Tuesday, September 19, 2017
*taps computer screen*
is this thing still working?
Sorry it's been so long! (note: read 'sorry' in Canadian accent.) I've started back up at uni, which you may recall from my last blog post, or if you're following me on twitter!! <- that's a hyperlink, you can follow me through there.
Anyways, I've seen a few booktubers make videos about books they used to love, and giving their reasons. (specifically, ProblemsofaBookNerd and PeruseProject.) I love this, because not only is it super self reflective, but it's also a great way to recognize the problems in books you loved in the past that make you want to cringe now.
(Also, I haven't really been doing any fun book reading, and I thought this post would be easy enough to put together.) Okay, let's go! *opens Goodreads to remember the books I've read*
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
My look back to this book may come from my disappointment from the last book, Library of Souls. I absolutely can't knock Riggs' writing, because I think it's fantastic. I just can't get on board with this series anymore. Jacob and Emma's relationship kinda creeps me out, since Emma had a relationship with his grandfather. I just don't believe the hype in it anymore. Trust me, I was all about that Miss Peregrine's hype, and it definitely is a stand-out book in the YA section because of it's plot, but looking back it's not as good as we all thought. It's actually pretty slow and there's not much character progression and development. Sometimes I wonder if this could've done better in the adult fiction section.
Mistborn/The Final Empire (Brandon Sanderson)
Not sure if you've heard, but Brandon Sanderson is a homophobe and I have no room in my life for authors like him. I do greatly admire his talent for fantasy writing, but I cannot support him anymore. Looking back, too, this is completely reflective in his writing. If you didn't know, Mistborn/The Final Empire mostly follows a young woman, Vin, who's taken in by a group of men who mentor her to be a better Mistborn (a person who ingests basic metals to give them magical abilities). However, very soon, Vin's life completely revolves around the men around her and though she's the "most powerful Mistborn" she's never really able to be the most powerful in her group or grow as a woman. Needless to say, I've gotten rid of all my BS (ha!) books.
The 5th Wave (Rick Yancey)
Bottom line with this book: I bought the hype. I think this book and the series is boring. When I look back, this series (aka the first 2 books, because I never read the 3rd) took me so long to read... and I think it's because I was bored. Looking at my review on Goodreads, too, I wrote "definitely not a fan of the first half of this book." Yancey is great at endings, not at beginnings. I didn't have any connection with the characters, either, they felt very one-dimensional.
Shiver (Maggie Steifvater)
I'm not the biggest fan of Steifvater, and I'm so glad I'm finally coming to that conclusion so I don't bother with her novels anymore. That's not to knock anyone who does, because I can totally understand why. The Shiver series, in particular, is one that I picked up shortly after Twilight because I heard many claims that it was similar. You can look at my Goodreads and find that I rated this 5/5 stars. Looking back though, I realize how cliche this series is... and it is similar to Twilight. It's about a human girl obsessed/in love with a supernatural dude that is possibly neglectful and emotionally abusive. The difference, is that I still like Twilight despite its flaws mostly for nostalgia reasons, but I think Shiver is just not my cup of tea.
*gasp* Okay so I've tried to type out numerous blog posts about my thoughts of SJM and how I feel about her problematic-ness. I don't really want to get into it, mostly because it comes out on Twitter once in a while [particularly my love for this tweet]. In regards to this post though, here's what I have to say.
I love this trilogy. The first book I don't love anymore, though. *Possible Spoilers Coming* Looking back, the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin is so toxic, but it's written to be viewed like it's okay, and I have a problem with that. It's not until the second and third book that the behaviour is recognized and condemned, and I can't even bring myself to try and re-read it to put my finger on example. I do still think there are problems in the other two, and I recognize them. But I can't bring myself to recommend this series unless I warn people about the first book, and I certainly don't recommend it to teens.
