Monday, October 24, 2016

Mini Reviews that I've Procrastinated Too Much On | Ice Like Fire, Walk on Earth a Stranger and The Game of Love and Death

WELL I'M BACK!! I'm such a bad blogger, but my excuse is that I didn't feel like blogging, but no excuses, it was entirely my fault. Today I'm going to be reviewing too many books that I've procrastinated on writing their reviews for too long (also books I think are mediocre) (also I can't spell mediocre what is my life even) (also these covers are all gorgeous)

Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes, #2)Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2)
By: Sara Raasch (@seesarawrite)
Published By: Balzar + Bray on October 13, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 479

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

“The most powerful magic of all is choice.” 

This was a terrifyingly sad sequel. After the amounts of badassery we had in Snow Like Ashes, Ice Like Fire book is rather slow and boring. Even Meira, the amazing kickbutt character we saw in Snow Like Ashes is boring. This book focuses more on the politics and such, and sadly, no more amazing woman power. Romance in this book is all over the place, and yes - the love triangle (that I had forgotten about whoops) was just a constantly bugging me. 

That brings me to my next point - something else that was constantly bugging me - the WORLD BUILDING. There are like FIVE HUNDRED GAZILLION places and countries (actually maybe seven or so) AND MY LITTLE BRAIN WANTS TO REMEMBER THEM ALL but there are SO MANY and it's SO CONFUSING with the rhythms and seasons and asdf;alksdf;alkjsdfalksdjf;lkj!!!! <-- reason for why Beatrice was so frustrated. I want to know all the kings and queens and their histories and what their favorite colors were (actually, I'm writing this review so late that I can't even remember if they discussed that...probably not) but we never go in depth with anything or anyone.

Will I read the third book? Probably; it's gorgeous. HOPEFULLY THINGS WILL CHANGE!!!

Final Rating:

Walk on Earth a Stranger  (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)Walk on Earth a Stranger (Walk on Earth a Stranger #1)
By: Rae Carson (@raecarson)
Published By: Greenwillow Books on September 22, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 436

Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

“Men. And their no-good, fool-headed proposals.” 

Having tried Rae Carson's other series, The Girl of Fire and Thorns and not particularly liking it, I was hoping for something great in this series! I enjoyed Walk On Earth a Stranger (WOEAS), but I did have some issues with it. What frustrates me most is when fantasy novels with a main character who has a magical, amazing, power, NEVER APPEARS TO BE USING IT IN THE NOVEL. Lee has the power to detect gold, but I rarely remember her using it. The characterization in the novel was well done, and I loved seeing Lee's character grow. Another thing I cannot understand is how girls can disguise as boys. If they say that she has feminine features and then say that she's going to disguise as a boy, wouldn't people be able to tell??

This book has a classic romance trope that I fall for every time, and this book was no exception. I'm not going to say what it was, because that'll spoil it, but I did love the romance in this book very much. Leah's best friend, Jefferson, is African-American, which adds great diversity to the book.

Overall, enjoyable read. Will I be picking up the sequel? Perhaps. Time will tell.

Final Rating: ❄❄.5

The Game of Love and DeathThe Game of Love and Death
By: Martha Brockenbrough (@mbrockenbrough)
Published By: Arthur A. Levine Books on April 28, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 352

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now... Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

“Why choose fear over love? In what world does that make sense?”

One word (or maybe two words? I don't even know anymore): Instalove. I know I shriek about the stupidity of this trope all the time, but maybe that's just indication that authors should stop using it. Just by reading this blurb, you can tell that Flora and Henry are going to be lovers. In the first scene that Henry meets Flora, he's all like OMG I LOVE YOU. That being said, I loved both Henry and Flora and how they were both just incredibly determined in their own ways.
This book takes place in the 1930s, and so there are lots of racism and prejudice, and since Flora is black, we get to see a lot of that. Brockenbrough wrote these scenes really beautifully and I was thoroughly engaged.

Final Rating: ❄.5

 Let's discuss! What did you think about these books that I found rather mediocre? I think I got rather lazy towards the end of these reviews xD

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review | The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Unexpected EverythingThe Unexpected Everything
By: Morgan Matson (@morgan_m)
Published By: Simon & Schuster on May 3, 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 517

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

“Because believing you’re not alone is the cruelest trick of all.”   

