Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Young Adult

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kaz and his crew have pulled off the heist of a lifetime. They should be rolling in riches by now, but instead they’re back to fighting for their lives. They’ve been double-crossed and need to come up with a plan quickly before they all get arrested (or worse). 

Some of the most powerful influences in the world are after them and the secrets of jurda parem, a drug that could ruin the Grisha. Old rivals team up, new enemies are made, and loyalties are tested as the clock runs out. 

The first book in the duology, Six of Crows, was pretty damned good. Naturally, I had high expectations for the second book. Not only were my expectations met, but they were surpassed with flying colors and hand grenades. I found myself staying up late and getting up early, just to get in a few more pages. It’s that freaking good.

The characters that we were introduced to in the first book become even more intriguing as you learn more about their backgrounds and the complexities of their personalities. It’s an amazingly diverse group of characters, all with pasts that have left them scarred. The way they all fit together and support each other, despite their differences, is incredibly inspiring.

I loved the themes that were present in this book – fear, thoughts being challenged, past experiences haunting the present, questioning loyalties. There was way more insight into what drove the characters and gave you a much better appreciation for each of them.

Normally, I find romantic feelings in YA books to be cheesy or over the top. Bardugo did an amazing job at factoring this in without it sabotaging the story. The relationships she built were realistic and complicated, rather than being hormone-fueled.

I cannot praise this book enough! Read it. Then read it again.

Books · Favorites · Fiction

Valentine’s Day Bullshit (Favorite Fictional Romances, Pt. 2)

Who’s almost ready to celebrate the most disappointing day of the year?! I know I sure am. I’ve already purchased eaten half a box of those mystery chocolates all by myself while contemplating setting everything around me ablaze.

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As you can see, I am feeling somewhat bitter about Valentine’s Day this year. Everyone else has been posting appropriate, lovey dovey crap though, so I feel like I should at least pretend, just for tradition’s sake.

Last year I made a post about a few of my favorite fictional romances. I’ve decided to expand on that list this year. (To see part 1, click here)

Sheldon & Amy (The Big Bang Theory) – These two are hilarious. Their nerdiness and weird quirks make them perfect for each other, even if Sheldon just doesn’t get it half the time.

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Feyre & Rhysand from (A Court of Thorns and Roses series) – These two really understood each other and what they needed in each other. They had both been through some really fucked up stuff and rather than letting it destroy them, they allowed it to bring them together.

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The Doctor & Rose (Doctor Who) – If you tell me that you didn’t cry in Doomsday I’m calling you a LIAR.

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Jane & Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre) – Their relationship was a little weird, but I feel like they finally got their shit figured out in the end.

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What do you think about the couples on this list? Who are some of your favorite fictional couples?

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Favorite Reads of 2017

  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – Brilliant. Asolutely fucking brilliant. Jenny Lawson may have changed my life with this one.
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I really enjoyed all of the books in the series, but this one grabbed me the most. The complexity of the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand was awesome. I loved the way they understood each other and learned how to help and lean on each other after going through such traumatic events. Their story was way more than I anticipated.
  • Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – Rothfuss is an amazing storyteller. The detail and history that make up Kvothe’s story are definitely worth a read. I’m still waiting on the last book to come out, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be something epic.
  • Shadow and Seas by Colleen Oakes – I devoured parts 2 and 3 of the Wendy Darling series faster than any other books this year. Oakes managed to improve the beloved tale of Peter Pan and then some. It was a beautiful world and an even more beautiful story, even with it’s sinister twists. I cried a little on the inside when I finished these because I didn’t want them to be over.
Adult · Books · Favorites · Non-Fiction

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

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My Rating: 10 out of 5 stars

First, I would just like to say one thing: JENNY LAWSON IS AN ABSOLUTE FUCKING DELIGHTI love her. I don’t know her in real life, but I wish I did so I could hug her for writing this book.

Furiously Happy is a book about being just that. Living your life being furiously happy, despite the bane of mental illness following you everywhere you go. Lawson brilliantly illustrates this concept with brilliant anecdotes about overly excited, taxidermied raccoons that are so hilarious they had me laughing out loud in public places. (If you don’t fall in love with her immediately upon reading this story, you should probably just put the book down at that point.)

The book is broken down into individual stories, rather than long chapters, which makes it very accessible. The stories detail some of the outrageous situations Lawson has been in and how her mental health has come into play. She doesn’t sugar coat any of the struggle that comes with depression and anxiety, but finds a way to present it in a more humorous, light-hearted manner instead. There wasn’t a single thing in this book that I haven’t been able to relate to at some point or another. The ups, the downs, the fear, the panic, the irrationality, the horrible shit your brain tells you late at night…it’s all there, but it’s nicely wrapped up in a fuzzy koala suit.

The dialogue between Jenny and her husband, Victor, were absurdly endearing. (This would also be an excellent read for anyone in a relationship with somebody who struggles with mental illness.) Her sense of humor is so out there at times that you can’t help but chuckle.

In addition to humor, there is amazing advice in this book, some of which comes from the author herself and some of which had been handed down to her. I found myself flagging several passages in the book that I already know I will be re-reading again and again.

People have claimed that this book has saved their lives and I can totally see why. While I’ve struggled a good deal this past year, I am not currently standing out on a ledge. As someone who has visited that ledge frequently, however, I know that this book too will also help keep me grounded and will help me during future dark periods.

