Wrap Up: September 2016

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Where did the time even go?  How is it even October already? This year has definitely flown by and so has the month of September. I had lots of reading plans in September. I got my wisdom teeth removed earlier this week and I thought I’d have a lot of reading time during my recovery. Turns out, it doesn’t really work that way and I spent most of my time just sleeping. But even though I haven’t made the most of my time off, I still managed to read quite a lot of books this month. Here’s my reading summary and full reviews are linked.

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Reading summary header

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – J.K. Rowling  4 stars

This was a really interesting guidebook to the different magical creatures in the Harry Potter world. It wasn’t the most entertaining book but it was super informative and made me feel like I was back in the world.

2. Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas  45 stars

I was super impressed by this fifth installment of the Throne of Glass series. It wasn’t as good as Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows in my opinion but it was a nice continuation to the series. The plot is really starting to come together and I’m really excited about the finale!

3. The Realm of Possibility – David Levithan  4 stars

I’ve had this book for a while and had never picked it up. I went to a few David Levithan events in recent weeks and hearing him talk about his work made me want to pick up some more of his books that I still have yet to read. This book is written in verse and was a really nice easy read about love and everything that comes with it.

4. Trial by Fire – Josephine Angelini  3 stars

This is the first book in the Worldwalker trilogy and I was a bit underwhelmed by it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I thought the plot was a bit clumsy and confused. This book just wasn’t for me.

5. PS. I Like You – Kasie West  4 stars

I love Kasie West because all of her books are so cute and fluffy. PS. I Like You was no exception. It was so full of sugary cuteness that I sped through it in one sitting. The book is about a girl who exchanges letters with a boy who sits at the same desk as her at school, and I just absolutely adored it.

6. It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover  35 stars

I’ve heard countless good things about this latest Colleen Hoover novel. Unfortunately I didn’t really connect with the story emotionally. I found it to be a bit dull and the characters also came across as a bit boring to me. I did like the issues that the book explored but I didn’t think the book was amazing by any means. (Trigger warning for domestic violence and abuse).

7. The Thousandth Floor – Katharine McGee  45 stars

I was completely unprepared for how much I loved this novel! It’s the first book in a new trilogy and I loved it so much that I couldn’t stop raving about it for days. It’s a futuristic Gossip Girl-like story set in a world where Manhattan is literally inside a 1000-storey tower. I loved the technology and the world of this book and also really liked the characters and their stories.

8. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You – Lily Anderson  45 stars

This was another adorable contemporary story. It’s a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and is set at a high school for geniuses. I loved the entire cast of characters in this book and I thought the main characters, Beatrice and Benedict, were absolutely fantastic and relatable. There are lots of nerdy references in the book and I highly enjoyed the plot.

9. Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler  35 stars

I love Sarah Ockler’s writing and stories and I also really enjoyed Twenty Boy Summer. However, I think you could really tell that this was her debut novel because it wasn’t as polished as her other novels. Despite that, I still really enjoyed it and I liked that it explored the theme of grief in an interesting and relatable way.

10. Between the Lives – Jessica Shirvington  45 stars

Jessica Shirvington hasn’t disappointed me yet. I loved her Disruption duology and this was just as good. The story follows our main character, Sabine, who lives two separate lives. Every 24 hours, she Shifts into her other life and lives that day over again. I loved the concept of this book and I loved Sabine as a character. I thought the plot of the story was spectacular and I can’t wait to read some more of Jessica Shirvington’s work.

11. Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland  3 stars

This was a highly anticipated contemporary release for me and I was left extremely underwhelmed. Pretty much nothing happens for a good 80% of the book and I was just extremely bored. There are also some Manic Pixie Dream Girl elements and it took a lot of willpower for me to continue the novel. I considered DNFing at 100 pages and, in hindsight, I probably should have.

12. The Hating Game – Sally Thorne  5 stars

The Hating Game was a book that I didn’t know I needed. It’s one of the most adorable office romances that I’ve read and every single page of this book gave me intense contemporary romance feels. The main character, Lucy, is absolutely wonderful and I could read 100 more books about her.

13. Heartless – Marissa Meyer  35 stars

I’ve been highly anticipating this novel since Winter came out earlier this year. I loved The Lunar Chronicles and I really love Marissa Meyer’s writing. But I thought Heartless was just… okay. It took me a while to get through the book because I wasn’t really excited by the plot or the characters. I also thought that the romance lacked spark and I just wasn’t feeling it.

14. Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo  5 stars

Oh man… this is probably my favourite novel that I’ve read so far this year. There was literally nothing that I didn’t like about this sequel and it’s definitely on par with Six of Crows. The characters were perfect, the plot was perfect and the writing and pace were perfect. I’ve already read this book twice and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be rereading it again soon.

15. Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur  5 stars

I very rarely read poetry but I really, really enjoyed this collection from Rupi Kaur. There were a lot of free verse poems and that made the experience a little bit easier for me. What I really loved about it was that it was feminist and empowering and I think it’s an important read for all women.

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I only did two Top Ten Tuesday posts in September but I loved both of the topics!

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 27, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 546
Goodreads || Book Depository

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

As Crooked Kingdom is a sequel, this review may contain spoilers for Six of Crows.

