To Kill a Kingdom || Book Review

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo || 5/5

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

»»ℵ««

  • There are some flaws with this book, but I’m rating it 5/5 for pure enjoyability.
  • The main characters are developed, but the minor ones are not. And whatever personality they do have, it’s basically a reflection of the main characters’.
  • There wasn’t a ton of romance! Which was lovely. It’s so much better when YA books aren’t needlessly bogged down by romances. However, for the romance that there was, I didn’t feel the chemistry.
  • Fast-paced. I was never bored and kept turning pages, despite the fact that I had other things to do.
  • There are pirates! Have I ever missed an opportunity to tell you dudes how much I love pirates? I haven’t found a pirate book that I dislike yet.
  • Loved the morally grey characters.
  • Interesting and unique world.
  • It was funny. I laughed out loud quite a bit. Lovely banter.
  • The writing was pretty. There was nice imagery.

Read 7/30/18 – 8/2/2018


Currently Reading: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

  • So far this book is AMAZING. I really should be getting other stuff done, though…

Recent DNFs

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

  • I read the first book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but I didn’t particularly like it. I was bored throughout it. So I gave the second book a chance, but it didn’t manage to wow me.
  • However, the writing is beautiful.

 

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

  • I only read a couple chapters of this book, but I didn’t like the writing style and everything felt forced.

Fahrenheit 451 ||Book Review

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury || 2.5/5

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

»»ℵ««

I have super mixed feelings about this book. For one, the message is lovely. But entertainment wise? I was not entertained.

  • There is little-to-no character development. True, Mildred and the others are meant to be shallow characters, but what about people like Clarisse? She starts the avalanche of events, but she has very little page time. Even Montag is not quite fully developed.
  • I love beautiful prose and metaphors. But at some point, you reach too much, and the prose just muddies the readability of the work. Fahrenheit 451 reached that point a long time ago.
  • The pacing was off. The beginning and middle were quite slow and it seemed as though all the action was stuffed into the ending. I’d probably be happier without the action at the end. It didn’t fit the rest of the book.
  • The plot didn’t make complete sense or fit together. Some parts jumped without fully filling in the gaps between.
  • I really like the message. I bet most bookdragons would. It’s very applicable to life today. Like peeps. Get off your phones when your REAL LIFE FRIENDS ARE WITH YOU. Here’s a post I wrote about that a while ago about my frustrations with this. It isn’t even my friends. It’s just walking down the hallway and noticing other people doing it.

Read 7/28/2018 – 7/29/2018 and Reread 8/29/2018 – 9/3/2018

Currently Reading: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Children of Blood and Bone || Book Review

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi || 2/5

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

»»ℵ««

Heyo, peeps.

So, everyone LOVES this book. I haven’t seen another poor review. But, I didn’t enjoy it. (Which is unfortunate because one of my closest friends loves it. But she didn’t like Six of Crows, so…)

I’m also trying out a new reviewing style: BULLET POINTS!!!! Come on, guys! Are you excited? I’m SO EXCITED ABOUT THESE BULLET POINTS.

Actually, I have no idea about how bullet points will turn out. But, I must be more efficient. School has started! And I am getting six hours of homework a night! I’M SO EXCITED (about bullet points, not school) AND SLEEP DEPRIVED. Ahh, AP Chemistry, my dear friend. (I hate your homework.) That’s right, six hours of homework a night from ONE class. (I really like chem. I hate homework.) That’s over a twelve-hour workday. In history, we’re learning about how peeps all reformed to eight-hour workdays. Mind you, these reforms were for adults. Children can keep the twelve-hour clock ticking. Bleh.

  • A major issue I had with this book is that the pacing feels weird. It’s almost too fast and it felt like things weren’t fully fleshed out. The magic system or the world-building or the characters.
  • A minor issue I had at the beginning was the overabundance of words unique to the book. I felt like they didn’t have enough context, and it made it hard to grasp what was going on at the beginning, but the problem did fix itself pretty soon. Both because they popped up less later in the books and that I finally figured out what they meant.
  • The writing felt overdramatic to me and it didn’t actually make me feel anything (a difficult endeavor). I was never scared or worried for the characters, despite the book wanting me to feel that way. Is this making any sense? I don’t think I’m making sense. It’s a feeling.
  • It’s a classic questing book. It’s not new or different. It’s been done a ton before. And I didn’t find a reason to read this book over the others available. Generic.
  • I would’ve liked a bit more world-building.
  • Over the course of reading this book, I had so many unanswered questions. It was frustrating.
  • The book feels like it’d be a spectacular movie (that I’d totally watch), but it’s not that spectacular of a book.
  • The writing style was repetitive.
  • The ROMANCE! UGGGGGGHHHHH. There was no chemistry whatsoever, it is not logical, it’s INSTA-LOVE, and finally, it did nothing but create unnecessary drama.

Overall, I think my biggest issue with this book is that I wasn’t attached to the characters. I didn’t care about what happened to them, and so I wasn’t motivated to keep reading.

Read 7/21/2018 – 7/27/2018


What did you guys think about the bullet points?

My hands are so cold.

Apologies for this rambly review. My brain is a mush from doing absolutely NOTHING but schoolwork for the past week. It’s the second week of school. I’m just putting that out there. As Imagine Dragons once put in Who We Are, “Don’t look clear, it’s all uphill from here.”

Everything Must Fall || Short Story

Heyo, peoples!

This is a short story I wrote last year for an English assignment about 9/11 from the Twin Towers’ point-of-view.

Also, the title sucks. Do you guys have better ideas?


I stand tall above the gridded streets of New York, breathing in the smoggy air weighted on the city like a smothering blanket. The roads are choked with dust and traffic and cars and litter. But this high up, I have an unobstructed view of the clouds roaming through the blue sky and the birds flapping about.

I am the tallest in the area and I truly scrape the sky. The others jut out of the ground beneath me, like sparkling stalagmites in an urban cave. Only my twin, the one who shares my design, comes close, six feet beneath me.

From my place leaps and bounds above the tiny people, I watch the city grow and breathe. The seasons come and go, snow covering the cityscape in a layer of frosty white powder, and the lone flower pushing its way through the concrete at my feet.

Towers rise and fall. The city is always changing. Always in perpetual motion.

