Tag Archives: Books

Series Review: “Study” Trilogy

Magic Study (#2) by Maria V. Snyder
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Fire Study (#3) by Maria V. Snyder
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I have been on a journey, much like Yelena in this trilogy and I have come out victorious! 🙂 I have been very curious about this trilogy for quite some time now and I finally just set out to satisfy the curiosity. I have already written a review about the first book in this trilogy, “Poison Study”, so check it out! In short, I found the first book in this trilogy to be quite addictive, dark, full of political intrigue and a lot of great potential about a fantastic magic system. I did find that a lot of this continued into the second book with one major issue that I’ll discuss further in the spoiler section, however I found that the third book slowed quite a bit for me which super bummed me out. I am surprised that these are marketed as YA books, and I think these could’ve done so much better marketed as Adult Fantasy books.

The things that I liked most about the series, as a whole, was the evolution of our protagonist, Yelena. Yelena definitely grew into her abilities, albeit quite slowly which was slightly frustrating at times. The other thing that I very much enjoyed about the rest of the series was the introduction of complex side characters and a dark political story line which I am always a fan of. I did feel a little let down by the final book as the first two were definitely highly addictive and fast-based, and then the third book weirdly slowed down to a point that I found it become a chore to finish. Le sigh…

If I’m understanding the series correctly, there is a spin-off trilogy that comes next which is based off of a side character from these books. I am definitely intrigued as I really liked this side character and I will probably pick them up sometime in the near future.

Now I only have a few spoiler-y things to discuss, so if you haven’t read this, stop now! 🙂 Overall, if you want a politically-based and dark fantasy trilogy, I definitely recommend trying this out!

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Mini Series Review: Shades of Magic

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (#2)
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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (#3)
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I read the first book in the Shades of Magic trilogy last July and definitely enjoyed it. I knew that I wanted to finish reading this trilogy – I just never got around to it. This past holiday when my fiance and I went used bookstore exploring, I found two hardcover editions of both A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light for half their original prices, so I knew I couldn’t resist picking them up!

Rachel has also done a series review and I remember she very much enjoyed this series, as well and I definitely have to agree! After reading her Monsters of Verity duology also last year and then this, this has firmly established with me that 1) Victoria Schwab can do absolutely no wrong and 2) Victoria Schwab is hands-down one of my new favorite authors!! 🙂

Spoilers to come!! 

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Rachel’s Favorites of 2017!!

2017

2017…oof, what a year. Let’s just leave it at that, kay? Now to focus back on books! Many books have been read by us as a collective this year. Between the three of us, we have read…105 books!!! Here we are to share with you some of our favorites from this past year!! These are not in any specific order for any of us, just as a heads up!

  1. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey: Though it took me a very long time to get through it, Sometimes a Great Notion is an amazing piece of American Literature! It was enjoyed all the more by starting it during my PNW vacation. If you love character-driven stories, ignore the seemingly boring summary and dive right in!
  2. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: I definitely did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did! Nonfiction isn’t usually my thing, but Krakauer does such a good job of laying out the story. Chris McCandless seems to be the deciding factor of who loves or hates this book, but I am 100% in the love it category.
  3. Schooled by Gordon Korman: This was probably a bigger surprise than Into the Wild! It was honestly the cutest story and I’m surprised it isn’t more popular. Schooled had an original concept and didn’t feel like a clichĂ© middle school story–definitely an enjoyable read!
  4. Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon: this is like a more modern day On the Road with more traveling stories and less drugs. I’m honestly shocked to find two nonfiction books in my top five…maybe that’s something to consider for the coming year!
  5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Make that three out of the five are nonfiction–wow, 2017 really was a bizarre year. Still, this book is like way super important for people to read in this day and age. It’s by no means an easy one, but I think I agree with Toni Morrison when she calls it “required reading”.

There you have it! What were some of your favorite reads from 2017? 

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Survival is Insufficient

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandelfive-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

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“I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.”

I’m telling you; if you want to kick off the new year in that bright-eyed, optimistic, hope-against-all-hope mindset, read this book. It’s easy to see the past year as one giant burning heap of garbage, but books like this help remind me of all that we have to be grateful for. Apparently a book about the end of the world is just what the doctor ordered.

“Jeevan found himself thinking about how human the city is, how human everything is. We bemoaned the impersonality of the modern world, but that was a lie, it seemed to him; it had never been impersonal at all. There had always been a massive delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt. No one delivers fuel to the gas stations or the airports. Cars are stranded. Airplanes cannot fly. Trucks remain at their points of origin. Food never reaches the cities; grocery stores close. Businesses are locked and then looted. No one comes to work at the power plants or the substations, no one removes fallen trees from electrical lines. Jeevan was standing by the window when the lights went out.” Continue reading

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Christina’s Favorites of 2017!!

2017

2017…oof, what a year. Let’s just leave it at that, kay? Now to focus back on books! Many books have been read by us as a collective this year. Between the three of us, we have read…105 books!!! Here we are to share with you some of our favorites from this past year!! These are not in any specific order for any of us, just as a heads up!

