Thursday, February 1, 2018

February TBR

'Sup readers! Last month's reads were:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Everless by Sara Holland

I'm still reading Iron Gold by Pierce Brown so expect that review to be posted sometime this month. In addition to that, I plan to read the following this month:

1. Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer - I am SO EXCITED to read volume two of Wires and Nerve. This spinoff of The Lunar Chronicles is the second book of a duology about Iko, an android that's more human than droid. I really enjoyed seeing my babies in the first volume, and I cannot wait to read about them again! Marissa Meyer's writing makes me feel at home.








2. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve - I saw a trailer for a movie adaptation of this book, and I was quite intrigued. It was weird because part of me thought it was stupid, but my inner child was like "oh hell yeah." The reviews are so mixed on this book. I'm not sure what to expect, but those that like it say it's awesome.








3. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - I have no idea what compelled me to finally add this book to my TBR.  After reading Twilight back in middle school, I stayed FAR away from any other vampire-related books. Almost every YA reader has read the Vampire Academy series, so I figure it's time I jump on the train. Maybe I'm just in the mood for books that make my fellow YA readers nostalgic. My reading is super slow because of school so I may not get to this until March.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
Author: Holly Black
Released January 2, 2018
Bought on Kindle
Rating: 4.5/5

Summary

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself (Summary from Goodreads).

Review

I was hooked by The Cruel Prince from the beginning because this book is a culmination of all the things I enjoy in a good YA book:

  • The story is unique.  Although there are PLENTY of YA books on Faeries, this one manages to stand out. Jude's mother and father were murdered by her mother's ex-husband Madoc (a Faerie who is also a General in Faerieland).  Jude, her twin sister, and her older sister (Madoc's biological daughter) were taken away from the Mortal world to Faerieland and raised by the man who killed their human parents. Ironically, the oldest daughter, a Faerie herself, dislikes living in Faerieland, whereas Jude wants nothing more than to fit in. I loved that the sisters would shop for ordinary human things like underwear and tampons in the Mortal world to bring back to Faerieland. It's the little things that make the characters feel real.
  • Jude isn't annoying or stupid.  It is always nice to have a MC that thinks before jumping into a dangerous situation.  Jude risked her life several times, but her thought process for doing so was understandable.  I found her to be a surprisingly relatable character.  Growing up as a mortal in Faerie, where brutal things happen all the time, Jude feels fear constantly. She uses sarcasm as a way to get through it, which made me laugh and lightened up the tone of the book. Her dream is to become a Knight, and she puts in the work training to make her dream come true (of course, it doesn't quite work out that way).
  • Jude isn't a "chosen one" type.  As I mentioned, Jude uses her hard work and training to become awesome, and she plays more of a supporting role in the story. She wants power, but she doesn't want to become the Queen of Faerieland. Instead, she wishes to best the Faeries.
  • Enemies-to-lovers trope.  Ya'll know I love a good ship, especially an enemies-to-lovers type.  The book isn't called The Cruel Prince for nothing.  Prince Cardan appears to be brutal. But, in a subtle way, he is not all that he appears. 
I thought The Cruel Prince was a fun read and a page-turner. I'm interested in seeing how the game plays out in the sequels. I was always hesitant to read Holly Black's books because the reviews are so mixed - I am so happy I read this! I may have to pick up some of her other books, now...have any of you guys read her books? Which is your favorite?
Friday, January 5, 2018

Everless by Sara Holland

Title: Everless
Author: Sara Holland
Released January 2, 2018
Bought on Amazon Kindle
Rating 3/5

Summary

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself (Summary from Goodreads).



My Review

I didn't love or hate this book. I just feel "meh" about it.

What I liked:

To start, the whole concept of time as a currency was intriguing to me. It's sort of a literal take on the phrase "time is money." In the book, blood is used to create blood-iron coins that can be dissolved in liquids to be drunk by the upper-class and royalty. Those that cannot afford the tax are stuck giving their blood to a blood iron lender, who changes their blood to coin. Lenders are also able to see how much time you have left, which I thought was pretty cool.

I liked that I didn't really know what was going to happen throughout the majority of the book. The MC's past is a mystery that slowly unfolds throughout the story. When I thought I knew what the big reveal was going to be, I was completely taken by surprise in the end. Predictability doesn't bother me as much as it does for other readers, but the twists definitely show me that the author has potential.

My favorite scenes in the book were of the friendship between Jules and other female characters. These were the scenes that, surprisingly, drew me in the most. Good dialogue between characters helps me connect with them and distinguish their personalities, so I appreciate light-hearted scenes like those.

What I disliked:

For me, the writing was really hard to get into. Jules felt like a weak character and made some decisions that I thought were really stupid, often going completely against other characters' sound advice. To be honest, stubborn heroes are really boring to me. I want to see cunning and tactics. The more I read, the more I got into the story, but I couldn't help but cringe at some of the interactions between Jules and certain male characters. I imagined those scenes as if I were watching a Lifetime movie.

The male characters that I speak of are Jules' love interests: brothers Roan and Liam. Roan felt very one-dimensional and I found it a little annoying how often Jules idolized him from afar, despite not seeing him for ten years. Liam is the cliche bad boy brother that has the stereotypical dark, unreadable eyes (Damon Salvatore, anyone?). Usually, I'm on board with an enemies-to-lovers ship, but the interactions between him and Jules felt too forced to me. The good thing is that these boring romance scenes do not occur too often.

The last two chapters had some crazy, exciting stuff happening! However, it felt underwhelming because of the delivery, and I was longing for the book to end at that point.

I liked the concept but it felt like too many other YA books I've read before. However, I think it is a good debut novel and shows that the author has some serious potential. I may read the sequel to see if the series improves.
Monday, January 1, 2018

January TBR

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a decent 2017 - if you didn't, I hope that 2018 is an improvement. I certainly hope to improve myself by reading more and writing better quality reviews for you guys. Below is the sole book I managed to finish in December 2017:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I am kicking off the year will several NEW releases that I am very much excited about, as well as a bit of nonfiction:

1. Everless by Sara Holland - I joined a little group of YA readers on Discord, and we chose Everless as the book of the month (BOTM). This is the author's debut novel which makes me very excited to read *hopefully* new and refreshing writing. Advanced copy reviews remarked that the book takes unexpected turns - my interest is definitely piqued.










2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black - The bookclub BOTM was originally going to be The Cruel Prince, but it is expected to be included in the Fairyloot subscription box shipped towards the end of the month. Nonetheless, my online book friends will be discussing this and I want in. I must admit, I have never read any of Holly Black's novels because of the mixed reviews, but it seems all the people I follow on Goodreads love her books, including one of my friends. So, I absolutely must know what all the fuss is about!







3. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown - This is book four of the Red Rising Saga. I don't know much about it except that it seems to follow how the characters were affected after everything that happened in Morning Star. Although I was somewhat disappointed by book three, I am hopeful that this will be as good as book two. And, of course, I am looking forward to my favorite character Sevro! P.S. that cover looks amazing!








4. From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlyn Doughty - In my effort to read more nonfiction that isn't boring, I was certainly intrigued when I came across this macabre title on Goodreads. It's about a mortician who travels around the world learning how other cultures care for their dead. After last year's dismal number of books, I am unsure if I will have time to actually pick it up this month but here's to hoping!


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