Friday, January 22, 2016

Fire Falling by Elise Kova

Title: Fire Falling (Air Awakens #2)
Author: Elise Kova
Released November 19, 2015
Bought on Kindle Fire
Rating: 5/5

Summary

Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?

Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster? (Summary from Goodreads)

Review

Okay guys this series is really bringing out the hopeless romantic in me.  I HAVE NO SHAME.

My goodness the sexual tension between Vhalla and Aldrick was real in the first book and even more real in this one!!!  This author is gifted - it could easily have been too cheesy.  Yet, there I was, taken under the spell of Prince Aldrick.  I have to say, though, that if you don't enjoy a good ship, you may not like this book because a lot of this book includes interactions between Vhalla and Aldrick.  This is good for shippers like me, but bad for those who want the main focus to be on the plot.  Don't get me wrong, there is a good plot, magic system, and world building, but the romance is definitely at the forefront of this particular book.

Another thing I really like about the author is her ability to rope me into the world and the characters, even though not a lot of huge events occurred in this book (EXCEPT FOR THAT ENDING OMG).  That didn't matter all that much to me because the writing is so smooth that I simply enjoy reading her work.

What I really like about Vhalla is that she isn't a very strong character.  She can be weak emotionally at times, but I find that to be realistic rather than annoying.  She's a character that has to overcome her fears and insecurities to survive.  We got a deeper look into some of the side characters, like Larel and Daniel, as well as Prince Aldrick, who has quite a sensitive side.

This book ended on a huge cliffhanger, and I CANNOT WAIT to see what happens next.  The good thing is that this author releases her sequels only a couple months apart, so I only have to wait until next month to read Earth's End!
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Title: Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1)
Author: Elise Kova
Released August 27, 2015
Bought on Kindle Fire
Rating: 5/5

Summary

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined (Summary from Goodreads).

Review

My expectations were not very high for this book.  I was so mistaken.  IT WAS SO GOOD.

The first thing that stuck out to me was the smoothness of the writing.  It was so well written that my eyes just glided over the words effortlessly.  Our main character Vhalla is an innocent cinnamon roll that discovers she is the exact thing she was taught to fear: a sorcerer.  She is an endearing character that asks a LOT of questions in the beginning half of the book, which could annoy some readers, but I thought it was fitting as she is known to be a curious person.  Our main dude, Prince Aldrik, is swoon-worthy.  He is a complex character that may come off as a prick, but shows flashes of the caring person beneath.

This book reminded me of some of my favorite books/movies/musicals.  For one, Vhalla and an unknown person exchange notes via the books in the library.  The mysterious person calls himself a phantom.  The first thing that came to mind was obviously Phantom of the Opera, my fave musical ever!! Two, Aldrik reminds me so much of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (BAE).  He comes off as arrogant and self-centered, but he is actually just an awkward precious sinnamon roll. 

The magic system is fantastic and interesting.  As Vhalla learned about magic, I was not bored at all.  I wanted to learn about it just as much as she.  There was more I wanted to say, but my mind has gone numb from such feels.  Overall, a fantastic read.
Monday, January 18, 2016

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Released October 21, 2014

Bought on Kindle Fire
Rating: 3/5

Summary 

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. 

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. 

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost. 

Friends can betray. 
Mothers can disappear. 
Visions can mislead. 
Certainties can unravel (Summary from Goodreads).

Review

I always feel a bit bad when I'm the odd one out.  Get ready for a quasi-rant.

Unfortunately, I have conflicted feelings about this book.  The problem is that the first book gave me the impression that the author was going for a dark, mysterious vibe with a little fluffy comedy thrown in and some peculiar characters. But after reading Blue Lily, Lilly Blue, I have to wonder if it's really just bad writing.

There were parts that I thoroughly enjoyed, and those were usually interactions between Gansey and Blue. But most the book I was simply bored.  There was a lot going on that just made no sense to me (usually Adam's POVs).  The author tends to go off on a tangent in the middle of dialogue, and I actually have to go back to see what the hell the characters were talking about in the first place.

And don't get me started on the "bad guys" of the book.  With the language Ronan often uses, I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be a YA book.  The bad guys, however, are just plain cheesy - like something out of a middle grade book.  I would have loved for interesting, dark, complex bad guys, but instead we get, frankly, annoying bad guys. 

I think I'm mostly disappointed in the way the story has progressed.  I feel like the author is adding in random conflicts to the story.  All of a sudden we have "three sleepers" and it's kind of getting ridiculous. Ugh.  Rant over.  I'll probably still read the last book because hey, I made it this far right?  I am genuinely curious to see how it ends.


Friday, January 15, 2016

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Released September 17, 2013
Bought on Kindle Fire
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake (Summary from Goodreads).

Review

Once again, I enjoyed the interactions and the friendship between these characters.  I wished that I could have gotten more of Blue and Gansey's POVs.  It didn't feel like they had a major part to play in this book, which made me a little sad because they're my favorites.  I did like learning a little more about Ronan, but I felt that the plot in this book was very slow compared to the first one.  The Raven Boys had a mysterious vibe, and I simply didn't feel that with this one.  I was honestly quite bored, and I'm not sure if that is because of my overall mood or if it's the book.

Adam was my favorite character in The Raven Boys, but after this one, he is probably the most annoying. Seriously, most of his POV is complaining that Gansey has everything and doesn't have to think about money blah blah blah.  I mean, he should know by now that Gansey does not mean to rub his money in his face.  I'm a little confused if this had to do with *spoiler* him sacrificing himself in The Raven Boys, or if he's just a constantly jealous person.

