Growing Pains Book List – Galaxy Adventurer

A long time ago *cough* (like a year ago) *cough*, when I first started this blog, I posted what’s called a “Growing Pains Book List”. It was inspired by my work with a music company where I talked about a few songs or artists that had impacted me and shaped me into the person I am today.

So a Growing Pains Book List is the same: a selection of books that have impacted you and made you who you are. I’ll link mine here, but today I’m going to introduce you to a dear friend of mine who will be sharing her Growing Pains Book List!

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From the @galaxyadventurer Instagram page

Today’s guest is Dominique from @galaxyadventurer. She is a book lover and geek from Indiana who loves musicals and Doctor Who!

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Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
One of the first book series I read as a kid was Junie B. Jones, and while I still haven’t read all of them to this day, this is definitely a series that sparked my love of reading. One of the books that I kinda related to was Toothless Wonder. At my first dentist appointment ever I had my top four front teeth pulled out and they didn’t come in ’til I was almost ten years old. So I guess I related to her in that book because I to was a toothless wonder.

9780439381000_mresThe American Girl books
Like the Junie B. series, I still haven’t read all of the books, but this is another series that got me into reading. I liked how you could relate to at least one of the girls, even if they lived in a different time than you. Kit was one of my favorites; I liked how curious she was, and I loved her mystery books.

9780007117307The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
So I will admit, I saw the movies before I read any of the books, but now I love both so much! Both have made me wish I could find a portal to Narnia (I’m still checking wardrobes) and find adventures in the fantastical land with the Pevensie children and all the wonderful creatures.

51+zsntctrL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Guys, this book really got me into YA and just deepened my love of reading. And also introduced me to a horrible thing. Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s called *cue the dun dun dun noise* a cliffhanger. Even though Mary tortured me with the cliffhanger ending, I love this book so much. I love the characters, the world, the writing, just everything about it. Storm Siren will always have a special place in my heart.

513EXnhPKDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes
This one is more than an amazing story and book for me. I read this one soon after losing my great grandma a few years ago, and it helped me through it. A Time to Die has so many meaningful messages in it and Parvin is definitely an inspiration to me.

Six-of-Crows-CoverSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
SoC was actually recommended to me by Devyn (which if you’re reading this blog post, you already know how fabulous she is), so I read the Grisha series and then the SoC duology. And let me say, I got hooked to this world. While the characters in SoC might not have the best morals, they show how people can come together, despite their differences, and become a team and family.

51gmpC4-MgLThe Color Project by Sierra Abrams
This is probably my favorite contemporary book I have ever read. It’s so much more than the fluffy contemporaries you are used to. It shows a real girl with relatable problems, and a family that goes through a hard time but sticks together. It shows doubts and anxieties, something I know I deal with.

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BOOK REVIEW: Leigh Bardugo “Crooked Kingdom”

9781627792134_custom-87433fa92146030d7e670837720f99c53b84f112-s900-c85Title: Crooked Kingdom

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

There are definitely going to be spoilers in this review so if you have not read Crooked Kingdom, I’m begging you to leave. Like seriously, you don’t want to find out what happens from some poor sap rambling about the book on her blog. Go away.

This book freaking tore me up. Like it made me want to throw myself off a bridge and die. Just why does Bardugo want to kill me with her sad, dark endings? Why?

Yet I can’t say enough good things about this duology; I understand now why people rave about it. Six of Crows and the characters and the genius story… it’s all together a work of art. I never thought that Bardugo could write something better than the Grisha trilogy and yet fortunately, I was so wrong. She has created such a beautiful and unique world with amazing abilities, in-depth characters and the intricately weaved stories she tells.

I didn’t think that Bardugo could top the awesomeness of Six of Crows, but Crooked Kingdom was still incredible. Kaz was still coming up with amazing plans and still causing trouble and it’s just so much fun to read.

Serious spoiler warnings ahead:

So.

Matthias.

Him dying.

Can we talk about that and how much it tore me up? Like, he was definitely in my top three favorite characters, and while I so appreciate the poetic nature of his death, still why did it have to happen? I was so ridiculously heartbroken.

No, seriously. My husband has perfect timing and called me in the middle of my sob-session, and he was very alarmed.

Me: HELLOOOooOO? (obviously crying) 

Him: Babe, what’s wrong?

Me: (Unintelligible crying)

Him: Tell me what happened?! What’s going on?! (becoming slightly panicked)

Me: A CHARACTER IN MY BOOK DIIIiiIIED (continues to cry)

He proceeded to laugh at me because apparently he thinks my crying over a fictional death is funny. He comforted me over the phone but there was definitely a joking tone behind it.

