Bath & Body Works Book Tag

 Another lovely tag from the talented Nicolette at A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly. You can find her awesome list of reads on her blog, here.

And since I have some books I’d love to gush about myself, here’s the post.


Pure Paradise – A book that was pure perfection A Darker Shade final for Irene
A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. I know I said this in my book review but this book legitimately had EVERYTHING I’ve ever wanted in a fantasy novel. Magic, Intrigue, Betrayal, Suspense, and OH MY GOD, THE PACING! Not to mention the incredibly elegant prose with which Schwab writes. It’s all just so… BRILLIANT!

 

Sweet Pea – A romance/contemporary you really enjoyed
My heartMy Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. This book. I don’t read a lot of contemporary or romance, but the stuff I do, I need to be complex and beautiful and have an epic-level character arch. This book was all these things, along with a carve-my-heart-out realism that had me going through all the feels. There is a trigger warning of suicide with this one, but I highly recommend picking this up. Warga does a fantastic job at tackling a difficult and complex topic.

 

Fresh Strawberries – A book you really enjoyed that came out this yearRed Queen
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I enjoyed a LOT of books this year, and there were a lot of fantastic new releases (a lot that I haven’t had the chance to read just yet). But Red Queen was the first new release for 2015, as well as a debut, and I was really all around impressed with it. The writing, the incredible fight scenes. Mind you I’m a total sucker for twisty plots, but Aveyard does a great job at laying the ground work for her twists that makes them both surprising and expected. They’re the kind of twists that have you smacking yourself because you should have seen them coming. I’m really looking forward to seeing where the series goes.

 

Warm Vanilla – A character and/or book that made you feel all warm inside
HOF CoverHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. I know this is an odd choice for “Warm Vanilla”, but I promise there’s a good reason, though it is incredibly personal. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I spent 2011 in Iraq and struggle with PTSD as a result. During this book, Celaena confronts a lot of her own demons, things that have been weighing on her shoulders, things that have made her doubt/hate herself. This book gave me the safe place I needed to process emotions I hadn’t had the courage to deal with before. So as Celaena healed throughout the book, I was able to do some healing of my own. Here’s the link to my book review.

 

Paris Amour – A couple you majorly ship together 79329_original
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone, but AELIN AND ROWAN. ALL DAY. EVERY DAY. I don’t care what you Celorian shippers say, Rowan is my ultimate ship for Aelin. He’s her match in every way. He understands her without judgment and loves every bit of her. I want one. Can I have one? Someone find me one. Please? Here’s the link to my book review.

 

Dancing Waters – A book that takes place on the beach/ the perfect beach read
Bridget Jones DiaryBridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding. To be fair, it’s the only book I’ve read that can be considered a “beach read.” But this book is HILARIOUS. The voice, the constant failings of the MC. It’s all a fun, ridiculous story. Plus it’s a loose Pride and Prejudice retelling. What’s not to love?

 

I Heart Cake (and Books) – your favorite bookLioness Rampant
The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. I know, I’m totally cheating. I don’t care. I can’t pick an individual book in this quartet. They all just fit together so nicely. You should really just read them all in one sitting… But seriously, this series is the reason I’m a writer. The protagonist has ambition and doesn’t let anyone, even a love interest, get in her way. It’s an incredibly progressive book in terms of how a young woman addresses life and love, but you know, in a fantasy setting. *high-fives young feminists everywhere*

 

Winter Candy Apple – A book set during Christmas or winter
Winter-finalWinter by Marissa Meyer. I know, I’m cheating here too because it’s not set in Winter, it’s set ON THE MOON! But I figured the title counted enough. Plus there’s the whole thing where there’s also apple candies in the book, so this totally fits. Anyhoo, if you haven’t picked up the Lunar Chronicles series yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! This series is incredibly expansive, and Winter is the most brilliant, well-done finale I’ve read in a LONG TIME. Seriously. Meyer covers all her bases in this book and ties up ALL the loose ends. She also does a fantastic job at keeping the pace consistent. There’s no lull. There’s no here-let-me-cramp-in-all-the-answers. It’s just incredibly well done. Writers, take note. That’s how you end a series.

 

Beautiful Day – A book with an unusual / interesting / appealing setting220px-Bloodline2005
Bloodline by Kate Cary. It’s set during WWI, and is a sort of a continuation/spin off of Dracula. It’s also told in a series of journal entries from all characters involved, including the antagonist. Need I say more?

 

Dazzling Diamonds – A beautiful cover
GatesOfThreadGates Of Thread And Stone by Lori M. Lee. So in order to REALLY get the full scope of how gorgeous this book is, you have to take off the dust jacket. Not only is the dust jacket impeccable, giving us our MC, her world, AND her ability (she can manipulate the threads of time), not to mention the title text is GORGEOUS, BUT the actual hard cover IS PRINTED! That’s right, undress the cover and you get a city scape. The words inside are also fantastic. Lee’s writing is deliciously detailed and the action scenes and the way she writes Kai’s ability makes you feel like you’re fighting a boss in a video game. I don’t know how she does it, but it’s spectacular.


If you’ve read the above books, I’d love to here your thoughts! As for the lovely book bloggers I’m going to tag…

*Reaches into massive fishbowl*

*Pulls out paper*

Kelly @ Stellar Scrutiny Book Blog

Ember @ Literary Constellation

Charley @ BooksandBakes1

Crystel @ Where Is Crystel

HAPPY READING!

BOOK REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

The next three weeks are going to be devoted to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor.

