Nemesis | Book Review

I should have written this book review like days ago, but I have been SLACKING. It’s weird because this has been one of my most FAVORITE books so far this year. I will lowkey blame it on my sadness about having to wait until October to read the sequel and just write the review lol.  Green Vine With Flower clip art

 Title: Nemesis

Author: Anna Banks

Rating (Out of 5 Stars)

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But Mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora’s gift may be able to save Tarik’s kingdom. But should she risk exposing herself and her growing feelings for her nemesis?

(via Goodreads)

I. WAS. READY.  Literally my body was ready for this book the moment I took it off the shelf.  When I was at the library picking out books I knew I wanted just fantasy books.  But from just reading the title off the spine of the book I knew I had to read it. Whether it was fantasy or not I was ready to read it.

I wasn’t crazy about the cover at first because I really couldn’t understand the significance behind the silver face paint, but it became clear after reading the book.

I have never been crazy over the idea of having stories told through multiple points of view.  While as a writer stylistically I find it helpful and do enjoy using it to tell my stories, I prefer not to read it.  Does that make me a hypocrite? Lol

In the case of this story it was because I was more interested in reading about the journey Princess Sepora made rather than the story of Tarik, who while did perk my interest after a while… I had zero interest in him at the beginning.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t crazy about reading the story through multiple POVS I did find myself enjoying from pretty much the start.

5 out of 5 fuh-reaking stars.

I stand by my decision to give Nemesis a perfect score.  I feel like this entire book review has been quite lacking thus far because I’m for some reason having a hard time explaining why I loved it so much.  Does this mean that I need to reread it again? possibly. Will I object to doing so? Absopositutely not!

If you have stuck with me until this point thank you I will do my best not too let you down with the rest of this review.

Look the book was ah-mazing~.  

While I would not pick it as the most amazing example for how to execute world building I found the intricacies of the world that Banks wove throughout the story to be very intriguing.  There were a few info dumps, but given the necessity of giving the reader a completely understanding of the world I have excused it.

I can handle a few info dumps because they were in relatively small bursts and the

Reasons Nemesis was awesome:

  • The Creatures. 

There were so many fantastical creatures introduced in this book. Ones that sold me on the world she was building around her story immediately (who doesn’t love dragons? and mermaid-esque creatures????)

  • The MFC. 

I don’t think I’ve loved a main character as much as I have loved her.   Sepora is literally the female MC that we’ve always craved.  She’s genuine, intelligent, and she has a freaking backbone!  Listen to me. Any book with a strong female character in it is a 5 star in my eyes.  She was definitely my favorite part of this book.  Having a strong female character who didn’t throw away her morals, or opinions even for love is SO rare in YA books… heck books in general. Sepora is a GEM a literal Gem of a character and I LOVE HER.

  • Did I mention the Dragon Like creatures?!

All in all the book rounded out to be a FANTASTIC read.  I feel like I have ants in my pants waiting to get my hands on the sequel! It comes out October 3rd and you can definitely count on me reviewing that on this blog in the near future.

Green Vine With Flower clip art

What are your thoughts on books told from multiple POVS? What do you think defines a strong female MC? Who else do you think is a strong female MC? From what book? Please recommend books with strong MFCs I am in dire need of more!

 

 

 

Connect with me on other social media!

tumblr| instagram | twitter | pinterest | facebook

 

Once and For All | Book Review

Okay I have no idea what it is about lately, but I keep pulling romance books off the shelf!!!

At one point in my life (when I was younger and still one of those misguided romantics) if anyone asked me who my favorite Author was I would have said Sarah Dessen. It wasn’t just because she wrote sappy romance plots that, though overdone and pretty cliche, were quite sweet.  I once told someone who asked me why she was my favorite author that I liked her because we shared the same first name.  Lame reason to name her my favorite author lol, but listen this story is for another day. The point is she was my favorite.  I avidly devoured all the books I could find that were written by her.

 Title: Once and For All

Author: Sarah Dessen

Rating (Out of 5 Stars)

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself

(via Goodreads)

I’ll be honest. I went into this knowing EXACTLY what I was getting myself into.  The author’s writing style and her books in general are quite predictable.  So my first impressions are a bit biased (though not incorrect).  I figured it would be an it’s all going to work out, the MCs will end up tied together in a nice big happy bow.

