Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I'm pleased to report that everything you've heard about this book is true! But first, a dramatic beginning...
When booktube-a-thon came to an end, my TBR pile had things I bought only because I eventually want to read them and they were cheap (thanks bookoutlet). So on a whim I picked up Shadow & Bone not really expecting anything. I went into it almost blind, and then got SLAPPED IN THE FACE.
Seriously. This book was like a giant slap in the face. One that's so hard you sort of black out for a second and then went you come to, your face feels weird and tingly.
I wasn't expecting anything. 
I'm not big into fantasy. I hate long explanations of magic systems, weird words, descriptions of landscapes (reason number 1 why I will probably never read Lord of the Rings), and things like "and to the east was blank and to ahead was blank." Just- no. So when the novel grabbed my shoulder and yanked me into the story, I was in shock. I was truly enjoying a fantasy world!

First thing's first: I have issues with rating books. I never know what to do...
 I still don't know what I rated this book, but the important thing is that I liked it!

SO! Shadow & Bone! What's it about, you ask? Well I'm gonna tell you!

Shadow & Bone follows the point of view of Alina Starkov, a mapmaker for the First Army of Ravka. Her long-time friend, Malyen Oretsev, is a tracker for the same army. They lived together in an orphanage as children until they could join the army to help fight the war between Fierda, Ravka, and Shu Han.
This fantasy world is the world of Grisha. The Grisha are treated differently in different kingdoms, but in Ravka, they have a high rank. Grisha are people with powers, but I think you should read the book and to find out what exactly they are, cause it's fun!
And then there's the Darkling. He's like the most powerful of all the Grisha because he has more then one power, and also, he's the only one permitted to wear black.
While the cultures of the world have Russian influence, don't go into this expecting any sort of reference at all. The cover is a little misleading in that sense, and I've seen a lot of low reviews on Goodreads that are disappointed there was no Russian references/setting.

Here's some stuff that I liked:

  • while there were many new words to learn, I felt like Leigh Bardugo did a great job easing you into them and leaving clues as to what they were until you got used to them
  • great writing and twists -- I know from reading goodreads reviews that not everyone is a fan of her writing, but I am!
  • the Darkling -- he's super mysterious and cool
  • the theme isn't lost in the romance!
  • while you're trying to get a hold of the world, there aren't too many characters to keep track of as well, which makes it easier to get into the book
  • I never knew what was going to happen next
  • CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Stuff I didn't like:

  • the love triangle... it's sort of present in that you don't really notice it, but it's still there
  • Alina relies too much on Mal/Darkling -- I hope to see more character development in the next books
  • I can't think of anything else...

Next order of business; this is always entertaining to look at.
(I've blacked out spoilers. Also, you shouldn't read the 6 comments in that one update cause spoilers!)
As you can tell, I had a lot of fun reading this and I hope to enjoy the rest of the trilogy just as much!

After liking this, I'm definitely going to pick up other fantasy books like Throne of Glass and Daughter of Smoke and Bone without being afraid!

If you've read Shadow & Bone let me know what you thought! If you haven't, let me know if you plan to read it or not!
Also, don't forget to check out my youtube channel/twitter/instagram/goodreads! (links over there >

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Warped Tour Tips and Pictures!

Yesterday I went to Warped Tour in Toronto - it's my second time experiencing Warped, so I thought I'd share some tips!

  1. Make sure you have internet on your phone, or turn on text-notifications from band members in case they tweet out when/where details of their set for the day and when they'll be doing meet and greets (some bands have scheduled meet and greets in which you'll need a wristband, and some don't)
  2.  If #1 fails get to that inflatable schedule across the main stage as quickly as possible so you don't miss a band you really want to see (they also give out paper schedules for $2)
  3. Get your priorities straight in case sets/meet and greets you want to be at overlap (skip-the-line passes are never worth it)
  4. Put on sunscreen anytime you can; even when it's cloudy! 
  5. Pushing is a must to get through the crowds around tents, in my opinion (if someone complains, ignore them)
  6. Bring snacks and a sealed water bottle - They'll let you bring these in as long as they're sealed, but try to stuff the snacks somewhere unnoticeable just in case the security guard checking your bag is strict. You only need one water bottle because there is free water refills and if you buy one, they won't give you the cap.
  7. Stay hydrated and keep snacking. You don't want to end up in the first aid tent!
  8. You don't need to be at the very front of the crowd! Being all the way at the back is just as fun, you're still able to see the band, and it has more air/less tight bodies!
  9. Be comfortable (including your shoes) - if you're worried about looking cute in your selfies with the band members you meet, don't be, they're all bad. 
  10. Watch Natasha's video "5 Life Rules for Fangirls"
  11. Watch Hank Green's video "13 Things to Know about Concerts
And now, some pictures!
Charles//We The Kings
Jordan//The Ready Set
Danny//We The Kings
John//The Summer Set