Crooked Kingdom is my favourite book of this year. I’ve read close to 150 books so far this year so it’s a big call but I can so confidently put this novel on my list of all-time favourites, right next to Six of Crows. I loved everything about this sequel and there’s absolutely nothing that I would change… except maybe that one tiny plot point at the end of the book that made me cry like a baby.

This book had everything that a great book should have. It had captivating characters whose stories draw you in and make you want to learn more. There’s thrilling action and intrigue that keeps you on your toes. And there’s fabulous writing that just sings and makes you never want to let go of the book. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this review. Let’s start with the plot. I absolutely loved how this book moved and flowed and how everything was planned to perfection by Leigh Bardugo. I thought the plot of this book was so perfectly constructed, with each character playing a crucial role in the ‘job’ and in the novel. There was nothing predictable about the plot at all and I was constantly worrying about my babies because I had no idea what was going to happen. There were also about a million plot twists in Crooked Kingdom and I loved every single one of them. Everything worked out so well and it all made sense together, which made the story a pleasure to read. Also, because the book has multiple perspectives, there was a lot of suspense and mystery in every chapter and this added to the sense of excitement that I felt as I was reading the book. The pacing of the story and the writing was so perfect that I raced through this 500+ page book in a few short sittings.

“This is the city that I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it’s that a guy can always bleed a little more.”

What I love most about this duology is that the characters are absolutely ruthless and it’s just so much fun to read. I will never tire of Kaz’s cruel but seamless plans and his hard exterior. He’s a perfect main character because of his complexity and his soft, gooey, marshmallowy centre. And that’s what I love about all of the characters in this novel. They’re all extremely complex and I’ll never stop discovering new sides to them no matter how many books Leigh Bardugo gives us (I’m devastated that this is only a duology!). I love that the book is peppered with little flashbacks so that we get to see the characters’ backstories and further understand where they came from. While a lot of Six of Crows was about the pasts of Kaz, Inej, Nina and Matthias, Crooked Kingdom places greater emphasis on Jesper and Wylan’s stories. I loved learning more about them because I didn’t really care for them as much as I did the other four characters in Six of Crows. I started to care more about them and see them as more than just side characters, which they were to me in the first book of the duology. And of course, I continued to love the rest of the characters and even developed a bit of a soft spot for Kuwei, who’s a bit of a troublemaker!

“I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together – knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

The relationships and the dynamics between the characters were what made this book for me. I, of course, loved the three couples. I loved how Jesper and Wylan were there for each other and supported each other throughout their family issues and devastating pasts. I loved Nina and Matthias’s relationship and how he was so awkward at expressing his feelings. I love that Matthias is strong and tough but is secretly a romantic, and I love how Nina balances him out by being her shameless, indulgent self. And I love Kaz and Inej, and how they’re both broken but they fit so well together. I love all the things that Kaz does for Inej and how her happiness comes first. But I also really love how all these characters interact with the other characters who aren’t their romantic partners/love interests. I really enjoyed Jesper’s banter with everyone around him, especially Kaz and Kuwei. I loved how Inej brings out the protective older brother in Jesper and Matthias. And, of course, Kaz and Nina hold a special place in my heart that I reserve for great fictional friendships.

But they were his first friends, his only friends, and Wylan knew that even if he’d had his pick of a thousand companions, these would have been the people he chose.

I could go on for another ten days about all the things I love about Crooked Kingdom and the duology in general. There’s really nothing that I didn’t like about the book and I could go on reading about the mischief that these characters get up to for another 100 books (pleeeeasseeeee!). I absolutely love this series and this world and I’m so sad to be saying goodbye.

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don’t Get

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. Today I’ll be featuring some well-loved characters that I just don’t really like, or don’t understand the obsession with. I’m sorry if any of my responses offend anyone. Just know that I’m not judging anybody for their love of a character.

1. The Darkling (The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo)

I don’t fully understand everyone’s obsession with the Darkling. I mean, I was intrigued by him in Shadow and Bone and was really excited to read more about him, but his character went downhill after that first book. There was hardly any character development and he went from being an interesting character to just being super evil and creepy. For me, his character was just a wasted opportunity.

2. Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas)

I really like Chaol as a character but I was never Team Chaol. In Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, I was Team Dorian and now I’m firmly in Team Rowan. I like Chaol’s personality and what he stands for but I don’t really understand why everybody is in love with him. But that’s the thing with ships I guess… we can’t always agree.

3. Jacob Black (Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer)

I feel like this is one that a lot of readers will understand. What was even the point of Jacob Black in that whole series? His character was so unnecessary (New Moon as a book was basically unnecessary) and it would have been a much more enjoyable series if he wasn’t in it.

4. Ron Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

I’ve never really liked Ron… He’s kind of annoying and wimpy . He’s funny, I’ll give him that, but I would’ve enjoyed the series just as much if Ron wasn’t in it.

5. Mather Loren (Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch)

I’ve been Team Theron since the beginning of this trilogy, but even when Theron’s character went downhill, I wasn’t a big fan of Mather. I don’t really understand how people switched ships. I can understand people jumping off the Theron love boat but just because you no longer like one love interest as much, doesn’t mean that you need to fall in love with the other. It’s not a mutually exclusive thing for me. I dunno… someone please tell me what’s so great about Mather!

