Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #231: Spring TBR


Today's Topic: 
Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

Hi everyone! I guess it's that time of year again. These topics are always my favorite because they're SO easy! There are always a million books on my TBR, so it's not too terribly difficult to google the dates of Spring this year and pick out ten. Honestly, I probably won't get to all of these (I hardly ever actually stick to lists), but I'm definitely going to be reading at least a few. 



The Beholder by Anna Bright
Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Finale by Stephanie Garber
Romanov by Nadine Brandes



Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Monday, March 18, 2019

A very spoilery King of Scars discussion


Happy Monday, book nerds! Today I want to do something a little different and discuss a book I've already reviewed. Why, you ask? Well, because the initial shock of the ending has worn off a bit and I've been thinking more and more about this book and whether I love it as much as I thought I did.

I can say straight away that the ending of King of Scars took it up at least one full star. Before that I was thinking it would possibly be a solid four star read, then THAT ENDING happened and I was so excited about it that I immediately changed it to five. If you've already read this book or don't mind spoilers, keep reading. Otherwise, turn back now! There will be spoilers for the Grisha Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and King of Scars!


You are very welcome for Tom Hiddleston's lovely face.

Okay, so. Let's talk. I have a lot of feelings that I didn't mention in my initial review because, like I said, the hype was so real over the ending. Here goes nothing.



THE NINA CHAPTERS

First thing's first. It seems like EVERYONE has an opinion on Nina being included in this book. In my review I said that I would've been happy without them, but they were fine. Now that I'm thinking about it more, I'm really not sure what the point of including them was other than to bring in the Six of Crows audience. There does seem to be something of a tie to Nikolai because she's working for him somehow, but it seemed like such a convoluted way to bring her into Nikolai's story. The more I've thought on this, the more I'm convinced that Nikolai, Sturmhond, our favorite privateer prince deserved better than to split his book with another character from another series and I am no longer okay with it. I don't hate Nina, but I wish she'd been given her own book or maybe been mentioned briefly instead of taking up half the book.


THE ROMANCE (?) 

Where even was it? I've seen people talking about Nikolai and Zoya and what a great couple they are, but like. What? We've made it through a 528 page book and we have to wait even LONGER for our dear, beloved Nikolai to get a romantic arc? It's obvious that's where it's heading, but I really wish there'd been a bit more of it here. To be completely honest, though, I would have preferred a romantic storyline with a completely new character instead of Zoya. It's nothing personal against Zoya, I just feel like something new might have been more exciting.


DARKLING PSA

This and the last point are what really sparked this post. I'm starting to feel like half the point of this book was to drive home that the Darkling was Bad with a capital B. In Shadow and Bone Leigh Bardugo wrote a wonderfully complex character who was sympathetic and mysterious and easy to love in the way one loves a tortured villain. People shipped him and Alina HARD and a lot of us were pretty upset about how her romance ended up. Of course we all know that the Darkling was a villain. Obviously. But we love him and, I don't know, maybe she wasn't expecting that? It's really confusing to me that after spending the original trilogy making so many people love him, she spent this entire book driving home that we should hate him. I don't like it. :/


THE TIMELINE 

Maybe it's because these books were written so far apart, but I had a HARD time figuring out where exactly we were this story happened on the timeline. I had the same issue with Six of Crows. It feels like a completely different world than the Grisha Trilogy and I had a really difficult time believing it was supposed to take place very shortly after. Then we start this book and Matthias has only JUST died? But Alina is basically a fairytale and everyone acts like she never existed. But it was just a few years ago that she saved everyone?? I'm so confused. After some digging I think this story happens maybe three years after the trilogy, but honestly, I don't know.


THE JOURNEY

Hm. So the other half of King of Scars, apart from Nina and her adventures, consists of Nikolai and Zoya on a journey with a Darkling cult member to rid Nikolai of his monster, which has been gaining strength. It is an interesting enough plot, for sure, but it gets a little weird. Saints exist in the trilogy, but here they end up in an in between world and do a Karate Kid training montage with some saints so that Nikolai can summon the monster and kill it. Like I said, it was interesting, but bizarre, and also seemed to take quite a long time but also not realistically long enough. Am I making sense?? Like, in pages I wish it hadn't taken so long, but in book time it seemed kind of off in the timeline (again).


THE ENDING

Okay, this ties into the Darkling PSA throughout the book and I have a lot of feelings. On the one hand, I was SO EXCITED that the Darkling was back! YES! This is what I was hoping would happen when the book was announced! But. BUT. What is the point of his return? It's very, very unlikely that my sweet Darkling is going to get a redemption arc and Leigh just spent 500+ pages reminding us what a terrible, awful, despicable villain he is, just to bring him back. Is the entire point of this series for the Darkling to come back, be even more evil to remind us how EVIL he is, then die again? Like? Why though?


In conclusion, I don't know how to feel about this book now that I've thought about it at length. What was the whole point of it in the end? I'm just... a little sad to realize that this really wasn't a five star read for me. I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this! Please share what you think in the comments!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Weekly Recap: 3/10 - 3/16


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This week has been incredibly busy and has made for a slow blogging week. My baby puppy is still doing well (hurray!) but my old girl has been sick for the past couple days, so I have been very occupied with her. She may or may not be making a trip to the vet on Monday. In bookish news, I read House of Salt and Sorrows. Guys. READ IT if you have a copy and preorder if you don't! I'm also taking a break from Crossroads of Twilight to read Ash Princess because, well, the former is MASSIVE and well known to be the worst in the series. If I can just make it through, I know the rest of the series will be worth it! I am currently very into weird, dark fantasy and retellings so please, PLEASE drop your recs in the comments!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

Nothing new this week!