Him: He’s just a book character, honey-

Me: NO THEY’RE ALL MY BABIES.

I definitely felt like I needed some therapy after that scene.

And then I’m going to be super honest, the rest of the book was a blur for me because I was still so upset. I read it, but everything had sort of resolved itself by then and none of the other characters were in danger anymore so the story closed and I was just still heartbroken over Matthias. I still feel like I need someone to console me, and it’s been several days. Literally all the tears.

So I mean, that’s how I came away from Crooked Kingdom: amazing world, amazing storytelling, amazing characters, oh my gosh Matthias is dead.

Alright, someone provide me the number of a therapist who can help me work this out because I am not alright. Why did I give this book 5 stars? Oh wait because it was still amazing. Why am I like this?

So, turns out I’m not emotionally stable enough to write this review yet, but I may never be so I’m posting it anyway because it’s a super accurate representation of my feels. You’re welcome. Come cry with me if you need to.

March Wrap-Up

Hey, y’all! I know it’s a little late for a wrap-up, but better now than never, right? I read a total of 15 books in the month of March, and only one of those was a DNF! I’m trying to be better about the books that I leave unfinished, especially since it’s difficult and also frowned upon to review unfinished books. However, it’s also my philosophy that life is too short to read books that you’re not enjoying, so why waste your time? Thankfully, the books I read this month were mostly good!

9781616959555The first book I started and the only book that I did not finish was Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. I wanted to like this book and I was hoping that it would be more moving and meaningful for me, but the only thing I was feeling was the weird, cringey romances. I couldn’t even see anything beyond the awkward love triangle that the main character found herself in. So unfortunately, a potentially important story was ruined by bad teen romance.

51oGTLiumOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights by Leonard Durso was sent to me by Smith Publicity and was my second read in March. This was pitched as a Romeo & Juliet reimagining and while I was thrown by the lack of Shakespeare parallels, this is still a lovely story for those who enjoy diverse characters, multiple POVs, love, loss and friendship.

513hgSybYgL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_Next up, in preparation for the movie that came out earlier this month, I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This was a strange but sweet little book that I’m glad to finally have completed, and was also glad to have been able to see the film. It was well-made and surprisingly heartfelt. Sadly though, I don’t think I liked this enough to continue the series unless someone convinces me otherwise.

35422236The biggest disappointment so far this year had to be Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston. This was pitched as an Anastasia retelling which is basically all you have to do to get me to buy something: slap Anastasia on it. I’m obsessed with anything related to Anastasia and this book ripped my heart out, man. It was just so bad. Absolutely no traces of the original Anastasia; just a lost princess story with a weird robot romance. No freaking thank you.

11410430Guilty pleasure time: Defiance by C. J. Redwine was, objectively, horrible. It’s full of plot holes and was honestly sort of ridiculous, but I had so much fun reading it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to read the next two books. They’re definitely on my immediate TBR because I’m stupid and want to lose more brain cells? I don’t know, but I’m so ready for more.

51FueHjFskL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Next one was a random read: Pitching for Success by Doug Coates. I won this random little book in a Goodreads giveaway, and when I say little I mean tiny. I read the whole thing in about 15 minutes. Still, I wouldn’t have read it otherwise, but I felt I owed it to the author who I won the book from to actually read and review it, so I did. You can check it out on my Goodreads.

914DeALdMcLAnother quick read was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This book was a little too immature for my taste, but I did manage to finish it one less than a day.

Six-of-Crows-CoverDefinitely one of my favorite reads in March was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Technically, I read this book back when it first released, but I’m pretty sure I was in a slump and I forced my way through the book when I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. This time around, though? It was absolutely incredible and I can’t believe I didn’t read it to the fullest extent sooner! Crooked Kingdom is definitely going to be on my immediate TBR, hopefully to be read sometime in April.

51nKCFTyz9LThe Widower’s Wife was read for a book club and I have to say: while the end was semi-satisfying and justice was served in the end, I can’t say I really enjoyed any of the rest of this story. It was predictable and I didn’t think it was written particularly well, either. Disappointing considering the fact that I love mysteries and thrillers, and this didn’t turn out to be either one.

covers_244928For my Throne of Glass series reread, I read Crown of Midnight for the month of March and it was just as incredible as it was the first time. I’ve been surprisingly really enjoying rereading these books and find that I have a newfound appreciation for the earlier installments. Sarah J Maas is a genius and Throne of Glass is an absolutely incredible series.

ready-player-one-book-GalleyCatAnother favorite read this month was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and I adored this. The movie definitely did not do this amazing story justice so I’d advise anyone who watched the movie and thought they could skip the book to read the book anyway. I promise you won’t regret it.