6. Charlotte Holmes (A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro)

A Study in Charlotte was a book that I was completely underwhelmed by and it was mostly due to the characters. Charlotte Holmes in this book is a carbon copy of Sherlock Holmes from the BBC tv show. There’s nothing original about her and she’s probably 3000x more annoying that a character should be. I was just completely unimpressed by her.

7. Safiya fon Hasstrel (Truthwitch by Susan Dennard)

This is one that I can kind of understand. I thought Safi was a really strong character but she was so super annoying for most of the book! I didn’t completely understand what was so special about her and she just came across as another badass female heroine.

8. Tarver Merendsen (These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner)

I just wasn’t a big fan of this book overall. I didn’t like either of the main characters and because the character development and romance was such a big part of the book, I ended up not really connecting with it. Tarver was a pretty boring character in my opinion. He was resourceful and strong but that’s all there was to him. I don’t really see what people are going on about when it comes to this book and the romance.

9. Adam Parrish (The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

I feel like there are so many people who are in love with Adam from The Raven Cycle and I don’t really see it. He was super annoying in The Raven Boys, and while his character does get a little bit better as the series goes on, I’m still not the biggest fan of him. I don’t really understand his actions or his thought processes and he kind of makes me uncomfortable…

10. Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas)

Okay, this is one that I’m still on the fence about. I can kind of see why people are interested in him and I can also see myself growing to like him as we get to see more of him… but based on his actions and what we did see of him in ACOTAR, I don’t really agree with everybody’s obsession with him. He’s a bit of a dick, if I’m honest.


Let me know if you agree with any of these!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters Who Need to Join My Reverse Harem

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Because next week is Valentine’s Day, this week’s theme is Valentine’s Day. I’m going to be featuring ten characters who I adore and they totally all need to join my reverse harem right now. These are in my particular order but William Herondale is bae.


1. Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

What can I say about Will Herondale that hasn’t already been said? He’s smart, sexy, broody and is an amazing friend *heart eyes*. I just want him to read to me every night.

2. Jase Garrett (My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick)

I’ve said this many times before, but Jase is just the ultimate good guy. And we need more characters like him who are just super nice and caring, and have no unnecessary drama. Jase is amazing with his younger siblings and he can totally fix my car… when I buy one eventually.

3. Richard Gansey III (The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

Obviously I need an enigmatic rich boy in my reverse harem and Gansey is perfect for the role. He’s super smart and I love all of his little quirks. I just want to hug him all the time and protect him from all the bees.

4. Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo)

Kaz is cutthroat but is super sweet to the people he loves. And as much as I don’t want to split up Kaz and Inej… he really needs to join my harem. We could go sailing and then he can be all sweet and romantic with his “Stay in Ketterdam. Stay with me.” But I’m too much of a city girl…so I’ll probably end up ruining the moment by saying “Ketterdam sucks. Come to Australia.”

5. Rowan Whitethorn (Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas)

My sexy fae prince. I love Rowan’s determination and how he protects those he cares about. Also his possessiveness is just *squeeaaalls*

6. Prince Theron (Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch)

Theron was the character that I fell in love with straight away in Snow Like Ashes. He loves poetry and the arts, and he’s just really sweet and romantic. I don’t like Theron as much in Ice Like Fire but I’ll always be in love with first book Theron.

7. Captain Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)

I was tossing up between Prince Kai and Captain Thorne…but ultimately, I went with Thorne because he’s hilarious and will provide so much comic relief. All the other guys are pretty serious and intense, and Captain Thorne will bring all the fun! Plus he can drive a spaceship so… fun space adventures are in my future.

8. Cluck Corbeau (The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore)

I read The Weight of Feathers recently, and it’s become one of my favourite books. Cluck is just an amazing love interest. He’s another character that I want to hug and never let go of. He’s been through a lot but I’ll be sure to treat him well.

9. Jem Carstairs (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

I love Jem. Not as much as Will, but it’s pretty hard not to love Jem Carstairs. He’s so caring and loyal and unafraid to do what’s right. Even demonic cats love him. But mostly, he’s on this list because I just could not split up Will and Jem.

10. Willem De Ruiter (Just One Day by Gayle Forman)

Willem is another enigmatic character but I love that he’s a bit of a lost soul. He loves to travel, so we could travel around Europe together. He speaks French, Dutch and English… which I find extremely attractive. And he’s also super romantic… and I love romance.


So keeping in mind that all ten of these men belong to me (mwahahaha), who would you invite to join your harem?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books That I Read in 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the group at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top books of 2015, so I’ll be featuring my favourite books that I read this year. I’ll be posting my favourite YA releases of 2015 over at Happy Indulgence later this week and I’ll probably do a bookish awards post on this blog at the end of this month! Yep, you guessed it, this is just me cheating and not actually choosing favourites.

On to my favourite books I read this year… I’ve tried to put these into some sort of order, which was the toughest thing I’ve had to do this year… but I did it!

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Is anybody actually surprised by this one? This is my favourite book of all time! This novel follows Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German Nazi youth, during WWII and what happens when their lives and stories converge. It has the most wonderful characters and plot, and the most beautiful writing I have ever read. PICK UP THIS BOOK!!! JUST DO IT!

(Btw, I have a 6-month blogoversary Twitter giveaway for this book here, ending on December 25 at 11:59pm ADST).