Whether you struggle with mental health issues or not, read this book. Buy it for everyone you know. Scream it’s praises from the rooftops. And most of all, be furiously fucking happy.

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Young Adult

Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag

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In an attempt to try to get more into the Christmas spirit, I’m doing the Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag. About halfway through I realized that this took entirely too long and that I’m probably insane for finishing it. So, um, enjoy!?

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE. – The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone? 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I love the concept of the story and the main character, Bod. It’s so interesting to read about Bod’s life among the inhabitants of the graveyard and see how he learns so much about life through the dead. I love the variety of characters in the book, as well. Gaiman does an amazing job incorporating modern humans, ghosts from different historical periods, ghouls, and other paranormal beings together without it being too over the top.

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ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: TWO TURTLE DOVES. – Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

Romeo & Juliet. I don’t care how cliche and cheesy the whole premise is. The hopeless romantic side of me adores the passion and dedication that Romeo & Juliet had for each other. (You can go ahead and roll your eyes now :-P)

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ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: THREE FRENCH HENS. – In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

The Wendy Darling series by Colleen Oakes. I wouldn’t call it the best trilogy ever, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.

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ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FOUR CALLING BIRDS. – Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favorite series?

The Harry Potter series! You can read all about how much I love the series in multiple posts on my blog. (Like here and here)

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ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FIVE GOLDEN RINGS. – One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?

Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones. She’s so horrible that it’s fascinating.

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ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SIX GEESE A LAYING. – Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favorite world/world-building?

Any one where castles and magic exist.

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ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SEVEN SWANS A SWIMMING. – Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favorite animal sidekick?

The 3 witches familiars in the Elsewhere series. It’s a middle grade series, but it’s adorable and the cats add so much character and humor to the story. (One of them is a little kooky and likes to pretend he’s random historical/fictional characters. It’s fantastic.)

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ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: EIGHT MAIDS A MILKING. – Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level?

I love the food scenes in the Harry Potter series. The descriptions of the feasts laid out on the long tables in the Great Hall always made my mouth water. (The irony is that I’m not particularly fond of British food.)

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ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: NINE LADIES DANCING. – Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favorite kickass female lead?

Jane from Jane Eyre. She wasn’t the physically strong and rebel type of female, not compared to today’s standards, anyway. She definitely had feminist characteristics that were not common of women during her time. She stood up for herself when she needed to and she knew how to stay true to what she believed in. She endured many a hardship during her life, yet she didn’t let that slow her down. She didn’t let love or emotions cloud her judgement either. She was pretty badass.

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ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: TEN LORDS A LEAPING. – How about your favorite leading lad?

It’s a toss up between Jamie from Outlander and Rhysand from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

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ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: ELEVEN PIPES PIPING. – What is your favorite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

This is a tough one. I’m actually drawing a blank. Does the Hobbit count with all the Hobbits singing?

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ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING. – Drum roll please…what is your favorite read of this year?

This question is so hard! I’ll probably have to go with A Court of Mist and Fury.

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If you made it this far in the post I congratulate you. Consider yourself tagged! 

Books · Classics · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Non-Fiction

Books I’m Thankful For

There have been multiple posts popping up in my feed today honoring the books that bloggers are thankful for. I really like this idea, given that there are so many books I adore and am thankful to have read at some point in my life.

These are just a few of the books that have pulled me through hard times, taught me valuable lessons, and have helped shape who I am as a person. These are some of the books that not only hold a special place on my bookshelves, but hold a very special place in my heart.

 

What books are you thankful for? 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Young Adult

Book Review: War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes

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My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Dinah’s whole world was turned upside down the night her brother was murdered. Since then she’s been on the run, hiding among the Twisted Wood and the Yurkei Mountains, planning her next move. With the help of the Yurkei, the rogue Cards, and the man she now calls her father, Dinah is plotting to take back the crown that is rightfully hers. 

Dinah quickly learns that trying to be a ruler is not that simple, especially when you’re contending with a broken heart and an unbridled rage growing deep inside you. 

I was SO freaking excited when this book arrived on my doorstep this week. It’s been 2-3 years since the second book in the series was released and I have been waiting for the final book ever since. After all the hype I built up in my head, I was pleased that this book did not disappoint.

The series has always had an overall dark tone to it, but this book was by far the darkest. We got to see a side of Dinah that was on par with Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts. At the same time, despite all her fury, it was easy to sympathize with Dinah. She had been a pawn in a very corrupted political game for her entire life and is now trying to figure out how to put all the pieces together.

The wicked deception and plot twists were fantastic. (I would love to go into more detail about this, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.) The supporting characters in the story are rich with personality and intrigue. There isn’t a single character in the story that I didn’t love.

The only reason I’m rating this one a 4.5 and not a 5 is because of a few details that bugged me. A few times Oakes alluded to things/people from the original Alice in Wonderland that didn’t feel necessary or critical to the story. I appreciated her attempt to incorporate as much of the original story into her take, but some of them felt a little sloppy.

Overall, I enjoyed this book as much as the previous two. I loved the way the story played out and Dinah’s character. Even the ending, which wasn’t quote so happy, felt perfect.

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I have finished another beloved series. Let the withdrawal begin…