Monday, August 1, 2016

It's not a book slump! (Update #13)

I swear to everyone, I AM NOT IN A BOOK SLUMP.

In July, I only read two books. Those two books were my summer reading assignments for my literature class. I didn't read any other books and I haven't written any reviews. Honestly, I flew through those two books in a day or two so I had time to read plenty of books, BUT I DIDN'T. Like I said, I am not in a reading slump because I have been reading everyday.

Instead of reading actual novels/books, I've been reading a lot of digital comics from this app called 'LINE Webtoon.' This is the reason why I haven't read any books in July. When I downloaded this app in early July, my initial reaction was like, "eh, why not." WHO KNEW IT WOULD TAKE OVER MY LIFE.

Because I use this app almost daily and read a lot of people's web comics, I will probably make a Top 10 Favorite LINE Webtoon Comics very soon.

This app is not the only reason why I haven't been reading physical books. Another reason is I'm back in school. This is my last year and it will be pretty hectic up until December and then back at it again in May.

My goal of reading 50 books this year is still going on. Hopefully I can spare a day or two a month and power read though a couple of books.

For now, you know what's been going on and I do have drafts saved on here but I'm not releasing those yet. I don't know how many posts or books I will do in August but FOR SURE I will have one in September because of the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series!

Jessie x

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Review

Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 465 pages
Series: Six of Crows #1

Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.


Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Review: 

I had ups and downs while reading this book but overall I enjoyed it.

What I like the most about this book was how unique and different the characters are from each other. There wasn’t a character that overshadowed the other. It was more of a team effort. Just the bantering from the characters were my favorite parts of the entire book. Another thing was I kept forgetting these characters were like at least 16-18 years old. The way they act and do things makes it seem as if they were in their early 20s.

Even though this is told in multiple points of views, I have to highlight my favorite character, Inej, aka the spy known as the Wraith. She is such a fierce and kickass character that I am so rooting for in the end. Inej is so determined and doesn’t take anyone’s bullshit.

Plot wise, I did enjoy this book but maybe it was the hype? I couldn’t really connect with it and I wasn’t fully invested. I felt something in this was lacking but I don’t know what. Maybe the thing with this book for me was it was really character based and their backstories that I was missing the actual heist of it all. I guess I was looking for a really action packed book. I mean, there was scenes that had action but not to the extent that I was looking forward to.

Overall I say it’s still an enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to see what will happen next in this duology. 

Rating:

Friday, July 1, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard Review

Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 412 pages
Series: The Witchlands #1


Synopsis:

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


Review:

A book that is centered on friendship. It’s definitely something I don’t usually read but I enjoyed reading it.

Let’s start with the world building. For me, it was hazy and all over the place. It was confusing at times and everything is thrown at you all at once in the beginning but I guess it kind of settles down while you read on. I just wished there was something to help with all the different types of witches and empires because THERE’S SO MANY OF THEM. Maybe in the next book there will be more information about the cultures and history behind some empires.

Isuelt and Aeduan was the highlight of this book. I did prefer their chapters over Safi’s and Malik’s. Iseult is calm and always logical about things compared to Safi who is impulsive and fierce. Safi and Iseult completes each other and they are both nevertheless kickass characters. Merik is very pissy and has temper problems but under that, he’s a good price trying to save his country. Now Aeduan is probably the most complex character out there, because you don’t know his intentions and what side he’ll be on in the future. Like is he an anti-hero? Is he straight out an antagonist? He’s so mysterious and there’s not much of who he really is.

The pacing of this story was a bit slow for my liking. Some things dragged and then some was rushed to a point where I don’t remember parts in the book or I didn’t connect with the plot or characters.

I didn’t mind the romance in this. It didn’t overshadow the plot which was good. Safi and Malik has a snappy type romance. Aeduan and Iseult is a slow burn romance (hopefully). It’s a slow burn romance in that there’s nothing there but maybe something in the future. It’s not canon but I’m just saying I’m so on board with this ship.

