'Ruin and Rising' Book Review

Book Review: Ruin and Rising

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Synopsis:

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction―and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Siege and Storm in this review. Read at your own risk.*

Up to this book I wasn’t all that impressed with the Grisha trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good but I didn’t think it was worth the hype. Then Bardugo gave me Ruin and Rising and I was like, “Yes! This is what I’m talking about.” First of all, Mal finally seemed worthy of Alina to me. He stepped up in a big way and I finally felt okay shipping them, although Nikolai will always be my number one.

More than Mal’s character development was the plot. It was filled with action, twists that I saw coming but were still very well done, and just overall awesomeness. I will be the first to admit that I skim plot. I just can’t deal with paragraphs of details. Get to the action! Get to the dialogue! But in this book the action was in the paragraphs of details and thus I was sucked in. I read (almost) every word and loved it all. I can’t think of anything I didn’t thoroughly enjoy about this novel. The characters were great, Alina’s group was squad goals, and the romance was just the right amount. What I loved most of all was the ending and how everything came together. I hate when I follow a series and then the end is a hot mess. Bardugo totally delivered with this finale and it’s my favorite book in the whole trilogy.

Ruin and Rising is definitely a buy for me, which means I have to buy the whole series. Thankfully there’s a box set coming out soon. Who doesn’t love a good box set?

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what’s inside you? That’s steel. It’s brave and unbreakable. And it doesn’t need fixing.”

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'Kids of Appetite' Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kids of Appetite

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Synopsis:

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from First in Line and B-Fest. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on September 20, 2016.*

If Coco was here she would say, “Did you have any intention of reading this book? Tell the truth.” To which I would say, “No CoCo I actually didn’t plan on reading Kids of Appetite, it just fell in my lap.” Because that’s the truth. I won this book at B-Fest and although I was so happy to win an ARC I had never heard of David Arnold before and I had no idea what I was in for. But free books are free books so I happily took my winnings home, put it on a shelf, and then left it there for months on end.

Until a few days ago when something compelled me to take this book off my shelf just to see what it was all about. Intrigued by the synopsis you can read above I literally stood in front of my bookshelf (mind you it was at least after midnight at this point in time; I had just finished another book) and began to read and was immediately sucked in just with the cast of characters. How many books begin with a cast of characters? Not many. And I needed to know more about these interesting characters and why people were being referred to as chapters. So I dived in and couldn’t put this book down.

First of all, the characters in this book are so well done and I loved all the Kids of Appetite. There’s of course Vic and Mad who tell the story in alternating first person point of views. Then you have the brothers, Baz and Zuz, and then the youngest of the group, Coco. Also, can I get a nice slow clap for the diversity in this book? Arnold, I applaud you. I don’t want to give anything about anything so sorry if this is vague but just know that Arnold put together an amazing cast of characters and did so really well. He deals with two important subjects and handles them flawlessly. Honestly, reading his author’s note at the end made me cry because you can practically feel how much he cared about getting this story right.

Kids of Appetite was the perfect mix of tragedy and comedy (which is apparently called a tragicomedy). It was heartfelt, the romance was there but not in a cheesy way, and it was just the right amount funny that didn’t make it feel like it was trying to hard. I liked the running themes throughout the book, like Vic’s Super Racehorse idea and CoCo’s use of “frakking” as a substitute for the f-word. I also liked how the plot fit together and everything came together in the end. I was definitely surprised and I also appreciated the fact that this book wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be. In summary I just really loved this book, okay?

Anyway, I’m going to go grab Mosquitoland because apparently someone forgot to tell me that David Arnold is an amazing writer. In the meantime everyone go pre-order this book.

Stars:

5 stars

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'Eleanor and Park' Review

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

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Synopsis:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I liked this book but I didn’t really get the hype. I thought it was good, a nice love story, and I loved Park but Fangirl is definitely still by favorite book by Rainbow Rowell. As much as I wanted to sympathize with Eleanor because her home life was all kinds of terrible I just didn’t like her character all that much. I found some aspects about her relatable but overall I wasn’t a fan.

Park was the best though. I loved him through and through and thought he was fantastic. He was so sweet and had the best lines. He was almost a little too perfect but his dorkiness made he more real to me and I liked that a lot. I loved how he and Eleanor bonded over comic books and music. I thought that was super cute.

On a different note, I know this book has received some backlash for being racist and I can see to an extent where people are coming from but to me it seemed more like Rowell’s characters were a little racist and had some engrained prejudices they definitely needed to deal with. But I don’t think Rowell herself is racist and to make that accusation is a little absurd to me. At most I think maybe people found the way that Park’s mom speaks to be questionable but I think it make sense that a woman who was born and raised in Korea would have an accent. It’s like when J. K. Rowling wrote things out differently for Hagrid because of his accent. It’s the same thing and nothing Park’s mom said was stereotypical or anything.