I feel the wind blow against my sides, trying to pull me from the ground. And I feel the rain beating down, flushing the people from the streets of my city into the protective arms of inside.

The days are sparkling and bright, the sunlight bouncing off the cresting waves in the water and the glass city. The nights are effervescent, like a glass of champagne. The people are owls, never sleeping. They roam my streets.

New York at night is a city of starlight. Like the night sky itself had descended and decided to call my city its home.

***

The day of my Collapse was unfitting for the destruction of such a lovely creation of glass and steel. The skies were a perfect blue, like the color of dreams, with puffy white clouds floating through like the sails of ships flying somewhere far away.

It was the day of Collapse and Destruction and Fire and Death. The sky should have cried for us, the fallen.

But my faithful friend, the sky, didn’t cry. He stayed bright and beautiful, hovering over the city. It was a day that shouted that nothing could go wrong.

Until the sky was choked by smoke and ashes from the burning ruins of my city, the collapsing rubble smoking and burying my people alive.

***

I don’t know if I saw the plane coming. Or if I saw it, I didn’t notice it. It was nothing special. Another bird, another plane, another cloud in the big blue sky. Planes passing overhead was a normal occurrence. It had become mundane. A routine. A fact of life.

I didn’t see it until it came too close, its wingtips blazing in the morning sun. Even if I had seen it before it was far too late, there is nothing I could’ve done but await my Collapse, for I am rooted to the ground.

I think it would’ve been harder if I had known what awaited my fate. To stand there and know what was to happen and do nothing. To be helpless in the face of demise.

***

The plane was a pinprick in the sky. Nothing but a dollop of color in the painting of the city. But it grew larger and larger as it came closer and closer. It took on the sharp teeth and claws of monsters. The horns of demons. The shadow of death. And I took the fear it doled generously like candy at a fair.

I think the first impact was the worst. See, I cannot feel pain as humans do, for I am constructed of imagination and glass and steel and I am nothing but a building. A mere structure to raise and level. But I am so much more. The people make lives inside me. Lacing my insides with love and hate and joy and tears. And although I cannot feel pain, I can feel the horror that comes with the sight of a plane crashing into me.

I feel as the steel of my spine folds into itself, folding like a sheet of paper being made into a bird. My glass shattering, raining down on the people below.

I feel the screams as the people inside of me try to flee, but they are trapped in my too-narrow stairs. I feel as they are crushed by me, the building they trusted to keep them safe from the rain.

A pillar of smoke rises into the sky, ash raining from the sky like the tears of flame. I breathe in and dust coats my insides. I watch as pieces of me fall to the streets, shattering into a million pieces and disappearing forever.

People pour from my doors. I watch them leave in masses and think of the ones still trapped in me. I can feel their hurried footsteps, their quick and frightened breaths. I urge them to go on. To leave me behind and be saved. Saved the way I know that I cannot be.

Some of the courageous fight against the river of people, struggling to get inside me. To get others outside, to the idea of safety. Even though they know that the last sky that they will ever see was full of smoke.

The fire rages, and the glass of my windows warp and twist. The glass no longer crystal and beautiful.

I thought that I would never fall. One of the only buildings in the city that the people could never bear to part with. I would live in the city forever, watching as it changed around me. But the change never touching me.

But here I am, falling. I fall in stages. Great, shuddering gasps as gravity pulls me down to the ground, from which I was so far before.

My brother collapses first. Other buildings fall around us, eaten away by the fire.

I can still hear his screams as his last breath is taken and he is nothing but a pile of rubble littering the ground. I can still hear the screams of the people that were inside him.

***

The last thing that remains in my memory is the sound of fires blazing and the sight of sirens blaring and the dust drowning the sky.


© ARACHNID WEAVER 2018

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge Day 3

Greetings, dear nonexistent readers,

I was tagged for this by the awesomazing Sophia Ismaa and the wonderful H.R.R. Gorman a long time ago.


RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day

“But wasn’t that what every girl dreamed? That she’d wake and find herself a princess? Or blessed with magical powers and a grand destiny? Maybe there were people who lived those lives… But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

—Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom

This quote. It makes me happy.


I’m Tagging…

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge Day 2

Hello, squishy, nonexistent marshmallows!

I was tagged for this by the awesomazing Sophia Ismaa and the wonderful H.R.R. Gorman a long time ago.


RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day

So first, I haven’t done three consecutive days (I’m bad at following the rules), but I will be doing three consecutive posts. So there’s Friday, today, and probably Wednesday. Speaking of scheduling posts, school is starting tomorrow for me (far too soon), so we’ll be returning to the schedule of posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays instead of every weekday. Also, Spinnette’s school doesn’t start for another week, and I’m just putting it out there that I’m jealous.

Also, I’m doing multiple quotes instead of just one. *I am a rulebreaker*

Also, since yesterday’s post was optimistic, today’s theme will be pessimistic quotes that I love.

“You spend your whole life in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

—John Green, Looking for Alaska

“Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”

—V.E. Schwab, A Gathering of Shadows

You’ll also notice that I didn’t write down why these quotes appeal to me so much. More evidence of my rule-breaking tendencies. Really, when I read a quote that I love, I’ll be drawn to it. It breaks me out of the flow of the story and it makes me think.


I’m Tagging…


Read More: 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge Day 1

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge Day 1

Hello, peoples of the universe!

I was tagged for this in April by Sophia Ismaa (At least, I think I was. In my notes, it says that I was tagged on Day 2, but I could only find the link for Day 3. *Shrugs* Even if I wasn’t tagged by her, you should go check out her blog) and in July by the wonderful H.R.R. Gorman.


RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day

I have more than three quotes I want to share. *Pouts*

Impossibility is a thing that begs to be disproven.

—V.E. Schwab, A Gathering of Shadows

When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.

—Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm

These quotes are lovely. They appeal to me because they’re lovely. (and anything is possible.)


I’m Tagging…

Create-A-Story Tag

Greetings, nonexistent readers! The wonderful Who… Am I? tagged me for this wonderfully unique tag. And I’m going to write a short story for all you marshmallows with NO PLANNING WHATSOEVER. Prepare for it to suck (but hopefully be amusing anyway).


RULES

  1. You pick your first word, your setting, and your story genre from the list below. As individuals, your brand of creativity is unique to yours, so we want to highlight that by letting you choose from a bunch of words and creating something beautiful out of it.

