Saturday, June 28, 2014

The One Where I Review SHADOW AND BONE (for the 2nd time)

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 356

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Bardugo is a goddess amongst men. Normally when I re-read, I still love the book, but I already know what's happening so part of the spark is gone. However, you know it's a BEYOND amazing book when those same emotions felt the first time around come rushing back. And that is precisely what happened. Reading this a second time felt like I was reading for the first time. All the feelings came back. My heart was racing, my pulse pounding, trying not to make unintelligible sounds while at work because we know that I would be given side-eye curious looks.

Since this is indeed a re-read and I've already reviewed it once, I'll make this (relatively) short and sweet. If you want to see my rather awesome (if I do say so myself) GIF filled review full of gushing completely coherent sentences, then check it out here.

So, the short of it?

Beautiful. Lush. Brilliant. Perfect.

First off, the world building is A++. Seriously phenomenal stuff here. Lush and gorgeous, Bardugo does a beautiful job of bringing in Russian influence into this unique fantasy world. And the Grisha? So cool! Not gonna lie, I totally wish I was one of them. AND THERE'S A MAP!! I love maps because it means the author really took the time to flesh out their fantasy world. That takes love and dedication. 

Second, the characters. Oh, the characters.

Alina, my heart goes out to you girl. Her growth throughout just this book alone is beyond amazing. She's not necessarily strong at first, but neither is she weak. She's a girl who just wants to belong and is suddenly thrust into this world that may prove to be more than she asked for. While oftentimes her desire to fit in clouds her judgement, she more than comes into her own.

And Mal. Oh, Mal. You're the good guy I should want. He's likable from the beginning even though he doesn't have much page time until the end. He's brave and encouraging and charming. And that speech at towards the end? *Swoon* But, while this is the guy that you know is the best for you and that you should be pining after, there's one guy who's just.....delectable. 

The Darkling

MmMmmMmmmmmm. Mal is the good guy you should end up with. The Darkling is the irresistible one you want to end up with. Don't worry, it's not necessarily a love triangle seeing as Alina knows who she truly wants, but she definitely feels the pull, as you will too. Mysterious, powerful, and seductive. *faints*
He's just so sincere that it's hard not to fall for him. 

And, for a slight spoiler (still vague but check at your own risk):
In the beginning it's so easy to think he is good and not greedy, that he has Ravka's best interests at heart. He's just so sincere. I totally understand how Alina could've been duped. I certainly didn't expect the turn of events. Bardugo does a great job of making you think the Darkling is truly good. Props to that! 

Finally, the plot. The storyline is a delectable story wrapped in gorgeously described mythology with beautiful cultural inspirations thrown in. This brilliant plot line is brimming with Grisha, political intrigue, war and deception. Oh, and questing. Can't forget questing. 

Okay, so I know I said I'd keep this short, but I lied I thought it would be, until I actually started writing. And it's shorter than my original review, so there's that. However, in short, all you need to know is: read it. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The One With the YA Prom

Welcome! Welcome. To the YA Prom! The YA prom is a wonderful event hosted by the lovelies Gaby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) and Alexa (Alexa Love's Books). This is an event where you pick your fave YA Prom date, dress, hairstyle, makeup, etc., to attend prom in the YA world. 

And guys, let me tell you, this is hard. I didn't want to pick just one. Actually, I was truly contemplating just having a bunch of men on my arm, but I don't want a fight breaking out or anything. Who would I root for?! Also, I hope there are more of these events and don't want to use up all the ridiculously good-looking men in one event! 

So, who have I decided to pick this time? Well, I'll give you a hint: He's hot, sarcastic, witty, rakish, swoony, and perhaps the biggest turn on, intelligent. Yes, I'm all for being really, really, ridiculously good looking, a wealthy prince, a cocky pirate, and having the sarcastic personality to match my own. But, it's a bajillion bonus points if he's actually intelligent and knows how to get out of a sticky situation. He's calculating and cunning and a prince. Did I mention he's also a pirate? Oh, sorry, I mean privateer ;)

So who's my gorgeous prom date?

