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Book Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done

This book. Oh, this book. If you thought the first book, Vicious, was a sick, twisted little treat, just wait until you get your hands on Vengeful. The game is vengeance (duh), but Victor and Eli are no longer the only players. In this book, we’re introduced to Marcella Riggins, a mob wife who wants to take her husband and the rest of the world down in a blaze of corruption and fame. We’re also introduced to June, an EO shape shifter who has her eyes on Sydney.

Of course, our old favorites were there, too. Victor, Mitch, and Sydney are still together, moving around as they track down more EOs. Victor’s characters undergoes some major changes that affect him and his powers. I was happy to see that Sydney is finally growing into her own and isn’t just a little girl anymore. Eli, stuck in a jail cell, has a very different role this time around, as well. It was interesting to see how much everyone’s characters changed from the first book to the second!

The story occurs over the span of five years. Despite the way it jumps around throughout the timeline, it seamlessly picks up where the last book left off. I loooved the new characters introduced. Marcella’s character was especially fun to follow because she was so over the top. She’s an excellent villain and the perfect match for both Victor and Eli.

The only thing that drove me nuts was June. Even by the end of the story, I still can’t figure out what her motives are or what her relationship to Sydney is.

Definitely add this one to your TBR list!

Books

October/Halloween TBR List

Happy October everyone! In case you haven’t noticed from all the Fall and Halloween posts out in the blogosphere, we’ve finally reached the best month of the year. 🙂 Last week I talked about a few of my favorite Fall reads from years past. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out which books to read this time around. As of right now, here’s what’s on the list for this month:

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – I’m almost done with this one already, but it still counts because it’s still October.

Hocus Pocus by A.W. Jantha – I don’t know much about the book version, but I loved the movie. My sister and I watched it every year growing up. I’m curious to see what the book version is like.

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare – I’m still making my way through the series. It feels somewhat appropriate for a Halloween read given that most of the characters are demon hunters, werewolves, vampires, etc.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – This is an old favorite. I haven’t read this one in years, but it feels like a good time to revisit it.

Are you reading any particular books in honor of Halloween?

Life · mental health

Table for One, Please

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Something interesting happened to me this weekend that I would like to share.

On Saturday, I woke up early and drove to Asheville. I had planned to go a few weeks ago, but due to the hurricane, I had to put my plans on hold. Saturday turned out to be the perfect day for a drive through the mountains. The weather was cooler, but still warm. Hints of red and yellow have begun surfacing. providing a picturesque backdrop for my visit. Once I got there, I did my usual thing: Visited my favorite bookstores, browsed through the vintage clothing shops, drank lots of coffee, and ate lots of delicious food. Part of the reason I had wanted to go there was to try a restaurant that I’d been meaning to try (but never remembered to make reservations to).

When I showed up for my lunch reservation the hostess seemed confused. “It’s just you?” she asked. “Yep,” I responded, happily. I know that busy restaurants don’t always like to “waste” tables on solo diners, so I happily offered to sit at the bar. This turned out to be a great idea, because it gave me a great view of all the cooks in action. It was the best view in the house! After ordering my lunch, I happily pulled a book out of my purse and read in between glances at the beautiful plates of tapas being prepared before me.

As soon as I sat down, I caught the glances of a few of my fellow diners. They, too, seemed confused as to why I was sitting in this nice restaurant, with only a book for company. I did my best to ignore those people. I even made sure to smile at them when they caught my eye. I was enjoying my dining experience and my solo day in the mountains far too much to be worried about what those people thought.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. Nor will it be the last. The irony, however, is that only 4-5 years ago, I never would have even had the courage to set foot in a restaurant by myself. I, too, used to be one of those people who only did things with someone else. Eating in restaurants, taking a trip, or going to a movie were things that you did with friends or a significant other. Only weirdos and people who didn’t have any friends went out by themselves. That misguided notion left me feeling bored and lonely for a very long time. Even though I was married at the time, we had very different schedules, which meant that my husband wasn’t always around to do things with. So, I just didn’t go out . Instead, I sat home and sulked over the fact that I couldn’t do all the fun things I wanted. As a result, I missed out on a lot of things.

When I got divorced, I was terrified of being “alone.” Of not having enough people to do things with. Of being stuck at home all the time. Of being lonely. Etc. Then, one day, it hit me. The problem wasn’t doing things alone. The problem was that I had no idea how to be alone and enjoy my own company.

Fast forward to now: I take day trips by myself often. I’ve gone to NYC by myself and have a few more solo trips in the works. I have no qualms about going to restaurants, coffee shops, stores, parks, and movies solo. And the best part is, I enjoy doing these things. Sure, I still do these things with Boyfriend or friends (it’s not healthy to be alone all the time), but I am often content to just do my own thing. Pushing myself to do all these things has made me appreciate time spent by myself. I’ve learned more about who I am – the things I truly like and want, what my boundaries are, how to push those boundaries, and how to enjoy life more. Honestly, whenever people give me funny looks for saying that I did ________ by myself, I feel a little sorry for them. I wish that everyone could learn to be content in their own company or, at least, stop judging others for it.

