Quick Take: Girl in the Blue Coat

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

I have been on an audiobook binge recently and this was my most recent listen! 🙂 I 29910523definitely enjoyed this and surprisingly enough, this was a great read for October! This story follows a young Dutch girl named Hanneke during the German occupation in WWII. Hanneke trades goods on the black market for people who are willing to pay. In the midst of one of her black market trading with one of her regular customers, she gets asked to do another favor. A favor that is incredibly risky. A favor that could cost Hanneke her life. Her customer had been hiding a young Jewish girl who has gone missing. At first, Hanneke is hesitant to help her as she understands the implications of the task at hand. However, as more and more pieces of the puzzle come together, Hanneke realizes that there is more to the story than expected.

This story was wonderful and beautifully haunting. The narration was done wonderfully! The story ended up feeling more like a mystery, which is what made it an excellent read for October. It was eerie, haunting and heartbreaking. This story touched on family, friendships, betrayal, love and war…and how all of these things are impacted by war. The biggest take-away for me was reading about the way war changes people and what it makes people do.

Anytime I read a story set during this time, it’s always heartbreaking and I’m always amazed by the different POV’s that these stories could be told from. I am always amazed and grateful for the diversity of stories during this time, but also the different angles that these stories take.

This was heartbreaking, eerie and beautiful. I highly recommend it and I highly recommend listening to this on audiobook. The audiobook definitely adds another element to the story making it even more heartbreaking and beautiful.

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Quick Take: Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns (#1) by Kendare Blake
ijss5 (.5)

23207027Let me start this review by saying how defeating it feels to pick up a book that you’ve been anticipating for a long time, finally get to it, and then you just feel oh so let down. Unfortunately, this is what happened with me and “Three Dark Crowns” by Kendare Blake. Le sigh…

This book has all the makings of a book that I would normally really, really enjoy!!
1. The sisters each with different magical abilities – an elemental, a naturalist and a poisoner.
2. A fight to the death for the crown.
3. Badass female protagonists.
4. Heavy political intrigue.

Literally, these are all the elements that an author needs to include to draw me in! Unfortunately, this not only didn’t live up to the hype for me, but I just found it so painfully slow. It wasn’t even that the world-building was taking too long or the political story line was too dense…I just found it boring for the first 75% of the book!

The book switches between the three sisters POV’s and occasional pans over to some key side characters, as well. I do find the different communities very interesting and the world set up was fantastic, but I found that the character development of each sister was so lacking. I don’t know if it’s because we’re not really supposed to feel connected to any of them…but you would think that if the three sisters are supposed to duke it out for the throne, you’d want to build each one up to gain a following, right?

Not only were the sisters’ development not really present, we focused so heavily on the side characters, most of which I didn’t like anyways! I definitely enjoyed reading from Jules’ perspective and she is definitely my current favorite character. Everyone else either felt so bland or were just so deplorable that I couldn’t relate.

The last 25% definitely picked up pretty quickly, which also meant that (to me) the climax built too quickly and then wrapped up too quickly. I really wished that she expanded the last 25% as that was what I was wanting the entire book.

This is a 4-book series and I am going to give the second book a try because of the last 25% of the book. It definitely sets up with way more potential for the rest of the books to be better and more action-packed, which was what I was hoping for with this first one.

I am definitely disappointed…but I will give the second book a chance with a lot of high hopes, but if the second book doesn’t capture my attention…there’s a good chance that I won’t finish this series. Le sigh…I have had such a great reading run and then to come up to this was just so defeating!! 😥

If any of you have read this and completely disagree with me, please let me know in the comments! 🙂 I’d love to chat more about the book and maybe what I was missing when I read this first one, but it definitely wasn’t for me!

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Quick Take: The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

My boyfriend has been on a major audiobook kick, so I was kind of jonesing for an the upside of unrequitedaudiobook myself. Enter “The Upside of Unrequited”! I got this through my library and after sampling the book, I thought that this would be a great book to pick up after the slight book hangover that “Our Dark Duet” gave me. And if you’re wondering why it gave me such a book hangover, check out my most recent series review that I did!

Anyways! On to the book! I loved Becky Albertalli’s first book, “Simon and the Homo-Sapiens Agenda”, so I had been meaning to get to this next book of hers! This book follows Molly, who is a serial monogamous “crusher”. She has had 26 crushes. And 0 boyfriends. Molly’s twin sister, Cassie, keeps pushing her by telling her to “woman up” and make something of these crushes already. A new girl enters Cassie’s world bringing a cute hipster-boy, that may seem to dig her back? An interesting problem presents itself to Molly, however, in the form of Molly’s coworker (Reid) who Molly couldn’t possibly fall for, right?

Overall I really enjoyed this book! I think the reading of this audiobook was super fun. I think the narrator did a great job conveying all of the different characters and she really won me over. This book is super cute and sweet! Not only is this a sweet book about first love, but also a book about sisterhood and family. I loved the diverse representation in this book, as well! 🙂 If you’re looking for a sweet book, consider picking this one up! 🙂

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Series Review: “Monsters of Verity” Duology

This Savage Song (#1) by Victoria Schwab
four-star-rating-black-hiOur Dark Duet (#2) by Victoria Schwab

I’m so excited to bring y’all another series review! 😀 Yet again, I marathoned through another series and while it was just a duology, it definitely knocked me completely off my feet! 🙂 I am in a major book hangover and in my mind, that says quite a bit about a book. I just finished the “Monsters of Verity” duology and I absolutely loved it!!! Like, LOVED it!!!

