Tuesday, January 5, 2016

[Review] Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass
Sarah J. Maas
[Throne of Glass #1]
YA, Fantasy, Romance
Published: May 2013 (Bloomsbury)
Format: digital
Pages: 404
Rating: ★★★★☆
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Warning: spoilers!

I have tried to start this book so many times and I regret it taking so long. I wasn't completely blown away, but I figure this is a pretty good start to a series. It set up well for future books that I can't wait to dive into!

First off, we have the characters, whom I really liked. They are all rather distinct, though could use some more fleshing out.

Celaena is a really sweet character and I like that she's feminine while still being strong willed and an individual. At times she can be very pretentious and arrogant, but I can see the reasoning. I like that she thinks of herself as beautiful because we need more people like that. The only problem I had was that, though she was stated as being the best assassin in the world, I have no clue how she got that status. The way she acts is not cautious enough for her title. She ate candy from a mystery person without a thought. She said she was a light sleeper and would wake up if someone approached her, but multiple times, that was not the case. I think if we had more backstory on her and her thoughts on her targets in the past, this wouldn't have bothered me as much. If the author showed me the person Celaena is said to be and not just told me about it, that would have been lovely.

Also, I hope that she can learn to like females more. At one point she said that she had learned to dislike them because of their actions. She has a variety of interactions with men and a few of them are not the best, so I don't understand why she wouldn't dislike men as well. She does a little bashing on other females and, outside of Nehemia, she doesn't interact with them often. I think she is judging them too quickly. The other females usually dislike her automatically because she is pretty and with the prince. I hate that trope.

Dorian is a bit on the cliche side of being a prince, but when we see his thoughts, he is more loveable. He is very flirty and charming, which I like as a foil to his father. He's easy to like, but I hope to see more uniqueness come from him. His relationship with his father is the best thing coming from him and I hope that the king can influence him in some interesting ways.

Chaol is more mysterious than Dorian and his thoughts are usually hidden. I like that he tries to keep his distance from Celaena and does his best to protect Dorian. I want to see more interactions between the two boys, to show off their relationship. I like what I've been given so far! Bonding between friends is one of my favorite things to read. I wish it happened more in YA books.

Nehemia is a really strong character and her voice came through really well even though we never read from her PoV. She is interesting and witty. I can't wait to read more about her.

There is a love triangle, which I thought was handled rather well. It wasn't sudden. There was a nice simmering of feelings, but even so, I still wish it hadn't happened. I liked it as I read it, but now that I'm finished, I wish it could have been put off for awhile. There are more books in the series and to focus so much on love already is disappointing. It is common, though, so I will overlook it, especially since I enjoyed the slow build.

The story itself was interesting. I didn't expect it to take a mystery turn, even though I didn't think it was that hard to figure out. I wished there was more focus on the Tests and that they were harder, but I get that the Champion-to-be was supposed to display their skills. The writing was very nice. It flowed easily and was pretty without being purple, which fit best for this sort of story. I also prefer 3rd person, so I always enjoy that. The world building was pretty good without being info dumpy, so that's a plus! I felt that most background information was relevant.


+ plot and mystery
+ variety of characters
+ world buiding
+ writing and detailing
+ subplot

/ love triangle (slow build)

- Celaena's character needs revamping
- not enough focus on being an assassin

Final Rating:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

[Review] A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

A Thousand Pieces of You
Claudia Gray
[Firebird #1]
YA, Sci-fi, Romance
Published: November 2014 (Harper Teen)
Format: digital
Pages: 368
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Warning: Possible spoilers

I've never read a "time travel" story before, not that it is technically time travel. It's dimension hopping and it works pretty well, I think. I like the build of the world and the explanations as to why this dimension hopping works. It all flows rather naturally.

I liked the different worlds that Marguerite travels to. These different versions of the world are my absolute favorite thing! They are different and I would love to see so many more! From underwater worlds to the Russian Empire taking a different turn, you never know where Marguerite will end up. These new views are probably why I continued reading the book, if I'm being honest. They really fascinated me in a way that the plot itself didn't.

The plot it rather simple, which isn't a bad thing. Easy to follow, for one. Meg goes into the multiverse with intentions of killing her father's murderer. But of course nothing is as it seems and everything she thought she knew isn't always true. So through a series of events, she winds up helping certain people and there is a twist that I thought was pretty obvious, but needed.