Sturmhond. AKA, Nikolai Lanstov. AKA, the too-clever fox. AKA, 1 of my future husbands. 

Found this little gem on Tumblr and it was perfect. See, normally I'm not a sucker for blonde hair, so I was soooo picky trying to find a model. While I don't believe Sam Caflin is really what I picture Nikolai as, these pictures do Sturmhond justice! Not to mention all the other wonderful add-ons that really showcase his personality ;)

Can you imagine this guy on my arm? 
Definitely my reaction when he comes to pick me up on the (repaired) Hummingbird. 

Now, to the best part of the night - me ;) I love beautiful, full-length gowns for special occasions. Think I'm joking? I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them. So, to say that picking a dress is hard is an absolute understatement. 

All of these dresses I either pick for the color (light blue of Ravkan royalty), or they're a statement (a la Nikolai's rule of making an impression), or they're just straight up gorgeous. However, I've decided to go with this looker:






So beautiful. This dress is absolutely gorgeous and I believe Sturmhond would love it too. I love the Grecian style and the color would look gorgeous against my porcelain skin and dark hair (and the too-clever fox would approve). And the eagle on the belt? Well, just a bit of homage to my main man's lineage ;) Also, it's loose enough to hide any weapons with easy access because being a privateer's date and all means I gotta protect myself. 

I like soft, flowing hair, but I also want to showcase the beautifully, detailed shoulders. This beautiful hairdo is a good inbetweener. A soft, brown or plum smoky eye would be amazing with my hazel eyes. I'd add a bit more color on the lips. The color shown above is a bit too pale of a pink. I'd add just a soft natural rosy color. And gotta keep the nails classic, with a hint of glamour. 

So that's my prom date and outfit! I'm sooooo excited and think we'll have a wonderful time. Can't wait to see all you ladies there! 
And don't forget to join the twitter party tonight at 8:30 EST with #YAProm

Monday, June 23, 2014

The One With All the Stuff (1)

Sooooooo I know there are a ton of post sign-ups for showing what you got this past week, but I'm not sure which one I want to join so for now I'm just sticking with a generic weekly books post a la me. That blog post name is rather creative, no? Though, this one definitely isn't for this past week alone. More like the past month. Or more. It's been a while....

So what books have I gotten? Why, I'm so glad you asked! I made money so of course I bought books (though I restrained myself rather well). Heartbreaking books. Beautiful books. These first two books are series enders that tore my heart, and yet made me love them. The last is just awesome.

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3)
by Julie Kagawa

I didn't know what to expect from series end and I was pleasantly surprised by the way this went. It was non-stop action and heartbreak with a bit of humor thrown in. There are hard decisions and sacrifice and wonderfulness. If you haven't read this series yet, I encourage you to do so. It's dark, but so full of hope. Full review to come.

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)
By Leigh Bardugo

Please don't ask me to be coherent because I won't be. My heart is breaking, yet so full of love. Guys, THIS is how you end a series. This journey....gosh, this journey was just so wonderful. It was full of heartbreak, hard decisions, war, love, hope, friendship. Beautiful, breathtaking, and heartbreaking. I fell in love with all the characters, even the villain. I finished this yesterday and am still reeling. I...I just can't. All I can say is read this series. 

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 - 0.5)
by Sarah J. Maas

All the Throne of Glass novellas thrown together in one book that could be used as a weapon in and of itself. This is definitely a part of my re-read. I can't resist even more of Celaena's story! 


Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
by Sarah J. Maas 

OMG!!! When I saw I got approved I couldn't contain my excitement. This series is SOOOO good. Beyond amazing. I'm actually going to re-read the first two before I get to this one because they are that good. But it's so hard to wait!! GAHHH!!! This doesn't come out till September so I don't even want to read it until closer to the release date and I'm dyingggggg. Okay, maybe not literally, but definitely figuratively. 

by Sharon Gosling

Jewel thief traipsing as a trapeze artist? 
Sign me up!