Are you comfortable doing things by yourself? 

Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

It’s here! It’s finally here! No, I’m not talking about Friday. I’m talking about Vengeful! My copy of Vengeful, the sequel to V.E. Schwab’s book Vicious, arrived this week. 🙂 It also happens to be First Impression Friday.

(For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

I’m already about 150 pages into this one and let me just tell you that it already every bit as awesome at the first book. The story bounces around over the course of five years since the last book ended. It’s told from the familiar viewpoints of Victor and Sidney, plus some new characters, like Marcella and June.

There’s some major development of Sidney’s character. I can’t wait to see her come out of her shell and play a bigger role in the story. I predict that she’s going to break away from Victor and Mitch’s company at some point and go off to figure out what she’s doing with her life. (For her sake, I hope that’s what happens.)

We don’t really know what’s going on with Eli, except that he’s still in prison. I have a feeling he’s going to break out and he and Victor will pick up right where they left off.

I can’t figure out where Marcella and June will factor in yet. I find Marcella’s character and story quite intriguing though, so I hope she sticks around for a while. (Perhaps she will team up with Victor and they can both revenge-plot all day long.)

I still have a lot more to read, but I’m pretty sure this will be another 5 star read.

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

After finishing City of Bones, I couldn’t wait to pick up the second book to see how the series holds up. I feel like there was potential for the story to become overly cliche, but, thus far, it hasn’t happened.

Everything is a little more complicated the second time around. The character’s feelings and emotions are all over the place, loyalties change, fingers are pointed, and there are demons everywhere. It doesn’t take long for the action and drama to pick up in this book.

I really liked some of the character development in this story, especially for Jace. Jace was a bit of douche in the first book, which made him hard to like. Jace deals with some pretty heavy stuff, after finding out that Valentine is his father. He’s been torn in a lot of different directions and for that reason I found it a little easier to sympathize with him. I still find the whole situation between he and Clary pretty weird, but, hey, I’m not judging.

Simon’s character also went through some major changes. I don’t want to reveal too much and spoil it for anyone else, but I will just say that I guessed it was coming. I’m still not sure if I like this new development, but it could definitely make the story more interesting later on. I really wish Clary would stop being a turd and realizes how perfect Simon is for her. Teenagers. Le sigh.

Overall, this was a great sequel. There’s still so much that can happen in the rest of the series. (I’m still waiting for the Shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires, and faeries to finally join forces.) The cliffhanger at the very end has me eager to start the next book ASAP.

Books · Favorites

Fall Reading List

Readers,

The most wonderful time of year is upon us again: Fall! A time for slightly cooler temperature, picturesque landscapes, and a plethora of pumpkin spice bullshit everywhere you look. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the beauty of the changing leaves, the heady aromas of cinnamon and baking spices, and the reintroduction of boots to my wardrobe. And, of course, the arrival of Fall brings us closer to a most special occasion. The most special occasion, if you ask me…

HALLOWEEN!

Its time for all things spooktacular! If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you might remember that I get a little overly excited whenever Halloween rolls around. (If you’re a new reader, you’ve been forewarned.) I already starting decorating the house this weekend and whipping up some fun Halloween-themed treats. Check out my little meringue ghosties:

Since it’s almost October, I feel like I should incorporate a few Fall/Halloween reads into my repertoire. Other than Vengeful, which gets released this week (!), I’m not sure what I am going to read yet.

Here are a few of my favorite Fall books that I’ve read in years past:

 

Any suggestions for this year? Are you planning on reading any books in honor of Fall/Halloween?

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! Last week I talked about a book I was reading for the new book club I joined. I hate to admit this, but I gave up on that book. I hate quitting a book, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Oh well. C’est la vie! This week’s book is more up  my alley.

(For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

After finishing the first book, City of Bones, I knew I had to keep reading the series to see where it goes. So far, this one is just as good as the first book!

There are demons and dark forces afoot! Clary is still conflicted in her feelings towards both Jace and Simon, Jace gets thrown in prison, and there are dead bodies everywhere. And it’s only the beginning! There’s never a dull moment with these books, which is why I got sucked in so easily.

I love how all the relationships in this book have become even more complicated, now that Valentine is back and trying to start a war against the Clave. Suddenly, everyone is pitted against each other. The characters can’t decide who’s really a friend and who’s a foe. Even family is pitted against each other. It’s been keeping me guessing since the very first chapter and, to be honest, I have no idea which side everyone will end up on.

Clary and Simon’s relationship is still struggling, which kinda makes me sad, because I think Simon is great. Obviously things will only get more complicated now that Simon is a vampire (which I totally saw coming, by the way). I hope he and Clary end up being more “official” anyway, because Jace is a turd. As much as I would like for Clary and Simon to end up together, I predict that she will keep hurting him and push him away. *sigh*

I predict that Valentine is going to keep killing Downworlders and recruiting demons to his cause. Eventually, they – the Shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires, and faeries – will realize that they have to join forces if they’re going to stop him. I don’t expect war to break out yet,  but I think they will start teaming up by the end of the book.

I don’t know where this story is going, but shit’s going to get messy.