2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

This book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize earlier this year, which was what pushed me to pick it up. A Little LIfe follows four men from their teens until their 50s or 60s. We see their failures and their successes and their relationships. But mostly, this book is about Jude, who ties the four of them together, and his struggle to belong to the group and to the world. This book broke my heart into so many pieces that I’m still slowly putting it back together again. It was amazing and definitely worthy of being a Man Booker Finalist!

3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

My favourite YA novel of all time, I’ll Give You the Sun is about two twins, Jude and Noah, who used to be close but have drifted apart after a family tragedy. They each hold secrets that have kept them apart for years but if they come together again, they can piece those secrets together to form a complete picture of what happened. This book explores so many different kids of relationships and it has beautiful writing that will have you feeling all the feels.

4. Winter by Marissa Meyer

This is the last book in The Lunar Chronicles and was my favourite sci-fi/fantasy read of the year. It was epic, intense and had everything I could’ve wanted. The ending was so satisfying and everything was resolved so neatly (perhaps too neatly, but I don’t care). I’m so sad that this is over and I highly recommend this series, if you haven’t read it. It’s my favourite series of all time!

5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess is the last book in The Infernal Devices trilogy. I absolutely love the Shadowhunter books and this was an amazing trilogy. For me, this is so much better than The Mortal Instruments, and I’d recommend it even if you didn’t like TMI. Clockwork Princess was an absolutely heartwrenching finale. It had me in tears for most of the book and the bromance in this trilogy is just unbeatable. The best.

6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I was a bit skeptical about Rainbow Rowell’s first fantasy novel, especially because I skimmed through a lot of the Simon Snow sections in Fangirl. But this book was a pleasant surprise and had me raving about it for weeks! Carry On is about Simon Snow, the most pathetic superhero of all time. He isn’t able to control his magic and half the time he ends up blowing up the place. But now he needs to figure out how to save the magical world before it’s destroyed by the villainous Humdrum! This book has my OTP of the year! SnowBaz was just adorable and I’ll go down with this ship!

7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Set in the Grisha world from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows follows a group of six misfits as they travel across the Grishaverse to pull off an extraordinary heist. This book is epic, action-packed and exciting! It has the most wonderful ships that I’m totally on board with. The writing was fantastic and the whole book was just mindblowing!!

8. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

My very first Gayle Forman read has made it into my favourites of the year! Just One Day follows Allyson, a recent American high school graduate, who is on a student tour around Europe. On one of her last days in Europe, she meets a mysterious but attractive Dutch boy named Willem, who invites her on a day trip to Paris before she returns home. She accepts and they spend a romantic day in Paris but when she wakes up the next day, Willem has disappeared. The rest is a coming of age story as Allyson tries to fly away from her mother’s restrictive nest and find her way back to Europe and to Willem. This book had the most amazing coming of age story. The character development in Allyson was astounding and I also thoroughly enjoyed Gayle Forman’s writing!

9. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

A Romeo and Juliet reimagining, My Life Next Door blew my mind! Samantha Reed is the daughter of a senator and her mother has always hated the loud family next door who can’t stop adding kids to their already large family. Sam is forbidden from interacting with the Garretts next door but when she meets Jase Garrett, she can’t stay away. This book was a wonderful story about love, family and doing the right thing. It had the most amazing characters and I am in love with Jase, who I call ‘the ultimate good guy’.

10. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series and it was a fantastic continuation. It’s probably my favourite book of the series so far (though Heir of Fire comes a veeeerrrry close second. Or maybe they’re tied. I can’t decide!). This instalment had the most amazing climax and resolution and it had me bouncing in my seat and so excited for Book 5 to come out!


Are any of these books your favourite? Let me know what your top 3 books of the year are and I’ll be sure to check them out! Don’t forget to head over to Happy Indulgence on Sunday to see what my favourite 2015 releases are!

The Burrito Bowl Book Tag

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The Burrito Bowl Book Tag is the brain child of Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Cristina @ Girl in the Pages.  I was tagged by Summer @ Xingsings a couple of weeks ago, but I needed to stock up on chips, salsa and spicy guacamole before I could write up this post.

RULES TO DEVOUR THIS TAG:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you to make your own burrito bowl, linking back to their site
  2. Answer the tag questions
  3. Tag 5 others to create their own bowl
  4. Food coma

THE BURRITO BOWL BOOK TAG

RICE: THE FOUNDATION – “THE BOOK THAT GOT YOU INTO READING (OR BOOK BLOGGING)”

blinky-billthe-magic-faraway-treeBlinky Bill by Dorothy Wall and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton were both books that were read to me when I was about 5 or 6 years old.

These books really made me interested in reading, and I think as soon as I could read for myself, I read nearly all of Enid Blyton’s books and I followed them up with lots of Roald Dahl as well.


BEANS: THE FILLER – “A BOOK WITH A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING HAPPENING”

a-little-something-different A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall was a whole book of nothing.

It’s a story about two college students falling in love and their journey towards being together… Except they fall in love in the first 5 pages, and the rest of the book is just 200 pages of them staring at each other longingly across the room, talking about mundane things and eating at the same cafes and restaurants. It was actually the most boring romance ever. Definitely not worth your time.