Christina 

  1. I’m going to cheat a little with my first book and go with the Six of Crows duology. These were the first two books that I read this past year and I was so glad that I finally got around to this duology!! This was a fantastic duology filled with a fast-paced plot, incredibly dynamic characters and a fascinatingly immersive world. I loved it!!
  2. My second pick is going to be none other than Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Another one of the first books that I’ve read this year and this is definitely the book that has had the most last impact. A debut author and I am hoping to definitely see more from Yaa Gyasi. This was a most beautiful multigenerational book following two Ghanian sisters. This book explored blackness in such a unique way through the most beautiful storytelling.
  3. My third book is in similar vein with my second book, and that is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas…another beautiful book written by a debut author!! This was a moving YA book inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This was a difficult book to read as it tells the BLM story from the perspective of a young black girl, which just makes it even more heartbreaking. This is such an important book and I believe that EVERYONE should read this book…and ASAP.
  4. My fourth pick came to me at quite the surprise when I read it earlier in the year. And that is Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Now, Cassandra Clare’s books have been my longtime guilty pleasure reads, as they are slightly ridiculous and just pack full of YA tropes. However, her newest trilogy (The Dark Artifices) is beyond anything that I had expected to read from Cassandra Clare. It is evident that her writing and storytelling have become so much more sophisticated and I believe Cassandra Clare to be a YA author that believes in not sugar-coating books for a younger audience. She used this book as an opportunity to address some real world issues and I applaud her for doing so.
  5. My fifth and final pick for this list is going to be none other than Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. As someone with OCD, I have always appreciated John Green’s openness and his candor about his own experiences with OCD. It has always given me something to relate to and connect with in media, since I have not seen OCD represented either accurately or respectively. What this meant for this book was a most painful, heartbreaking and accurate portrayal of OCD. This was a difficult book for me to read, but I am so glad that it exists in the world and I am incredibly grateful to John Green for being continuously open and raising awareness on this issue.

I like to think that I had a pretty good reading year and I hope y’all did too!!! 🙂

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Christmas Quick Takes

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I don’t know about y’all, but every time December rolls around I use it as an excuse to pull out as many Christmas-y reads as I can physically fit into the month. I love the general theme of hope, faith and love in Christmas stories! That means the majority of my reads from this past month were pretty Christmas-y, so I thought I’d do one post with quick take reviews of my reads from the past month. I’ve read two other books that I will review later on! 🙂

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (#1) by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan three-star-rating-black-hi

d & l book of daresThis was the first book that I picked up this month because I was seeing it circulate everywhere as this cute and light Christmas contemporary. Plus, I ended up getting it on my Kindle for like $1.99. This is a story following Dash & Lily as they fall in love via passing back and forth this red Moleskin notebook with dares and clues for each of them. As expected, this was super light, super fluffy and quite cute. My biggest hang up was actually the portrayal of the character, Dash. My main criticism of him is actually similar to most people’s criticisms’ of John Greens’ characters in that I found Dash to be absolutely unlike any teenage boy I’ve ever met. He has a love for the Oxford English Dictionary, so uses and throws around big words in his everyday vernacular, which I just find slightly difficult to believe and relate to. Overall, it was cute, had loads of family elements and a sweet love story to carry me through.

What Light by Jay Asher four-star-rating-black-hi

This book was the biggest surprise of the month! I had been wanting to pick this up and I finally got around to it this month, definitely not expecting to like it as much as I did. The Books Jay Asherbook follows Sierra and her family who run a Christmas tree farm. They spend the year in their home in Oregon and then every holiday season, travel down to California to sells Christmas trees. While there, Sierra meets Caleb who is surrounded by a dark and dangerous past that everyone warns her against. This was a beautiful book about redemption, forgiving oneself and acceptance (self and of others). This book got me surprisingly emotional and I cried through the last quarter of the book. While this was a heavier read, it was still quite light and easy to get through. I appreciated that this book was a slightly different take on most Christmas stories that I have read.

Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah ijss5

comfort & joyThis book was, by far, the biggest disappointment maybe of the year? I know that’s kind of a harsh statement, but it was definitely pretty bad. I picked this up because I have heard fantastic reviews about Kristin Hannah, particularly with her Nightingale book. This also sounded like the perfect Christmas read set in my current home state of Washington. But alas, it was pretty terrible. It was just a weird book full of magical realism elements that I was definitely not expecting. The only reason why I gave it two-stars was because it was set in Washington and in the area where my fiance grew up, which added an extra fun element for me as I read. Everything else was pretty awful. I am still going to give Kristin Hannah a chance, as I am still excited to read Nightingale.

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (#2) by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan ijss5

Alas, another disappointment…le sigh. I’m especially disappointed since I enjoyed the first book so much earlier this month. It was a cute, light and fun Christmas story, while dash & lily iithis one felt like it was trying to be something that it definitely was not. This book follows Dash & Lily, as Dash tries to reignite the Christmas love and light in Lily as she experiences a lot of change and turmoil in her life. What ended up happening was a weird dismantling of the characters that I came to love from the first book and just an inability to take this book seriously. This is a great example of a perfectly good book and story that should’ve just been left alone. Le sigh…

All in all, I think I had a pretty good reading month 🙂 Christmas reads always make me happy and help me to enjoy the holidays even more!! 😀 I hope you all have enjoyed your holidays, got a lot of reading done and got a lot of books!! 🙂

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Quick Takes: I’m Not Scared

I’m Not Scared by NiccolĂł Ammaniti (3.5/5)
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110428This book was a random inheritance I was eventually going to get to, so I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable a read it was! The writing was both simple and lyrical, and the short sentences helped mimic the way a child narrator might sound. I do think, however, that the point of view kept me from feeling the full weight of the story and the horrors kept within. This may also be because of how short the book was. Although it was an interesting story and a good read, I think it didn’t live up to its full potential. Apparently there’s a movie adaptation, and I think this story would ultimately wind up being a better fit for the screen, so maybe check out that instead.

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