendants of one queen and king. They are ultimately bred to have as much of the original bloodline. I’m not sure if the writer thought about this, but sounds like a LOT of incest to me, and it just made me rather uncomfortable, sure, 500 years later there’s quite a few generational lines they can choose from, but I mean, the second generation? In order for it to be a pure blood they would have had to have children with their siblings, or eww, their parent. I am probably thinking too hard on it, but it really just made me egghhh. Anyway, the entire time, Ivy kept saying that she was a Princess that was a direct descendent of Myrna, the original queen….but all of the royalty should have been a direct descendant if they held that power.

The other thing I had issues with was that the war was all encompassing around the Evil Queen’s ambitions and all the creatures she was making, which was great and all, but sometimes during the action scenes little factoids would be introduced in the moment that created conflict with the characters. To me it made for some poor writing as the information wasn’t built up ahead of time that could have been used, the information was given at the moment for convenience sake. It’s not exactly bad, but in a world where there are so many books that are set up so well, it definitely doesn’t make it stand out as far as world building goes.

On a positive note, I loved how the world had construed the belief system on love and how it tied in with familial bonds and lust. I think it helped support the use of Kisses as a fighting tool rather than a romantic gesture.

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The Characters

I actually really liked Ivy and Zach. I loved how they were both very headstrong in what they believed and were willing to put their lives at risk for the safety of others. At times I did find Zach to be a little full of himself and honestly, quite a tease. But that really helped the dynamic between him and Ivy really falling for each other (if you can’t predict that yourself then I am sorry for spoiling that for you, because obviously that would happen).

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The Soundtrack

The Neighborhood – Stuck With Me

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The Heart of Betrayal

21569527The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

5_stars

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS FOR KISS OF DECEPTION.

After finishing The Kiss of Deception. It was all I could do to keep my mind from wandering back to this world, so when I started reading Heart of Betrayal it was like feeding my starving mind, giving it exactly what it had been asking for.  Like getting a bag full of Reese’s on Halloween night. Like a tall glass of ice water on a hot summer day. Let’s just say that I was happy to pick this series back up and get back to these beloved characters that captured my heart from before.

Lia is no longer a runaway princess thriving in a small village, but the prisoner of the Assassin, Kaden. He has plans for her back in Venda, where if she can survive long enough to prove that her gift is real, the Komizar might see that she is worth more to him alive than dead. Or so Kaden hopes. But Kaden wasn’t the only one that Lia made an impression on back in Terravin. The Prince of Dalbreck, Rafe, fell in love with her during their short time together before she was whisked away. And now he is determined to rescue her from whatever the Vendan Barbarians have in store for her.

Beyond Lia’s journey, Kaden’s homecoming, and Rafe’s rescue there is the story of a city that has been built on hardships and rejection. Venda was the city that was neglected from the rest, considered to be barbarians instead of the chosen or the gifted. The Vendans have been struggling to find a way to get by for a long time and they refuse to be left behind any longer. I love that there is this rich history that we learn about in Venda. The ghosts of the past come to play a large role here as LIa learns about the people she thought were savages that are actually just families and tribes trying to make a life for themselves. With her gift finally becoming more than a lie, Lia is wrapped up in this city and quickly becomes someone that the people look to save them from their hardships. She wants to become their voice and to give them a better life than the one they’ve been stuck with for so long.  Starving, and oppressed they quickly accept her and welcome her. She gives them hope for a better life. This is good and bad for Lia, because while she is favored by the people that means that the Komizar also begins to notice her, and he has a more devious plan in mind.

Through all that she’s been through, Lia really grows as a character over the course of this book, she becomes someone that has passion and knows what she wants to fight for.  She not only learns about herself, but about everything she has been taught from a young age up until now, and that she was never given the whole of the truth. This has become more than her selfishly wanting to find love, to a much larger problem of a city that needs saving from itself and from the tyrant that rules it.  And in the end its not just Venda that needs saving, but her own home as well. Lia also discovers that there are traitors among the Vendans that she thought were still in Morrighan, and that this has been going on for a lot longer than she can imagine. And to prevent destruction of the rest of the land, she must somehow escape and warn the others.  But how to do that without getting herself and even Rafe killed in the process is the hard part.