17838528Next up was Morgan Matson’s latest: The Unexpected Everything. This book had literally everything going for it… except a likable main character. At least for me, I’m sure there are many people who liked Andie, but me? I couldn’t relate to her on any level; not the decisions she made or the things she said or the lies she told, none of it. The book had tons of potential otherwise, and in the end, still a great Matson read.

33643994Another slight disappointment this month was Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levensellar. This book had all the potential: snarky, strong female character, swoony love interest, interesting magical elements. Unfortunately, I felt the book was incredibly repetitive and Alosa spent most of the book doing the exact same things. It wasn’t until the last 75 pages or so that things got interesting, but by then I was so ready to be done that I couldn’t bother to care. Still, I’m definitely planning to read the sequel because I have hopes that it will be better than the first book.

academy-coverAlso, finally trying to continue the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events! I’m absolutely loving the Netflix show which is inspiring me to want to read the rest of this series, which I started years ago and never finished. So I read The Austere Academy which was appropriately frustrating, unfortunate and dark. I’m longing for a day when the Baudelaires finally get a happy ending.

9780812988079And finally, the last book read in March: Slade House by David Mitchell. This was a haunted house/ghost story that put off some very nostalgic vibes for me, reminding me of some of the scary stories my grandpa used to tell me. I mean, my grandpa’s stories were better, but it’s the feels that count. This book was strange and creepy, and while it had some good writing, I never felt fully connected or invested in the story.

And that’s that, folks! I’m pretty proud of all I read this month and I’m happy with the progress I’m making on my Goodreads reading goal. At this rate, I should definitely be hitting my 100-book reading goal for the year 2018.

How are y’all doing on your reading goals? Let me know in the comments, and let me know if you’ve read any of the books I listed in my wrap-up! Aloha.

BOOK REVIEW: Leigh Bardugo “Six of Crows”

Six-of-Crows-Cover

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

I feel as though it’s almost pointless to include a summary here for Six of Crows seeing as I’m one of the last humans on earth to finally get around to reading it. However, for those who live under a rock, this book can be described as a high-stakes heist story with six main characters told in 5 alternating points of view featuring magic, action, violence, romance and awesomeness. This book is set in the same world as that of the Shadow & Bone trilogy, known as the “Grishaverse”. Grisha are beings that have different types of abilities and are totally cool.

This book has the most incredible, fleshed out characters I have ever seen in literature; Leigh Bardugo truly outdid herself. First we have Kaz, the leader of our mismatched crew: he’s dark, dangerous, calculating and generally unfeeling. He’s also incredibly swoony somehow, despite being such a cold character. He has quite the revenge complex which is what keeps him from being very emotional, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling for Inej, his Wraith. Kaz saved Inej from a life of prostitution when he saw her potential. She’s sneaky, quick, light on her feet, invisible. So she works for Kaz to gather secrets and inform for him.

Then there’s the sharpshooter with a gambling problem, Jesper. So deep in debt, he finds himself working for the Dregs in order to pay back those he owes, all while his father believes him to be away at school. He constantly wonders what would have happened if he had focused on his education rather than wind up in the slums. Jesper forms a reluctant connection with Wylan, a newer member of the dregs. Wylan is the estranged son of a rich mercher, with plenty of secrets and a lot to prove.

There’s also Nina, the charming Grisha Heartrender who is hopelessly in love with Matthias, a Fjerdan. Fjerdans are very prejudiced against Grisha and believe them to be unnatural, so they hunt them, give them trial and put them to death. Matthias is no different and finds Nina to be repulsive… and gorgeous, incredible, etc. He is constantly fighting his feelings for her, struggling between the desires of his heart and remaining faithful to his country and his beliefs.

Together, this band of misfits join together for the most dangerous, impossible heist they can imagine.

Everything about this book deserves an A+. Five thousand stars. Just wow. The characters are so wonderful and Bardugo does an amazing job of giving us backstories to make us even more attached to them. I became immediately invested in each of these characters, their relationships, their livelihoods, their everything. I just want to hug them all and make sure that they’re all happy and healthy and loved. And of course, they’re all so morally grey, but you can’t help but adore them.