Create A Story Tag

  1. The short story will have a limit of 1000 words. You do not need to write a story with 1000 words exactly. It could be 300, or 500 as long as it doesn’t surpass a thousand.
  2. YOU HAVE TWO WEEKS TO ANSWER THE TAG.
  3. You must tag three people to participate.
  4. Don’t forget to link back to Keiko so she can collect all the stories. You can’t just link back to her WordPress since she won’t be alerted of the pingback. You need to link back to a post or a page because WordPress works like this.
  5. Use the Create-A-Story picture in the post.
  6. Copy and paste the rules in your tag post as well so others can be clued into the Create-A-Story rules.

My Combination: Station, Sea, and Comedy.

(Did you guys expect me to choose anything other than comedy?)

Station wagons apparently don’t work that well in the sea, as I’m finding out right about now. It’s rather unfortunate, but there’s nothing else to be done as fish, such as myself, don’t work quite well on land. But if an empty station wagon randomly drops from the sky like a bag of flour (long story), then what’s a fish to do other than abduct said station wagon? It’s not like we get a lot of them around these parts. It’s a bit more humid than a station wagon’s usual habitat, so they tend to avoid the ocean.

But like most other species, there are some individuals that tend to be somewhat more reckless than the general population, giving the general population a bad reputation, leading to the general population being disappointed in the certain individual and shunning them, leaving them alone to lead a life of misery and loneliness, and possibly crime. A prime example of such an individual would be the station wagon, and another would be me.

I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for station wagons to fly. I don’t know about you, but it’s not often that you find them in the sky. Or in the ocean. And it’s definitely quite illegal for fish to steal station wagons. Not that I see a motive for a fish to steal a station wagon. Because as I said, station wagons don’t work that well underwater, so, therefore, a practical fish wouldn’t see the point of risking their reputation to steal a station wagon that wouldn’t work anyway. You drop a cherry-red Ferrari from the sky though, and I bet even the most rational fish would attempt to take it.

My incurable loneliness and criminal record and general disregard for rules and all that are beside the point, though. The point is that this station wagon is sinking and I’m stuck inside. &%#, I wish this were a convertible.

But, you know, I’m an optimist. Maybe wrongfully so, but I still am. At least I don’t have to be afraid of drowning. But, I do have to have to be afraid of the Porpoise Police Force that I see quickly approaching in the rear-view mirror. Because, you know, I’ve just stolen this station wagon.

The station wagon finally finishes its descent and it thunks to the ocean floor, raising a cloud of dust that blocks the windows. When it clears, a Porpoise Police Officer is waiting outside the window. She bangs on the window and mouths at me to roll it down. I mouth back that I can’t. She rolls her eyeballs. I imagine her as a taxidermied porpoise with her eyes as glass marbles that fall out of her head and roll around the ground until an ominous, but vague and undefined, force plucks them off the ground and makes me eat them. I gag. She cringes. She smashes the window in with a conveniently-placed hammer she found in the back pocket of the pants she wasn’t wearing and I swim out.

“You have a license, sir?”

“No, madame.”

She glances at me over the top of her glasses.

“That’s fine. We’re sea creatures.”


Okay, that’s it. Abrupt ending. I have no idea where I was going with that. They were the words that my traitorous fingers wanted to write with NO PLANNING WHATSOEVER.

Hopefully, it wasn’t that bad.

Anyway, I’m Tagging…

Mini Book Reviews

Book reviews of I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, and War Storm by Victoria Aveyard.


I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak || 5/5

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

»»¤««

This is a very unique book that I highly recommend. The writing style is beautiful, as it is with The Book Thief. It reads like poetry. The main character’s development is done well and he grows significantly over the course of the novel. The plot is different from any other book I’ve read and it is amazing and intricate. I love the message behind the book and how it encourages the readers to care more about others. The pacing was slow at times, but good overall. The conclusion was somewhat confusing, but after it sinks in, it’s breathtaking.

Read 7/8/18 – 7/12/18


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab || 5/5

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

»»¤««

This is an amazing book. While I usually don’t like school settings for YA fantasy, it worked well for This Savage Song. Like in A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab has created a magically unique world. I adore the concept behind it and I can’t wait to see what she does with it in the sequel. The characters are well-developed and they feel real. They were likable and relatable. The plot was thrilling and kept me turning the pages, but it’s the characters that drive this book.

Read 7/12/18 – 7/15/2018


War Storm by Victoria Aveyard || 4.5/5

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

»»¤««

So, first, let’s talk about the good parts. The characterizations are exponentially better than those of the previous books. The characters are more fleshed out and they feel human, especially the minor characters. It’s like putting on glasses for the first time. The characters were fuzzy before, but now they’re clear.

I love the way the different moving pieces fit together and the plot is fast-paced. War Storm is as action-packed as King’s Cage was slow.

The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are amazing. We are introduced to new settings in this book that came alive in my mind. The action scenes are nicely done and they don’t feel repetitive.

The Non-Spoilery Relationships

  • Evangeline and Elane
    • The relationship is sweet. I love how much Evangeline cares for Elane and it brings a new depth to her character. However, Elane isn’t developed at all. She doesn’t speak much over the course of the novel. I’d like a novella about Evangeline and Elane because Elane is really an intriguing character and I’d like to learn more about her.
  • Maven and Thomas.
    • So we don’t know much about this mystery Thomas dude except that Maven loved him. I would love a novella about them from before Maven was totally corrupted by his mother. GIVE ME PLEASE.

 

SPOILER SECTION

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

I’m going to discuss the ending, so if you haven’t seen the warning above, I am warning you again. EXTREME SPOILERS AHEAD.

 

The Ending

The ending was vague and inconclusive. There’s an air of “it’s safe for now, but it’ll be dangerous again soon and the story isn’t over yet, even though the series is over”. Maven’s death didn’t feel conclusive. Cal and Mare’s relationship didn’t feel conclusive. Are they together? Are they not together? The war’s end was inconclusive. It ended with a ceasefire! I would like details of Norta’s new government. Who’s ruling? I’m left with questions, which begs the question, “Is this a set-up for a spin-off series?”.

 

Spoilery Relationships

  • Kilorn and Cameron
    • I don’t feel the chemistry.
  • Gisa and Mystery Girl
    • Details, please.

 

Maven

In the previous books, he was an intriguing and developed antagonist, but with his instability and descent into madness in this book, he is seeming to regress into the mold of “crazy and dangerous, but under-developed, villain cackling in the shadows”. He’s always been a favorite character of mine, but it’s sad to see him be like this.

Which is why I would love a Maven and Thomas novella. I’d like to see him B.E. (Before Elara). Maybe he can be redeemed.

End Spoilers.

Read More: Spinette’s Review of War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Read 7/16/18 – 7/21/18


Currently Reading: The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

TBR

  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Harry Potter Book Tag

Who doesn’t like Harry Potter?

People who haven’t read Harry Potter.

Many thanks to the always fantastic Sophia Ismaa for tagging me in this wonderful tag so all you nonexistent readers can finally learn the sought-out information of how I answer these questions. Go check out her blog, peeps!


Which house are you in?

gryffindor

Gryffindor! Really, I feel like I could fit in any of the houses, but Pottermore says I’m in Gryffindor, so *shrugs*.


What is your Patronus?

patronus.jpg

It’s an adder! Adder and Gryffindor is an interesting combination.


What is your wand?

want

Sycamore wood with a Dragon heartstring core 12 ½” and Slightly Springy flexibility.

The sycamore makes a questing wand, eager for new experience and losing brilliance if engaged in mundane activities. It is a quirk of these handsome wands that they may combust if allowed to become ‘bored,’ and many witches and wizards, settling down into middle age, are disconcerted to find their trusty wand bursting into flame in their hand as they ask it, one more time, to fetch their slippers. As may be deduced, the sycamore’s ideal owner is curious, vital and adventurous, and when paired with such an owner, it demonstrates a capacity to learn and adapt that earns it a rightful place among the world’s most highly-prized wand woods.

As a rule, dragon heartstrings produce wands with the most power, and which are capable of the most flamboyant spells. Dragon wands tend to learn more quickly than other types. While they can change allegiance if won from their original master, they always bond strongly with the current owner. The dragon wand tends to be easiest to turn to the Dark Arts, though it will not incline that way of its own accord. It is also the most prone of the three cores to accidents, being somewhat temperamental.

This seems accurate.


What would your boggart be?

A giant worm.

Jk. 😉


What position would you play in Quidditch?

The person in the stands who was forced to come by her friends and brought a book and is reading and being grouchy instead of watching the game. Or the announcer. Maybe. Possibly.


Would you be pureblood, half-blood, or muggle born?

I don’t think it really makes a difference.


What job would you like to have after graduating from Hogwarts?

No idea. An author, perhaps? Same as in the muggle world.


Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?

I’d love to have an invisibility cloak, but I’d probably use it for stupid stuff.


Favorite book?

Order of the Phoenix or Half-Blood Prince.


Least favorite book?

Sorcerer’s Stone. (Sorry.) I generally liked the books more as the series continued. I was meh about the first couple.


Favorite film?

I haven’t watched all the movies. (Sorry.) I watched most of them while they were showing the entire series in a row on TV, but I wasn’t done reading the books yet, so I didn’t watch all of them. On top of that, we were in New York at my aunt’s house so it was loud and I was busy and my grandma was freaking out about the hippogriffs and moving staircases and whatnot and trying to turn off the TV. So I watched them kinda on and off, I don’t remember most of it, and I, therefore, do not have a favorite movie.


Least favorite film?

See above question.


Favorite character?

LUNA LOVEGOOD.


Least favorite/most hated character?

Least favorite: Percy Weasley for being annoying.

Most hated: ?? There are so many to hate. Probably Voldemort.


Favorite teacher at Hogwarts?

Lupin. He was by far the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.


Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

I didn’t really get into the series until the fifth book… I only really continued through the first four because everyone had been telling me to read it for years.

I also don’t think Dumbledore is that amazing.

 

Mini Book Reviews

Book reviews of Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, and This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp


Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway || 3.5/5

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

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I previously read Far From the Tree, Benway’s other book, and I LOVED it. While Emmy and Oliver was an enjoyable read, it didn’t hold the same appeal. The plot was slow and heavily romance-based. I loved the premise, but much of the plot revolved around Emmy and Oliver falling in love.

The characters were well-developed (even the minor characters). Benway created quirky and lovable minor characters and I love them (especially Drew). Bonus: There are parents who are involved in their children’s lives! A rare spectacle in YA fiction. My favorite part of this book was Benway’s writing, which is simple, yet beautiful and very addicting. I read this book in one (very long) sitting. (But, to be fair, I probably wouldn’t have if I had anything else to do. It wasn’t that gripping.)

Read 7/2/18


Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor || 3.5/5

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

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While this was an enjoyable read with wonderful world-building, it was heavily romance-based. Much of the story involved the characters being stupidly in love and it was plain icky (sorry, but it’s true). Much of the time while reading this book was spent mentally yelling at the main character to stop swooning over the idiot and GET ACTUAL STUFF DONE. Another thing that annoyed me was how spectacularly beautiful the main character, Karou, and her love interest are and how many times this was reiterated. It’s a waste of words. We get it. You’re prettier than the average human bean. While the plot and characters were annoying for romance-y reasons, the writing and world-building were beautiful. The writing style was whimsical and had a magical feel. I fell in love with it. The world-building was unique and incredibly detailed. Overall, I recommend this book if you don’t mind all the sickly romantic junk.

Read 7/2/18 – 7/6/18


This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp || 2.5/5

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

›»∇«‹

This was a kinda enjoyable read in the way that some songs have awful lyrics but have catchy, but bad, melodies and you kinda like them. But not really. The book is creepy, and not in a good way. In a “What have you done?!” sort of way.

I really liked the way the plot was done and how you only got bits and pieces of the story at a time. I liked the way it all weaved together at the end.

But. I didn’t like the ending. It was abrupt.

The multiple point-of-views weren’t done well. There was no difference in voice between the four main characters and I kept having to check to see whose POV I was reading from. I also didn’t get particularly attached to the characters, which resulted in a lack of suspense because I didn’t really care what happened to them. I didn’t like the writing style. It was bland and wasn’t unique. The book also failed at show-not-tell and it didn’t manage to create much suspense in general. This book wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t like it.

I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I had anything better to do.