THIS WEEK I READ



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was standalones that need sequels for Top Ten Tuesday
On Wednesday I talked about my Caraval/Legendary reread
Friday audiobook review of Fangirl


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, March 15, 2019

Audiobook Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl 
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 438
Add to Goodreads


Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I feel like I've said this quite a bit lately, but I rarely read contemporary fiction, especially YA contemporary. I mainly picked this up because A) everyone I've ever met in my life has told me to read it, and B) I knew that fake Harry Potter fanfic was a supposed huge part of it.

The first thing that's worth pointing out is that, while this is labeled as YA, Cath is actually in college. I know that's in the synopsis, but I somehow completely missed it. Even though I'm way past college, I felt like I was able to relate to Cath a lot more than when I read contemporary fiction about high school students. I really liked Cath because she was such an introvert. I've seen people say that they didn't like how she was written because introverts don't completely avoid social situations, but I'm an introvert and that's basically me, so... I liked her.

In addition to Cath, her twin sister Wren, roommate Reagan, and her not-boyfriend Levi. While I did really enjoy them all, I think I loved Levi the best (maybe not surprisingly). I found Reagan to be a bit one dimensional, but I did like that she helped pull Cath out of her comfort zone. The romance was cute and, while there was a tiny hint of a love triangle, I'm happy to say it didn't last very long.

I'm shocked to say that one of my biggest issues with Fangirl was, well, the fangirl herself. I loved Cath, but I was honestly annoyed by the whole fanfiction plot. I went into this book expecting to love Simon Snow and hate the college bits, but it was the exact opposite. There wasn't enough of Simon Snow for me to care about him so he seemed to be wasting pages when he did show up. I was also really confused by the inclusion of Harry Potter in this world. How do these two nearly identical stories exist together?

Something else that surprised me about this book was that there wasn't much of a plot. There was no real issue for Cath to solve other than exist at college for a semester. She went to classes, went to parties, hung out with guys, ate lunch, called her dad... I mean, I've basically done all of this too. I'm used to my books presenting some kind of unusual situation, or at least one I've never found myself in, so it was weird to read a book about a college student meandering through a semester of school.

Fangirl really wasn't what I expected it to be at all and I ended up disliking the part I expected to love, but I still really enjoyed it. I really doubt I'll read any of Rainbow Rowell's other books, though. I still am not a fan of contemporary fiction, but this wasn't a bad one to take a detour with.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I reread Caraval and Legendary and here's how it went


So. I do not do rereads. I've reread are the first few in the Harry Potter series and a couple of the Chronicles of Narnia. I also reread Twilight a couple years ago and HATED it. There are just so many books that I want to read for the first time that it's hard for me to justify reading something that I've already read. BUT it actually went really well and I was surprised! I finished both in a week (which is kind of fast for me???) and loved every minute of it! To commemorate this occasion, I'd like to share some of my observations and experiences.


  • I am THE perfect person to reread books. I forget details a week after I read a book (or watch a movie) so almost everything is just as surprising the second time! I literally forgot almost every single reveal. 
  • That being said, I don't forget huge events and I definitely remembered who Legend was. It was super interesting reading back through both books knowing who Legend was all along. I especially loved seeing him interacting and weaving his half truths to keep his identity concealed. 
  • I completely did not remember that all of Caraval took place inside of a house. 
  • Legend. Why have I been thinking that he wore black all the time? He wears blue.
  • I usually hate when a series changes main characters between books, but Stephanie Garber is a wizard. While reading Caraval I couldn't remember why I liked Tella more, but while reading Legendary I couldn't remember why I liked Scarlett so much. 
  • I feel like I remember a time when it was uncertain whether Caraval was meant as a standalone, but how?? Reading it a second time, it's so obvious that it was always meant to be a first in a series. I may not have made it had there not been a second one written. 
  • Speaking of the second book, SCARLETT WHAT ARE YOU UP TO? No spoilers, but I don't like it. 
  • And Jacks... I can't wait to see what comes of him. I definitely hope he plays a big part in Finale. (I have literally already forgotten how Legendary ended... again.) 
  • SO many scents I can use for new candles from book one! In book two, she takes to describing scents as random things that don't have smells. 
  • There's something oddly comforting about rereading a book that you already know you adore.

I will probably be back sometime soonish with a fancast because I am 100% refusing to believe that this will never be a movie trilogy. I am so excited for Finale I can hardly contain myself! Especially seeing the ARCs starting to go out. I also think that this may lead to more rereads. The Hunger Games is one that I would especially like to get back around to sometime soon.


Do you reread books? Why or why not?
What is a favorite you'd like to read again soon?
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #230: Standalones that need sequels


Today's Topic: 
Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

Hi everyone! So this week I learned that I hardly ever read standalone books and, when I do, they often end in a way that doesn't leave any possibility of a book two. Because they all die. But here are five books that I'd love to see a sequel to, no matter what that looks like! I have heard that Call Me By Your Name is possibly getting a sequel and there will definitely be a second movie, so yay!



Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Stain by A.G. Howard
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.