The colors of the cover again something I could NEVER overlook. Sarah Dessen has some of the dreamiest book covers in my opinion.  They’re really lovely and that’s also another reason why I used to have her placed at the top of my list when it came to authors.

I was not wholly disappointed by the characters (as I seem to be lately while reading, romance books especially lol).  Dessen always has a way of making me want to coddle the characters and give them everything they want.  There was a lot more depth to the main female character than we usually see in her main characters.

Though her characters aren’t Mary Sue, I found Louna to be a little bit more developed. Maybe because she’s experienced tragedy.  At the same time though there’s a lot more to characters aside from working through tragedy that need to be considered. I think objectively speaking she was still pretty unoriginal. But the way Dessen writes just made me love her.

There was a lot more development between the two MCs romantically, which I enjoyed.

Alright, alright let’s talk overall.  I gave this book 3 stars.  But despite that:

I really enjoyed this book. 

There was a small bit of insta-love in there, which made my eyes kinda glaze over, but other than that I did actually really enjoy reading it.

My other big problem with the book was the fact that it was hard to differentiate between the flashbacks and the present.  There wasn’t any indication of transition in the formatting, which definitely was one of the bigger factors to why I gave the book only 3 stars.  I enjoyed the way she wrote the flashbacks, but the formatting made it difficult to tell when you were reading a flashback until you were like 4 paragraphs into the flashback.

I had to go back and reread from the beginning of pretty much every flashback and go … oh that makes more sense now.  At one point I started looking for names of characters I knew would be only in the flashbacks so that I could figure it out quicker lol.

This book would have gotten a much higher rating had it been easier to tell between the flashbacks and the present…

How do you feel about flashbacks in books?  Where would you draw the line with using the flashbacks in plot? Have you read Sarah Dessen before?

 

 

 

Connect with me on other social media!

tumblr| instagram | twitter | pinterest | facebook

 

The Survival Kit | Bargain Buy Book Review

The other day I was at Chapters (only my favorite store EVER!) and I ended up buying a book.

?!?!?!?!??!!?! *Minion voice* whaaaaaat~? EB bought a book?

Yes I definitely did buy a book! A while back when I introduced my library haul series I told you all that I didn’t really actually buy books. I normally only buy books because I’m positive that I’m going to reread them over and over.  (Listen… Books are expensive okay. I have several very expensive hobbies and I don’t really want to buy books that I might not enjoy). I’m getting off topic.

The point is I bought a book (I bought it for $3!!!!! this is a steal okay. Hence the title)… and I ended up reading it all in one go.  No pauses, nothing. Just flat out sat down and read it.  And since I haven’t done a book review in a while I decided I’d review it for you guys!

 

Title: The Survival Kit

Author: Donna Freitas

Rating (Out of 5 Stars)

When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.

As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love?

(via Goodreads)

The cover was BEAUTIFUL and I’ve always had this thing for survival situations, survival packs. I’m not sure what it was about me, but when I was younger I used to pack my backpacks with a whole bunch of items that meant a lot to me at that point, but nothing else. I’d have a couple of books in there, my stuffed animal that I’ve had since I was little some toy food utensils, and like $5 in change that I’d some how managed to save (nothing actually necessary like water or clothes lol).  But the idea of survival kits has always stuck with me.  I always wanted to have the “just in case” bag.

That’s perhaps the biggest reason why I picked up this book in the first place.  The cover was intriguing and I was drawn in by the title.

It’s a teen romance. Let’s be real the characters are quite predictable. I had this whole novel plotted out before I got passed the first chapter. Now that’s not a bad thing. The book was well written, but the characters weren’t original.

I really enjoyed the story regardless of the fact that it was something that had been done many times before, but what made me give the book a three stars really was the characters.

I wanted to be more devastated when things were going all wrong. I wanted to fall in love with all of the characters, but there wasn’t enough depth to them, which was really disappointing.

The main character is pretty forgettable.  I sympathized with her, but I didn’t want to wrap her up in a blanket burrito and protect her from everything. I want to be so attached to the characters. I want to proclaim them my smol babies and feed them food and just generally love and care for them. I want to be angry when someone does something mean to them.

But ultimately in this book there just wasn’t enough to make me love them.

I would not have bought this book had it not been $3.

The whole plot is something that I am a total sucker for. No matter how many books come out with the same sort of idea I will never get tired of it.  I just wanted the characters to BE more.