I was so freaking excited about TUE, as I loved Matson's SYBG and the synopsis sounded so interesting. Alas, I was slightly disappointed about the read. TUE follows Andie, a politician's daughter who's father has just been involved in a 'political scandal.' Andie is used to following a plan, so when her entire summer goes awry, she has to find the unexpected. (everything)

Andie wasn't a very relatable character, and her choices were especially unbelievable. Towards to end of her character arc, I started to find her less irritating, but for the majority of the book, I just couldn't stand her. On the other hand, TUE features a very amazing and swoon-worthy romantic interest - Clark. As soon as they first met and it mentioned the nerdy t-shirt, I was hooked. He's like awkward and nerdy, but adorable overall. They work out. I ship it so hard. *fangirl squeals*

Friendship was such a major portion of this book - Andie's squad (Palmer, Toby, Bri, Tom?) of friends were different yet similar and they each were funny in their own way and brought different aspects to the book. My favorite has got to be Palmer (with Toby at a close second though); she's like the mother of them all. Andie's relationship with her father was also great, I loved how they started out extremely awkward but eventually became really close.

My main problem was this book was overly predictable, as I felt like Matson follows a formula as I talked about it here, so the ending wasn't as satisfying for me. The ending of summer is sort of like the climax in her novels, and I was expecting what had happened to happen.

As always, I enjoyed most parts of this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, easy, light summer read. However, I would advise you to read her other books first, as Matson drops tons of easter eggs in her story. Overall, TUE was a solid, lighthearted enjoyable summer read. 

Let's discuss! What did you think about The Unexpected Everything?

Final Rating: 


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Writing With a Formula?

Note: Please don't read this post if you want massive spoilers for The Unexpected Everything, Since You've Been Gone, Second Chance Summer, or any of Rick Riordan's novels.

I just finished The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and although I found myself grinning happily during many parts and satisfied enough with the ending, something was tugging at me as I went to rate it 5 stars on Goodreads. Which lead me to staring at the computer screen for about 5 minutes, then marking it as read, but not giving it a rating. 

I had suspected what was going to happen right around the middle, but I had shoved that thought away in hopes that it wouldn't actually happen. But it did, and after I finished, I thought about the three books of hers that I had read, and I realized that each of fit into a formula. 

This is the formula: A shy but pretty girl finds herself without anything to do during the summer. She finds a cute, nice guy and they start hanging out. Something drastic happens, and the girl breaks up with the guy, and they get back together at the end. 

See, when I first read Since You've Been Gone, my first Matson book, I thought that the story was brilliant. But after finishing The Unexpected Everything, I was expecting the breakup to happen, that it wasn't as good as before. In fact, the moment Andie stepped into Clark's house the day the breakup happened, I already knew what was going to happen.

Another author who uses a formula is Rick Riordan. Riordan's novels are classified as  "middle grade" which is somewhat of an excuse for its simplicity, but as I grew older, I started realizing that a formula was, in fact, present. Wanna know it? A teen who doesn't know anything about the mythical world accidentally stumbles into one (minus Trials of Apollo, which I've only read like 50 pages of) and they have to go on a quest to save the world. Somehow, they luck out and save the world without dying. Yay!!

I'm not saying that using a formula is bad, as Morgan Matson and Rick Riordan are two of my favorite authors ever. However, I do appreciate an author who goes out of their typical comfort zone and writes something different (Marie Lu, Rainbow Rowell). But seriously, is using a formula the best case? Let me know down below!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Book Review | The Raven King by Maggie Stievfater

The Raven King (Raven Cycle #4)
By: Maggie Stiefvater (@mstievfater)
Published By: Scholastic on April 26, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 438
Goodreads // Book Depository

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

"What a strange constellation they all were."

It took me three tries to finish The Raven Boys. Thank god I was bored out of my wits that day and just needed a book to read, because otherwise, it would've never been read. The Raven Cycle is just one of those incredible series in which the first few books in it are confusing, but the finale is just a masterpiece, weaving all those loose ends back together.

I missed the characters so much. Before the book came out, I spent a lot of time going through edits and rereading, and it made me realize how much I loved this series. Blue and Gansey and Ronan and Adam and Noah just make me so happy inside. And can we talk about the ships?!?!?! My heart literally exploded and I had to shut the book to prevent myself from crying during the middle of an English class. 