The plot had me on the edge of my seat throughout. The writing was phenomenal; so much quotable material! Six of Crows was perfectly paced, perfectly executed, perfectly ended. And it had me dying to read Crooked Kingdom as soon as possible.

Honestly, I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this book to completion. What an absolutely stunning, incredible read. Leigh Bardugo deserves all the praise in the world. Wow.

 

Leigh Bardugo: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

The Best Books I Read in 2017

This year was full of many duds when it came to new releases or even old releases that I finally got around to, but there were a few stand-outs that really caught my attention and became new favorites of mine, the first of which was Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.

CpH4ANsVUAE5OwOGilmore Girls is one of my favorite TV shows, and Lorelai is one of my favorite characters. She’s sassy, spunky, quirky, and hilarious, and I hoped that reading Graham’s memoir would make me love the actor who played her. (PS – it did.)

This reading experience was so much fun; Graham’s voice was so clear through her writing, and I can only imagine how wonderful this audiobook must have been. I loved reading about her life and some behind the scenes tidbits from Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and A Year in the Life. This was my first 5 star read of 2017 and really just made my heart so happy.

29772863Next up was a graphic novel by none other than Marissa Meyer, a personal favorite of mine and a staple in the YA book community. That book would be Wires and Nerve, which is a sort of spin-off of the Lunar Chronicles following the adventures of Iko the android. Seeing as Iko was never a favorite character of mine, I was surprised by how much fun I had reading this and how much I now anticipate book two! This was my second experience reading a graphic novel and it has also given me a thirst for more. (PS – if anyone has any recommendations for other good graphic novels, comment below because seriously, I need more.)

DocumentAnother surprise was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. You can read my full review for this book here, but basically this book was incredible. It had everything I ever wanted and checked all of my boxes and was absolutely amazing. There was magic and mystery and action and romance and twists and family drama, and truly I cannot recommend this book enough. I want to buy copies for everyone I know and force them to read this except I don’t have that kind of money, so all I can say is: do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy of Caraval.

9781250050748Another book that I loved was This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. For some reason, this received a 4 star rating according to my Goodreads, but that may change upon further inspection because really, this book was so incredibly moving. Not only did I relate to the main character, I felt that it was a beautiful story of redemption and growth and moving past the pain of your past. I wrote a full review for this book here, so feel free to check out my complete thoughts on it and then hopefully pick up the book for yourself.

34538054The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is another book that snuck up on me and became a quick favorite. The story was very unique and sucked me in fairly easily, but ended up really tugging on my heart-strings as well. I didn’t expect this to be such an emotional read, although I should have based on other people’s reactions. This was such a special book with such a heart-wrenching ending, but I can see myself rereading this for sure. Definitely check this pick out, and also my original review for it.

29385546Marie Lu’s most recent release definitely made it on the list; Warcross exceeded my expectations. I didn’t want to get too caught up in the hype lest it let me down, but this book is well-deserving of the praise. It was cool and modern, with interesting characters, a steamy love interest, and an awesome concept. This book made me want to get sucked into video game culture and participate in this world of virtual reality and technology. Check out my full review for Warcross here.

81uGB-QT1hLGeekerella by Ashley Poston was not a surprise favorite for me. I went into this book 100% certain that I was going to love it, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This fairytale retelling of a fangirl Cinderella was adorable, funny, fresh, and such good fun. I wrote a review for Geekerella here, but you can just take my word for it: this retelling is so worth it. You may think that this story has been wrung dry, but I think there are still so many new and special ways to tell this classic tale.

Xpress-YA-Bardugo-TheLanguageofThornsThe last favorite of 2017 was The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Sometimes I have issues with short story collections because typically, there are a few in the batch that aren’t as good as the others. This was not the case with this compilation. Every single story included in The Language of Thorns was exceptional, and I was so pleased with the entire reading experience. The illustrations on every page were stunning, and the stories were all beautiful and unique. Check out my review for this book here, and then buy it for yourself because you know you want to.

This was such an incredible batch of books and I’m so excited for the new stories I’ll be introduced to in the coming year! What are some of your most anticipated 2018 releases?

BOOK REVIEW: Leigh Bardugo “The Language of Thorns”

Xpress-YA-Bardugo-TheLanguageofThornsTitle: The Language of Thorns

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

After my last two experiences reading the works of Leigh Bardugo, I admit I was beginning to lose faith. Shadow and Bone is one of my all-time favorite trilogies, and Six of Crows is hailed by many. However, after reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer and her short story included in Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, I was disappointed to say the least. I thought that maybe she had lost her touch.