Not only do we see Lia’s character grow immensely in this book, but we also learn about Kaden, and his past, and how he came to be the Komizar’s right hand man.  My heart went out to him even though at first all you want is to hate him, things are never as simple as they seem. Lia learns this too, but she also knows that there are no rules to survival, and that she must do whatever she has to in order to get out alive. But to break poor Kaden’s heart was almost too much to bear. I secretly found myself rooting for him throughout this book even though I knew that she still loved Rafe.

I think that this was an excellent follow up to The Kiss of Deception. And once again we are left with a cliffhanger of all cliffhangers! The whirlwind of an ending leaves you with the urge to immediately grab the last book and consume it as fast as humanly possible! The world building is amazing, the characters grow into individuals that you learn to love and want to see succeed, the history and plot keep you involved throughout and I could not put it down. Its safe to say that these are very well written and enjoyable books. I highly recommend grabbing these as soon as possible and see for yourself.

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July 2018 TBR

So clearly, we read a lot of the same books, and it’s usually together. But we promise this is not all we have in store for the month! We have some ARC’s and even some graphic novel reviews coming your way. Despite all that, we still have a lot of reading to do!

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ARC Reads

julyarctbr

7/3 Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga
7/10 Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen
7/17 Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen
7/31 Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
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Published Reads

julypubtbr

Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
Vicious (Villians #1) by V. E. Schwab
A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab
Atlas Fallen (Cyber Crown #1) by Jessica Pierce
The Traitor’s Game (The Traitor’s Game #1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Golden Son (Red Rising Saga #2) by Pierce Brown
The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang
Save the Date by Morgan Matson
The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb
Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan
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We’re Curious  \ ^_^ /

Have you read any of our TBR and was it any good? What do you have planned for the month? What are your most anticipated reads?

 

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ICYMI: June 2018 Wrap Up

nother month in the books! Vicariously & Voraciously has officially introduced our new co-blogger Rae, and next month hopefully we will be moving into our dot com domain…maybe. We also hosted our first giveaway, which was a lot of fun so after two days we were already thinking up the next giveaway. Our goal is to do a giveaway every few months, some will be better than others. But we both just have a heart for giving, and why not give away some of our favorite things, books? divider

ARC Reads

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Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber 5_stars (Scrill)
Whisper of the Tide (Song of the Current #2) by Sarah Tolcser 4_stars (Scrill)
The Art of French Kissing by Brianna R. Shrum 5_stars (Scrill)
Almost Impossible by Nicole Williams 4_stars (Scrill)

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Solo Reads

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Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff  5_stars(Scrill)
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo 5_stars (Scrill)
Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet) by Roshani Chokshi 5_stars (Scrill)

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The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson 5_stars (Rae)
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Tags/Memes/Bujo/Etc

SQUADGOALS

Squad Goals: National Best Friend Day

 

Web

Down the TBR Hole #17
Down the TBR Hole #18
Down the TBR Hole #19
Down the TBR Hole #20

 

 

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Week 23 and June Spread
Week 24 Spread
Week 25 Spread
Week 26 Spread

 

Total Books Reviewed: 8
Average Rating: 4.75 (Wow! such a good month!)

We’re Curious  \ ^_^ /

How was your month? Have you read any of the books I read? What was your worst read this month? Your best? What Tags/Memes should we do?

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Down the TBR Hole 20

This was originally made by Lost in a Story, and is such a fantastic idea. Here are the instructions:

Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?

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The Books:

22909838Book #96

The Mirror King (The Orphan King #2) by Jodi Meadows

Date added: August 19, 2016

I know I really liked the first book and I really want to continue the series. But I definitely need a reread of book 1 before I read this one.

THE JUDGEMENT: Keep.

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10836728Book #97

The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley

Date added: August 21, 2016

There is something about this book that intrigues me. Maybe its the secret society fighting paranormal creatures? The mystery behind it all sounds like a page turner, but sometimes I just hate the forced unknowing. I’m on the fence.

THE JUDGEMENT: Keep

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1902241Book #98

The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

Date added: August 21, 2016

You know, I feel like Mary E. Pearson is autobuy for me. So I don’t even need to look at the synopsis to know I want it. Regardless, it also sounds interesting.

THE JUDGEMENT: Keep

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12576579Book #99

Night School (Night School #1) by C. J. Daugherty

Date added: August 21, 2016

Meh, nothing seems interesting about this one? Almost had me at secret group of elite students, but not knowing much else about the book has me thinking it’s not all that exciting. Also, I hate the cover.

