Rip It or Ship It!

Goooood morning and welcome to the newest segment on my blog: Rip it, or ship it! I’ve never done this before, so I’m really excited! I asked for submissions on my Instagram page a few weeks ago, and now I’m writing my post. First up, Kylo Ren and Rey.

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Kylo Ren & Rey (Star Wars)

So I’ll be up front and say that I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan; however, I do know and have seen enough to be able to rip or ship Kylo and Rey. That’s a total ship from me! I am a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope and these two are as swoony as they come.

Jacob & Bella (Twilight)

Jacob-Bella-Kiss

Honestly, ship it. I was never a huge fan of Edward and I think Bella would have been just as happy with Jacob. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of Twilight anyway; I tend to watch the movies just to make fun of them anyway. But Robert Pattinson has got nothing on Taylor Lautner. Like I’m sorry, there’s no competition for me.

Chuck & Blair (Gossip Girl)

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Ship. It. I love them so much. Were they a little dysfunctional? Yes, definitely, absolutely, at times. But in the end, they love each other more than 90% of the TV couples out there and I will ship them until the end of days. It got to the point where I only watched Gossip Girl for these two because everyone else sucked.

Lorcan & Cassian (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses)

The person who submitted these two were obviously trying to mess with me, but I’ll humor them. Rip it. Absolutely not. Never in a thousand years. Nope. Also I think Lorcan would murder Cassian; but that’s just my opinion.

Doug & Tracy (Christy Miller series)

Ship it! That one random book where Doug and Christy were dating was really awkward, so I was really glad when Doug and Tracy came to their senses. No photos of these love bird but rest assured, they are precious.

Aelin & Feyre (Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses

Y’all are killing me. Le sigh. Something tells me that Feyre may be on board with this match because she’s into strong and sassy, but I don’t think Aelin would be into it. Rip it. 

Kaz & Chaol (Six of Crows and Throne of Glass)

Who even thought to match these two up? I feel like I gotta rip it since it’s kind of difficult to ship anyone with Kaz, particularly a drama queen like Chaol. No disrespect Chaol, but you know it’s true.

Hiccup & Cress (How To Train Your Dragon and The Lunar Chronicles)

This is such a strange pairing, but I could actually see it working. Both are quirky and adorable enough to make me ship it.

Michael Scott & Donna Noble (The Office and Doctor Who)

To the person who submitted this pair (you know who you are)… what is wrong with you? I’m dead. To be honest, I wouldn’t ship anyone with Michael ever, not unless you’re name is Holly Flax. Although it’s hilarious that Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) also played in The Office, although not really alongside Steve Carell. No matter. That’s a big fat rip it from me.

The Darkling & Levana (Shadow and Bone and The Lunar Chronicles)

Huh, this one is actually making me stop and think. Two psychotic characters who have deluded themselves into believing that they’re doing right? I mean, it just might work? Right? I might actually ship it?

John Ambrose McClaren & America Singer (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Selection

While I definitely wish absolute happiness for that precious cinnamon roll John Ambrose, I wouldn’t ship anyone with America Singer because she sucks. Rip it.

Carswell Thorne & Nina Zenik (The Lunar Chronicles and Six of Crows)

This is another one that’s making me stop and think. They’re both strong and sassy characters, but I tend to think that opposites attract. So maybe they’d be too alike? I think I’ll rip it for now. But my mind could be changed.

That’s the last of the submissions! This was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing this again. This may have been more the ravings of a fan girl rather than the intelligent musings of a book lover, but that’s okay sometimes right?

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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.

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

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