I am happy to say I was wrong.

The Language of Thorns is a collection of short stories set in the world of the Grisha, (aka the Grishaverse). While originally meant to be a prequel to Shadow and Bone, Bardugo took a different route: what are some tales that some of our favorite characters may have been told as children? What are some legends or stories from the Grisha’s past that might interest fans of this world?

Each story was beautifully told and left me feeling breathless, gasping, excited, heartbroken, surprised. It’s a series of stories with no real duds; every one of them was enjoyable and well told. Bardugo admits that she drew inspiration from some classic fairytales, but gave either a darker spin or a beautiful origin story.

Without giving too much away, there are stories originating from different regions of the Grishaverse: from Zemeni, Ravka, Kerch, and Fjerda. Each story is unique with stunning illustrations on every page that pertain to the story. Then at the end of each tale is a full-page illustration, also pertaining to the story. All are in the same style, and all are absolutely beautiful. I didn’t think I’d care much for the pictures before I picked up the book, but now that I have, I appreciate them fully.

Truly, this is some of Bardugo’s most awe-inspiring work. I’m ashamed now that I didn’t read it the moment that I owned it. I hate to leave a review with barely 300+ words, but there’s not much I can say that won’t spoil any of the stories. All I can say is that this is worth the read, and it comes highly recommended.

 

Leigh Bardugo: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys”

9780147514080Title: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

Author(s): Stefan Bachmann, Kendare Blake, Jay Kristoff, Jonathan Maberry, Carrie Ryan, Nova Ren Suma, April Genevieve Tucholke, Leigh Bardugo, A.G. Howard, Marie Lu, Danielle Paige, Megan Shepherd, McCormick Templeman, Cat Winters

Genre: Horror/Thriller

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a compilation of 14 stories by some of the most well-known young adult authors in the business. This particular collection is full of creepy, scary, bone-chilling, spine-tingling stories, some of which might keep you up late into the night, scared to check under your bed or inside your closet. Each one is inspired by either TV, movies or books, some horror and some not, and gives it a twist. You’re intended to read each story and attempt to guess what they’re reminiscent of, and then you can find out at the end.

1.) The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma

The very first story in this collection was a really good way to set the tone for the entries to follow. It was appropriately creepy and told in just the right way; a story about a perverted old neighbor who takes pictures of young girls and shoots birds in his backyard.

2.) In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan

This story was by far the scariest. It’s quite obvious from the very first pages that the other drew her inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, but it took a very, very dark turn. It was disturbing and twisted and terrifying, and I will be thinking about this short story for a long, long time.

3.) Emmeline by Cat Winters

While some of these stories are intended to scary and induce nightmares, this particular story was sad: a lonely ghost girl who seduces men and likes the cinema. This one wasn’t a favorite of mine, but at least it didn’t make me want to cry like the previous one. Short, sweet, and to the point.

4.) Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo

I was excited to read this one because it was written by the lovely Leigh Bardugo, a favorite YA author of mine. This one was creepy but much more subtle. It was written well, but it was a little underwhelming to me.

5.) Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd

This was a very enjoyable read for me. It was a unique and interesting concept and I feel like it could have possibly served well as a full-length story as well. The main character is murdered by her step-father in the beginning of the story, but she’s given a chance to live if she can win a game of hide-and-seek with death. The ending was very satisfying and justice was served in the end, a very uncommon trait for most horror stories.

6.) The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige

Unfortunately, this was one of my least favorites in this collection. It was kind of creepy, but it felt mostly silly. I wasn’t impressed by this story about the son of Hades.

7.) The Flicker, the Finger, the Beat, the Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

Another one of my least favorites. It seemed sort of pointless and anti-climactic. It wasn’t scary, there were no explanations, and the characters were all very annoying and problematic. Bleh.

8.) Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Maberry

This was definitely my favorite story in this book; I absolutely loved it. It was the only one of the stories that included humor, and it had zombies, which I also love. Quite honestly, I’m thinking about trying to contact Maberry and asking him to write an entire book- heck, an entire series about Dahlia and her zombie-killing awesomeness. So very enjoyable.

9.) Sleepless by Jay Kristoff

I’ve never read anything by Kristoff before, even though I’ve been seeing him all over Instagram. This wasn’t my favorite story, but it has made me want to read more of his work for sure. It was one of the more unpredictable works in this compilation and I was surprised by the outcome. It’s obvious the direction the story was going in based on the first few pages: boy meets girl online, they talk and develop a crush on each other, and one of them is probably a predator. Somehow, I got it all wrong though, and I really liked how it ended.

10.) M by Stefan Backmann

I was a little disappointed by this one. It wasn’t a bad story and it had a really interesting, lovely setting, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea, I suppose.

11.) The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu

Another beloved author contribution, Marie Lu. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from her so far, so I was expecting to love this. Unfortunately, it was also meh. I guess I’m not impressed with paranormal-type stories about vengeful spirits. It’s such a common trope in ghost stories and I didn’t think this one was good enough to stand out.

12.) A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman

This one could have been really good. It had a unique setting, but it was almost like it was a completely different world. While it was different, it’s hard to create a whole new world and catch your reader’s attention when your story is barely 20 pages long. It’s hard to understand what’s happening when the author has so little time to explain it. If this had been longer and had more content, it would have shown promise.

13.) Stitches by A.G. Howard

Stitches was a weird story. I’m still not completely sure what happened. I want to say I liked it, but I don’t even know that. I don’t have much else to say.

14.) On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

This one was interesting, and I thought it was a good story to end on. It was beautiful in an odd, creepy kind of way.

All in all, this collection of stories had a pretty even mix of good and bad for me. Half of them I liked, half of them I didn’t.

Many of them reminded me of the stories my grandpa used to tell me. For some reason, I was able to handle scary stories better as a young child than I can now, and he used to set me up on his lap and tell some of the best ones. It’s one of my favorite memories of him and reading this brought those memories to mind. Reading this took me back to that time, and I appreciate that.

Hyped Books I Wasn’t Impressed With

We all know the feeling of reading a highly acclaimed novel that just didn’t live up to the hype. It’s disappointing and frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re the only person in the world who didn’t enjoy it and everyone else is giving it raving reviews.

16101128The first book that comes to mind for me is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I remember reading this book and giving it an absolutely scathing review on Goodreads because I was so angry. Rick Yancey is a wonderful writer and The Monstrumologist series is one of my favorites (as you can see here). I had read the first Monstrumologist book before The 5th Wave was released and I was so excited to read more from such an amazing author. I expected gorgeous writing, complex characters and a unique story, and all I got was teen angst and a predictable, unoriginal alien invasion tale. I didn’t like any of the characters and I thought the writing was far inferior to that of his previous works. Now, I since have read The Infinite Sea and thought it was a little better, but that’s only because I lowered my standards. I have yet to read The Last Star and I’m not sure if I ever will.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Script_Book_CoverAnother ridiculously anticipated novel that I thought was garbage is The Cursed Child. This book doesn’t deserve to exist, and that’s me being nice. I loathed this. I’ve read Harry Potter fan fiction that was better than this. No, seriously; way better. The Cursed Child is about Harry Potter’s son, Albus, and his years at Hogwarts… and it spat on everything that the Harry Potter series was about. It made Harry out to be a horrible father, which makes no sense. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t have been more understanding of his son. None of the characters were true to the original story. It was a horrible mess and I refuse to accept this as a part of the series. It’s a piece of trash. That is all.

99561I love John Green, don’t get me wrong, but I never really saw the appeal of this book. And maybe that’s just me and I needed to be in a certain place in my life to appreciate the story. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get this. It was slow and boring and I didn’t really like any of the characters. I didn’t really get any deeper meaning it was trying to convey and I didn’t relate to it on any level. It all seemed sort of pointless to me.

City_of_BonesThe next one I feel is a series that everyone I know is in love with, and I just don’t understand it. I can’t stand Cassandra Clare or The Mortal Instruments. Whenever I hear anyone talking about what a great writer Clare is, I almost want to gag. I totally don’t want to offend anyone and I know that this is a well-beloved series. I just can’t see what’s so great about it, and it honestly grossed me out. It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book so the details are fuzzy, but I just remember being very unimpressed with the writing in the book and thinking it was quite subpar.

41rEe4pc3yL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’m just going to say it: I thought If I Stay was really unoriginal and I did not see what all the hype was about. I’ve seen/watched so many other things with the same premise that I just wasn’t blown away by this at all. I kept waiting for something new or exciting to happen, but nothing did. However, I read the sequel on a whim and was taken very much surprise by it. I absolutely loved Where She Went. It was heartfelt and emotional and beautiful and I was so blown away. So I guess you could say that ultimately, I’m happy that I read If I Stay because I liked seeing what happened afterwards.