Linked (Linked #1) and Unravel (Linked #2) 
by Imogen Howson 

I got these for review from Quercus. Linked was high on my list last year, but I just never got around to it. So, when I was offered to review it and it's sequel, I jumped on the chance. Definitely getting around to this one soon!

Stuff I won

The fantastic Andrea over at The Overstuffed Bookcase was doing a wonderful BEA giveaway and I happened to be a winner. Now it's a surprise, but I do know that it's MG historical fiction/fantasy. Right up my alley! Can't wait to see what they are and read them!

I don't know about y'all but I'm super excited to read all these books. So what books did y'all get this week (past month?). Any in common? 

I hope y'all have a wonderful (well, as wonderful as can be) start to the workweek. Woohoo...... ;) Don't worry, a good book will help you make it through! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The One with Top Ten Tuesday #2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week a new Top Ten list topic is posted and book bloggers fill in their own choices. 
This week's topic is:


So, as y'all know from my post last week, I've dedicated this summer to series. So, instead of posting about each individual book, if it's part of a series I'm reading, I'm just going to group them together. 

The Grisha Trilogy
by Leigh Bardugo 

This is one of my series re-reads for the summer. Why? In preparation for this last book, of course! Gah! This series! The beautiful world-building, the amazing characters, the Grisha! So complex and just all-around phenomenal. I've read the first one and part of the second book, and let me tell you, it's just as good the second time around! Maybe it's because I don't remember all the details (part of the reason for re-reading) but I was never bored. All the emotions I felt the first time I read them are still there. Proof of a good series. 

The Divergent Trilogy
by Veronica Roth

Okay, confession: I've only read Divergent. *hangs head in shame* With the movies coming out, I feel the need to finish this series. That includes rereading the first one because I literally don't remember a thing.....

by Marie Lu here's another one of the "hang head in shame" series on my list. I loved the first book. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling the second. I think it may have just been because I was in a bit of a hiccup with reading, buttttttttt I'll admit I may be a bit nervous. That's actually the reason I've been putting it off. But I vow to finish it this summer. I must!

by Sarah J. Maas

GUYSSSSSS!!!! THIS SERIES!!!!!! PHENOMENAL! BREATHTAKING! FULL OF BUTT-WHOOPING AWESOMENESS!!! I'm just re-reading this series because of it's absolute amazingnesss. Seriously, beyond amazing. So, SO good. 

Midnight Theif (Midnight Thief #1)
by Livia Blackburne
Release Date: July 8, 2014

WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY WANT?!?!?! This book is basically written for me!
Okay, so I've actually heard that this one may not be quite as good as I expect. However, I'm definitely giving this one a chance, just maybe knocking down my expectations a bit. 

The Children of the Red King
by Jenny Nimmo

So this is an oldie, but a goodie. The last books came out when I was older and I just never got around to them. They are pretty easy reads and entertaining at that so I've decided to re-read and finish the series. 

The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4)
by Cinda Williams Chima

So I actually hate finishing series. It's one reason why I'm dedicating this summer to them hoping that'll make me read them. You see, I have when a good series ends because that means it's over. It's done for. This is one of those series. I've had this book FOREVER and I've never read it because I don't want this series to end. But I want to. This series is so good, it's worth finishing. 

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)
by Erika Johansen

This is a new book coming out this summer that's been on my radar for a while now. I'm always game for a medieval like fantasy! It promises political intrigue and lots of action. Add in brave knights (I'm always game for a man in uniform) and magic and this is just calling my name. I've heard mostly good reviews so it's definitely high on my TBR. 

Okay, so I know that's not quite 10, but since half of this list consists of series, I'm going to be reading a lot more than that! So what books are y'all planning on reading this summer? 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The One Where I Review THE FALCONER

The Falconer (The Falconer #1)
by Elizabeth May
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 378 - Also known as too short.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

From the first moment I saw this blurb I knew this book and I were made for each other. I was a bit skeptical of the whole faery thing because really the only faery books I've read (that I recall) are Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. They were good, but faerie stories don't exactly blow me away. However, the historical setting (SCOTLAND!) with its balls and pretty dresses coupled with the promise of a vengeaful and badass heroine, I was game. 

So. Did it deliver?

Oh, Aileana. You may be vengeful and full of blood-lust, yet I adore you anyways. Not only do you have every reason to be the way you are (AVENGE YOUR MOTHER!) but I adored you because you were never beyond redemption. Though you want your vengeance, you still had heart and cared for your friends. You were witty and crass. And you're intelligent! You're a tinkerer who makes her own awesome steam-punkery weapons! Can't get much cooler than that!But I also totally feel your apathy towards balls and societal manners in the wake of your tragedy. It's hard to try and be the society girl everyone expects while hunting faeries on the side. Ooooo. Debutante by day, fae hunter by night. It's got a nice ring to it, no? 

Also, these faeries are bad news. They aren't you sweet little faeries with with beautiful iridescent wings. Oh no. There is a whole class system dealing with these buggers and some of them are some ugly sons of guns. And deadly. With claws. And teeth. They maim and destroy humans. Aileana is just doing her civic duty and destroying them before they destroy her. Ya know, self-defense and all. That's justified, right? 

And now to talk about the REAL reason I love this book.
Okay, I didn't love this book solely based on him, but Kiaran was definitely a welcome addition. He's hard to describe exactly, but oh so delicious all the same. All the swoon worthy moments and passing touches were just... *fans self*. A stoic, deadly, mysterious fae who teaches Aileana all she needs to know about hunting his kind. If I told you why, that'd be spoilers.  So read the book to find out. Also, KIARAN.  

something else that I really adore in books....
An awesome BFF! Catherine is as awesome as a book BFF gets. This girl knows something is going on and even though she doesn't know what exactly, she sticks up for Aileana anyways. She's always saving Aileana's hide and lying about where she's been so people don't get suspicious (though it's hard when you come back in tatters). That's true friendship right there. 

Also, Derikk. Adored him too. Yes, I seem to adore all the characters. FOR GOOD REASON! He's a tiny faerie who lives in Aileana's closet and hems her clothes. He's feisty and always speaks his mind, especially when it pertains to Kiaran. Oh, and he gets drunk off honey, hilariously so. 

Okay, so this book isn't all about the characters. There is also a plot full of non-stop, gory faerie butt-whooping. And it is glorious. While Aileana is hell-bent on revenge, there is SO much more going on here than she realizes. Add in the awesome setting with it's lushness and the steampunk aspects, and you've got a novel as glorious as Elizabeth May's hair. 
Seriously, have you seen her hair? GORGEOUS!

And then came the end....believe me, I was warned. I knew that this book had a hard ending with a massive cliffhanger. The fact that EVERYONE was blowing their tops over it meant it was a doozy. I thought I was prepared. 
I was not.



EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!! I REFUSE!!!!!

Got that off my chest.
Just.....guys, even if I warn you, it's still a doozy. As I was reading through the last couple pages, I was thinking of all these scenarios in which it could be a horrible cliffhanger. This wasn't just a cliffhanger. THIS WAS ENDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A PARAGRAPH! THE MIDDLE OF A SCENE! It's like if the last Harry Potter movie cut off right in the middle of the BIG EPIC battle between Voldemort and Harry and you have no idea what's going to happen if you didn't read the books. Shame on you.  And they're like 
Gotta wait a year to see if Harry's going to make it!!!!

Pure awesomeness. I love that Aileana isn't perfect and is moved by grief and revenge. I feel for her. I wanted to hug her and then go kick some faerie butt. But she's not all vengeance. She's witty, stubborn and intelligent! All the secondary characters were spot on (here's to looking at you Kiaran). The setting was lush and beautiful and was made all the more wonderful with its slight steampunk elements (most of which Aileana made. Her weapons are AWESOME!). The plot was full of awesome steampunkery, bloody, actiony goodness that I couldn't get enough of. And, though that ending had me sitting there with my mouth hanging open and seriously contemplating throwing the book across the room, I forgive it because everything else is so awesome. Also, the author's got beautiful hair. Seriously though. I wish I had her hair. 