That epilogue, ugh, I just wanted more! The first three, I was more like, "That was good." and I wasn't as invested. In this book, Maggie Stievfater's impressive foreshadowing skills were just astounding. Finales always scare me, because they're just not enough most of the time. I was super scared for this one, because I wasn't ready to let go. Thankfully, Stievfater tied up (most of) the loose ends and satisfied me (mostly) (but pynchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh). 

The blurb doesn't do the book justice at. ALL. If I were to tell you three things about it to get you to read it, they would be: psychics, welch king, and prep school boys. Those things sound vague and confusing, but believe me. If you haven't hopped onto the Raven Cycle bandwagon, you're seriously missing out. Do me a favor, and just pick it up.

Let's discuss! What did you think about The Raven King? Are you absolute TRC trash (yet)?

Final Rating: 


Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review | The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

The Love That Split the WorldThe Love That Split the World
By: Emily Henry (@EmilyHenryWrite)
Published By: Razorbill on January 26, 2016
Genre: Sci-Fi
Pages: 396

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”

The Love That Split the World is a beautifully written sci-fi contemporary fantasy romance hybrid. I absolutely adore hybrid stories, I just think they're so unique and amazing. (but also sort of a pain to shelf on goodreads but that's beside the point). TLTSTW was unique and incredibly thought-provoking.

The narrator of the story, Natalie, is Native American, which already has me nodding, as DIVERSITY!!! She's just a typical girl, which makes me so happy because realistic stuff! She's a feminist, and isn't afraid to stand up for herself. Unfortunately, the romance is just...ugh. It's an instalove, and you can pretty much tell who it is just based on the blurb. One of my favorite things in this novel is the Native American stories. Native Americans are one race that are pretty rare in YA, so reading their mythology and stories interesting.  

Problems? Typically, I love flowery writing, but Henry's writing just felt over the top. The pacing also caught me at times, the beginning being extremely slow, and dragging on. I nearly wanted to stop, but the ending (which I still have an iffy feeling about). The ENDING.

Overall, TLTSTW was a cool hybrid story involving time travel, and great adventures! If you love a good romance, character diversity, and feminism, pick up this novel!

Let's discuss! What did you think about The Love That Split the World?

Final Rating: 


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Review | Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

*image via on instagram

Passenger (Passenger, #1)Passenger (Passenger #1)
By: Alexandra Bracken (@alexbracken)
Published By: Disney Hyperion on January 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 486
Goodreads // Book Depository

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

“It's our choices that matter in the end. Not wishes, not words, not promises.” 

Sadly, the highly anticipated and hyped Passenger, unfortunately, did fall a tiny bit short for me. If it had been a normal YA novel, I may have loved it, but this just did not meet my expectations. *cries in corner* Despite this, Passenger was still chock-full of of fun and adventures. I had lots of fun reading this, and I'm extremely excited for the upcoming sequel, Wayfarer.
Passenger follows Etta, an aspiring violinist (or maybe she already is one). I loved reading about the violinists that my mother is obsessed with. (I play piano, but my sister plays violin, so I get to hear about them.) Suddenly, she gets whisked into this world of time travel, and stuff happens. When we first arrive, we meet Sophia Ironwood, who strikes me as a bit funny. 

Speaking of characters, let's talk about Etta. I knew she was going to kick butt and stuff (come on, this is YA), but she's a genuine person. Reading how she gave up all her social life, a boyfriend, and everything just for violin just broke my heart. She may not be the strongest YA heroine, but I truly do admire her. Nicholas was also a surprising character. For one thing, he's a POC, which I don't find very often in the love interests in YA fantasy, but he felt a bit dull comparing him to Bracken's previous male interest. Too much time was spend describing him, and not enough seeing him in action. The romance in this novel is driven a bit too quickly for my taste, as they sort of fall in love at first sight, but it's enjoyable, and not the main aspect, so I'm fine with it.

Can we just admire the plot, because the plot is just SPOT-ON. Bracken weaves together a brilliant story that was surprising and very well done. Time travel novels, most of the time, having me half sleeping by the end, because they're just so confusing. Either the fact that it's explained too much, or it's just not explained at all. All the questions, I had answered. *claps*

Although this novel is slow paced, similar to the Darkest Mind's trilogy, it was a beautifully done adventure with an amazing, intricate and well thought out plot that captures the beauty of time travel in a clear way. I am more than excited for the coming sequel!

Let's discuss! What did you think about Passenger?

Final Rating: