Monday, January 13, 2014

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas - A GIF filled review



Because this is the book. THE BOOK that puts all other sequels, NAY, all other books to shame. 

This book guys...this book just blew my mind. The emotions - the FEELS!!

Me trying to write this review....and failing miserably.
I literally can't find the words for this review. I've been trying....for months. Guys, I read this like 5 months ago and I'm still reeling!

This is what the book did to me. A swift kick to the guts is what it did. Curse you Maas.

So, since my emotions make it impossible for me to write a coherant review, here is a time-line of my emotions ---

Me waiting for the book:

Me finally getting the book.

Me, staring lovingly at the book.
I wasn't being creepy...well not that creepy. My love for this book was completely NORMAL! NORMAL I SAY!

So, I started reading. ...then came the feels. 

There was lots of screaming.
In my head of course..

And quite a few "Oh no she didn't...."

Did she...did she really just do that?! 

And then romance!!!!

So preciously adorable!


Ughhh....can't. handle. the CUTENESS!

I'm talking about you Chaol *waggles eyebrows*

Look what you do to me Chaol!!

And happened. 

At first I was like this:

Then I went into denial....

Then some yelling may or may not have happened....

*Me yelling on the inside*

*Me on the outside trying to stay sane and not yell at anyone within sight, therefore resulting in an unattractive twitch-like facial expression*

Then back to denial, a stage in which I will more than happily reside: can't be true. It just CAN'T! It's got to be a trick!!! I absolutely refuse to believe otherwise.

This was me the rest of the book. 

Because, let's face it, if she was willing to do that, then you can't put anything past this woman!

I...I just don't know if I can handle anything else. 

And REPEAT! These are the emotions that bombarded me consistently throughout in a never-ending, gut wrenching cycle of awesomeness! 

After the book:

Seriously. All kinds of win. This book was phenomenal.


Waiting for the third book?

To sum it all up, this is my feels -

Maas is totally Flynn, casually there all sassy knowing what she did and what it's doing to us readers and NOT GIVING A CRAP ABOUT IT!

Amazing. Awesome. Phenomenal. Heartbreaking. Heartening. Gut-wretching. Beautiful. Action-packed. Twisty. SWOONY!  I could go on and on. But I leave you with this:
Read this series.

And, because this is such a gif filled review, I simply had to add another -

This gif is just because I thought it was absolutely hilarious and has nothing to do with the book...but Celaena probably does have gorgeous hair. Obviously uses Loreal. So it's fitting.

All the best ♥︎

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)
by Robin LaFevers
Pages: 385
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Release Date: April 2, 2013

Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.
But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...

My Review:

     I was looking forward to Dark Triumph for quite some time after the awesomeness that was its predecessor, Grave Mercy. As with all sequels, I was hesitant. Could it really live up to the previous book? Well, it's hard to compare them because, while they are in the same world, they are more companion novels rather than sequels and are vastly different from each other. 
    Grave Mercy was a book filled with tough characters, political intrigue and secrets. On the other hand, Dark Triumph is a heart-wrenching, raw personal story. While I admit that I was looking forward to a kick-butt character and more politics, I was not disappointed with this story in the slightest.
    The small glimpse we get of Sybella in Grave Mercy intrigued me. She was mysterious and feral. I expected this book to be about lots of death dealt by her. Instead, this is her journey of growth. Although her phsyical strength doesn't take precedence in this book, her emotional resilience does, making her just as tough in a different sense.
    Sybella has been through hell and back. Simple as that. And, while different from my expectation, I was honored to learn about her story. And believe me when I say it's a hard one to read. She has been through so much that it is no wonder she was that way. All the pain, abuse and heartbreak was bound to make her somewhat insane. But I loved to see how she overcame. Most would give in, become complacent, or go all out insane. Sybella was not without damage and was emotionally crippled, but she did overcome. She's a fighter through and through. While she may not show much physical toughness in this book, she's most definitely tenacious in her own right. 

   But she wouldn't be where she was without Beast. Personally, I adored him. Not only was he a bit of a lighthearted, comic relief, it was refreshing to see a love interest who wasn't considered handsome. For Sybella, it's hard to love. She has been through far too much for that. But I loved seeing how they truly got to know each other and that, although the men in her life thus far had proven cruel and messed up, not all men were like that. It also showed that everyone needs help. You can't always do things on your own. You need someone, whether a friend, family or love interest, beside you to help you get through the tough times and that is precisely what Beast did. 

    This book is raw and unflinching. Whereas in Grave Mercy the political intrigue and plot took center stage, Dark Triumph stands out through its phenomenal character growth and emotional roller-coaster ride. I can't say that all those who enjoyed Grave Mercy will love Dark Triumph, but I will say give it a try. The plot-line is still moving forward and the world LaFevers created is as vivid as ever. 