Read 7/6/18 – 7/8/18


Currently Reading: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

TBR

  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

The Liebster Award

Hello, marshmallows of the universe! I was called upon by the lovely Sophia Ismaa to answer some questions, so answer some questions I shall!

And you guys are marshmallows, so obviously you should be invited.

Because marshmallows are squishy.


RULES

  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer their questions
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers to motivate them
  • Ask them 11 questions
  • Let them know you have nominated them

Questions

  1. Do you believe in ghosts?
    • Nope. But does anyone want to try convincing me in the comments?
  2. What is your favorite book?
    • As you probably already know, my favorite book is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Dudes, this is an amazing book. Don’t question it. Just read it.
  3. What is your favorite film?
    • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This is a movie that is equally as amazing as Six of Crows. I cannot wait for The Crimes of Grindelwald. I watched the movie for the first time before I even read Harry Potter, so I was both utterly confused and utterly in love. It’s a beautiful movie.
  4. Who is your favorite celebrity and why?
    • I’m going to answer this question as specifically ‘favorite actor’ because if we throw authors into the mix, this post would be far too long.
    • I love Emma Watson because of all the work she does as an activist.
    • I love Eddie Redmayne because he’s an amazing actor. And dude, Fantastic Beasts.
  5. Who is the most powerful person in your life? (Emphasis on power).

    • It’s not technically a person, but I’m going to go with my head because it makes me do a bunch of things I’d rather not (namely schoolwork) against my will and blames it on my sense of responsibility. Basically, my head is the parent and I’m the kid being dragged on a leash across the sidewalk while throwing a tantrum, but still being dragged all the same.
    • But being dragged is good for you because schoolwork is good for you.
  6. Favorite song at the moment?
  7. What is your dream job?
    • An author/comedian/world-famous lazy person.
  8. Describe your worst dinner party (use your imagination!).
    • I’m wearing a horrible, heavy, itchy, ugly, impractical dress.
    • It’s hot.
    • People are chewing really, really obnoxiously.
    • Spinnette’s not there.
    • It’s in a volcano.
    • The food is really spicy.
    • Everyone is making small talk.
    • While making small talk, people are chewing with their mouths open and the food is going everywhere.
    • All the people there are people I don’t like.
  9. Invent a new word and provide a definition.
    • Bagoozale (noun): Informal term for strong winds that tend to blow cacti into clouds, resulting in cactus-rain.
  10. You are a rapper who has reached worldwide fame, what is your rapper name?
    • Arachnid, but pronounced Arachnid.
  11. Tell us the worst or funniest reason that got you in detention or in trouble.
    • Story Time! So, first, a fact. Elementary schoolers tend to be stupid in the common sense department. No elementary schoolers are excluded. Apologies to all elementary schoolers, but this cannot be denied.
    • So. At our elementary school, in the winter EVERYONE would hunker down and mine ice. We’d form tribes of elementary schoolers, either organized by grade, class, or friend groups, depending on whether people felt like working together. (But, of course, some decided to go lone wolf.)
    • When the parking lot and the paved part of the playground were shoveled, the snow plows would leave the piles of snow on the edge of the playground. Hidden in these hard-packed snow piles were chunks of ice. Elementary schoolers of all ages would use other pieces of ice to chip away at the piles to collect more ice and carefully hide this ice for the entirety of recess.
    • It was hard work and no one really knew what the point was. It was always “We’ll eventually do something with this ice,” but that something was always postponed until everything melted. It’s like mindlessly doing the same taxing, but useless, thing over and over and over again until everything is destroyed then starting over again in an endless circle forever. Oh, wait. It’s exactly like that.
    • The ice-mining elementary schooler tribes would often raid other tribes’ ice-storage facilities (also made of ice), which is why the ice had to be hidden so carefully. Even so, someone always found it, so a day’s work was always reset the next day.
    • Throughout all this mess, no one ever realized the futility of it all.
    • Anyway, one day in first grade, the teacher whistled on her whistle to signal the end of recess, but my friend and I weren’t done hiding our ice and my friend demanded that I help her so I wouldn’t be the reason that someone steals all our ice (even though this is an inevitable fate).
    • So now first-grade me had a difficult choice to make. Teacher or friend? Should I listen to the authority figure or should I succumb to peer pressure?
    • I succumbed to peer pressure and helped my friend shove the ice underneath a pine tree.
    • We were late.
    • I got my first yellow card.

Going off topic now, is peer pressure really always a bad thing? Sure there’s negative peer pressure, which is what everyone tells you to avoid (as you should), but I think peer pressure can be good too. I tried a lot of new things because of peer pressure, like tubing, roller coasters, root beer, etc. that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And while I didn’t really like any of those three examples, I’m glad I tried them so I know what to avoid in the future.


Read More:

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated for this award by the amazing Sophia Ismaa Writes. Go check out her blog because she’s simply amazing.

P.S. Sophia nominated me for this in February, so apologies for being extremely overdue. If this were a library, my fine would be quite hefty.


What is The Sunshine Blogger Award?

It’s an award given to bloggers who bring creativity, sunshine, and positivity to the lives of readers.


RULES

  1. First of all, thank the blogger who has nominated you and link to their blog in your post.
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger.
  3. Nominate 11 more blogs, who you think should be given this award.
  4. List the rules and the logo of the award on your post or in your blog.

Questions

1) What is something that excites you these days?

So many things excite me! Cactus, kittens, Iceland, bronze thread, dark chocolate, mint, new food (especially desserts), SUGAR, new music, old music, etc.

2) What is your spirit animal?

One sec.

Me (To Google): What, exactly, is a spirit animal?

Google: ………[definition of a spirit animal]…….. Got it?

Me: I’m still confused…

My Patronus is an adder?

3) What is the best advice someone has given you?

I can’t remember. This is worrisome.

4) What was your first blog post and would you change anything about it now?

Gah. What have you done? You’re going to make me share my first blog post?!

*Melts in embarrassment*

This is the blogging equivalent of your parents showing your classmates your baby pictures.

The Home Page

Okay, so many things wrong with this. First, it wasn’t even on the home page. I didn’t know the difference between the home page and a post. Second, it wasn’t put in a category and it was tagged with only “home page”. Third, ~two hundred posts later, I’m glad my writing style has improved.

5) What is your favorite post ever written?