The notion that a person's soul is connected throughout different dimensions is sweet and makes the book less of a sci-fi action and more of a romance. So please don't read this if you want action as a constant. At some point it takes a backseat, which is a shame, but if you read this book as a romance, you'll end up hating on it less. Even so, the plot still develops and the villain turns out to be someone with a lot of potential as a villain. It's not really a surprise, but I like what it turns into.

The characters are probably the hardest part for me to get into.

Marguerite is smart and artistically inclined, and I love the differences she notices between her art style and another Merguerite's. But for all her smarts, she can be really quick to jump to conclusions and find the wrong answer. She does some things that I don't agree with, and in the end she winds up regretting her choices and is more slow to the draw. She learns from her mistakes. But if she had thought it through to begin with, she wouldn't have anything to be sorry for. I like the relationship that she has with her parents. They are both extremely important to her and they are both their own vibrant characters. None of that generic YA parent junk here.

Paul is a very different sort of character for a young adult book. He is shy and not much of a talker. He's blunt, but not because he's trying to be mean. I liked him as a character when he was more fleshed out, but he wasn't fleshed out enough for my liking.

Theo is more the sort I think of when I think of a YA love interest. He's flirty and laughs a lot. He's a little full of himself, but not in a annoying way. He's basically perfect, and yet has his downfalls. I liked him and disliked him in a constant turntable the entire book. I just never knew how I felt about him (which has it's reasons).

In the end, I didn't really like any of the characters. They all felt so boring, which is a shame. Hopefully this is remedied in the second book.

There was a love triangle, and even though Marguerite made her choice fairly quick, it was still unnecessary, in my opinion. I didn't add to the story at all, but it's whatever.

Ohh, there was actually sex, and even though it was glossed over, it still happened. I liked that. Usually YA books have a blushing girl that will just die at the thought of a kiss or, gosh, holding hands! That is so unrealistic to me. Not every person is like that. At some point her period was mentioned as well. I just- Yes! Thank you!


+ pacing
+ variety of worlds
+ interesting concept
+ good villains
+ family relationships
+ overall premises

- needs more action
- love triangle
- characters need development/seemed flat

Final Rating: ★★★☆☆

Friday, July 17, 2015

[Cover Reveal] Fairy Tale Confessions Collection

Fairy Tale Confessions Collection
Genre: Fairy Tale
Published: October 1st 2015 (Amber Leaf Publishing)

Fourteen bestselling authors twist up your favorite tales. Will your favorite have a happily-every-after?

Get ready to meet some sexy, not-so-valiant princes, punk-rock princesses, villains turned heroes, and truly vile monsters, causing havoc within our favorite happily-ever-afters.

Read about Dancing Princesses getting their groove on in a disco club, a seriously sexy Rumpelstiltskin, and one alluring Puss-in-Boots, plus many, many more captivating characters in these fourteen all new short-stories.

In association with RT 2016 come meet the twisted fairy tale girls: M. Clarke, Amy Daws, L.P. Dover, Elizabeth Montgomery, Shannon Morton, Brynn Myers, Wendy Owens, Sarah J. Pepper, Cameo Renae, Kellie Sheridan, Jessica Sorensen, Kristen Strassel, Tish Thawer, and K.R. Wilburn. If you’ll be in Vegas for RT 2016, join hosts, Sarah J. Pepper and Tish Thawer at the Fairy Tale Costume Party where you could see a traditional Snow-White, or a completely gothed-out Belle roaming the scene, win dinner with Prince Charming, and snag gift baskets from all the participating authors.

Brought to you by:

Friday, July 10, 2015

[Review] I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun
Jandy Nelson
YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Published: April 2015 (Walker Books)
Format: digital
Pages: 429
Rating: ★★★★☆
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Warning: Spoilers!!
(Go to the TL;DR section for a spoiler free short review)

This story is one unlike I've ever read and maybe that stems from my low count of contemporary books, but one I ended up enjoying immensely. When I picked it up, I really wanted to do it for the high concentration of metaphors to make fun of the writing, but that plan slapped me in the face when I got involved in the story. Then I ended up liking it, dare I say loving it. Maybe I won't go that far yet. But guh!

I want to dive into the character of Noah first. He was such a different specimen. At first, I hated reading his point of view because of all the try-hard writing and his whining. It was so desperate to be different and purple, but after I thought about it for a long time, I decided this was the best way to go for his character. It really reflected the way he saw things, especially since he was an artist. I, myself, do not claim to be an artist; I feel that the crazy way he saw things and experienced them directly reflected the way his mind functioned. He was a prodigy and he wanted so much more than he had. He wanted to be the best he knew he had the capacity to be. I felt bad for judging him as dismissing him as arrogant and selfish. I had to remind myself of his age multiple times and how that factored in to the way he acted. In the end, I felt that all of him rolled up into a bundle was messy and imperfect and I loved him. I loved his relationship and cared about what happened to him.

Jude, I feel, was an okay character. I didn't dislike her or like her, really. I didn't enjoy her love story at all. I felt it entirely unnecessary. It was too sudden and chalked up to reasons that didn't make sense to me. I did like that she consoled herself with the idea of her grandmother. She was always seeing her and talking to her and I suspect this is a coping method. It seems plausible to me. I didn't understand how her mother was the one breaking anything and making Jude's life difficult. That seemed a bit silly to me, but overlookable. Jude as a character in her own skin was interesting. She was fearless and I loved to see that Jude reemerge. I dislike how her character seemed wasted on some lame love story with some lame guy, she had so much more potential. Her art skills were the most interesting part for me. It seemed to be a passion that she didn't feel comfortable pursuing, and at some point one she wouldn't let herself indulge in.

The writing! Woah! If you noticed up there, I complained about all the flowery prose and metaphors. Well, I am going to eat my words and say that was something that made me stick with the story. If you know me, you know that I love overdone writing. Usually I don't go for metaphors, though, I go for details. This probably was part of my problem to begin with. Some quotes were hard hitting to me and I really related. I even jotted a few down for safe keeping to look at when I want a brief admittance to the characters (Noah) again. I found that the writing depicted the mood extremely well and made you really feel what the character was feeling.

The pacing and flow was really nice. Every time the PoV would change, I'd find myself disappointed because I wanted more. The reveling of important details was never too early or late. The only time I find myself complaining is the ending of the book. It felt too rushed. I feel more pages would have sufficed. The ending also seemed too perfect and this really bummed me out. I like bittersweet endings with openings for thought to fill in.

Overall, I would recommend this book to all the disbelievers. I was one myself and now look at me. ٩(๑❛ワ❛๑)و


+ writing, dear lord! the writing!
+ compelling characters
+ feels, so many feels
+ progression
+ art is a big deal
+ words depict mood well

- ending parts
- Jude's love interest (no offense)

Final Rating: ★★★★☆

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

[Review] Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty
Rosamund Hodge
YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Published: January 2014 (Balzer + Bray)
Format: digital
Pages: 342
Rating: 3 of 5
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Warning: Spoilers!!

Nyx was a fun character - snarky and determined, but when you really look at her, she was so confusing. She could never make up her mind and didn't try to infiltrate at all like she was supposed to. She trained basically her whole life to marry Ignifax and then when she finally is married to him, she allows her anger to take over her multiple times. She doesn't try to hide her rage. I found her to be a weak and immature girl that tried her best to act strong but simply couldn't control her emotions. It do find it endearing that Ignifax could look past her faults and still love her.

Shade was the shadow of the Gentle Lord and bound to him. He was a captive of a curse and due to this, Nyx empathized with him. She found herself to be rather drawn to him and this feeling of companionship caused her to kiss him in a moment of thoughtlessness. I mean, that's all good and well. I don't particularly commend the idea of kissing random men, but I get it. But the problem arises when Nyx starts to read into it. She deceived herself into the idea that Shade loved her and she loved him. I seriously doubt that she did, I suspect that the lack of emotional support she received in her life drove her to believe this.

Ignifax, the Gentle Lord, was much better to me, but that could be because we weren't in his head. He had experiences with people that made him dislike humans for their pettiness. But he seemed to understand how corrupt the people that wanted to make deals with him were and thought they deserved what came to them. I honestly agree with him. It was their own foolishness that caused them problems. Past his initial characterization of being sort of a jerk, Ignifax turns out to be a charming and intelligent man that wants companionship.

The love triangle aspect was sorta annoying, but I forgave it for reasons that are revealed at the end.