PROTEIN: THE BUILDING BLOCK – “A BOOK QUOTE TO LIVE BY”

I had the hardest time choosing a quote for this question. There are a lot of quotes from books that I like, either because they’re funny or because they make me go all soft and squishy inside. But it was really hard to come up with a quote to live by… I ended up going with a Throne of Glass quote:

My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispers. “And I will not be afraid.
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas


FAJITAS: THE CRUNCH OF TEXTURE – “A BOOK WITH IMMACULATE WORLD BUILDING”

harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling was the obvious choice for this one. Although I was going to choose Six of Crows and the Grisha world by Leigh Bardugo, since I read that one recently.

The whole wizarding world in Harry Potter is so well thought out. I mean who doesn’t love Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and the rest of the world? The magic system is amazing… and OMG just everything about the Harry Potter world is perfect.


SALSA: THE DANCE OF FLAVOUR – “A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON YOUR TOES”

six-of-crows Okay Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo wins this one. It was super hard to choose between this one and Winter but the whole heist story in Six of Crows definitely kept me on my toes.

There’s so much that happens in this book and there are twists and turns everywhere. Even though the characters have a plan that they need to execute, there are so many surprises and unexpected turns of events that made the book unpredictable!


CORN: THE EXPLOSION OF SWEETNESS – “A MEMORABLE SCENE INVOLVING FRIENDSHIP/ROMANCE”

carry-on How could I choose anything but SnowBaz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell?!

Every single scene with Simon and Baz are my favourites but I think the scene that made my heart melt the most was their first kiss. It was so heartwarming to see Simon be led by his feelings and nothing else. There was no hesitation on his part, and it was just the most unexpected but perfect scene ever.


CHEESE: THE BOND OF CALCIUM – “TWO CHARACTERS FROM DIFFERENT BOOKS YOU WISH COULD BE FRIENDS”

I have so many friendships that I want to see happen but I chose two characters that I’ve read about recently. Cress from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. They’re both kind of badass in their own ways, but they’re also both really quiet, sensitive and loyal to their friends. They’d be really great besties!


SOUR CREAM: THE TANGY TOPPER – “THE QUIRKIEST CHARACTER YOU’VE EVER READ (PROTAGONIST OR SUPPORTING)”

winter Yes, I chose Winter from Winter by Marissa Meyer (I actually cannot shut up about this book).

Winter’s not quirky as much as she is just plain crazy. She has some crazy hallucinations due to her not using her Lunar powers. She frequently sees blood on the castle walls and also sees herself freezing into a block of ice all the time. But she does some really strange things and also has some crazy one-liners. I love her.


GUACAMOLE: THE COST OF CREAMINESS – “A BOOK YOU PAID TOO MUCH FOR (BASED ON UTILITY EXPERIENCED)”

dream-cities The Dream Cities – Colouring for Mindfulness book was definitely a book that I’ve paid too much for.

I think I’ve coloured in about 20% of a page… and nothing else. I bought this one online and didn’t really like the illustrations in it. I much prefer the other two that I own: The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford and Tropical Wonderland by Millie Marotta. I’ve done a bit more of these ones.


LETTUCE: THE HANDFUL OF CRISPNESS – “A REFRESHING CONCEPT/THEME IN A BOOK”

the-rest-of-us-just-live-here The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This was a fun and unique spin on the whole idea of the Chosen One in fantasy. It’s a satirical piece that makes fun of the concept of the special group of kids or “the indie kids” who seem to always be running into dangerous situations or saving the world. The Rest of Us Just Live Here focuses on the normal characters that are in the background while the indie kids are doing their thing.


CHIPS: LE PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE – “A MUST-READ RECOMMENDATION IF YOU LIKE [THIS BOOK/GENRE – YOU DECIDE!]”

the-lake-house The Lake House by Kate Morton is a book that I would recommend if you like historical fiction.

My go-to recommendation for historical fiction is always All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is my favourite book of all time. But I thought I’d change it up this time. The Lake House is a wonderful historical fiction novel about the mysterious appearance of a baby in Cornwall in the 1930s and what really took place that evening.


TABASCO: THE KICK TO THE FACE – “YOUR FAVOURITE FIGHT/ACTION SEQUENCE”

queen-of-shadows I haven’t given enough love to Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas lately (btw I’m meeting her on Wednesday!!!)

I absolutely loved the last action scene of Queen of Shadows. It was such an epic climax and ending to the book! My favourite part of that scene was when you know who transforms into a ghost leopard and comes racing through the streets to save the day. That was so epic and it made me love that character even more!!!


I TAG:

I’m going to go back to my old method of sharing the love. Today I’m tagging 5 of my recent followers to make their own burrito bowl 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes From Ten of My Favourite 2015 Reads

ten-quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by the team over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week I’m featuring quotes from ten of my favourite books that I’ve read this year. It was really hard to choose just one quote from each book because I love all of these books for their beautiful writing and the quotable quotes…so I did two for some of the books. XD

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Werner hears Marie-Laure inhale, Marie-Laure hears Werner scrape three fingernails across the wood, a sound not unlike the sound of a record coursing beneath the surface of a needle, their faces an arm’s reach apart.

He says, “Es-tu là?

It was so difficult to choose just one quote from All The Light We Cannot See because it’s my favourite book of all time! So I chose a second one 😀 This quote is actually from a radio program that Werner listens to, and it spoke to me because I’m a psychology major and I love the brain.

The brain is locked in total darkness, of course, children, says the voice. It floats in a clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light. It brims with color and movement. So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Wasn’t it a miracle to have survived the unsurvivable? Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely?