Going through my Goodreads, looking for books to put on this list, I actually came across a few that I like more than when I initially read them, so I think it'd be interesting to do a reverse post to this one. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Aside from to-be-released titles, like Language of Thorns and Warcross, I've still got a ton of titles I want to read before the year is over. And let's be honest, there's not much time left and I have over 15 books to go on my Goodreads goal. There are STILL so many great releases coming before the end of the year, but this is a list of books I've pulled from my ever-growing TBR that I want to get to before the year ends. *flash forward to January when I complain about the books I didn't get to in 2017*
The Wrath and the Dawn [goodreads]
After loving Roshani Chokshi's companion duology of The Star-Touched Queen and Crown of Wishes I'm dying for something similar. I'm not sure how similar Renee Ahdieh's duology is, but I've heard nothing but good things. I went ahead and ordered the duology off of bookoutlet (which has a reward/loyalty program now!!) so now I just hope they don't sit around unread for too long.
All I really know about this is that it's a re-telling of A Thousand and One Nights. My friend Aislyn at expeditionsofabooknerd.wordpress.com loved this, too.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown [goodreads]
The only Holly Black books I've read are The Spiderwick Chronicles and the novellas she's helped with for the Shadowhunter Chronicles. This book is an older one, and I love the premise but I've just never gotten around to reading it. She's got a new book coming out in January called The Cruel Prince that I know almost nothing about except that it's faerie related - and I've got an ACOWAR sized hole in my reading heart.
What I know of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is that it takes place in a world where monsters and such are quarantined into 'Coldtowns.' Something happens at a party, and the main character has to go into a Coldtown. Chaos ensues, I assume.
The Shadow Hour + The Savage Dawn [goodreads]
I recently read The Girl at Midnight and absolutely loved it! It was exactly the kind of book I'd recommend to anyone looking for a teen urban fantasy read. It's got magic, romance, character development, even political schemes. The ending of the first book made me super intrigued as to what will happen next to the main character, but also to the world she's in. And I'd really like to finish reading the trilogy before the end of the year.
Fish in a Tree [goodreads]
This is something I'd really like to get to when I'm back at school. It's a middle grade so it's shorter and I'll be able to devour it a little bit quicker. I love middle grade books because they're so genuine but they're also easy to follow since I'm 20 years old. I recommend this book to grade teachers a lot when they're looking for a new read aloud book for their class.
The title is based off that quote you've probably seen around the internet about the grading system in school and how we shouldn't grade a fish on their ability to climb a tree. It's about a young girl who's struggling not just to fit in, but also to do well in school. One of her teachers helps her out, and cuteness ensues, I assume.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here [goodreads]
Patrick Ness has a new book coming out quite soon (though it's already out in the UK), and I've only ever read A Monster Calls. I literally own most of his books and I've only read one. He's one of those authors you follow on twitter and you know so much about and you buy their books but you've never read them.
The title explains it all, but this is book follows the 'others' as chaos ensues in a book. The non-main characters of the world. Which I think every reader can relate, too. We're always reading about these huge worlds and the stories of the main characters; the people right in the thick of it. But it's never actually us in it.
Well obviously there are so many other books I want to read before the end of the year, these are just a few I'm trying to make a priority. "Few" I say, though it's 5 out of like, 5000. I start school super soon, but I'm drafting reviews of some ARCs I've been able to read in order to put them up on the book's release date for y'all! So lookout for it!
Thursday, August 10, 2017
I've had The Girl at Midnight sitting in my TBR pile for quite some time. I can't even remember why I ever bought it or how it caught my attention in the first place, but I do remember being incredibly excited, buying it, and then letting it sit on my shelves for years.
But I finally read it and really, really enjoyed it.
The Girl at Midnight follows Echo, a human girl who has been adopted by The Ala, a bird-like creature and the Avicen's seer. The Avicen are an ancient race of creatures who've been forced to live under the Earth, specifically under New York City. Echo's human parents mistreated her, and the Ala found her in the New York City Library and took her in.
Counter to the Avicen is the Drakharin. The two species have been at war for many, many years. Enough that the children from each species grow up with myths about how the war started and why. (Each species are immortal, their aging stops once they reach maturity.) There's also a myth of the firebird: no one knows what it is, but what they do know is that it has the power to stop the war.