THE JUDGEMENT: Go

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13338730Book #100

I Am Wolf (The Children of Nox #1) by Joann H. Buchanan

Date added: August 21, 2016

I love werewolves. If I had to pick a paranormal being, it would definitely be it. But this just sounds…I don’t even know the word. Uninteresting?

THE JUDGEMENT: Go

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Starting TBR shelf total: 425

Total books kept: 3 out of 5

I am getting anxious that I am not making enough progress on this, as it’s coming onto the second half of the year where I start piling on next years anticipated reads…

I’m Curious  \ ^_^ /

What do you think of my decisions? Have you read any of these books?

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Aru Shah and the End of Time

36222611Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet #1) by Roshani Chokshi

5_stars

When three classmates show up at her home slash museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture to confront Aru Shah about lying, she decides to impress them with stories of the artifacts in the museum. Such as the cursed Lamp of Bharata. Trying to save face, she lights the lamp and releases the Sleeper. Now Aru must stop the Sleeper from waking the God of Destruction, or everyone in the world will be frozen in time.

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The Story

First, let me just say, I loved this book. In the same thread as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson, Chokshi writes the story of a young girl taking on challenges, except this time with Hindu mythology as it’s center. Personally, I think it’s better, but that’s just because I find Greek and Egyptian mythology stuffed down our throats in elementary school. Since I strive to learn more about other countries cultures this was just a treat.

The story follows Aru Shah as a young girl who just wants to be accepted by her peers and to feel loved by her parent(s). Now if you didn’t feel that way when you were twelve, you’re honestly, probably the oddity here.

As a middle grade book, this book was just non stop fun. While in the adult mindset I might think- impossible and childish. But in the vein of middle school reads it was just fantastic. From the hilarious chapter titles, the blend of the real world meets Hindu mythology (Such as a the night market being inside of  Costco!) to the non stop action as our young heroes (ahem, heroines!)  take on challenge after challenge. The book just makes for continuous enjoyment.

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The World Building

As I said earlier, I adore other cultures, and that includes their mythologies. In the last year I have had the joy of encountering a lot more fantasy that has been inspired by these cultures, and just really adds some extra flavor from the medieval castle with elves type of fantasy.

If you have never read a Chokshi book, than you probably don’t know, but she does a fantastic job of creating a beautiful creative world that surrounds her characters. The way she writes just add color and life to an ancient world. It’s the type of descriptions that have me daydreaming while I am sitting at work.

I just loved having these modern day pre-teens running around saving the world and encountering all the things from their bed time stories. There is so much depth to Hindu mythology and I can’t wait to see what Chokshi does in the next book. Regardless, if we had books like this when I was in middle school I think it would have inspired me to kick start my cultural studies at an earlier age.

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The Characters

Aru Shah is funny. The comments that Aru makes throughout the book had me LOL’ing, because so much of what she says is just the unfiltered thoughts that I would probably have. Except, my mouth is just a little more filtered because you know, adulting can be hard. My favorite thing about Aru was that she was brave. Not in the sense that she can take over the world, but that she was willing to do what it took to save her mom and the rest of the world. She was brave in the face of her failures and confronted them as well.

Minnie is just a little cupcake. I adore her and her germophobia and brainy ways. I thought she balanced Aru so well by checking her in her wild imaginations while also just being the supporting friend that she needed.

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The Soundtrack

SUCRÉ- When We Were Young

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The Kiss of Deception

16429619The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

5_stars

Here we have the story of a Princess. A Princess who is on the eve of an arranged marriage with a Prince from a neighboring Kingdom. A Prince that she’s never even met.  This marriage will bring honor to her family name, help build an alliance, and to bring peace to an age old feud between the two Kingdoms. But this is no ordinary Princess, it’s no ordinary feud, and its definitely not an ordinary story.

From the very first page, this story ensnared me, and kept me captivated through to the very end. I enjoy that this wasn’t your normal story of a princess learning to follow the rules. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. Princess Arabella, or as we come to know her, Lia, did not want to conform to the plans that were laid out for her life. She wanted a life of freedom, to choose who to love, and who she would marry. To be more than a bride used for political gain. And then to run from it all on the day of her wedding, leaving it all behind for a simple life in the fishing village of Terravin, earning her keep as a tavern maid, living in a shack, I knew then that this was no ordinary princess.