I did feel that the relationships between the characters could have been expanded upon. It felt like they were glossed over and left to a time skip to say, "they spent time together." I did like how all the lust was called "lust" and not sugar-coated with the word "love" for a long time. I seriously wish that this was a New Adult or Adult book because I would have loved more of the "steamy" scenes. At the point in the story where Nyx and Ignifax were in a relationship, it really bothered me because she would hit Ignifax a lot. I know it didn't hurt him, but the emotional implications behind her actions can hurt more than the actual act itself. She did apologize at one point, so there's that. One other thing that bothered me, though, was when Nyx returns home and her sister tells her that if she truly loved her, she would kill her husband. Nyx was so quick to agree and I really hate that. Her character seemed so much more than that and I feel that maybe this could have been accomplished in another way.

The writing itself was very lovely and I will probably be reading Hodge's other books. The pace was alright. The beginning was boring and full of information, but it was important to read. The middle had parts that dragged and were repetitive. The ending was... I don't know how to describe it. It was trippy and I still don't really understand how it worked. I know what happened, it's just I don't get why it worked out like it did.

The world building, though, was odd and confusing. I liked the mixture of Roman/Greek mythology, but it was mentioned so often. I don't know why it would be as it didn't add anything to the actual story at points. I feel that it could have been less defined, especially since I don't really know that much about it and it just served to confuse me for a brief moment and didn't add much to the story. The magic element was also confusing to me. I just think it was badly explained at first, but as the book went on, I started to understand how it worked a little bit more. This take on Beauty and the Beast was new to me and I really did enjoy it, even through all of my complaining. I enjoyed how Hodge seemed to mix together more than one fairy tale, as well.



+ unique twist on fairy tale retelling
+ mixture of multiple fairy tales
+ complex characters
+ lovely writing
+ lusty scenes were spot on

- Nyx couldn't decide what she was doing and feeling half the time
- magic was confusing and explained badly, imo
- overkill with mythology references
- can start to drag at points
- love triangle/insta-love vibes
- confusing ending
- character relationships were lacking

Final Rating:
3 of 5

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Review] Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight
Laini Taylor
[Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2]
YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Published: November 2012 ( Little, Brown Books for Young Readers )
Format: digital
Pages: 517
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

I was quick to dive back into the story of Karou and her companions after I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Admittedly that may have been part of the reason it took me so long to finish. Sometimes I get tired of reading the same characters and their struggles. At some point, though, I started to pick up pace with the help of a few fan mixes.

The story picks back up pretty close to where it left off, but, wow! So much happened in this book! There were so many twists and turns of the plot. It always seems that nothing ever works out right for our poor MCs, which always makes for an interesting read. The plot advancement in this went all crazy! I don't even know how to explain it. You just have to read it. Just do it. And, as always, Laini Taylor has a nice way with words even if she makes me have to look a few of them up.

The character of Karou developed so far in this book. She's such a strong character, not only in all of her strengths but also in all of her weaknesses. She never backs down from what she feels is right no matter how difficult the journey will be. She bares so much weight on her that I'm surprised that she can handle it. She could simply leave the chimaera and return to her old, easier life, but she never does.

The return of Zuzana and Mik was a nice one. I dislike when authors make these side characters to just forget about them and they never reappear in the story. But that's not the case at all in this book! The bond that Karou and Zuzana have was shown to be important to both of them. The love between Mik and Zuzana is always a little awkward for me to read. They are so touchy in that love-sick mushy way, but it's not really a complaint.

And of course, Akiva. He also shows a lot of growth in this book. He's not just around to love Karou, he makes himself useful in his own world with his family. It's good to see that they can be without each other. Sometimes I feel that characters become too much of one another and they cannot exist freely. I mean, of course that doesn't mean that they don't think about the other. Akiva is pretty set on loving Karou and Karou is pretty set on trying to hate him.

The Wolf aka Thiago was such a mighty character to see return from Karou's past. He was always trying to use Karou for his own benefit and he makes for an upfront villain. He's asserting and wants what he wants without caring for the good of everyone else.

The relationship between Karou and Akiva was so strained and emotional that I really started to care about it. The past they have and the reasons they can't be around each other are hard to read because you don't want that to be the reality of the situation. I feel that Karou is justified in her thoughts because of what Akiva did to her.


+ character development like woah!!!
+ numerous side characters
+ plot advancement
+ writing
+ characters can exist on their own
+ relationships are top notch material

- a bit longer than necessary but c'mon, that's not really that bad

Final Rating: 4.5 of 5

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 (8) Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015
(click covers to link to goodreads page)

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
More Than This by Patrick Ness

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Angelfall by Susan Ee