Echo, though she is human, is able to travel between cities with the help of Avicen magic. With a natural talent for stealing things, she uses the attainable magic to her advantage, going between cities stealing things, and running errands. At the beginning of the novel, we get to read about these shenanigans, but we also see Echo struggle to find a place with the Avicen and reflect on never fitting in with humans. When talk of the firebird becomes a serious topic, Echo independently sets herself up to find it so Ala and her friends aren't at risk.
Then chaos ensues and it's absolutely fantastic!
I love Echo as a main character. She's got flaws just like the rest of us, and she goes through real human emotions - not human experiences, but emotional human experiences. She felt super relatable even though she's in an urban fantasy setting. I think part of that has to do with the fact that she's the only human character but mostly to do with good writing and character development.
The way the world is built is really easy to take in - not too much all at once, but not dwelling enough that you become bored and skip through the narration. The dialogue felt really natural, too. Each character has a certain amount of depth that makes you question the good side vs. the bad side, and none of it is super clear. I also found myself comparing the political and social systems with that of North America's - particularly the US. I live in Canada, so I'm sort of watching the events in the States take place from afar, and reading this book is kind of like that. Though it was published in 2015, I think it had a lot of connections to our current events. There's a lot to be said for a narrative that can do that.
We get to go between a third person point of view of Echo as well as Caius, the Drakharin Prince. This provided some awesome juxtaposition to their very different lives. No spoilers, but they eventually collide... in the best way... no spoilers! Caius is looking for the firebird too, and his sister, Tanith is standing in his way. His chapters were a great surprise. At first, I was a little confused because is story line is mentioned in absolutely no descriptions of this book. I thought it might be a flashback or something, but I ended up loving his character and how complex he is!
He's a Prince, and he struggles a lot in distancing his personal life from his royal life. He struggles a lot with morality, as well. What he really wants is to end the war, and he wants the firebird to do it. His sister consistently tries to get in his way, as she believes it's just a myth.
I'm so excited to continue reading this trilogy, although I'm a bit nervous. Nervous as in like going from The Darkest Minds to Never Fade nervous, not bad-nervous. (If you've read TDM you know exactly what I'm talking about.)
I feel like I can recommend this book to so many people so here's a list of books, that if you've liked, you'll like The Girl At Midnight: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (cause of the hidden world), Six of Crows (cause stealing), The Crown's Game (cause royalty).
This was a 5/5 stars for me, and you can now find it on my goodreads shelf, "the favourites."
Monday, July 31, 2017
My 3rd favourtie time of the year has come to an end: the booktube-a-thon! (Christmas is the 1st and fall is the 2nd.) Every year I've looked forward to the week in the summer where I can dedicate my time to reading, and every year I've succeed in doing just that. I didn't read as much this year as I thought I would, but I'd still consider this week successful.
Since I posted about my TBR for this week, I figured a wrap up was needed to let y'all know how it went.
The House of Hades (Rick Riordan)
I loved seeing each character's journey in this novel. I've loved this series so much and this was no disappointment. No spoilers, but Percy and Annabeth's journey was incredibly unique, and I think Riordan did an amazing job creating practically a whole other world around them. The environment they found the
mselves in not only tested their development as characters, but also their relationship. I felt like this novel was really vital to Leo and Frank, as well. Their character development sky rocketed, and my feelings towards them went from neutral to love.
- read a hyped book
- read a book with a person on the cover
The Eleventh Doctor: After Life (Al Ewing, Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, & Gary Caldwell)
Finished reading on day 2. 128 pages read. 3/5 stars.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel in being in the Eleventh Doctor's world again. He holds a special place in my heart. This gave me mega Bad Wolf vibes, too. However, the art style wasn't my favourite, and it just sort of lacked something for me and fell flat. I'm not sure if I'll continue reading these yet.
- read a book in one day
- read a book completely outdoors
The Blood of Olympus (Rick Riordan)
Finished reading on day 3. 502 pages read. 5/5 stars.
I absolutely loved this conclusion to the series. It wasn't perfectly wrapped up in a bow, it had a rocky-ness to it - and I like that. To me, that's what makes a good conclusion. I liked not having Percy and Annabeth's point of views because at this point, we've been following them for so long, it was time to really see the other characters shine. And that set up for the Trials of Apollo series makes me want to read it so bad! I don't want to say too much, though - spoilers!