Through the unique way this is written we not only get the story of Lia, but we also hear from a few other POVs. One being the Prince of Dalbreck who Lia left at the altar, and another being an assassin sent to find the runaway princess and kill her. There is an air of mystery around these two specific characters because when our prince and assassin meet Lia, we still don’t know their names, or which is the assassin and which is the prince. We learn along with Lia, each of their unique qualities and get caught up in the crazy love triangle right along with her not knowing which is which until she finds out their secrets for herself. Kaden and Rafe are surprised to find that the princess they are in search of, and find, isn’t quite what they expected either.

Terravin might have been one of my favorite settings to read about. I loved the atmosphere with the colorful houses and shops to the feel of the small village life. The simplicity to every day, and the friendships and love that formed between its occupants. Pauline, who Lia ran away with from her old life in Morrighan, became almost like a sister to Lia. They loved and cared for each other and helped each other heal after all that they had gone through in order to find this quiet life of freedom. Berdi, the owner of the pub, was another wonderful side character. She mothered the runaways and gave them what they needed to make a spot for themselves in the small village.

The small peaceful life doesn’t last as long as we’d all like though, and soon Lia is swept away on a journey that she has no control over. She has fallen in love and lost so much yet, still has so much left to lose. Through it all there is immense self discovery on Lia’s part as she learns what lies inside of her and just what she is capable of accomplishing when she has to learn to survive. Beyond the story of Lia’s journey, there is an ancient story wanting to be told. Lia’s life might be connected to it more than she knows.

This was a beautifully told story with a touch of magic, a runaway princess, a prince, an assassin, and ghosts that refuse to stay in the past. There is a lesson to be learned and Lia learns the hard way just what that lesson is, and what she is, and how she can lead those she encounters to live a better life. One without the rules she has been oppressed by for most of her life. One with freedom to live and love.

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Let’s Discuss

Scrill was a big part in getting me into this series. After hearing how amazing they were from her, I decided to join her for a reread for her and first time for me. Had I not gotten the recommendation from her to give this a try, I’m not sure if it would have been on my TBR list anytime in the near future. I am so glad I did jump in on this read because this book definitely found a home on my favorites shelf.

Have you had any stellar recommendations from your friends? Maybe even a dud? I’m curious to hear about your wins or flops. Or even a recommendation! Sometimes all it takes is a little nudge to find a great book!

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Ruin and Rising

35529926Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo

5_stars

After The Darkling sweeps across Ravka taking over the capital, Alina and co are left to flee. Spirits are broken and she must find the last amplifier to have any chance of defeating The Darkling and his shadow army. As Alina learns more about her own powers, she in turn learns more about The Darkling’s history and what sacrifices will need to be made to finally defeat him.

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The Story

I know that I am probably in unpopular opinion area, because it seems that so many people were not  happy with the ending. But honestly, I’m not sure if there is any other way to finish off this story. I have to admit, the beginning was a bit drab, but once it got going, it was really non stop from there. There really was a lot going on in this book and there’s so much I could say, but that would be too spoilery. What I liked I think most was that not everything was a happily ever after. There was so much sacrifice, destruction, and loss that really drives the characters’ desperation and my heart just ached so much for them.

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The World Building

I love the continued influence that Slavic folklore and culture plays in the story. In this book we end up exploring a little bit more of Ravka and Bardugo has really made a vast land with magical creatures, unique magical abilities, and an expansive history. There’s a crazy twist in the story towards the end that I just did not expect, and it really made the magical aspect just so fantastic and my feelings were just all over the place from happy to sad.

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The Characters

Okay, the ending of the trilogy means off with the bad guys and happily ever after for the good guys, right? But like I said it’s not the happiest of endings, and I think that is one of the reasons why it’s so perfect. It’s just so desperately broken after everything has happened that there is no way it could be a happy ending. What we do get? Some redeeming qualities and info about characters we hate, and unfortunate happenings to those we love.

Mal was someone I just couldn’t stand through the second book, but was that Bardugo’s intention? There’s no way that anyone could believe that Mal was such a heart throb after all that went down in the second book. But I feel he redeems himself in this book. This is coming from someone who was constantly was messaging a friend that “MAL IS THE WORST”.

The Darkling is set up to be that bad boy we all secretly (and not so secretly) love. I know that I was holding out for him to be saved by Alina, and you know, I was really happy with what happens with his part of the story.

Nikolai. Oh, sweet Nikolai, can your book come any sooner please????? Everyone is ready for their favorite cinamon roll to grace us again.

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The Soundtrack

Banks – Alibi

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