November 7, 2017

October 2017 Round Up


I want to talk about all the books I read, instead of just a couple of them, so this is something I’m going to try. It's also something I’ve wanted to do for a while, so here’s my first Read & Riot Round Up!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Why I read it: My friend loved it.
Where I heard about it: I'd loved Maas' other books, so I was paying attention to other books she was writing.
Read if you like: Strong female characters, easy and exciting reads, love stories
Final thoughts: I was wary to start this book, but I grew to love Feyre and became very invested in her choices and relationships. The last quarter of ACOTAR was completely different than I expected and that made the book even better.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Why I read it: I enjoyed ACOTAR.
Where I heard about it: My own research.
Read if you like: Having your heart ripped out and healed by fictional characters, love stories, strong female characters, emotional stories, magic
Final thoughts: ACOMAF does not shy away from the pain that the characters feel and need to heal from. It was also so easy to get in the mind of the narrator, feel what they felt, and root for them. I fell in love with the new characters and the love that Maas created in this story.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Where I heard about it: I know these things.
Read if you like: Magic, war, battles, love stories, strong female characters, characters fighting back
Final thoughts: I have not been so addicted to a series in ages! I found some faults in this final book of the ACOTAR trilogy, but overall I really enjoyed it. It was more of the characters that I had come to love, and I was happy with that.

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston
Why I read it: Loved the cover and the synopsis
Where I heard about it: Instagram
Read if you like: Multiple POV, love stories, LGBTQ, Canadian authors, books set in Canada, cottage country, cute stories, easy to read stories
Final thoughts: I'd never read anything like this with its mix of technology, nature, tradition and love; it was a breath of fresh air. The story was adorable and refreshing, but I couldn't wrap my head around the ending.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
Why I read it: I'd read and enjoyed the previous books in the series
Where I heard about it: My own research
Read if you like: Adventure, mythology, Norse gods/myths/history, friendship, LGBTQ, sarcasm, quests, heroes, save the world stories
Final thoughts: It contained all the elements--fun, sarcasm, and danger--but I missed my favourite characters, and the plot wasn't as exciting as it was in previous books.

September 2, 2017

Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Title: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
On-Sale Date: June 27, 2017
Length: 501 pages
Format: ARC paperback

Lord Henry Montague has one year left before he’s forced to grow up. His father thinks it’s high time eighteen year-old Monty take over the family estate and learn something about business. But before Monty throws his life away he’s going to enjoy it. So, he goes on Tour with his best-friend-turned-major-crush, Percy, and his much-too-sarcastic, knowledgeable little sister, Felicity.  Monty only has one year to drink all the booze in Europe and bed all the boys he wants, but he only wants Percy, and their chaperone’s not letting Monty anywhere near alcohol. Unfortunately, that’s the least of their worries when Monty sees too much, and gets them into a world of trouble.

If you want to read one book this year this should be it.
This book was so well put together, and so well written. It contained some of the most beautiful passages I'd ever read—including the middle paragraph on page 30. The words painted a picture of a world I could never have imagined.
Gentleman’s Guide was really action-packed, and allowed you just enough time to just get your bearings before something else happened. It was also really funny, and I laughed so hard at the situations that Monty got himself (and others) into.
Monty was sarcastic and, in my opinion, hilarious. Excuse my language, but he was a little sh*t, and I loved him for his pompous attitude. However, Monty needed to go through all the trials and turmoil in Gentleman’s Guide to admit to his shortcomings and to grow. Monty had his father’s voice in his head putting him down, and he had to change his way of thinking. He had a hard time opening up to others, and being honest with himself and those around him. When it came to his emotions Monty hid behind sarcastic words. It wasn't until the end that I, (the reader, well, and Monty too), realized that Monty was a very emotionally damaged character and needed to allow himself to heal.
Gentleman's Guide became much more serious than I expected compared to the many pure moments of hilarity in the beginning.
I loved Percy, Monty's best friend and the boy he's in love with. He and Monty were perfect for each other, even though Monty always said the wrong thing. They cared about each other very much and put the other first. I was so shocked that Monty and Percy were romantic with each other very early in the novel, but that was one moment and then there was tension hanging over them for the rest of the novel.
Percy lived through so much unfairness because of things beyond his control, and I was so upset on his behalf. Percy was simply one of the most likeable, selfless, loyal characters and he was such a good friend to Monty.
I also loved how much I learned about the time period that Lee wrote about. I would definitely not have liked to live in it. Although I very much enjoyed this trip into another era, it reminded me how much things have changed since then, and I'm very grateful for how they are now.
Gentleman’s Guide was and is so much fun to talk about, and my internal voice gained a British accent, which made me incredibly happy.
I couldn’t imagine a different ending. I thought it was perfect and fit exactly who the three had all become.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received an early review copy from Indigo Teen in exchange for honest feedback. This did not influence my opinion in any way.

November 6, 2016

Book Review: Legend

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Group
On-Sale Date: April 16th, 2013
Length: 305 pages
Format: Paperback

June, a fifteen year-old soldier for the Republic, is tasked with apprehending the vigilante, Day, who’s charged with the murder of her brother.