- read a book about someone completely different from you (they're half-human half-god! That aside, though, there's a lot of diverse characters, here.)
No More Heroes (Michelle Kan)
DNFed at 30%. About 83 pages in.
The premise of this novel really intrigues me. I love books about teenagers with powers getting themselves in trouble. But this didn't grab me the way I wanted it to; especially when I'm in the middle of a read-a-thon. The writing threw me off a bit - it told a lot of story and jumped between characters when it felt like the scene wasn't over yet. Too much was being hidden and I didn't get to know the characters as much as I want to 30% into a book. I would like to revisit it at some point to see how it plays out.
The Girl at Midnight (Melissa Grey)
Finished reading day 5. 357 pages. 5/5 stars.
This is one of my new favourite books. I loved the story, I loved the writing, I loved the world, I loved the characters. Everything felt so well thought out. I thought Echo was an awesome main character; she felt real and relatable. She had real emotions but was still a bad-ass. I feel like just this little wrap up post won't do it justice, so you may see it's own review post soon. If you liked Six of Crows or Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you're going to want to read this one. The trilogy is complete as well, so you can binge read it if you want. (Which I plan to do very soon.)
- read a book you bought because of the cover
All The Crooked Saints (Maggie Stiefvater)
Still reading, 158 pages read during booktube-a-thon (out of 311 pages).
This book comes out in October, but I got an ARC of it and knew I wanted to read it ASAP. I'm enjoying so far, but the only words that can explain this novel are: weird, interesting, magical realism. Like serious magical realism. It even follows Latin American characters (see Merriam-Webster). But this is not a read-a-thon appropriate book. It's so complicated that you have to read it slowly. It's a lot of narration too, so not a quick, nor a light read. But I am looking forward to continuing reading it!
That leaves just one challenge not completed: read seven books. Even if I had been able to finish No More Heroes and All The Crooked Saints, I wouldn't have completed this challenge. I did, however, read 1,840 pages this week. Which is the most I've read in a week all year. And now I'm only 2 books behind on my goodreads goal. So this week was a success for me.
If you want to see my past years doing booktube-a-thon, they're on my youtube channel:
2014 - playlist of daily videos
2015 - TBR - Wrap-Up
2016 - TBR - Wrap-Up
Saturday, July 22, 2017
I've never blogged during booktube-a-thon before, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm definitely going to post daily on my instagram. I find it's easiest to update my progress there because it's quick and easy and I can do it right at midnight for more accurate daily stats. I may do a mid-week update here, and then a wrap up, but we'll see.
[[If you want to see the videos on my youtube channel from past years I've participated here's the 2014 playlist, my 2015 TBR and Wrap-Up, and my 2016 TBR and Wrap-Up.]]
Anyway, every year there's a list of challenges for the booktube-a-thon to help build a tbr. I sort of use to to help myself but really I just pick books I want to read and hope it fits in with the challenges. The challenges this year are:
1. Read a book with a person on the cover.
2. Read a hyped book.
3. Finish a book in one day.
4. Read about a character different from you.
5. Finish a book completely outdoors.
6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7. Read seven books.
I recently went and watched my book hauls from 2014 and 2015 in an attempt to pair down my TBR pile BooksandLala style and discovered books from way back then that I still haven't read. So some of those I've worked into this TBR and others are just here cause I want to read them. A small disclaimer: I'm always picking a crap ton of books for this read-a-thon mostly because I'm a very indecisive person and every year I'm like, 'there's no way I'm going to read all of these.' I'm right, I don't read them all, because I usually end up reading books that were never supposed to be on the TBR in the first place.
Anyways, here's my TBR for booktube-a-thon:
1. The Girl at Midnight, Melissa Grey - I've had this book in my TBR pile since May 2015, so I think it's time. Also, I bought it cause I liked the cover! It's supposed to be a lot like Six of Crows, so i'm down.