I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world.


Winter by Marissa Meyer

It was unnerving, to think she was being psychoanalyzed by someone who frequently complained that the castle walls had started bleeding again.

This one made me swoon (and it’s directed at someone who you may not expect):

He didn’t apologize. Instead, he set his jaw and met her eye again. “I will protect Winter with my life. Second only to her, I promise to protect you too.”


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

You know it has to be a SnowBaz quote XD ❤

He’s still looking in my eyes. Staring me down like he did that dragon, chin tilted and locked. “I’m not the Chosen One,” he says.

I meet his gaze and sneer. My arm is a steel band around his waist. “I choose you,” I say. “Simon Snow, I choose you.”


Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

“When you fight now, I will be still by you. When you walk in the world, I will be the light at your side, the ground steady under your feet, the force that drives the sword in your hand. We are bound, beyond the oath. The Marks did not change that. The oath did not change that. It merely gave words to something that existed already.”


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

“Stay,” he said, his voice rough stone. “Stay in Ketterdam. Stay with me.”


Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I’m not going to pretend I know how this ends, and I don’t have a freaking clue if it’s possible to fall in love over email. But I would really like to meet you, Blue. I want to try this. And I can’t imagine a scenario where I don’t want to kiss your face off as soon as I see you.

And I couldn’t not include this one:

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever.”


My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Jase and Samantha are one of my favourite couples but I had to go with some George quotes. He’s just the most adorable 4 year old! He’s super knowledgeable, but also super paranoid haha.

“I like eggs and bacon,” George tells me. “But” – his face clouds – “do you know that bacon is” – tears leap to his eyes – “Wilbur?”

Mrs Garrett sits down next to him immediately. “George, we’ve been through this. Remember? Wilbur did not get made into bacon.”

“Then is bacon Babe, Mom? Is it Babe?”

And another great George moment:

“Is Jase already going to marry you?”

I start coughing again. “Uh. No. No, George. I’m only seventeen.” As if that’s the only reason we aren’t engaged.

“I’m this many,” George holds up four slightly grubby fingers. “But Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family.”

Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. “George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on.”

George backs out of the room, but not before saying, “His bed’s really comfortable. And he never pees in it.”


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.


Thanks for reading. See you in my next post!

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six-of-crows

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 29, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 465
Goodreads || Book Depository

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.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

Six of Crows is a massive step-up from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy! Every aspect of this book was better. The world was more detailed and intricate. The characters were much more fascinating and developed. The writing and pace of the book were consistent and beautiful. And the plot was much more action-packed.

Six of Crows is set in a completely different part of the world to The Grisha trilogy. It’s set in Kerch and Fjerda, which were not really explored in the trilogy at all. It almost felt like I was reading about a completely different world. Because I read The Grisha trilogy quite recently, it took me a couple of chapters to wrap my head around the new Kerch setting, and distance myself from everything I knew about Ravka from the trilogy. Because the setting is so different, it’s completely fine to read Six of Crows without having read The Grisha trilogy, but you do get a much better understanding of the world and the Grisha system if you’ve read the trilogy.

My main criticisms of Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm was the inconsistent pace and lack of action. Those books were action-packed at the beginning and end, but lacked any kind of plot in the middle. Six of Crows did not disappoint me in that regard. The plot has a consistent pace and there’s action throughout the whole book. There were surprises coming left and right, and little twists that will keep you on your toes! The twist at the end was a little bit predictable (I was buddy reading with Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Jesse @ Books at Dawn, and we had kind of speculated and expected it – well Joey did) but there were also elements that surprised me. The ending made me really excited for the sequel, and I’m sad that we have to wait a whole year.

My favourite aspect of the book were definitely the characters. Even though the plot was fantastic, this was definitely a character-driven story. There is an extremely diverse set of characters who hail from all parts of the world, from Fjerda to Novyi Zem. It allowed me to get to know the different parts of the Grishaverse a lot more deeply. I went into the book expecting all six of our heist crew to be Grishas, so I was surprised to find out that most of them were just normal people with some amazing talents. I think I enjoyed the book a lot more because they weren’t all Grisha. The diversity added a lot more dynamics to the book.

“If Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”

Brekkar’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”

“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.

I loved all of the characters and the interactions between them. They joked around together, supported each other, and had each other’s backs. There was no selfishness and the friendships between all of the characters were lovely to read about. Individually, they were sassy and badass, and I really liked how wise and mature they were for their age (though at times, it was definitely hard to believe that these were just teenagers). The ladies were probably my favourite of all of the characters. They’re so fierce and so relatable! Inej is the quiet and sensitive, but completely fearless and talented spy of the group. I love, love, loved her character! Nina is the Grisha of the group and she has the ability to control the organs and bodily functions of anyone she sees.  Aentee @ Read at Midnight called Nina her spirit animal, and I can totally see why. She loves to eat, isn’t a morning person, and is completely unapologetic about it. Just her love of cake and all things sweet makes her my kindred spirit, but when she drops hilarious one-liners, it makes me love her even more.

“Are you aware that I could waggle my fingers and make you wet your trousers?”