Overall, the world building and characters was something of an issue with me, maybe it’s not an issue with others. I really want to continue on with this series to see what happens with Aeduan, even though he is the antagonist. Maybe I’ll enjoy the sequel a bit more than this.

Rating:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi Review

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 342 pages
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1


Synopsis:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.


Review:

I really wanted to like this book. The beginning was promising but then as I kept reading, the characters just lacked for me.

First off, my reading experience with this book wasn’t the best. On my Goodreads, you can tell that finishing this book was a struggle for me. I kept putting the book down multiple times. Here was my reading progress:

04/20   marked as: to-read
05/01   marked as: currently-reading
05/03   marked as: to-read
05/08   marked as: currently-reading
05/09   marked as: put-down-for-now
05/10   marked as: currently-reading
05/12   marked as: put-down-for-now
06/01   marked as: read

I really liked the beginning of the book but once we were near the middle, I lost all the ability to keep reading. I had to force myself to continue and finish it.

For me, the main reason it started to drag was the characters. I did not like Maya or Amar. Usually I’m into romances and instant love doesn’t really bother me, but in this book, it did. It was all of a sudden and like it came out of nowhere. Maya, was weak and to put it nicely, very clueless and stupid. I did not relate to any of the characters and I just wished they were more developed.

I will say the writing is written beautifully and poetic. It flows and it’s lyrical but sometimes it does go out of hand. Sometimes it goes off into a tangent and it doesn’t really make any sense. Other times you just roll with it and get into all the metaphors and all that stuff.

Overall, even now I don’t know what really ended up happening with the book. I was mostly confused and wanted this book to end. This book wasn’t for me but, maybe it is for others.

Rating:

Saturday, June 18, 2016

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir Review

Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 446 pages
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1


Synopsis:

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.


Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.


But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Review:

I cannot believe this book was supposed to be a standalone. How on earth can this be a standalone?!

I can’t believe it took me this long to actually pick this up and read it. I could’ve read this the day it came out but no. Heck, I could’ve read this a few months ago but I still didn’t! Long story short, I’m grateful I did now and I am so excited to see what will happen next in the series.

I could not put this book down. Granted the beginning was a little slow but overall I didn’t mind it because there had to be some world building and introductions to things since it is the first book. Then when everything is settled down, it is so fast-paced, every chapter was left as a cliffhanger, and I had to read more of it until I finished the book.

I loved the two main characters, Laia and Elias. I like how Laia’s and Elias’s relationship was a slow build up. The romance in this wasn’t too overbearing and it wasn’t the main focus of this book –which I liked. Seeing both their perspectives in this book made everything so much interesting because Laia is a slave/spy and Elias is a soldier/son to the Commandant. So they’re very different in that but in the long run, both their faiths are intertwined. Because their destinies are connected, we see they might not be that different from each other after all.

For secondary characters, I might be in the minority but I was not a huge fan of Helene. I’m not saying I don’t like her personality. I’m saying I didn’t like her morals and actions behind some things she did in this book. I did like Izzi. Her friendship with Laia was very much needed and I enjoyed every moment they had together.

Bless praise we get a sequel and I am so counting down the days for it. I don’t know what else to say other than this book met my expectations and I SO RECOMMEND IT! 

Rating:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 439 pages
Series: The Raven Cycle #4


Synopsis:

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.


Review:

I have a hard time rating this book. Back in April, I didn't know what to feel about it. Then I slept on it and I still didn't know. It's been months now and I'm still conflicted. I love this series very dearly but I can't seem to wrap my head around this book.

I'm not going into details about this book because I'm barely making my way through this review. I honestly don't know what to say about this book. It took me two months to finally write this and I just have an "eh" feeling about it.

I'm probably in the minority here, but this last and final book was something I did not expect. I was so hyped about this book since day one because this was the big reveal where everything goes down. Well, overall I was disappointed on how things ended. I didn't feel happy or sad about the ending. I just mostly felt neutral and let down.