2. Vicious, V.E. Schwab - I've had this one in my TBR pile since December 2014! That is absolutely insane. Also, it's not too long, and I think I might be able to read it in one day. This is about two arch nemesis who were once college roommates.
3. The Eleventh Doctor Vol. 1: After Life - I got this graphic novel trade last year for Christmas. I read the first issue of the series when it first came out, but didn't have the time to continue getting the issues. I'm excited to read the others, now! I'm hoping to read this on a nice day so I can read it all outside, completing another challenge.
4. The House of Hades and 5. The Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan - I've read the first three books in this series, but I'd really love to finish the rest while it's still fresh in my mind and before I go back to school. They both have people on the cover and I would consider the series hyped so these two books complete two challenges!
6. No More Heroes, Michelle Kan - If you find this on goodreads, you'll notice it only has 13 ratings and 8 reviews. I heard about this book through twitter and I pretty sure it's self-published? Though I could be wrong. But the people I've seen talk about it on Twitter seem to really have enjoyed it and it's diverse characters. I liked the concept so I picked it up on my e-reader. This covers the 'read about a character different from you' challenge!
So that leaves room for one more book if I can manage it. But I'm going to leave it open so I can mood-read if I need to. I like having the opportunity to choose a book on the fly.
I'm not reading the booktube-a-thon buddy read, mainly because I don't want to be adding more books to my tbr. I've really been trying to actually read the books I already have, and I want this read-a-thon to help me do that. I actually plan on doing a big unhaul both on my tbr at home, and the ones I've left at my school-home very soon. It's just gotten ridiculous and I'd like less clutter in my life.
It feels sort of weird participating in booktube-a-thon but not actually being on booktube anymore 0 it makes me have an urge to vlog or something. Alas, not this year. Don't forget to follow my instagram to get nightly updates, and add me on goodreads to see how the books are going!
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
I don't know if you've heard of this little duology called The Crown's Game... but you should be reading it. I'm currently reading The Crown's Fate, and I forgot how much I really enjoyed the first one. The Crown's Game really builds an intricate world, and The Crown's Fate really dives into it to build on it. Also, because of the building in the first, the characters feel more comfortable and grounded so the scenes play out really well and vividly.
The Crown's Game follow Pasha, heir to the throne; Nikolai, an orphaned enchanter being mentored by hard woman; and Vika, another enchanter being raised and mentored by her loving father. The Crown's Game (literally, a game) is about to begin to determine the new Imperial Enchanter. The Imperial Enchanter will serve the Crown and have more access to the world's magic - or rather, all of it, because the loser of the Crown's Game will also loose their life. And things get tricky because Nikolai and Pasha are best friends, and Vika starts to have feelings for the both of them, as they do for her... it's complicated. Usually I stay far, far, away from love triangles, but this one isn't horrible. It's more of like the love triangle in The Infernal Devices than Twilight, ya know?
Anyways, I'm running into the reasons here, so let's get on with it - here's why you should be reading The Crown's Game duology:
It takes place in 1825 Russia!
Look, Evelyn Skye has a degree in Russian literature and history, so she knows what she's doing. The descriptions are incredibly vivid, and the geography is so well laid out. But Emily, you're probably thinking, I thought this was a fantasy duology. To that, I say, yes. Yes it is. But it's an urban-type fantasy. It takes place in 1825 Magic-filled Russia. How could you say no to that?
Vika is a strong, independent woman who don't need no man!
Sorta. I mean, she's really in The Crown's Game for herself and her father. She's not anticipating to love Pasha and Nikolai the way she does. When she does develop feelings for them, she doesn't let it get in the way of herself. Vika is an awesome representation that you can care and love people and still be independent and a badass enchanter. We need more unselfish but badass, nevertheless, girls in YA. Put that on record.
A good love triangle? Is that possible?
Yes, yes it is. As I said above, this love triangle is more like the one Cassandra Clare builds in The Infernal Devices series. It's more of, I would say, a true love triangle, where each person in the love triangle as feelings towards the other two. Pasha and Nikolai have been friends their whole life and both form a friendship with Vika during the Crown's Game that turns into something more (for mostly one of them, no spoilers, though).These kind of love triangles are really powerful and really affective. Your emotions run so high when your reading and you don't want anyone to be disappointed, now that's the love triangle I love.
Friends that don't let their love interest get in the way or their friendship!
That's right, y'all! Pasha and Nikolai both have feelings for Vika and never let it get in the way of their friendship. They're vulnerable and honest with each other, and they have their own healthy friendship. I feel like intimacy with two male characters in a platonic relationship is rare, and I love seeing that with Pasha and Nikolai. Healthy female friendships are obviously important, and this book has them, but doesn't exactly showcase them. However, if you read this, you'll see in The Crown's Fate that Skye is extremely aware of friendships and Vika forms a friendship with another girl character that's healthy despite a conflict of interest.
A magic system that works!
With all the fantasy books that are coming out, this one has a really well-thought-out magic system. It really builds in the second book, but the first provides a great base to build on top of. Everything is connected. There's a source and it makes sense the way magic can become stronger or weaker, and how much it's being used. That's the thing when you decide to use magic in your world, your characters may not fully understand how it works, but it's obvious if the other doesn't know how it works either, but this one was so well done *insert ok hand sign emoji here*.
So you're not going to know for sure until you actually read it, but that's why you should be reading this duology. I actually read The Crown's Game initially because I was co-running a teen book club at the store I work at. That was about a year ago and we're not doing it anymore, but I'm glad I got to find an awesome duology out of it.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Anyways, I'm gonna do the mid-year book freakout tag to wrap up the... 18 books I've read so far.
Here we go!
1. Best book so far this year.
I really, really enjoyed Crown of Wishes. Not a lot of books have been 5/5 stars for me this year. So I'd have to say that, or Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. I read it for class back in March and enjoyed it a lot
more than I thought I would.
2. Best sequel so far this year.
Lord of Shadows was fantastic! I felt iffy about The Dark Artifices after Lady Midnight but Lord of Shadows felt really well put together. I enjoyed it a lot.
3. New release I haven't read, but want to.
Too many - Difficult Women & Hunger by Roxane Gay, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, and many, many others.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
Either Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (a collection of fairytales and myths in the Grishaverse, which is a world I absolutely love) or Warcross by Marie Lu (all I know is this is about a hacker, so I'm sold. Also it's Marie Lu, who's an auto-buy author at this point.).
5. Biggest disappointment.
I haven't DNFed anything yet. But Empress of a Thousand Skies continues to sit on my currently-reading shelf half-read. It's just not as interesting as I had hoped. As for something I've read, Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kennelly was extremely mediocre.
6. Biggest surprise.
Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini [review] - I was expecting a typical drama-filled romance, but this had a lot more depth to it than I thought!
7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you.)
After reading The Crown's Fate, I have to go with Evelyn Skye. Even though I read her stuff for the first time last year, this novel really has me excited for what she's going to put out next!
8. Newest fictional crush.
Jason. Freaking. Grace.
9. Newest favourite character.
Mark Blackthorn really grew on me in Lord of Shadows.
10. Book that made me cry.
I want to say A Court of Wings and Ruin, but oh lord, What to Say Next by Julie Baxbaum [review] so unexpectedly make me ugly cry. Oh! Also The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz... maybe I cry too much... moving on!
11. Book that made me happy.
Again, What to Say Next - are you paying attention?
12. Favourite book to movie adaptation.
Not book-to-movie, but I started watching the second season of Shadowhunters and it's... dare I say, good?
13. Favourite review I've written.
I really loved putting together my YOU SHOULD BE READING Heroes of Olympus post! I'm working on another right now!
14. Most beautiful book cover I've bought this year.
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life - I haven't bought it yet, but I got an ARC and damn, that's a beautiful cover.
15. Books I want to read before the end of the year.
It's quite a list, I must say, so here's just a few:
- The House of Hades and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
- A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
- The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
- Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thein
To keep up with all my reading, add me as a friend on goodreads and let me know my blog sent you! Remember, reading is supposed to be fun, it shouldn't stress us out, and we shouldn't be freaking out... even though we do anyway.