But I also really loved the guys too. I thought the back stories of all of the characters were interesting, but Kaz and Matthias’ pasts were the most interesting to me. We get to see some flashbacks throughout the book and I loved being able to contrast the little, innocent boy that Kaz used to be, to the ruthless, soulless but completely lovable Kaz of the present. I also thought that Matthias’ past was fascinating. He is a shamed Grisha-hunter and I enjoyed seeing all his inner conflict and the growth of his character throughout the book. Jesper and Wylan were some unexpected characters with some unexpected talents. I loved the two of them together and thought their interactions were gold!

“You’re sure we can’t just go in as entertainers? I hear Wylan really kills it on the flute.”

The blossoming romances in this book made me fangirl so hard! Kaz and Inej have this very comfortable and trusting relationship, where they support and rely on each other. Every scene they had together made my heart race and I was rooting for them. I loved that they can’t stop thinking about each other and that they’re taking steps to become better individuals so that they may deserve each other. There was also this tension between Nina and Matthias from the very first time we saw them together, and I kept wanting to know what their history was. Their whole love-hate relationship was definitely an interesting one. For me, their romance kind of overshadowed the relationship between Kaz and Inej, but I’m expecting to see a lot more Kazej/Inaz in the next book! I ship!

Overall, this was a great new novel by Leigh Bardugo and I’m incredibly happy to see that her writing continues to improve! If you love great characters or a good heist story, this is the one for you.

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

ruin-and-rising

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: June 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 080509461X
Pages: 422
Goodreads || Book Depository

Ruin and Rising is the third book in the Grisha trilogy, which means that this review will contain some spoilers for Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. Proceed at your own risk.

RUIN AND RISING SYNOPSIS

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

For me, Ruin and Rising is by far the best book in the Grisha trilogy. I thought there was a clear improvement in almost all aspects of the book when compared to the previous two books. Also the epilogue of this book is probably the most satisfying ending to a book that I’ve read in a while.

First of all, I was very happy to see more action and plot in this final instalment (it had to happen eventually right?). My problem with Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm was the lack of plot. There was great action at the beginning and end of the book, but nothing in between to fill it up. Ruin and Rising was definitely a step up. The pace of it was much more consistent and we got thrilling scenes throughout the book. I thought that Leigh Bardugo did a much better job at filling in the blanks in this last novel.

I enjoyed most of the plot points in Ruin and Rising. I didn’t find anything to be predictable and I was actually quite shocked at a lot of the twists. There were a couple of things that I thought were a bit weird and not completely necessary to the overall plot of the book. Nikolai goes through a bit of a transformation in this book, and I didn’t understand the point of it. I would have much preferred to see him as his usual funny, smart-mouthed self… and I would have liked it if we had seen a lot more of him. I also didn’t completely enjoy the plot surrounding the third amplifier, though I did like the surprise and shock I felt when I got to that part. The events that followed were just a little bit strange to me.

I thought that the book was resolved quite well but I was still left with some small unanswered questions. I finished Ruin and Rising feeling a bit confused about the role of the Apparat in the trilogy. I didn’t understand his purpose and his actions, and I don’t think that was addressed at the end of this book. I didn’t understand his obsession with religion and Saints, and I was just kind of baffled about his existence. But other than that, I was pretty satisfied with how the trilogy was wrapped up.

My favourite aspect of this book were the characters. We definitely get to see a lot more of the side characters in this book and I was thrilled with how much screen time (page time?) they received. My favourite characters were David and Genya, and I’m so happy with the development in their characters and how they grew together. What I loved most about being able to see more of the side characters, was the deeper exploration of the Grisha powers and what is achievable. I liked being able to see more of the Summoners and what they’re able to do.

However, I did have a little bit of a problem with Alina’s powers, and this has been a recurring problem for me throughout the trilogy. I dislike the fact that new abilities just come to Alina without her having to do anything. We do see a tiny bit of training towards the end of this book, but for the most part, she’s able to just do things on the first try. I also don’t really see her trying to push herself and stretch her limits (besides that one bit of training). She relies on the amplifiers to strengthen her abilities and I had a bit of a problem with that. I just wanted to see more growth in her.

I was satisfied with Alina’s overall character growth though. She was much more comfortable in her own skin, and her assertiveness no longer felt out-of-character. I enjoyed her strength and found her to be pretty likeable in this book. However, I still found her to be a bit too bland of a protagonist, and she was overshadowed by the side characters. Unlike most readers, I liked her relationship with Mal and I really liked their scenes together. Mal kind of rubbed me the wrong way at the end of Siege and Storm, but I liked who he was in Ruin and Rising. He still felt a little bit ordinary but I liked that he was noble and caring. The Darkling also had some great moments, but I wanted to see even more of him! We got such great scenes that really showcased how dynamic and complex of a character he is, but his character development was still a little bit lacking.

Overall, I really enjoyed the reading experience and thought Ruin and Rising was a fantastic ending to the trilogy. This final book could definitely have been a lot more epic, if the previous two books had been better developed, but I’m satisfied with what we got. I also liked that each book in the trilogy was better than the previous one, so I’m super excited to see what Six of Crows brings.

Your Future Book Tag

your-future-book-tag

I saw this tag on Josie’s Book Corner and it was such a fun tag to read that I knew I had to do it! Check out her post because she had a blast doing it and I had an amazing time reading about her fictional future! Josie tagged all her readers so I’m considering myself tagged!

So the rules: I have to pick five books from my bookshelf and answer two questions for each book to determine my future. You’ll see how it works!