If you've read Grave Mercy, are you looking forward to Dark Triumph? If you've already read it, did you like it? Let me know in the comments below!

All the best

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson

Defy (Defy #1)
by Sara B. Larson
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2014

Rating: 2.5/3 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

My Review:

  When this book first popped up on my radar, I was psyched. A girl masquerading as a boy to serve in the army? It's reminiscent of Alanna from the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce! How can that not be fantastic. Well...this book found the way. 

Writing this review is hard. I have such mixed emotions about it that this is my 4th review of it. The book started and ended strong. Although the plot was rather simplistic, it was good and I was intrigued. However, this simple plot coupled with a not-so-great romance and repetitiveness for a good 50% of the book led to disappointment. 

Before I really delve into my breakdown of this book, I want to say this: I didn't hate the book, but nor did I love it. When I first started reading I was engaged. The middle dragged but was redeemed towards the end. When I first finished it, I only disliked the romance. However, as I stewed over this book, I realized it was lackluster.

Look, this book had potential. It had all the ingredients there to make it an epic fantasy. But, it’s almost as if, instead of using the regular ingredients the recipe called for, this book consisted of the knock-off cheaper brands.

See, oftentimes, the knock-offs are okay, but they are usually coupled with the real deal so that you save money, but get all/most of the flavor. Same goes for a book. Even if some of the ingredients aren't the "best" ingredients, it doesn't necessarily take away from the final product. I can like a book with a sweeping and engaging plot and world, even if I’m not wholly in love with the characters just as I can take a more simple, mediocre plot line if the characters are fleshed out and real. But, with all of them together? Not so much.

You see, I went into this book thinking I wasn’t going to love the romance (though hoping I’d be the odd ball out) because of all the negative reviews. However, I thought this would be a sweeping epic fantasy. Unfortunatley, not only was I not 100% on board with the romance, the plot wasn’t super exciting either. This book is more of a romance book rather than a fantasy book.

The more I write this review, the more I realize how jumbled my thoughts actually are. So, in hopes of clarifying, I've broken down the two things that created a lackluster performance.

1. The romance:

  •        How Alexa reacts: In the beginning of the book, Alex is a strong character, She’s fierce and determined, characteristics I can admire. I was rooting for her. But come to 2nd and 3rd quarters of the book, and it’s completely different. She can’t hide her emotions, she cries to much, and if she blushed one more time I was going to smack her upside the head. Once you get about 30% of the way through the book, the next 50% is repetitive thoughts of her saying she thinks Damian is a jerk but his eyes tell a different story while also worrying about Rylan’s feelings for her.  
  •       For one, shouldn’t Alexa be used to suppressing her emotions and putting on a mask of indifference by now? She’s been surrounded by men for 3 years! Even if she may not have been romantically interested in them, she had to at least thought one of them was hot. And because of this she learned to not let it show. Therefore, she should be able to hide her emotions better when Damian is around instead of blushing and crying and all that. Grant it, she does hide it to an extent, but she definitely lets down her guard more than her character at the beginning would suggest.
  •        She’s a soldier for crying out loud. Duty and country first. She would say this all the time, yet she kept thinking more about Damian and trying to figure him out than strategizing about how to get them out of their situations.
  •       Rylan was pointless. Or so I thought. Rylan was not a fleshed out character and was your stock friendzoned guy. He was really there just to add a bit of tension because Alex didn’t want to hurt his feelings. However, it was clear from the beginning who she chose. So, as I said, pointless…until the end. Let me say this: this book could’ve been a standalone, wrapped up nicely with a conclusive ending (honestly I have no idea where the plot is going after this). Spoiler: So…even though Damian wanted to marry her, now she decides to put duty first? Oh, real convenient. Guess you just laid the foundation for book 2. End spoiler
  •        One good thing – I actually kind of liked Damian. Look, he was kind of a jerk, but at least he had good reasoning. At least I can understand why. Honestly, he was probably the most fleshed out of all the characters.
The Plot:

  • Honestly, the plot was somewhat engaging and interesting. What is lacked was the emotional connection. Meaning, I should've been gasping, crying, laughing, or something while reading. Instead I was just sitting there enjoying it, but not engaged by it.
  • I felt as if things were solved too easily. 
  • Lackluster world building. Often time this isn't a huge issue with me, but it became more noticeable because there was no other aspect of this book that could distract me from it. I literally know next to nothing about this world besides the fact that there are three countries, two are at war, one is a jungle and the other is barren. Um. Okay?
  Oddly enough though, for all my complaining, I did enjoy it. Was it a phenomenal book that swept me off my feet? No. Was it at least interesting and worth reading? Yes. I think people who prefer romance and like a light fantasy or are new to the fantasy world would enjoy this. 


      I know this review is a bit of a contradiction (and repetative). When I look back at my review, I feel like all I did was talk about how bad it was. But honestly? I enjoyed it. I wasn't swept away by it, but I didn't want to throw it out the window either. I think if the plot was more complex, the worldbuilding explored more, and the characters fleshed out a bit more, it could've been amazing. As it was though, it was simply "alright".  As I said, I think romance lovers and fantasy newbies would enjoy this book. For high/epic fantasy fans out there, I'd say skip it. You'll find your fantasy fix elsewhere. 

So, will y'all be reading or skipping this one? If y'all have read it, what did you think? Agree or disagree? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

All the best ♥


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - DNF

Ender's Game 
by Orson Scott Card
Source: B&N
Format: Paperback
Pages: 324
Release Date: 1985


Goodreads Synopsis:

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. 

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

My Review:

     I'll admit - initially I had no desire to read this book. And, quite frankly, even when I decided to pick it up, I wasn't exactly what you'd call "enthusiastic". But this book came highly recommended and I'll admit that the movie looked really interesting. Anything sci-fi and action-packed usually catches my eye. However, even though this book was the talk of the blogosphere, I just couldn't do it.

     I tried. I really did. But I just kept putting it down. There was nothing really there to keep me interested. It almost felt like a chore for me to finish this darn thing. Then, I finally started to get a bit interested, then lapsed back into "meh" mode, put it down and have yet to pick it up again. This book isn't bad per se, but I don't quite understand how so many people seem to love it (don't all bloggers say that about books they don't love?). 

     First off, this book is just. plain. weird. In short, this society had started breeding kids to become geniuses hoping they would get a future general to save earth. This society has been monitoring these kids from birth, keeping an eye on them and their development. So, when you start reading you're all like "oh, even though he's obviously got the intelligence of someone older, being a teenage genius isn't too weird". Then you realize he's 6....what? Here's this kid who is thinking like he's a highly intelligent adult and he's SIX?! It was so hard for me to remember that he was just a child while reading. He's going through so many situations no child should, but thinking through them like an adult. He's cold and calculating, however, there are definitely some instances where you can see his immaturity (when it comes to emotions and how to deal with them) and you realize he's just a kid. 

     Next comes the fact that not all of these geniuses were exactly good people. His brother for example? Going to grow up to be a serial killer. No doubt about it. He's like 10(?) and already threatening and blood-thirsty. Again - creepy.

     So, getting past the age of the kids not equaling the level of intelligence they posses and the weird familial relationships (he's kind of got a weird love for his sister - or at least it came across odd) and you're headed to the space station. Cool. Space. I'm down with that.

     So he's put in a squad and they hate him because he's like the genius of all geniuses. So, it starts to get interesting finally. Then the made up language comes in. Okay, I'm sorry, but if these kids are geniuses, shouldn't they speak grammatically correct at all times? Now, made up words tend to be a pet peeve of mine, but this just really got on my nerves. They're all geniuses but they start talking like their uneducated imbeciles. Incredibly annoying.

     So, getting past all this, I thought I'd at least be interested in the plot. Nope. Maybe it's simply because I can't get past all the previously stated problems, but honestly, it just wasn't intriguing. I didn't really feel a threat from these so-called "aliens". They hadn't even appeared yet. Previous encounters were hardly talked about so it didn't really feel dangerous. Instead, it just felt like this society was controlling and messing with these kids because they could (seriously, is the threat even real?).

     Overall, it just felt "meh". It wasn't so bad I wanted to throw it out the window, but I definitely don't understand what is so phenomenal about it either. In all honesty, I think the movie will probably be better than the book (the HERESY!). 

Have any of y'all read the book? Do y'all agree or think I'm weird for thinking this book is weird? If you haven't read it, are you still interested? Let me know in the comments below!

All the best

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Challenges

I love challenges. They make me read. Which is one reason I participate in them. Even if I don't complete them, at least they help me make an effort. Here are some awesome challenges that I hope to participate in this year. Maybe I challenged myself to too many, but many of them will overlap so I GOT THIS!!!

2014 Debut Author Challenge
Hosted by: The Story Siren

A challenge to read books by authors debuting in 2014 (you go guys!). In 2012, I really kept up with this and it was a great way to not only find new books, but help some new authors along. Last year, I kind of sucked. But its a new year so I have hope :)

Here are some debut books currently on my GR TBR (though it definitely needs to be updated)
The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May
Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief #1) by Livia Blackburne 

2014 Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge 
Hosted by: Falling For YA

My Netgalley list of books needing to be read is a looongg one. Yeah, yeah. I know. I'm blessed with the ability to get ARCs and I'm not even reading them? EGAD! And that is the precise reason I'm participating in this challenge. I need to read all these books. I want to give these authors who have blessed me with the opportunity the credit and recognition they deserve (whether for good or bad). So, whats my goal? I'm glad you asked.