-minus half a dot for that FREAKING CLIFFHANGER! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The One with the Armchair BEA Giveaway Winner

We have a winner!!!


Emma is the lucky winner of my Armchair BEA giveaway. What was the gift you ask? One book, up to $15, from The Book Depository.

What book did she choose?

And what a great choice might I add! I read this for my Bout of Books read-a-thon and was blown away by it's brilliance and beauty (review coming soon).

I hope you enjoy this wonderful book Emma and can't wait to hear what you think :) 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The One Where I Wrap Up May 2014


Of May that is. Yup, it's the end of another great month and a busy one at that! I participated in both Bout of Books read-a-thon and the Armchair BEA and both were successful and fun. 

For the Bout of Books Read-a-thon I completed my goal of 3 books and read about half of my 4th book. Now that's what I call a success! So what did I read?

Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne
Surprisingly good and thorough for a novella. Can't wait for Midnight Thief!
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Not what I expected yet surprisingly wonderful!
That 4th book I read part of? House of Hades (Blood of Olympus #4) 
PERCABETH!!!!!AND LEO!!! Woohoo! 

Unfortunately, I haven't written any of the reviews yet, but look for them this month! All of them were SO good.

As for Armchair BEA? I didn't really read anything, but I met some absolutely wonderful people which means I found some wonderful new blogs, had a blast at the twitter parties, and read about some awesome topics. Unfortunately with moving I was unable to do a lot of posts of my own, but I was able to post a couple:

A GIVEAWAY WINNER SHALL BE CHOSEN! Yup, my awesome BEA giveaway ended last night and I'll pick a winner ASAP. Unfortunately, you'll have to forgive me because my computer has decided to PMS on me and I'm doing things (difficultly) on my dads ipad. So I promise that I will get in touch with the winner and get that book sent out ASAP. 

So what are my plans for June?

Well I've moved into the new house. YAY! Also, I start my new job tomorrow. Also yay. Job = money for books! Other than that it's just read, read, and read some more.

However, I did have an epiphany of sorts this morning. I've decided to dedicate the summer to series. I'm actually part of the Series challenge anyways, but I've been completely lacking. Many series I absolutely love had the last book come out either last year or this year (with one really old series). So, I've decided to dedicate this summer to reading them. This was definitely inspired by the re-read of the Grisha trilogy on Goodreads. Since I thought that was a good idea for that series, I realized how many series I have unfinished and decided to finish series this summer. For many
I'll reread the first book or two to recap and finish with the final book. I'll read all of them in a row and review them on here. Here are the series I'm planning on finishing:

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth
I've only read the first one and loved it. Let's hope that doesn't change when I reread it. I've had the second book for a while now, but I've heard some iffy things about it so I always put it on the back burner. Now that the third book has been released, I've decided I gotta get my rear in gear. I plan on re-reading this whole series.

The Legend series by Marie Lu
LOVED the first book. Started the second, got partway through, and 2 things happened: I couldn't remember what happened in the 1st book and I wasn't feeling it. I think part of that was because I couldn't remember the 1st book but also just because I wasn't really in the mood. I was in a reading slump at the time. So, like Divergent, with the last book being out I've decided to re-read the whole

The Grisha Trilogy  by Leigh Bardugo
Russian inspired fantasy! Loved the first book, liked the second book (mainly because of Sturmhond!) and the third book is coming out this month so I couldn't resist! I also plan on re-reading this whole series.

Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagaway
Vampires done right. Also, katanas. I just bought the final book and can't wait to start. I don't plan on re-reading this whole series, only the last book. 

So this is an old series, but one that I love. The last books came out when I was older and I just never got around to them. They are pretty easy reads and entertaining at that so I've decided to re-read the
whole series.

So those are my plans for June. However, due to these computer issues and the fact that it is WAY to hard to type blog posts on an Ipad, I won't have any posts up until these issues are fixed. HOPEFULLY, this will only take a couple of day but who knows? I guess this means I should start scheduling posts instead :P

I hope y'all had an awesome May and continue that awesomeness into the month of June!