I chose five books that all have a big cast of characters so we’ll see how this goes… I also put them into alphabetical order by title so there’s no cheating here!

Book 1: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Book 2: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Book 3: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Book 4: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Yes, I chose this instalment because Rowan is in it)
Book 5: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


QUESTIONS

1. Open Book 1 (Clockwork Angel) to a random page. Look at the first word on the page. If it’s less than 5 letters, you will go to college. If it’s more than 5 letters, you won’t go to college.

Page 246 (US hardcover): The first word on this page is “fingers”, which is longer than 5 letters. I guess I’m not going to college? Except I already did and graduated. *hugs my testamur plaque* You will not take this away from me!

2. Open Book 1 (Clockwork Angel) to a random page. The first name you see. Think of that person’s job – that will be your job. (Note: Is that person still in school? You will be a teacher. You don’t know that person’s job? You will be unemployed.)

Page 95 (US hardcover): The first name is Will! Yes, I got my bae! So I guess my occupation is Shadowhunter? I wonder what that translates to in the real world… whatever, I’m happy with demon hunter!

3. Open Book 2 (Miss Peregrine’s) to a random page. The first name you see will be the person you will marry.

Page 136 (paperback): Millard! Okay this might be a problem. Millard is the invisible boy in the book so I might have a hard time being married to him. But everyday would be so much fun. He’s also super knowledgeable about everything and loves books so I’m sure we’d get along!

4. Open Book 2 (Miss Peregrine’s) to a random page. The first name you see will be your best friend.

Page 118 (paperback): This is actually a photograph and not a page of text.. but it’s a photo of Hugh! I absolutely love Hugh and I’d love to be besties with him. He has the ability to control bees and store them in his stomach – it’s weird I know. But he has an awesome scene in Hollow City, which was my favourite scene of the whole book.

5. Open Book 3 (My Life Next Door) to a random page. Look at the second word on the page. Count how many letters that word has, remove two letters. That’s how many children you will have.

Page 252 (US hardcover): I got the word “campaign”, which has 7 letters. So I’m having 5 kids in the future. I don’t know about that… I think 2 or 3 is a good number. 5 is probably too many.

6. How many children did you have? Open Book 3 (My Life Next Door) as many times to see who your children will be. If you have no children, open the book once. The first name you see will be something of your choice (e.g. neighbour, father-in-law etc).

Page 32 (US hardcover): Patsy. Omg I love Patsy! I totally want her to be my daughter.
Page 54: George. YES! George is probably my favourite of all of Jase’s siblings so I’d be stoked to have him as a son. He’s pretty much a walking encyclopedia and is totally adorable! ❤
Page 104: Nan. I really didn’t like Nan in this book. She was a terrible friend to Samantha and I couldn’t really stand her. Hopefully she’s a better daughter.
Page 120: Jase. I wanted Jase to be my hubby, not my son T_T. But he’d be the most helpful and caring son in the world!
Page 373: Duff. Another one of the Garrett siblings. He doesn’t really have a big role in the book so I don’t know very much about him, but welcome to the family, Duff!

7. Book 4 (Queen of Shadows). Where does this book take place? This will be the place where you will live.

I don’t know how I feel about living in Rifthold… I’m a city girl so I’m glad that at least I’ll be in a busy, city location, rather than in the middle of the forest.

8. Open Book 4 (Queen of Shadows) to a random page. The first name you see… does this person have a car, bike, etc.? That will be your transportation. (Note: teleporting, broom etc. is allowed. If your character has no means of transportation that you know of, you will be using public transport.)

Page 268 (UK paperback): The first name is Manon! YAY, I get to ride a wyvern! I’m sure Abraxos will be super gentle and won’t try to throw me off. Manon might get angry at me for stealing him away though 😀

9. Does Book 5 (Shadow and Bone) have animals in it? Pick your favourite animal to be your pet. No animals in the book? You will have no pets.

I don’t really recall there being any animals in this book. Oh I know! There are horses. I guess it’ll be nice to have a pet horse. Abraxos might not like that though.

10. Open Book 5 (Shadow and Bone) to a random page. The first name you see will be your enemy.

Page 222 (US hardcover): The first name on this page is Ivan. He was a bit of a dick so I don’t mind him being my enemy. Also, I think I can take him! I have a wyvern after all.


SUMMARY OF MY FUTURE

I am apparently going to give up my hard-earned degree to become a Shadowhunter and kill demons. I guess that’s a pretty good excuse for a career change. Psychology is way too mundane (see what I did there?) anyway. My best friend will be Hugh and all of his bees. I will marry Millard the Invisible Man and we will have 5 kids: Patsy, George, Nan, Jase and Duff. We will live in Rifthold and our mode of transportation will be wyverns! I have claimed Abraxos, who may or may not fight with/eat my pet horse. My archnemesis will be Ivan, but since Millard is invisible, I’m sure he can just stab him to death with a concealed knife. Or maybe Abraxos can just tear him apart. I’m also a Shadowhunter so I think I have the training to take him on. And as a last resort, Hugh’s bees can sting him to death.

I guess it’s a pretty good life after all!


I TAG: EVERYONE

This was such a fun tag to do and I hope you all have a great time reading it. I tag all of you because you’re missing out on the fun if you don’t do it!!