Silver level: 25 Books

I'm going for the silver! Because gold is so overrated. 
Okay, not really. It's just that gold level is 50 books o_O Yeah....not sure I could make that one.
Who knows if I'll change the level. I have a lot of books and I'm sure I'll request more. At least this keeps me up with them.

Lucky No. 14 Reading Challenge
Hosted by: Books to Share

This one just sounds fun! Not sure what books I want to read yet but I'll keep you updated.

1. Visit the Country: Read a book that has a setting in a country you really want to visit in real life.
2. Cover Lust: Pick a book from your shelf that you bought for the beautiful/creepy/awesome ect. cover
3. Blame it on Bloggers: Read a book because you've read the sparkling reviews from other bloggers
4. Bargain All the Way: Read a book you bought for the price.
5. (Not So) Fresh From the Oven: Read a book released last year that you never had a chance to read.
6. First Letter's Rule: Read a book with a title that begins with the same letter as your name (M)
7. Once Upon a Time: Choose a book published before you were born.
8. Chunky Brick: Read a book more than 500 pages.
9. Favorite Author: Read a book written by your favorite author.
10. It's Been There Forever: Pick up a book that's been on your shelf for more than year.
11. Movies vs. Books: You've seen the movie, now it's time to read the book. 
12. Freebies Time: Read a free book (giveaway, ARC, birthday, ect)
13. Not My Cup of Tea: Read from a genre you've never tried (or just disliked) before. 
14. Walking Down the Memory Lane: Re-read a book you loved as a child.

2014 Dystopia Reading Challenge
Hosted By: The Blog of Erised

I love dystopia. In 2012 I was on a role reading Dystopian books! Legend? Heck yeah. Divergent? Mmmhhm. The Hunger games? Check. And, as we've determined, 2013 was not my year. So, 2014 is going to be my year. I got this guys. Dystopias are awesome! 
Rebel: 7-12 books
I'm picking this level because I haven't kept up with Dystopian books as of late and I'm not sure how many are new or that I already own. 7-12 just sounds like a good number. 

2014 Series Challenge

I'm awful at finishing series. Why? Because I hate to see a good thing end. I will be sooo excited for a series, but I will avoid the last book like it's the plague. Not anymore. This challenge gives me that much needed nudge to finish those fantastic series.
Some series I want to finish?
The Legend series by Marie Lu
The Divergent series my Veronica Roth
The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

These are some series that have been completed. However, there are other series that won't be completed in 2014, but I plan on reading up until the latest book (still counts).

2014 Fairy Tales Retold Reading Challenge
Hosted by: Debz Bookshelf

I'm going to go for level Devilish Wolf because, let's face it, that's a cool level name.
So, 4-6 books. I can do this. This is a way to get me to read more fairy tale retellings which can be such an enjoyment! There's even one coming out this year I'm really looking forward too (Cruel Beauty).

This year I've challenged myself to read 60 books. Honestly, I usually end up changing this (either raising or lowering the number) as the year goes on but as for right now 60 sounds like a great number :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014



Well, as most of you could tell, 2013 was a bust for me in the blogging world. I hardly ever blogged, even over the summer when I was home, and I am ridiculously behind on review books. What's my excuse? I'm not sure I have a good one. 

But this year? This year things will be different. I can promise you that. I will make it my goal to read more. Over this Christmas break I've been reading and I forget sometimes how much I love it! But that just make me put forth more effort for this upcoming year. Besides, there's a gajillion (not even an exaggeration) new books coming out this year and I can't wait to read em! 

So, what are some resolutions?
1. To read moreI only read 22 books last year....22. Egad. And 22 isn't bad....but my goal was at least 50 :P And that was after knocking it down from 70 when I realized I couldn't do it! I'm a slow reader, but I have too many books on my TBR to have read so few.
2. To blog more consistently - look, there are going to be times where I just don't have time to read so I may not always have as many reviews as I like, but even when this is the case I vow to keep up with some memes or random thought posts. I will keep the blog updated (hopefully)
3. To not put pressure on myself - I really, really want to keep this up, but let's be frank - who knows what this new year holds. I might be crazy busy and not yet know it (let's hope not :P). 
4. To comment more - I made some awesome friends via blogging and I've ignored them for far too long. Besides, I'd also love to make new ones!

So, I know that these are some pretty common "blogging resolutions" but those are my goals. I don't want to have another year like 2013. 

Thank you so much to everyone who follows by blog. Y'all are a blessing. I hope y'all have an absolutely wonderful new year filled with love, joy, and happiness. Remember, tomorrow's always another day. 

*Side note - am I the only one who can't believe it's 2014. 2014. That year just sounds so....weird. Well, here's to hoping its a good one!! 

All the best