First can we just admire the two covers of these books? Major heart-eye emojis!!! 😀 I love when we get simple, yet eye-catching covers that are just so appealing on my shelves.

I will obviously not be getting into “Our Dark Duet” because SPOILERS but I will share a few of my thoughts on “This Savage Song” here before getting into my more spoiler-y thoughts. The main thing that I loved about this first book (and really, the duology) were our protagonists, Kate and August. Kate is the daughter of a corrupt man who provides protection for humans against the monsters, but for a price. Kate wants nothing more than the approval of her father, which causes her to make rash, violent decisions. August is a monster who wants nothing more to be human and not feared by humans. Both are deeply flawed, yet so endearingly relatable.

I also love the world creation and the concept of the monsters in this book. There are three classes of monsters, each born out of different violent crimes which is just a fascinating concept. In doing my research, I found out that the author wrote this book in response to the mass shootings in our country and I think this is an incredibly profound response to all of the violence in our country today.

The last thing that I truly love about these books and all of Victoria Schwab’s writing is her atmosphere creation. These books are incredibly dark, creepy and they just linger with you. I couldn’t help but think of these books when not reading and when I finished “This Savage Song”, I immediately needed “Our Dark Duet”. And I did go immediately purchase the second book.

All in all, I loved this duology!! 😀 I am going to get into a few more spoiler-y thoughts now! 🙂

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Let the Games Begin!

Warcross (#1) by Marie Lu

warcrossBehold…one of my most anticipated releases of 2017!! 😀 And it is beautiful!!! I recently read Marie Lu’s “Legends” trilogy and I loved her writing! So when I heard about this new book – I knew I had to have it!!

Here are some of the main ingredients that make up this incredible book:

1. Badass Asian-American female protagonist that is both a prodigy hacker AND bounty hunter
2. Vivid virtual reality world building
3. Warcross is basically an advanced version of Capture-the-Flag AND I am living for it!!
4. High-intense, fast-paced, heist-like action – YES, YES, ALL THE YES!!

My quick thoughts on how I felt about this book: I loved it! Absolutely loved it! Marie Lu did an incredible job building this world and I quickly fell in love! This was so much fun and it was a beautiful book that celebrates diversity in the best ways possible. I absolutely do not want to wait until next year for the next one! Le sigh… Okay, now I definitely need to get into spoiler-y thoughts, so if you haven’t read this yet…stop reading and go read it now! 😀

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Quick Takes: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Image result for cruel beautyGoing into this, I thought I was going to end up with a completely different story than what I was left with at the final page. Cruel Beauty is about a young woman, Nyx, who trained her whole life to defeat the evil ruler of their kingdom. When she finally reaches the castle and meets the enemy, things  don’t go as planned. There’s more to Ignifex than meets the eye, and her mission must adapt.

I kept hearing how this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Though I usually find those cringe-y, I actually think this book would’ve been better off if there were more similarities. I wish it were as simple as that summary, as Beauty and the Beast, as another YA novel with a love triangle and predictable twists and turns. Because my biggest problem with this book was that it was jam packed with all this mythology.

Beauty and the Beast is fine. Mythology is fine. But trying to do both, and so heavy handedly, is trying to do too much. Anytime authors lean too much on another culture/society or whatever, it just starts to feel lazy and gimmicky. The naming, the world-building, the constant myth-referencing, just…ugh. Come on. It was like reading an allegory–am I supposed to enjoy the story, or is this some sneaky way to brush up on my history? Greco/Roman Mythology is great, but you can pull from it without being so obvious about it. The plot would have been way less clunky/cluttered that way.

So this is one of the few instances I’m not complaining about the “meh” protagonist or the love triangle or insta-love. In fact if those would have been my only critiques, I probably would have enjoyed Cruel Beauty a whole lot more.

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Quick Take: Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

love & gelatoI think this was the perfect transition book from my summer reads into my fall reads. This was a lovely, yet not overly sweet contemporary novel.

This novel follows Lina as she goes to spend a summer in Tuscany to get to know the father that she didn’t know about, per her mother’s dying wish. Despite Tuscany’s picturesque beauty, Lina is definitely in no mood or rush to enjoy what Tuscany has to offer…or really even that interested in getting to know a father who’s never been around. Once Lina arrives, however, she is given an old journal of her mother’s that takes her on a whirlwind romantic adventure. Lina follows along in her mother’s footstep with her newfound friend, Ren, as she gets to know a side to her mother that she didn’t realize was even there.

Overall this novel was sweet and romantic, but again, not in an overly sweet kind of way. There were elements of love, family and grief, that it makes this a great transitional novel between the summer and fall seasons. I appreciated having a contemporary that felt more multi-dimensional than other contemporary novels, so that definitely gets two thumbs up from me!

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