But what will happen when June finds out the Republic has been hiding secrets?

And what if Day isn’t what he seems?

The first chapter didn't capture my attention but the next few captured me immediately.
Legend is told in alternating points of view. This was an ideal format because the two narrators, June and Day, were on opposing sides—June was on the side of the Republic and Day fought against it. The dual narration was valuable because they had different opinions, insights and secrets that the other wasn’t privy to. June and Day’s storylines became tightly intertwined and I wondered how they were going to respond to each other; at some point they had to decide whether the other could be trusted or not.
June had the tendency to act distant, even though she was far from heartless. Throughout the novel she was grieving and didn’t have many people to open up to. She was primarily a soldier and a sister, but she was forced to step out of those roles in Legend and become something else.  She was tasked to find her brother’s murderer, which led her away from her loyalty to the Republic.
Day was desperate and his every action put him in danger from the Republic’s retribution. My heart broke for him because he fought so hard against a world that was against him. Day had some unnamable quality that drew me in—he was honourable. I rooted for Day, because he always tried to do the right thing even with the odds stacked against him.
June and Day had a lot of similarities; they were a set of extremely intelligent, empathetic and moral individuals. They both loved intensely and it drove their actions. No matter what else was going on June and Day put their families above all else, and they had difficulties because of that. They were both planners who thought things through, but were tested when circumstances drove them into making quick decisions. They sensed when something wasn’t right and tried to do something about it. June and Day bonded because of these similarities and the traumas they both experienced. There was a lot of interpersonal discovery between June and Day because neither was who the other thought they were. They cared about, caused problems for, and challenged each other.
There were some really upsetting revelations in Legend, but overall it didn't give me plot twists that I couldn't predict. I was able to pick out when something was amiss, because Lu left breadcrumbs that I followed. There was a conspiracy that Day and June uncovered. Unfortunately they didn’t have time or opportunity to expose it in Legend.
I disliked more characters than I liked, which was a new feeling for me. Fortunately, the characters I disliked were ones that June and/or Day also didn’t like, however, I missed having more than a handful of characters to care about. Neither June nor Day were close to a great number of people and most of the relationships they had were fractured in some way. However, June and Day were alone only because of circumstance and I felt sad for them because their pain was obvious. They certainly had every reason to be distrustful, but I wanted to see them rely more on others because they would have benefited from building stronger relationships.
June and Day have a difficult path ahead of them. They fought many fights in Legend, but the battle has only just begun.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

September 27, 2016

Top 10 Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and the Bookish; I give them all the credit and am thankful they created it because it’s so much fun to take part in!

This is the easiest Top Ten Tuesday ever! I’m currently reading Legend by Marie Lu, and the next ten-ish books on my TBR list are:

1. The Fever Code by James Dashner
This one is first on my list because James is doing a book signing pretty soon in my area. I have a strong love/late relationship with the Maze Runner books: I love them, but they break my heart.

2. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Courts and kingdoms are a popular theme right now in YA novels and the plot of this one sounds so good! Kendare Blake is also doing a signing near me in October so I want to read it before then!

3. Replica by Lauren Oliver
I’ve read and loved several books by Lauren Oliver. Plus, she’s such a kind person if you get the chance to meet her, so I had to add her newest book to my list. The concept of two stories in one sounds really cool, but as an indecisive person I don't know how I'm going to read this.

4. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
I wasn’t a super big fan of the cover so I never picked up the book, but Morgan Rhodes is another author doing a signing near me, so I finally read the synopsis of this book and it sounds amazing! I have a feeling I’m going to be kicking myself for not reading this series sooner!

5. What Light by Jay Asher
Thank you so much Random Penguin House (I know it’s Penguin Random House but this makes me giggle) to sending me an ARC of this! Thirteen Reasons Why holds such a special place in my heart and I’m so excited for this!!

6. Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
Another thank you to Random Penguin for this one! I haven’t read Mosquitoland, but have heard nothing but good things about it and this one. It also sounds like a good break between all the magical lands I’ve been reading about.

7. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Oh my gosh, guys; I can't wait for this! A princess with magic powers betrothed to a price whose kingdom forbids all magic falls in love with his sister! This debut sounds like it’s going to be made up of all the things I like and things I haven’t read before; I’m so excited!

8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This has been on my TBR list forever, but the photographs scared me! I’ve heard nothing but good things and with the movie coming out I figured it’s time to give it a go!

9. Girl on the Train
I want to try to read it before I see the movie, but it’s so far from what I like to read that I’m hesitant.

10. The Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat

According to my friend these are what sexy, fanfiction dreams are made of—in novel form. These are technically three books, but according to what my friend’s told me I won't want to stop once I start so I'll be reading them one after another.

11. By Gaslight by Steven Price
The book sits at #11 because it's out of my usual genre and it’s really long, so I don’t know if I’ll get to it this fall or wait until winter. However, having said that, as soon as I picked up this book I wanted to read it because it sounds different and intriguing and I want to give it a try. I'm also a super fan of the book cover!