I was honestly hoping for something heartbreaking, epic, or tears streaming down my face feeling. I didn't get any of those reactions. All I got was disappointment and dissatisfied. With three books leading up to this big finale, I was expecting more out of it. All this build up and suddenly it ends.

This book to me felt rushed and left many things hanging. There's still too many questions unanswered and I felt there wasn't a true ending. Everything like the character's fates were left unresolved in my opinion. The ending felt to easy and just there.

I wished I enjoyed this book, but I didn't.

Rating:





Saturday, May 28, 2016

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes Review

Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 413 pages
Series: Falling Kingdoms #4


Synopsis:

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.


Review (Non Spoiler & Spoilers) :

This for me is by far my favorite Falling Kingdoms book. Plot-twist after plot-twist after plot- twist.

Now, this is the fourth book in this series. If you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you doing? Not much to say with non-spoilers so I highly recommend you go read this series.



WARNING SPOILER FILLED DISCUSSION (SPOILER SECTION)

Lucia’s chapters are my least favorite in the whole series. Her coldness in the beginning, I understood but then it got really annoying as the book progressed. I was already done with Lucia but once she used Magnus, someone who loves her dearly, to get information, I was like NOPE. DONE. BYE.

I think I realize why I don’t like Lucia. Lucia and Cleo are both the same age and are immensely involved with the plot. When you put Lucia and Cleo side by side, Cleo is the bigger person because of how much Cleo had to be more independent from all the shit that’s happened. Lucia from the start was protected and warded off from everyone by Magnus and her father so it could be assumed she’s pretty young and na├»ve.

Finally Cleo and Magnus are officially a thing now. They’ve been a thing since Rebel Spring but now they finally revealed their feelings for each other and it’s so great. Their relationship is so dynamic in that they both hated each other from the start and done unspeakable things but now they’re in love with each other. They were enemies and to be honest, I’m surprised that they would have a romantic relationship. I mean, Magnus did kill Cleo’s first love in the first book, then King Gaius forced them to marry in the second book, and throughout the third book, they avoid each other whenever possible, and now they’re confessing their love in a cabin in the woods. Like what a turn of events.

The amount of plot twists in this book amazes me. We got Lucia finding out she’s pregnant. King Gaius and Cleo’s mom used to have a thing. Ashur is alive. Theon has a twin brother named Taran who is off to get revenge for his brother’s death. So many things happened and these are the only ones I can think of on the top of my head.

I have some clue to what might happen in the next book but what I do know is I can never tell if some of the characters in this series will survive. 

Rating:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes Review

Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 407 pages
Series: Falling Kingdoms #3


Synopsis:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred—the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic. . . .

THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic—all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.


Review:

Every book in the Falling Kingdoms series gets better and better as it progresses.

Like the previous book, it immediately picks up where it left off. King Gaius is still ruling over the kingdoms. Everyone is going apeshit for the Kindred and the elemental crystals.

Back in Rebel Spring, I was pretty set on my feelings about the characters. Now, I'm solid with it. Cleo and Magnus continue to be my top favorite characters and Lucia is my least. Of course there’s other characters that I despise like the Kraeshians and King Gaius but for a core character, I still don’t care where Lucia’s character is going. Like if there was a possibility that Lucia’s character is cut off, I would be fine with it.

What I like the most in this series is the romance doesn’t overshadow the plot. It’s a subtle and slow burning romance that takes over a span of the books. The romance takes time to develop and I like that. I don’t know about you but the sexual tension between Cleo and Magnus is what I live for (sorry Jonas shippers…not really). They care for each other even though they don’t want to say it or realize it until last minute.

Morgan Rhodes doesn’t care AF about our feelings. She will destroy them left and right with no remorse and I like that. She takes risks and does what she wants and I am so on board with that. This series is turning into one of my new obsessions.

Rating: