Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Biggest Disappointments of 2016

Hi all! Sorry I have been missing for so long... but now finals week and audition season is over. So hopefully I will be able to blog more.

Here (a bit late) I bring you the 2016 books I WANTED to love but couldn't:

1. Wink Poppy Midnight (2.5 stars)
This book was so close to being amazing. It had a stunning cover, beautiful writing, and an intriguing premise. That said, the story was not executed well at all. I didn't care for the characters, the ending was lack luster, and I spent a lot of time bored and confused. The only reason I finished was that Tucholke's writing style is pure artistry, even if her actual story was meh.

2. The Serpent King (2 stars)
I am the total black sheep on this one. I could NOT connect to the characters for the life of me and I thought that events that should have been emotional were not well done. Also, I felt like one death was too much to further other character's arcs, and I want deaths in books not just to be a plot device for others... but an examination of death in it's own right. (Does that make any sense?)  I really tried to love this but I was left wanting in many departments.

3. The Crown (2 stars)
Okay, I accept Kiera Cass books for what they are: fluff, pretty dresses, romance, cute banter, and all that jazz. I never expect masterpieces. The Crown, however, was an all-time low for Cass. I was bored. I felt like Eadlyn had no personality. The romance was lack luster. They all could have died and I wouldn't have cared. My advice: stick with the original Selection Trilogy.

4. The Glittering Court (2.5 stars)
Richelle Mead, why? You are a brilliant author, yet your newest release was very "meh". Adelaide pales in comparison to Rose and Sydney. I don't even remember Cedric (I had to look up his name on Goodreads). The whole last half of the novel felt out of place. There aren't any fantasy elements; it's just a lot of dresses, girls trying to get husbands, blah blah blah.

5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (4 stars- rated as a fan fiction)
Ahh, I saved both the smallest and biggest disappointment for last. So let me yell: This is very good fan-fiction, and I bet the live production is amazing. BUT THIS IS NOT CANON. Rowling did not write this. The characters are all wrong. The time-turner plot is ridiculous and there are lots of weird parts and uncomfortable revelations (i.e Bellatrix and...). The best thing about Cursed Child is PRECIOUS SCORPIUS. I swear the rest is just fan-fiction.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

Reading this book was a wonderful way to start off 2017! I felt like I had lost a friend when I had finished. Let's talk about it!

The Bear and The Nightingale 
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods... 

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman.

The Bear and the Nightingale was the perfect book to read on a day where I could see snow falling through the window. Arden's writing is lush and beautiful. I adored the fairy-tale feeling of this story. Everything was vivid from the characters to the Russian setting. I was completely immersed.

The book started off a bit slow for me. The writing was exceptionally gorgeous from the beginning, but I had to get used to a slower pace and lots of characters. Once, I was a few chapters in though, I was in for the long haul. I loved Arden's eye for details and I could tell she was passionate about creating a world that seemed real. The Russian setting was exquisite. Also you learned a lot of character's backstories. 

Our whole cast of characters was intriguing. Vasya, her father, step-mother, brothers, sisters, nurse, Konstantin, Frost, and many more characters play a part. Vasya is wild, independent, and strange. She's victim to being a woman in medieval Russia so she's treated like property a lot, although she rarely lets others control her. She can ride a horse as good as a man. And she rebels against marriage and the church. She's the underdog you have to root for. There's not a major romance plot line for Vasya here, but I sense one in later books. 

One of our main conflicts is the church vs common local beliefs in spirits and fairytales. When a renown priest comes and strikes fear of God into the hearts of the townspeople, the spirits grow hungry and restless as they are ignored and forgotten. Vasya knows this isn't good. And she can see these spirits, and she is also the target of a great evil. The ending of the novel is climatic, powerful, and left me breathless. 

Overall, I cannot recommend The Bear and the Nightingale enough. If it starts off feeling slow to you, persevere! I was so glad I did. This is a magical, well-researched, intriguing read. If you love medieval Russia, fairy tales, religion and myths, and atmosphere, pick this book up! I cannot wait to see what Arden does in the sequels. I want to see more of the brother, Sasha, and Morov, The Frost Demon, in book two. 

*Received for free from LibraryThing Early Reviewers*

4.5/5 Stars

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Most Anticipated Books of 2017

Happy 2017! A new year brings new books... and boy do I want to read all of them! Here are the gems I am MOST excited for:

1. Strange the Dreamer
Laini Taylor's writing is unparalleled. It's beautiful, emotional, and eccentric in it's own way. After falling in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I am breathlessly awaiting Strange the Dreamer. It's my #1 most anticipated of the year.

2. A Court of Wings and Ruin
A VERY close second to Strange the Dreamer is A Court of Wings and Ruin.  You all know I am a huge Sarah J Maas fan and ACOMAF holds a big place in my heart. I can't wait to see what Feyre gets up to in this third book, especially after ACOMAF's brilliant ending.

3. Always and Forever Lara Jean
A third book? A third book! Jenny Han has absolutely delighted me with the announcement of the unexpected conclusion to Lara Jean's story. These books are some of my absolute favorite contemporaries.

4. The Valiant
The cover, the synopsis, the blurbs, the excellent bloggers shouting praise... yeah, this looks like an Emily book. Female gladiators! Fighting school! Rome! Julius Caesar!

5. By Your Side
My mission to read all of Kasie West's novels continues. They are just so cute plus the premise is that our two main characters get trapped in a library together. I repeat: a library!!! Doesn't that just sounds perfect?

6. Royal Bastards
With a title like Royal Bastards, who can doubt that this book will be awesome? If you are not sold, check out this in-depth synopsis on Goodreads, I am so ready for this YA royal romp. (Also can't wait to see the final cover!)

7. The Upside of Unrequited
I will read anything the author of Simon Vs. The Homosapien's Agenda writes. And this sounds amazing and cute... I'm so, so excited.

8. The Hate U Give
This looks like such an important read- it's inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement! I love the author's voice on twitter and I have heard so much praise for this book. I have a feeling this will be a major release this year.

9. Traitor to the Throne
We all know I loved Rebel of the Sands... so this should come as no surprise. I am so ready for this sequel and I want more Amani and Jin! (Also, yes I'm using the cover image I want to be on the US version *cries*)

10. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue 
LGBTQ read with two gentlemen embarking on a Grand Tour of Europe and having adventures? Yes please! Plus I hear there are a lot of pages.... I love big books.

11. Caraval
Okay, I already read this! But I loved it and can't wait to buy a final copy for my bookshelves. Read my review here. It's so magical and brilliant, trust me.

12. Hunted 
This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling from an author that I trust with a gorgeous cover... there's no way I'm not adding this to my bookshelf when it releases!

Coverless/No title:
ToG #6
*Sobs* After Eos I NEED this, but also I'm scared and don't want it to end!

Untitled- The Diabolic #2 
Yay! I knew The Diabolic wouldn't stay a standalone!!!

It was so hard keeping this list (semi) short!!! Which books are you impatient for this year? :) 
 Post Signature