There was a character known as The Gray Man whose POVs also annoyed me.  His personality is too similar to Whelk's in The Raven Boys.  Personally, I think the book changes POVs too much to characters that I don't care about.  I think I would rather not know some of the intentions of the characters.  I'd rather see how one of the main characters like Blue or Gansey interpret their actions, if that makes sense. I would rather have the POVs shift only between the raven boys and Blue.

There were a few parts that did hold a lot of action, especially toward the end.  These moments, in addition to some great quotes, led me to give this 3.5 stars.  Here's a couple quotes that I especially enjoyed (WARNING: THESE MAY BE SPOILERS):

Blue was a fanciful but sensible thing, like a platypus, or one of those sandwiches that had been cut into circles for a fancy tea party.

There was something warming, Ronan thought, about all of them burying a body on his behalf.

There was that heavy silence that sometimes happens when a hit man enters a room.

In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.  Their magic. Their quest.  Their awfulness and strangeness.  Her raven boys.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Released September 1, 2012
Purchased on Kindle Fire
Rating: 4/5

Summary

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore (Summary from Goodreads).

Review

I heard a lot of great things about this series from the book blogging community, and I'm happy I finally picked up this book!  As always, when I start reading a book from an author I've never experienced before, it's a little difficult at first to get used to the writing style.  After a couple chapters, I was hooked on the characters and the plot.

There was something unique about this book, and I think it was the friendship and personalities of the raven boys.  I don't know many YA books that not only focus on the friendship factor, but also the personal issues that each character is going through in their daily lives.  We see that each raven boy (Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah) have their own struggles going on, but we also see them support each other.  Each character is intriguing in their own way, and I can't help but wonder about their past.

Blue was also a likable, quirky character.  When she meets the boys, it's as if she fits right in with them.  I liked that the tiny hints of romance between her and a certain character whose name I will not spoil were not immediate.  

I'm not typically a fan of paranormal books, but this book was enjoyable.  My only complaint is that I'm still confused about some of the paranormal events that happen toward the end of the book.  Overall, a great read, and I'm looking forward to starting the next one!



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Released September 1, 2015
Borrowed hardcover from friend
Rating: 3/5

Summary

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world (Summary from Goodreads).


Please don't hate me.  I'm thoroughly disappointed. And not just because Chaolena sunk.

Whilst reading the previous book, Heir of Fire, I hoped that it would get better.  It didn't.  The first half of Queen of Shadows was extremely slow.  There was maybe one exciting thing that happened.  The second half picked up a bit, but honestly I could not stand the lusting between Aelin and Rowan.  It wouldn't have bother me so much if it didn't completely come out of nowhere.  Now, I knew they were supposed to get together in this book from my friend's reactions and some of the reviews I read.  I expected it, but I was soooo annoyed that it was all lust.  They had a strictly platonic relationship in Heir of Fire, and all of a sudden Aelin is missing Rowan like a homesick puppy.  Not only that, but Rowan was all over her.  The inconsistency in the characterization really irked me.  Even Chaol, a once complicated main character, came across as cardboard.

Now, I know a lot of people say, "Aelin is a different person from Celaena."  It's okay for character development, but it's as if she's a completely different character.  I never got over the way she suddenly hated Chaol for the dumbest reasons.  It felt forced.  Celaena and Chaol had a genuine friendship, and all of a sudden it meant nothing?? At times, Queen of Shadows just felt like a fanfiction to get Rowan and Aelin together.

I also gave z-e-r-o shits about Aedion, Rowan, and Aelin's POVs.  Aedion feels like a filler character, Rowan fawned over Aelin half the time, and Aelin blames everyone for things they can't control *cough cough Chaol*

I would have given it two stars if it wasn't for the more exciting ending and Manon's POVs.  Manon is probably my favorite, and she's an interesting, super badass character.  She's grown up ruthless and obedient, but finds herself questioning all that she's been taught.  She's really gone through a lot of character development since Heir of Fire.  I'm even starting to ship her with Dorian after this book!

I expect that the next book will be even longer than this one, and probably full of a lot more infuriating moments.  I'll probably read it anyway to see where the story goes, especially to see what happens with Manon.  I loved Thrown of Glass and Crown of Midnight and it's just so sad to see the author toying with readers by making these characters fickle.

Friday, January 1, 2016

January TBR

Happy New Year everyone!! With a new year comes more books to read! Here's what I read in December:

1. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
2. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
3. The Starriest Summer by Adelle Yeung
4. (Re-read) The Lunar Chronicles (#1-#3) by Marissa Meyer
5. Winter by Marissa Meyer

On my TBR for January:

1. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas - I had this on my TBR for December, but decided to read a shorter book instead, since Winter was so long.  I will definitely be starting 2016 off with a bang!











A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)2. A Darker Shade of Magic (DSoM #1) by V.E. Schwab - This one has certainly been talked a lot in the reading community.  After reading Schwab's The Archived series, I'm excited to read another of her books!











The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)3. The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater - I've heard a lot about this series from the book community, as well!  












Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)4. Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) - I don't know too much about this series, but I've seen it around on instagram.  It has good ratings on Goodreads, so I'll try it out!











I'm probably going to regret starting so many series at once.  If I get really hooked on one of these, I'll probably read the rest of the series this month instead of starting a new one.

My Owlcrate in December:


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