That being said I’m not Korean so I can not speak for Korean people who feel at all offended by this book. Just for me personally I didn’t have a problem with it.

Anyway, all in all I did enjoy this book. It’s not my favorite book of all time but I liked it enough to want to buy the exclusive collector’s edition with the cool illustrations. So it’s a buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”

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'Shadow and Bone' by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

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Synopsis:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’d never heard of this series until I entered the bookstagram world. Even though I own Six of Crows (a spur of the moment Target purchase, in case you were wondering) and people told me I didn’t have to read the Grisha trilogy before I read Six of Crows I still wanted to start at the beginning of Leigh Bardugo’s writing. So I requested Shadow and Bone from the library and after what felt like forever I finally got it and I really liked it. I believe I read the whole book in one day because I just couldn’t put it down.

I really liked Alina’s character and I loved the Darkling, as so many people warned me I would. I thought Alina’s friend, Mal, was okay overall but he did have some very swoon-worthy lines that I definitely enjoyed. Still I don’t think Mal makes it to my favorite book boyfriends list but there are still two more books in the trilogy so he has time to grow on me.

The hardest part of this novel for me was keeping track of the world. I started doing that thing where I would just skim over words I couldn’t pronounce in my head, which is fine because that tends to happen with fantasy books, it’s just something I felt like noting. I think when I read the next book I’ll look at the map in more detail because I definitely didn’t understand some things but I think that was also because I read the book so quickly that I missed some details. What can I say, when it comes to plot I sometimes skim. I’m a sucker for dialogue. So sue me. Anyway, overall I did enjoy this book and I definitely want to keep reading but I didn’t absolutely love it.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.”

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'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt

Book Review: The Secret History

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Synopsis:

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

Purchase From:

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Review

The Secret History isn’t what I typically read but the Classics minor in me was desperate to read this book so I did and I’m glad I did. Like I said, it’s not what I typically read but Donna Tartt has an amazing way with words. The writing of this book was phenomenal. Usually I prefer dialogue to plot but the way Tartt wrote this novel I absolutely loved all the descriptions and I didn’t skim. I couldn’t skim because if I did I would miss something.

The novel is told in the point of view of Richard, who recently transferred to a New England college from California. He’s not rich like his classmates and he’s seemingly an outsider. However, it’s his gift for the ancient Greek language that get’s him in with the Classics kids. Made up of a group of five students and a professor the Classics students are seen as an elitist group on the campus that can’t be bothered with anyone else. They’re kind of like the popular kids except not really because everyone thinks they’re kind of weird.

The group consists of Henry, the quasi-leader, the twins, Camilla and Charles, Francis, Bunny, and their professor, Julian. Thrust into this world that he doesn’t fully understand Richard soon discovers himself tangled up in a web of crazy that leads to murder, something that could’ve come straight out of a Greek tragedy. And don’t worry, the murder isn’t a spoiler; you find out about it in the prologue. What’s interesting about this book is discovering the how and why it happens.

This book was full of twists that surprised me and I never knew what to expect from this group. My favorite part about this novel was definitely the characters and how they viewed the world. Although at times I did see some of them (mainly Henry) as pretentious there was also some humor to be found in how they carried themselves.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book and I’m glad I picked it up. I’m not sure if I’d read it again but it’s still one I’m glad I have on my shelf, if for no other reason then I want to give it to everyone to read so we can discuss it.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

Love doesn’t conquer everything. And whoever thinks that it does is a fool.

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POLL: Do you reread books?

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I really enjoy rereading some books. Especially if it’s been a long time since I read it and I don’t remember specifics about the book I love going back and reading it again. However, I know there are some people that are a once and done type of reader and that’s fine too.

So which are you. Only one good read or do you enjoy the occasionally reread? Vote in the poll and comment below whey you like rereading or not.

 

Results of last week’s poll:

YA or Adult Novels?

Although winning by only 10% more than just YA, both was the winner. I guess most of us just can’t choose.

Who Will Win Eadlyn’s Heart?

Alright so now that a good lot of you have read The Heir, I think it’s time we talked about what’s most important: who will win the Selection? It seems the general consensus is between Erik and Kile but of course there’s still other options. To see just where everywhere stands on the issue let’s vote on it. Who do you think will win Eadlyn’s heart in the next book? Feel free to say why your choice is the right choice in the comments below.