The book made me think about survival kits and what I would have in my own (I may or may not make a post about the contents of my own in the future), but ultimately through most of it I found myself re-writing scenes, adding things in that I thought would give it more dimension and putting more effort into the characters.

This book would have been a hella easy sell for me if there was just a teensy bit more.  I found myself really disappointed in the lack of real personality in the characters (which I’ve been saying basically through this entire review lmao).

However I will be re-reading this book again.

I often like to when I sort of like the book, but not enough to be crazy about it.  I use it as an exercise in improving my writing.  I re-write the book the way I’d want it to go (or at least scenes of it).  I try to breathe life into the characters.

I expected SO much out of this book and found myself sorely disappointed.  That being said I really love the ideas of having a survival kit.

What do you think of the summary? Would you pick up and buy the book just based off of that?** What would you have in your survival kit?

**Let’s pretend that I asked the question before you read my thoughts about the book lol

 

 

 

 

Side note! I made a new twitter for my blog! I want to do Live tweeting book reviews some time in the future so make sure to give me a quick follow ❤

 

Connect with me on other social media!

tumblr| instagram | twitter | pinterest | facebook

 

P.S. I Like You | Book Review

Whoo! Another book review. Look at me go. I love those first stages out of the book slump.  I haven’t read an honest to goodness high school teen romance in maybe two or three years so I thought it was time I gave it another shot. Lol!

I will not be the first to admit I’m a hopeless romantic.

Though I do find a lot of what people consider romantic gestures these days to be cringe-y and cheesy, I do love romance and a good romance book.

Possible Spoilers Ahead!

Title: P.S. I Like You

Author: Kasie West

Rating (Out of 5 Stars)

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out

(via Goodreads)

Like I said, I haven’t read a high school love story in years. I admit I was pretty skeptical. The reason I stopped reading them in the first place was:

They were SO over done.

As much as I love a good romance these days they’re all the same. There’s absolutely nothing unique.  Those authors could be amazing authors, but I refused to pick their books up because I’ve already read the plot. I already know who gets the girl. I already know who the girl is.  Can we say Mary Sue with the superficial flaws to make her the “perfectly un-perfect protagonist“?

So as you can tell I didn’t exactly have high expectations for the book when I picked it up off the shelf.  The cover was nothing special. While it was cute and whimsical again there was nothing special about it.  From the last couple of book reviews on my blog you can tell I’ve been critical about the uniqueness, the individuality of a book’s colors.

I could go on and on.  TLDR; I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. Especially after reading that summary.  A cute idea, but definitely bound to be FULL of cringe-y cliched plot lines and an inordinate amount of tropes.

As one would expect from a teenage romance the characters were all pretty much the same as every other teenage romance.  But for some reason it worked.

The supportive best friend, the fun yet mildly embarrassing family. The protagonist with a skewed kind of negative view of herself (but let’s face it that’s congruent with like 99% of teenage girls), the “jerk” jock who bullies the protagonist for seemingly no reason, but ends up being a sensitive guy on the inside.

The protagonist, Lily, though she was pretty generic right down to the cringe-y teenage artist vibe i found to be quite relatable.   There were some parts of the book that made me think a little bit more of her. From the relationship that she had with her little brothers to the fact that for a teenage protagonist she wasn’t that whiny. I enjoyed her and genuinely liked seeing the budding romance between her and Cade (her Mr Popular the Jerk lol).

 It’s been a really long time since I read a high school love story that I’ve really found memorable.

My feels were absolutely EVERYWHERE!  When I was younger the romance genre was tied as number one of the ‘Favorite Things to Read Ever’ list.  But after a while, as I began to get older, I really began to notice how same-y they were.  I found that they began to blend into one another, I couldn’t recall finer details or differentiate between a lot of them.

And though I really enjoyed the books (they were pretty well written after all) I just couldn’t find any that made me feel anything particularly passed an ‘aww~’ when I reached the end of the book. None of them left me awake at night going ‘wow’ that’s how I want my love story to happen.  It happened for different reasons.  Sometimes the characters were too generic, too 2 dimensional.  There wasn’t enough. Until P.S. I like you.

Again, yes it  had all the elements of a typical teenage romance.  But I just for some reason really, REALLY enjoyed it.   There was enough depth to the protagonist, enough room for growth and realization. The flaws were there, although admittedly slightly superficial it was enough.

