Wednesday, December 28, 2016

review: ruin and rising, by leigh bardugo

Title: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for. -Goodreads

3 Stars
*Slight spoilers for books 1 and 2*

Upon completing Crooked Kingdom and subsequently suffering from a Major Book Hangover, I scrambled to find a book that would not necessarily reach the grandeur of CK, but perhaps soothe my emotions, at least slightly. A perusal of my bookshelf brought me to my copy of Ruin & Rising, worn Darth Vader bookmark still marking the page I had left off. I'm not quite sure why I abandoned it in the first place, but knowing myself, it was probably due to the very slow, dreary pace the book starts off with. I had decided that I wanted to complete it following Sturmhond's appearance in Crooked Kingdom (and recalling how much I had adored him) but I hadn't anticipated missing a fictional universe to this extent. So, I dove into Ruin and Rising with much fervor.

Monday, October 31, 2016

dnf review: tell the truth, shame the devil, by melina marchetta

Title: Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: Mystery
Publication date: October 11, 2016

Bashir “Bish” Ortley is a London desk cop. Almost over it. Still not dealing with the death of his son years ago, as well as the break-up of his marriage. Across the channel, a summer bus tour, carrying a group of English teenagers is subject to a deadly bomb attack, killing four of the passengers and injuring a handful of others. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

The suspect is 17 year old Violette LeBrac whose grandfather was responsible for a bombing that claimed the lives of dozens of people fourteen years ago; and whose mother, Noor, has been serving a life sentence for the part she was supposed to have played in the attack. As Bish is dragged into the search for the missing Violette, he finds himself reluctantly working with Noor LeBrac and her younger brother, Jimmy Sarraf.

And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more Bish realizes that they may have got it wrong all those years ago, and that truth wears many colours. Especially when it comes to the teenagers on board the recent bus bombing. Including his daughter.

Tell the truth. Shame the devil. Bish can’t get Violette LeBrac’s words out of his head. But what he may get is some sort of peace with his own past as the worlds of those involved in two bombings, years apart, collide into the journey of his life. -Goodreads

DNF at page 144 

Melina Marchetta is one of my favorite authors; this is no secret. I read and adored all of her contemporary young adult novels and have her fantasy series next on my to-read list. But, for many reasons, I simply could not get invested in Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. It pains me to have to set the book aside, it really does, but I just cannot force myself to continue. It was good at first, promising, and the synopsis quite intriguing, but my interest was unfortunately suspended for a bulk of the 144 pages I read, due to a multitude of reasons that I shall go into. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

bookshelf video tour

Today, I have a little video I made that gives you a tour of my bookshelf! Please excuse the low quality, as I used my iPhone. And this is my first time playing around with iMovie, so I probably made tons of rookie mistakes when editing. Anyways, I hope you enjoy it!

The song I used was Milk and Cookies, by Melanie Martinez.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

mini mini reviews!

Today, I have some mini mini-reviews on some books I've recently read from a colorful assortment of genres. These are for the books which I don't have enough to say to warrant an entire review, hence the extra mini, but I do have something to comment on (as should be expected from me, giving my opinion even when no one asks is one of my talents.) The three books I will be reviewing--if you can even call it that--are all unique in their own ways, and I highly recommend each and every one of them.

Title: My Lady Jane
Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Publication date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Historical fiction
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England. -Goodreads

Monday, September 5, 2016

review: six of crows, by leigh bardugo

Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

5 Stars
When my friend first recommended this book to me, I thought her ardor was a bit exaggerated. See, I read Bardugo's previous novels, the Shadow and Bone series, three years ago, but ended up dropping the final installment out of disinterest. Don't get me wrong, the first two books were relatively good, but to be blunt I don't have any feelings associated with them.

So despite my friend's extreme enthusiasm, and despite the unanimous positive reviews flooding the book's Goodreads page, I began Six of Crows with a critical attitude and low expectations. (Because if there's one thing you learn as a book reviewer, it's that you should never believe the hype.) I'd say within the first chapter, this attitude disappeared. I found myself savoring every page, every chapter of this compulsively readable novel.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

5 contemporary books I recommend to high schoolers

Now that my "journey" of high school is over, I'm so glad it's over  I decided to compile of list of contemporary books I recommend every high schooler to read. You know, books that teach you about life, books that are raw in emotion and don't shy away from the grotesque. Or the books that'll make you laugh or swoon or sigh in content.

But what all these books I'm going to list have in common is this; they are, above all, coming of age novels, and in my opinion, they accurately depict the journey that is adolescence. They helped me grow as a person and opened my eyes, if even by a fraction, but the effect on me was noticeable nonetheless.

Friday, August 19, 2016

what I've been up to (not much, to be honest)

It's been *squints at computer screen* two months since I've posted on here--despite being on summer vacation since May, I still haven't gotten back the motivation to consistently post on here. Well, to all three of my blog viewers who are interested, I figured I'd do a "what I've been doing lately" blog post, because why the heck not.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog, by Anne Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)
Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Genre: Historical fiction
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead. -Goodreads

2 Stars
After thinking over Prisoner of Night and Fog for a bit, I think 2 stars is a far more fitting rating for this book.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Blog Tour: Shimmer, by Paula Weston

Title: Shimmer (The Rephaim #3)
Author: Paula Weston
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Gaby thought her life couldn't get more complicated.

She's almost used to the idea that she's not the teenage backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim--a 139-year-old half-angel--whose memories have been stolen. She's even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she's mourned for a year, didn't die at all.

But now Rafa--sexy, infuriating Rafa--is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all.

4 Stars
Thank you Tundra Books for sending me a copy of this book for review!

I've been completely smitten with The Rephaim series since I first read Shadows back in 2013. Mind you, I had been going through a very painful books-about-angels phase, so you'd think I wouldn't still like this series. Perhaps not unexpectedly, my love for this series has not dwindled one bit, and I found myself enjoying this book far more than others I've been reading as of late.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: The Gathering Storm, by Robin Bridges

The Gathering Storm (Katerina, #1)Title: The Gathering Storm
Author: Robin Bridges
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

2 Stars

Maybe I'm just a cynical old hag, but this was nothing near what I was expecting. And not in a good way. Political intrigue! Courtly drama! A compelling historical tale! These are all what I expected the book to contain; alas, while these were included, it was portrayed in a very immature, superficial manner.