29749085One of the bigger disappointments that I’ve experienced recently has been from Queen Leigh Bardugo, and that was Wonder Woman: Warbringer. You can read my full review for all of my thoughts on this book, but let’s just say I expected so much more. The book was boring and the characters were stale and it felt like a less fun version of a Percy Jackson novel. I was just as excited for this book as the next person; I preordered it and I followed Bardugo’s book tour online and everything, but the book just fell short for me. I know that many people enjoyed it and I’m so glad they did. I wish I could have found that same enjoyment, but alas, I did not.

I realize that everyone has different tastes and preferences, and I totally respect that. Let me know which selections you agreed or disagreed with. Or let me know if there are titles that you yourself were disappointed in that should have been on this list. Mahalo!

Straight Up, Just a Collection of Pretty Covers

I don’t know about you, but I have a serious case of lusting after beautiful books. Even if I buy the book and despise it, I will keep it simply because it’s a nice addition to my bookshelf.

How shallow, right? It’s true. The following are some of the prettiest books I’ve ever seen: some I loved, some I didn’t, and some I have yet to read.

1.) Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The cover is what initially drew me toward this book in the first place, but this is one instance where the cover matched the contents. This is a beautiful series, and definitely one of my favorites. In fact, all of the books in the Grisha trilogy are beautiful. Here, just look at them:

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Recently, this series underwent a cover change, which I felt was completely unnecessary but oh well. As long as I own the superior covers.

2.) These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

Whoever designed this cover deserves an award. Just holy cow. I borrowed this book first from a friend, and when I ended up loving it, I immediately bought it. (Didn’t hurt that it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve ever seen in my life, right?) However, I wish the rest of this series had been as amazing as the first. This space adventure trilogy started off so strong, and then I slowly started to lose interest. I’ve shamelessly kept the books, though, and still like to take them down and gaze at them every so often.

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3.) Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Holy cow, this book. Before I opened it for the first time, I knew nothing about it. It turned out to be the best book I’ve read so far in 2017. The story, the characters, the mystery; just oh so incredible and engaging. And of course, it has one of the most amazing covers. Mine even shimmers in certain lights, and I could just stare at it all day. However, please read this book because of the amazing story and not because the cover is so beautiful you could die. You can read my review for Caraval here.

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4.) A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

I have very mixed feelings about this trilogy. On one hand, the concept and idea of the story is very interesting and showed plenty of promise. I’m all for time travel and talk of different dimensions and all that jazz. This book could have had it all, for me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t pleased with how the story was told. For a story so action-packed like this one, I shouldn’t be bored. I shouldn’t be wishing for the end like I did so often with this series. However, would you just look at those covers?

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5.) Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Long before I ever joined bookstagram or I even dreamed of blogging about books, I ran across this book while browsing Goodreads. I was immediately struck by how beautiful the cover was, and I immediately wanted it. At the time, I had no job and no money, so it went into my Amazon wish list for me to buy at another time.

Over three years later, I have finally bought this book and added it to my bookshelf, and it was one of the most glorious moments. I’ve been waiting to own this piece of art forever, and I finally have it. Have I read it yet? No. Will I soon? Maybe. If I hate it, will I get rid of it? Definitely never. In fact, I need to add the rest of this series to my wish list ASAP, and maybe purchase them in the next few months instead of waiting three years like last time.

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6.) Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I read this one on a whim and I was so glad that I did. Rebel of the Sands had a unique premise and a unique setting, and also sported some very likeable, interesting characters. My only wish is that I could find this same edition for the second book in hardcover, because so far I have had no such luck. Why are there so many different editions and various covers for the same book? Why can’t they all look the same, even if they’re covers for another country? Can’t you change the language and content of the book without changing the look of the cover? Is this so much to ask???

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7.) The Selection by Kiera Cass

Ah, yes. This infamous series. What to say about The Selection? I hate them, and I can’t get enough of them. I could talk crap about them all day, but if Cass were to release another book right now, I would go out and buy it immediately, no questions asked. Why is this? What is the magic of these books? It’s not even the beautiful covers with the girly dresses, although I love them. I just can’t stop reading them. I want to say that they bore me but they don’t. It doesn’t matter how much I despise America (the main character’s name in the series, I promise I love my country). It doesn’t matter how maddening her decisions are. I just eat these books up, and I am ashamed.