Solving all Your Stupid Problems

6) Which philosopher just gets you?

um…

7) Where are you from?

I was born in Canada, but I grew up in a smallish town in Michigan and I recently moved to a different, slightly larger but still smallish town in Michigan and I left Spinette behind. *quiet weeping*

8) What inspired you to start blogging?

My very first blog was started two years ago on a school field trip and it died in about three weeks. You could say my teacher inspired me to start blogging.

9) Who is your favourite person in the world and why?

Spinette because she’s awesome.

10) How would the people closest to you describe you?

It depends who you ask. If you ask Scorpion, he’d say annoying. If you ask my friends, they’d hopefully say that I’m quiet, but funny.

11) Invent your own question and answer it!

The answer is moaning iguanas.

Awesome Blogger Award

Greetings, dear readers. As always, I am extremely behind on tags, so I’m going to try and catch up on them these following days/weeks/months/years/infinity.

I was tagged for this awesome tag by the ever awesome Kiersten. Check out her answers for the tag! They’re hilarious and so very awesome.


RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Include the reason behind the award.
  • Include the banner in your post.
  • Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers and let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated.
  • Give your nominees ten questions.

Behind The Awesome Blogger Award

The award was created by Maggie at Dreaming of Guatemala who stated – “This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”


The Questions

If you could choose any job to have in the world (fictional or real) what would it be and why?

How do people manage to pick one job? This is hard. It’d be awesome to be an author because they get to create worlds and stories and share it with people, who keep these worlds and stories inside of their heads, so it basically kinda almost becomes real. I’d also want to be an artist because they get to make art. And that’s awesome.

Who is your favorite booktuber/blogger?

I have too many favorites.

Why did you decide to start blogging?

The unicorns beckoned me.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I started my first blog on a school field trip where they told us to start a blog. Spinette started her first blog on the same field trip. We were in seperate groups, and it just so happened that we both made unicorn-based blogs. It also just so happens that there’s not much to say on unicorn-based blogs and they both died pretty quickly.

We all have literary passports, where is yours stamped the most? 

I want to go everywhere!

But the issue is that while most places are awesome to read about, I’d rather not visit because I’d rather not have near-death experiences myself. I’ll leave that to the professionals.

My passport would be stamped the most with Red London stamps from the Shades of Magic Trilogy.

What’s your Harry Potter name? Use this generator to find out!

Araminta Wood. (A Really Minty Wood. I’m wearing mint chapstick. *Shrugs*)

What are some of your guilty pleasures? Whether they are book-related or not.

  • CHOCOLATE. I’ll eat any kind of chocolate, but I prefer the dark variety.
  • Reading when I should probably be doing homework.
  • Staying up late to finish a book when I should probably be sleeping.
  • Blogging when I should probably be doing homework.

What is something that you love about your blog?

There are many things that I love about my blog.

  • I love connecting with people from all over the world about shared interests.
  • I love being random and writing weird posts.
  • I love how my writing has improved since I’ve started this blog. (Practice makes better, after all.)
  • I love reading the spam comments.

What is your favorite post that you have personally done?

I love Solving all Your Stupid Problems. It’s a perfect example of a really weird post. And I liked feeling helpful, since, you know, I’ve solved all your stupid problems.


I’m Nominating…

I’m just going to sneakily steal all of Kiersten’s questions because I’m currently trying to write seven posts in a day (*nervous laughter*) to schedule for when I go to New York tomorrow for a week for my cousin’s wedding. (*more nervous laughter*) Yeah? Did I kinda accidentally forget to tell you guys and procrastinate on my post scheduling? The answer: Kinda totally yes.

Anyway. On to the nominees!

 

P.S. I also haven’t packed…

Stationary Book Tag!

Hello, marshmallows of the universe!

Today is the day that I complete the Stationary Book Tag, which I was tagged for by the wonderful Whimsy Pages.

[When I first read the title of the tag, I thought that it meant ‘stationary’ like, Help me, I’m stuck in quicksand. I can’t move. Ignore my random brain vomit. I thought I’d share. The vomit. Because vomit is made to be shared. (Because, you know, when someone vomits, somebody else sees the vomits and then they vomit and I’m getting distracted.)]


RULES

  • THANK THE CREATOR: SAM @ RIVERMOOSEREADS
  • ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
  • ADD PICTURES! (IF YOU WANT TO)
  • TAG (ABOUT) 5 PEOPLE.

PENCILS: FAVOURITE CHILDREN’S BOOK

I’m going to confess something on here for (possibly?) the first time. Don’t hurt me. I hated reading until about second grade. Why? Because (a) I couldn’t read well until second grade (b) everyone else in my class could read and (c) PICTURE BOOKS SUCK (Well, at least the ones that I read). They were stupid and had no action, no adventure. Many were about daily activities, good morals, boring topics. And the ones with action and adventure (*cough* *cough* Magic Tree House/Rainbow Magic) were SO repetitive. The same thing happened in every book. It was basically copy-and-paste, copy-and-paste. It was predictable. It wasn’t THRILLING.

My favorite children’s books were The Secrets of Droon series and the A to Z Mysteries series. They had it all. Intrigue, suspense, thrill, adventure.


PENS: A BASIC STAPLE FOR ANY READER

There are many books that simply must be read by everyone, but I’m going to agree with Whimsy Pages and go with the everpresent Harry Potter.


NOTEBOOKS: BOOKS YOU OWN A MULTIPLE COPIES OF

I currently have two copies of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda on my bookshelf, but one of them is a present for my friend. I don’t usually (or ever) buy two copies of a book.


MARKERS: BOOKS WITH BEAUTIFUL COVERS

My favorite cover is  The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. The art on the inside is gorgeous as well.

the language of thorns.jpg


GLUE: TWO CHARACTERS THAT WORK TOGETHER EVEN IF THEY AREN’T TOGETHER

I’m not entirely sure what this means. Like, friends? My go-to answer is Keefe Sencen and Sophie Foster from Keeper of the Lost Cities, but I talk about Keeper all the time, so I’m going to go with Mare and Farley from Red Queen.


SCISSORS: WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU LIKE TO DESTROY

I wouldn’t actually destroy a book. I don’t have it in me. But hypothetically, I’d love to destroy Matched by Ally Condie. I wasted too much of my life reading the book.