I don’t spend my time looking for or reading books like this anymore. But I would read it again.  I might even consider buying it for my collection.  Sometimes you just need a light hearted romance.  I will say though, I would have preferred a strong ending. That would be my only criticism.  It left us hanging and not in a good cliff hanger “I NEED THE SEQUEL IMMEDIATELY” kind of way.  It just felt a little abrupt? Despite that I still gave it 5 stars because I just loved the rest of it so much.

What are your favorite teen romance or romance books in general? Recommend one to me! I’d love to read some of your favorites.

 

 

 

 

Connect with me on other social media!

tumblr| instagram | twitter | pinterest | facebook

 

TBR List: June 2017 | Old and New

I still remember all the library trips that I used to take when I was younger. I was and still am an avid reader, though my book intake has definitely lessened significantly over the years.  My most prominent memory was the proud comment my dad made one day when we were standing at the counter to check the books out.

The librarian smiled down at me as the computer chirped with each new book that rung in as checked out and then she looked at my dad and said, “It’s a lot of books.”  And my dad with a big proud smile told her, “She just devours them.  She’ll be finished this set in less than a week.” I think I still have the receipt somewhere of all the books I had checked out that day.  She had been quite surprised because the count was 29.

Back then the number of pages in each book was smaller, but by no means were they little books.  As I grew older the library trips became less often and I found myself drifting away from the constant set of books being the main source of my entertainment.

One of the reasons I wanted to make this book blog was to rediscover my love of reading books (while I do still love it I don’t think I’ve fully appreciated it in a long while).  So far I haven’t done much, but add a few scant reviews. This post is my commitment to the reason I began this blog.

I think I’ve rambled enough! The purpose of this blog post was to provide a list of To Be Read (old ones and new ones).  It’s been a long time since I’ve done had a list of To be Read and I am SO excited to bring it back.

To clarify before I begin: Old means be re-read (you can check out my first re-read classic review here) and New meaning never been read before.

To Be Read | Old

  • Harry Potter (The entire series sans the first book since I’ve already reread it) | J.K. Rowling
  • Percy Jackson Series | Rick Riordan
  • The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Little Princess | Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Twilight Series | Stephenie Meyer  (Before you judge I have good reason.  Though its wildly overdone and the craze that came with it was insane, I discovered it shortly before it blew up massively and I would love to re-read it and see what made me enjoy it so much, because back then I really REALLY enjoyed it)

To Be Read | New

  • The Ranger’s Apprentice seriesJohn Flanagan  (Gotta be honest here I’m pretty sure I read one ore two of these books, but I honestly can’t remember anything so I’d be reading it as if it were new!) 
  • Siege of Shadows (Effigies book #2. I have a book review on Effigies book #1: Fate of Flames) | Sarah Raughley
  • This Monstrous Thing | Makenzi Lee
  • A List of Cages  | Robin Roe
  • Stealing Snow | Danielle Paige (NGL this one has been on my list for a long time. Like I bought it on impulse and I just… haven’t read it. Oops!)
  • Mechanica | Betsy Cornwell
  • The Last Good Day of the Year | Jessica Warman
  • Slated | Terri Terry
  • The Hate U Bring | Angie Thomas

There are definitely a lot more, I’ll have a complete list here for you to check out, but if I add more right now this post will take days to complete lol! As always, happy reading, but before you go:

What’s on your TBR list?

 

 

 

Connect with me on other social media!

tumblr| instagram | twitter | pinterest | facebook

4 Things that Make Me Take a Book Home

I am notoriously picky about the kinds of books that I actually check out to read.   Though I do try my best to not judge a book by its cover it’s natural for me to gravitate towards books that spark my interest.   Today’s list talks about all the things that I look for that when looking to check a book out from the library (buying them is a whole different story!).

1. The Title

A good title should be compelling.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that tells a lot or be something obscure that is referenced vaguely somewhere in the story. It just has to be unique, that grabs the eye even if you’re just quickly skimming over a shelf of books.

2. The Front Cover

Again I try not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s pretty damn important to have a beautiful eye catching front cover.  It’s what draws a reader in to pick up the book.  It doesn’t have to necessarily be bright bold and full of beautiful images, just something unique the same concept as the title.  Simple, and eye catching that’s all it needs.