Never has a trilogy left me so conflicted. Overall, I truly did love this series, and I had a really bad case of the mourning’s when I turned the final page of book 3. But for as many things that I absolutely loved about these books, there were also things that had me second-guessing whether or not I would finish the series.

This trilogy is definitely a in-it-for-the-long-haul read. If you’re looking for something that will give you a quick resolution, this probably isn’t for you. You do get your resolutions, but Taylor makes you work for them.

BUT if you want an epically unique world to get lost in and explore, you need to pick up this trilogy. It is expansive and expertly developed and each character has his or her own needs/agenda.

So without further ado: My thoughts on Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone

NON-SPOILER-Y REVIEW

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is a YA Fantasy that takes place in Prague. The MC, Karou, already leads a spectacular life, having been raised by chimaera and traveling the world. But when angels start burning handprints into doors, Karou’s life gets a whole lot more complicated.

There are so many reasons to pick up this first book, but my top has to be the magnificent prose with which Taylor delivers the story. From page one, Taylor’s skills with imagery trap you in the story, and her characters are so vibrant that you feel like you’ve known them forever.

Taylor manages to write an epic-fantasy-level story while straddling the hum-drum human world, but even her human characters are far from stereotypes. She does a brilliant job at giving us fully developed characters from their first introduction as well as laying layer upon layer of mysteries and secrets for us to unravel throughout the series.

And that’s it for this non-spoiler-y section. Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.


SPOILER-Y FANGIRLING

Okay, so I said it above, but I’ll say it again. OH MY GOD, THE WRITING! NO, SERIOUSLY, THE WRITING!

One of the main reasons I absolutely adored this trilogy was Taylor’s incredible talent and skill with prose. Every metaphor, every visual, every description, everything was just ON POINT!

I loved how fearless and curious Karou was. Overall an incredibly compelling character. Actually, all of Taylor’s characters were compelling. Karou, Akiva, Brimstone, Zuzana.

Also, the world that Taylor creates is fully-realized from the get-go. So even though we have a BAGILLION questions, those questions are due to necessary built-in mystery rather than a lack of world-building.

And before I move on, did anyone else laugh hysterically at Brimstone’s “non-essential penis” line for days on end like I did? No? Just me? Mkay…

Alright, now for the not-so-fangirling bit.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVED this trilogy and will sing Taylor’s praises as a writer all day long, BUT I had a really big issue with the chapters of flashback post mid-point. It felt like I was moving along at a swift pace with Karou and Akiva, then suddenly, “We’re going to interrupt your current story for a massive interlude of backstory.”

That may have been a little harsh.

I do agree that we needed that information for the rest of the series. I just wish it would have been incorporated in a way that didn’t totally press pause on our girl Karou. Even though Karou is Madrigal. But still.

Like I said, I truly do love this story and the characters and the world and the writing. But for whatever reason, I am hung up on that silly flashback. *throws toddler tantrum*

What about y’all? What did you think about the flashback? Did you expect Brimstone to be using teeth to conjure chimaera?

Next Friday, I’ll be reviewing Days of Blood and Starlight, book 2 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor.

BOOK REVIEW: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

So funny story. I’d put off reading this series for reasons I can’t remember. Then picked up book 1, Throne of Glass. Less than two weeks later, I was itching for books 5 and 6, WHICH DO NOT YET EXIST!

Over the next few weeks (the goal is once a week), I’ll be posting a review of each TOG novel with a non-spoiler-y section as well as a total spoiler-y gushing fangirliness rant section. So without further ado, Throne of Glass

NON-SPOILER REVIEW

Throne of Glass was a solid debut fantasy novel. It had the spunky, kickass heroine, the handsome prince, magical villainy, non-magical villainy, great action, and a unique, complex world.

Celaena Sardothien is an assassin who has spent the last year in a slave camp. She is pulled out of slavery to compete to become the King’s assassin. Publisher’s Weekly described it as Graceling meets The Hunger Games, and between the to-the-death competition and court intrigue, I have to agree. You find reasons to root for all the characters and you keep reading to see how their motivations all intertwine and develop.

Overall, it was a really fun adventure. But it did have a habit of feeling like every other YA High Fantasy with a female warrior. There were moments during the novel that I thought I was reading Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED this book, as well as the book it reminded me of. And though the plot was a bit on the predictable side, Maas lays the groundwork for a phenomenal series. So even if you thought TOG was “meh,” I still recommend diving into Crown of Midnight, because OH MY GOD, THESE BOOKS! Celaena and her world only become more complex and spectacular as you go along. Also, Queen of Shadows is everything!

Stop reading now to avoid spoilers.


SPOILER-Y FANGIRLING

Four words: Love Triangle Done Right. It’s not just there to ruffle the plot, Celaena has legitimate reasons to fall for both Dorian and Chaol. And because Maas writes in the 3rd person, from multiple POV’s, you know where everyone stands. So by the time you get to the dual at the end of the book and Dorian is standing by while Chaol is standing on the ring’s edge, giving Celaena strength, you’re feeling ALL THE EMOTIONS. Which I think speaks to Maas’s incredible talent and skill with wordsmithery.

I also want to talk a little about Celaena. Despite her unfortunate situation with Endovier, she’s in complete control of herself. She holds no bars in letting Chaol or Dorian know when they’re pissing her off, and she’s fully aware of the effect she has on both boys. Celaena holds her cards very close to her chest, from her friends and, somehow, from the readers. Of course you don’t realize all that until later books… SO KEEP READING THE SERIES!

And before I write a complete dissertation, I’m going to stop here. See you next time for my review of Crown of Midnight.