ART KIT: WHAT COMPLETER SERIES YOU OWN

  • Red Queen Quartet by Victoria Aveyard
  • Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
  • The School for Good and Evil Trilogy by Soman Chainani.
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
  • Lawless Trilogy by Jeffrey Salane
  • Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab

I’m Tagging…

Mini Book Reviews

Book reviews of Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.


Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket || 4/5

The adventure began in a fading town. Far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket started an apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in mystery and secrecy. He asked questions that shouldn’t have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published that shouldn’t be read. Not even by you. Seriously, we recommend that you do NOT ask your parents for this, the first book in his new ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS series.
Lemony Snicket, in case you don’t already know, grew up to be the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events series.

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As with A Series of Unfortunate Events, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, but it was an enjoyable read anyway. I adore Lemony Snicket’s writing style; it’s very unique and whimsical.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I have yet to finish this series (All the Wrong Questions).

The main character, Lemony Snicket, narrates the book like an old black-and-white detective show, which I like. The book also has the perfect level of absurdity, making it all the better.

I love reading prequel and spin-off series because it’s fun to see more of the minor character’s lives, but it’s unfortunate that most of the time, spin-offs are never quite as good as the original. Luckily, this was not the case for All the Wrong Questions and I highly recommend it for fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events.


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls || 5/5

A tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.

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I don’t usually read memoirs, or nonfiction in general, but this book was amazing nonetheless.

I’m not really sure how to go about reviewing a nonfiction book because there’s no way to really change the plot. I can’t say “the plot should’ve been stronger” because there’s only one way the plot can possibly be.

The story was captivating. Reading this book was like living a life completely different from my own, yet Walls somehow made it relatable. The most intriguing aspect for me is that despite the fact that Walls’s parents were unrefutably irresponsible parents, Walls loved them all the same and this was made obvious through her writing. I am envious of Walls’s ability to convey emotion through her writing. This is an amazing book and I highly recommend it.

(I do wish her siblings were more detailed, especially Lori and Maureen.)


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman || 4/5

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

»»∇««

This book is hard to read. Not in that it covers a heavy topic, but in that the writing itself is difficult to comprehend. Spinette got me this book for my birthday (but she has yet to read it. I’m glaring at you) and I first read it two years ago. Two years ago, most of the book went over my head and I barely had any idea of what was going on. Likewise, I didn’t continue the series. I’m happy to say that my reading ability has improved since then and I both understood and greatly enjoyed this book. (Although I still recommend reading it with a well-stocked dictionary on hand.) Once you understand what is being said, you’ll realize that the writing in this book is gorgeous. It’s easily one of the best examples of prose I’ve read. I’d recommend it just for the writing. The plot is lovely, but it’s far from “action-packed”. There were many tense scenes, but no action scenes involving the main character. The plot was heavy on politics. The characters were lovely and the minor ones were adequately developed. Overall, I highly recommend this unique book.


Currently Reading: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

 

TBR

  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
  • The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Liebster Award

Many thanks to the amazing Yes more blogs for tagging me. All you lovely marshmallows, go follow this amazing blogger! I love his writing style, it’s like a conversation.


The Rules (That I’m Totally Following Exactly)

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. For the 2018 Liebster Award, I will be shaking things up! Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blog posting.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (Again this year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award.
  6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post.)
  7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.
  8. Interview/Q&A. Answer the questions provided by the blog nominating you and leave questions for your nominees.

Q&A

  1. What is your favorite place?
    1. My favorite place is either the library for being so ridiculously awesome or Disney World for being the place of my happiest memories. Or maybe the house I grew up in for being so beautiful. I have lots of favorite places.
  2. If you could have a conversation with anyone, who would it be?
    1. Keefe Sencen from Keeper of the Lost Cities. He’s my favorite book character and I’d love to meet him. He has a wicked sense of humor.
  3. Your most used phrase or word?
    1. Lovely. I use it far too much, but to be fair, it is an awesome word.
  4. What is the best part of blogging?
    1. Commenting and having conversations! I love talking to people all over the world about writing and books and blogging and a whole slew of random stuff.
  5. Name something that makes you laugh.
    1. Shipping individual sugar cubes in the mail.
  6. How do you relax?
    1. Reading!
  7. What do you want to achieve this month?
    1. I want to finish a short story. (Update: The short story has been completed as of 7/23/18)
  8. What is the best song you’ve ever heard?
    1. Mama by My Chemical Romance.
  9. Would you rather fly or read minds?
    1. Neither? Is that an option. I rather like the ground and I don’t really want to fly and reading minds would be awful. First, there’s the whole moral standpoint. Isn’t it an invasion of privacy? Second, I wouldn’t want to listen to everyone’s thoughts all the time. It’d be so distracting and it wouldn’t leave any room for my own thoughts. I also wouldn’t want to listen to every single thought that people think about me. It probably wouldn’t be good for my self-esteem. But if I had to choose one, I’d go with flying, just to avoid the mind reading.
  10. Do you believe we control our own fate?
    1. yes.

Read more:


Heyo, peeps! Apologies for not following the rules. It’s Scorpion’s (my brother’s) birthday today, and I’m spending time with him, so there was not enough time for all the rules. Some of the less important ones were forgotten.

Book Reviews

Book reviews of King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.


King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard || 4/5

Review of Glass Sword.

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

◊◊◊

I really enjoy this series and this book, but the plot in King’s Cage is slow. It’s somewhat tedious to read through and there are only two action scenes. (But these action scenes are very long, very action-packed, and very good.)

On the other hand, there was a lot of character development, especially for Mare, which I appreciated. I adore Maven as well; he’s a very complex character. I enjoyed how Evangeline was given her own story. She’s one of my favorite characters in the series. The chapters from her point-of-view are my favorite.

As always, I love Aveyard’s writing style.

Cameron is a great character, but—especially at the beginning—she seemed strangely obsessed with Mare. I see how this is useful for the book because otherwise, we wouldn’t get updates on our main character, but it was out of character.

Update from later. That was a sub-par review. It was mostly rambling. And this is a review of the review. But to be fair, I was half-asleep when writing this. I hope you will not judge my reviewing skills based on this one review.


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys || 4/5

It’s 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin’s extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It’s a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

◊◊◊

This book pulls on your heart-strings, but not as hard as other books. While the events were horrifying, the writing-style was detached and matter-of-fact. The book would’ve been more powerful if it focused more on Lina’s (the main character) emotions. Despite not being particularly emotional, the writing style was still breath-taking.

While Lina was beautifully developed, the other characters could’ve been developed more, especially her brother and mother. I would’ve liked to know more about their family bonds so I could feel the love between them instead of being told that they love each other.

Random note: I loved the nicknames Lina gave everyone. It made keeping track of the characters a lot easier (until she randomly decided to use their actual names).


Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan || 3/5

This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

◊◊◊

I love the town that Levithan created, but aside from that, the book was underwhelming. The entire story revolves around teen drama, which I’m not fond of. It’s all about who’s dating who and who used to be dating.

The writing was bland, the characters seemed fake, and the plot was also bland. This may be the most meh book I’ve read.

It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t good.


Currently readingWar Storm by Victoria Aveyard

TBR

  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Book Review: War Storm

So, I just finished the final book in the Red Queen series.

It’s the first ever series I have ever finished in the history of the world.

It was okay.

Warning! This book review consists of spoilers for the book series and War Storm so please refrain from reading this review if you haven’t read the books yet. There are spoiler free parts (only for War Storm) and spoiler filled parts.

Onto the summary:

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart –and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her– Mare resolves to destroy the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head. But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to destroy the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means destroying everything- and everyone- in his path. War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the lightning girl be forever silenced? In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

Non-spoiler Section

Despite the description, this book is actually a messy, imperfect and odd way to end the Red Queen series. It’s very long (being 662 pages) but, for some reason the series feels unresolved. I will go into the specific reasons why in the spoiler section.

For now, let’s focus on what the book did right. In War Storm, Mare and other main characters feel so much more human and have clear motivations other than to defeat the Maven. Mare’s family is fleshed out more (especially Tramy), Evangeline’s love interest Elane burns a fire in her heart, and Cal is tied to the crown, his noble personality taking charge.

Also I love the settings in this book. They stomp out the places we’ve been in the other books by a long shot. Translation: Montfort is beautiful.

Spoiler Section

Why was the book unresolved, you ask?

“So I’m guessing we won,” I (mare) sigh, too surprised to even comprehend what that means. I have no idea what a real victory would even look like.

“Not entirely,” Kilorn rubs a hand over his dirty cheek, smearing grime across the clean parts of him. Idiot, I think kindly. “They managed to limp back out to sea. I think the big shots are negotiating a cease-fire right now.”

IT ENDS WITH A BLOBFISHING CEASE FIRE FROM THE LAKELANDS.

In the ending pages of the book, this unresolvedness just keeps on going with a light air of “We’re safe, but only for a while.”

Another thing that was unresolved was Evangeline and Elane. I mean, there are a few lines at the very end of the book that state that Evangeline is an honored guest of Montfort, but not much else.

Even Maven’s death felt unresolved! In the last few minutes of their battle Maven let Mare kill him. The main thing in the end was how it “wasn’t too late” with Evangeline rebelling against her parents for Elane and Cal putting the crown aside for Mare. Was it too late for Maven? What if he stayed alive?

Maybe this was Victoria Aveyard wanted to portray. Maybe she’ll make another series following Mare and the others a year or so later (maybe even a different crew in the same world— like the Grisha Trilogy and SOC).

I loved the parts with the Lakelander queens, the rickety alliance between Cal’s crew, Montfort and the Scarlet Guard and the little lines hinting at Evangeline and Elane’s relationship. (If you have read the book you know which line I’m talking about.) Montfort provides a free democratic country to compare the corrupt nations of Norta and the Lakelands to, which is another reason why I’m swooning over the bison filled mountains. The bison are great.

Despite how much I liked about War Storm, the novel was one of the shabbiest of the series.

I didn’t like Maven this time around (he just seemed lazy, angry and spoiled) and he didn’t seem like the scheming little guy he used to be. He feels more like time bomb just waiting to blow, or one of those characters who you know dies first in a horror movie.

Another thing I greatly disliked was the vagueness of everything, which I don’t think was problem with Aveyard’s writing as much as it was just stuffing an epic conclusion, or a whole blobfishing WAR into 662 pages.

Lastly, I would like to point out that the book didn’t seem as clever when it came to major plot points. Take Iris’s siege on Bracken’s children for example. The guards were stupid and distracted. Why? How did Montfort survive as a nation with these idiotic guards? Why did Davidson, who is clearly an intelligent person, let these imbeciles guard a prisoner of war?

If I had to rate this book from one to ten , one being absolute scum and ten being a gift from the heavens I would give this book a six.

Translate that into stars and this book is 3.5 stars out of five.

Book Reviews!!

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer || 4/5

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime–but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he’s been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.

•••

Stranger Than Fanfiction is a somewhat light-hearted (but also sad) and really fast read. I liked how the characters interacted with each other. Yay platonic relationships. Cash Carter was my favorite character.

Colfer has an amazing writing style. He uses a ton of humorous similes that are my absolute favorite. The only thing that bugged me about this book was that it sometimes read like an LGBT+ pamphlet, which really broke from the characterization and the flow of the story.


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven || 5/5

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

∴∴∴

So after reading the really sad book that is Stranger Than Fanfiction, I picked up All the Bright Places because I expected it to be happy. I mean, it has the word bright in the title!

Dudes, I was so wrong. Warning: This is a sad book.

I’ve never cried while reading a book. But reading All the Bright Places was the closest I’ve come (tied with A List of Cages).

So if you want a book that tugs on all the heartstrings, I highly recommend this one.

The writing is beautiful, but the part that pulls it all together is the relationship between Finch and Violet.


Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard || 4/5

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

♣♣♣

This book was lovely, but not as lovely as the first one. I liked seeing how all the characters changed because of the events of the first book, and it was definitely fast-paced, but it lacks an overarching plot besides “destroy the bad guys”. It doesn’t really match the first book; it’s different, and it could definitely use some comedic relief.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, but it wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be from when I read it the first time.


That was a pretty good reading round! Lot’s of great books, but my favorite of the three has to be All the Bright Places.

A Note: I’m currently on a trip to Bangladesh for my cousin’s wedding so I won’t be able to respond to all your lovely comments until I get back on July 15, 2018.