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8.) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

These books have always been a lot of fun, particularly the very first one. The premise is wonderful, and even though I have disliked certain aspects of the story, I still consider these to be good reads. While I prefer the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, this is still an excellent addition to Han’s repertoire. Plus, the covers are super cute, come on.

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That’s all for today folks. Just wanted to share with you some of my favorite book covers and feature them here for y’all’s enjoyment and appreciation. Sometimes I like to stare at them dreamily, and maybe that’s a little creepy. I love my books, okay? Not only do I believe they should have excellent content, I’m a firm believer in creating aesthetically pleasing cover art. What can I say, I’m a sucker. Slap a nice cover on a crappy book and I’ll totally buy it. Sue me.

BOOK REVIEW: Leigh Bardugo “Wonder Woman: Warbringer”

22016201_1813513125345437_1510066936_nTitle: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy/Action Adventure

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

This is probably one of my bigger disappointments of 2017. Warbringer was such an anticipated read for me, especially after the success of the film (disclaimer: the book and film are not related), and I’ve loved Leigh Bardugo’s work in the past. Shadow & Bone is one of my all-time favorite series, so of course I was going to read this.

Bardugo begins Diana’s story on Themyscira, the remote island that Amazon women inhabit. Diana struggles to fit in with the Amazons and prove herself, fully aware that she’s different from the rest of them. While the other women have seen battle and proved themselves as warriors, Diana has never had to and is seen as inferior.

While running a race, hoping to win and show her mother how strong she has become, Diana witnesses the explosion of a ship off the coast of Themyscira. Against her better judgement, she dives into the water to survey the wreckage, only to find a lone survivor, Alia, who she saves. Shortly after performing this good deed, Diana discovers that Alia comes from a line of Warbringers, women that are descendants of Helen and are catalysts of aggression and violence among humans. Alia’s presence on the island causes the Amazons to get sick and for the island to begin to die. Unwilling to sacrifice Alia, Diana hopes to end the line of Warbringers once and for all by taking Alia to Helen’s resting place and letting her bathe in the nearby springs. However, this means exposure to the real world, something that Diana has never seen before. Can she reach Helen’s resting place before Alia is killed by those hoping to prevent war?

Let’s start with the things I liked about this book. Of course, I loved Diana; she’s such a good, pure, innocent character. Her desire to help everyone and ensure that no one has to die is admirable, and she constantly puts her life on the line for people she barely knows. Most of these sacrifices are born initially from her love for her fellow Amazons, but she could have let Themyscira kill Alia if she cared for only her people. She was also a fun character to read after she and Alia reached New York; poor Diana was so naive and had some very unintentionally funny moments.

And to be honest, that’s all I enjoyed. Alia was a solid character, I suppose, but I just didn’t sympathize with her like I feel I was supposed to. Jason was dull, as were the other supporting characters, Nim and Theo, who were both too one-dimensional. All in all, I just didn’t care what happened to any of them, whether they lived or died. They didn’t make me feel anything.

As far as the story, I kept going back and forth on it. The first few chapters had me concerned, but once we were told Alia’s heritage, I was interested. Unfortunately, as soon as they reached New York, I feel that the plot sort of plateaued. There was no story development, and the characters stayed in one place for too long. They spent too long deciding what to do, and then spent too long waiting to act on that decision.

Honestly, this book had a very Percy Jackson feel to it, but I didn’t like it. With Percy Jackson books, you come to expect some ridiculousness because that’s kind of the point; Rick Riordan parodies some of these gods and goddesses so that they aren’t even intimidating anymore; the whole thing is basically a joke, but in the best possible way. The books are meant for middle graders and are meant to entertain. The characters crack stupid jokes during battles and high-action scenes not because it’s realistic, but because it’s hilarious.

I didn’t want Wonder Woman to feel like a middle grade read. I expected this to be more mature, and while I realize it’s fantasy and there’s no way this could have been completely realistic, there has to be some semblance of practicality in the way the characters react and interact.

Not to mention, there’s a good chunk of about 200 pages in the middle of the book that had me bored to tears. It’s almost as if Bardugo had this great idea for a story (it really was!) and knew where the characters were going to end up, but not how they were going to get there. So we spend the entire center of the book in limbo waiting for something to happen, and by the time we get to the end, I didn’t care anymore.

I feel I was really generous with my 2.5 star rating, mostly due to my love for Leigh Bardugo. This book doesn’t affect my opinion of the lovely author; I just don’t think urban fantasy is her thing. I’ve read many raving reviews about the book and I’m so glad that others were able to enjoy what I could not, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

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