Often I find that I can tell what kind of atmosphere the book will have just based on the colors used on the front cover. I find myself gravitating towards covers that have deep shades of blues and greens, but also ones that are mostly black and white with a hint of color. Example:

A little while ago I was at the library for about ten minutes on the way somewhere. I picked out three books really quickly.

And completely randomly, before I even started thinking about writing this post!

3. The Blurb

The blurb on the inside of the dust jacket of the book or the back of the book itself are one of the main selling points.  I make pretty quick judgement about whether or not to take the book out when I read the blurb.  Like the title it has to be compelling. There’s no real right way to write a blurb, but if it sounds like every other blurb on the shelf then chances are that book will get set back down really  quickly.

If you want to know what makes up a really good blurb

check out Kellyn Roth‘s guest post on My Bookish Life called Cooking up a ‘Good’ Blurb + Ingredients for a blurb’s soul.

4. The First Chapter

The final factor that leads me to take that book to the self check out or the check out counter is the first chapter. Now sometimes when I’m in a rush I don’t have time to read the first chapter of all the prospective books.  Sometimes I have to rely on the first three things on this list (its a hit or miss, but mostly hits). But when I really have the time to peruse through the shelves and really consider books I’ll grab a stack off the shelf based on the first three on the list and then sit at a table and read the first chapter of every stack.

You can generally tell by the end of the first chapter whether or not you’ll actually end up finishing the book.  There are SO many things you can learn from just the first chapter.  Usually you get a vague break down of the writing style, the characters, etc.

I can bet you that if you’re not hooked by the first chapter you won’t take that book. Now I do admit that sometimes it takes a couple of chapters to really get into it. But a really good book will have you hooked from the first chapter. The first page even.

Reading the first chapter is my final tell of being absolutely sure the book is something I’m ready to take home.

What is it that makes you decide to take a book home?

 

 

 

Connect with me on other social media!

tumblr| instagram | twitter | pinterest | facebook

Fate of Flames | Book Review

I was really excited to read this book and thought you might like my thoughts. I love, love, LOVE these kinds of books and you know what I wasn’t disappointed with this one!

Title: Fate of Flames (Book One in the Effigies Series)

Author: Sarah Raughley

Rating (Out of 5 Stars)

 

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle.

(via Goodreads)

The atmosphere of the cover totally had me. I saw it and was instantly attracted to it.  Once I read the summary on the jacket cover I was sold.  I’ve always been in love with the whole super powered girls born to save the world idea.  If you write that kind of plot then damn straight I will read the crap out of that book.  So between the atmosphere of the front cover, the premise of the book and the summary on the dust jacket I could tell I was going to love it.

I want to say that the characters were unique, diverse and dynamic, but honestly they weren’t. Now it’s not to say that I didn’t like them. I did really enjoy the characters. But it was obvious that at some points the author was trying too hard to bring diversity into it.  I think with a bit more effort the characters could develop really well.  Though they do seem pretty cookie cutter at the moment.

I guess since it’s just the beginning of the series there’s time for them to grow. I just found myself disappointed when I read the names of the characters (example: Chae Rin, Natalya, Belle, Lake) and didn’t see much actual diversity aside from their names.

While Raughley did a good job of writing the plot and characters I found it lacking something.  As far as writing the clueless normal girl suddenly thrown into the world of danger and super powers she wrote it well. Her overall style is really great. I absolutely adored the book in that sense.

But when you look for something more you’ll find that it’s just missing that unique pop. It’s very easy to make guesses as to which way the plot is going.  That’s the reason for the 3.5 stars. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed the book, Raughley is a phenomenal writer, but there is so much that could be done with the idea.

I expected more training for Maia to be able to control her powers. I expected a lot more action and struggle. And the like side plot love story, with a twist seemed kind of out of place. There were interactions between Maia and her crush, but it just felt a little forced.  The story could have survived without it.  I like love stories, but this book definitely didn’t need it. I think what happened was she tossed all the ideas she had into this story. Which made it just a bit rushed in all sense.  I found it a bit jarring to go back and forth between all the little ideas she tried to incorporate. Don’t get me wrong it’s good, but it could be amazing!

I have high hopes for the series and will definitely be reading the rest of the series (Second book comes out November 21st, 2017). I just hope that from here Raughley kicks it up a notch and ventures away from the typical story line that goes with a normal girl suddenly gaining super powers.

 

 

 

 

Connect with me on other social media!

tumblr| instagram | twitter | pinterest | facebook