Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: Queen of Shadows

Sarah J. Maas has once again pulled at my heartstrings and completely made me fall in love with a fae warrior, a troubled prince, iron teeth witches, and a fire-breathing bitch queen. Though I wasn’t jumping for joy at every moment throughout this book, Queen of Shadows still took my breath away and had me hanging on to every word written, dying to jump in and fight right alongside Aelin. 
If you love action, you are in for some excitement. The fight scenes in this book have me gripping the pages like my life is dependent on it, the scenes are intense and the battle plans are meticulously brilliant. You will definitely be biting your nails and sitting on the edge of your seat. I mainly discuss the characters in this review, but the plot of Queen of Shadows is exceptional. I kept most of my thoughts to the characters because I want to avoid spoiling too much for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to grab this beauty of a book yet. When you do pick up this book, be forewarned your heart will be pounding and hands sweaty with nervousness, wondering what is going to happen as Sarah J. Maas once again sweeps you away into her world of Erilea, full of excitement, sword fights, and hell fire.

Before I tell you all the other reasons you have to go get this book and the whole series right now, I do have some grievances. I love the characters in this series. They possess unique qualities different from my own yet, they are each relatable in their own way. Because of this I am very attached to the characters in this book and when they have a personality change it seems unnatural. It’s like my best friends have changed. I love badass Celaena Sardothien and Aelin, but I feel like Aelin is much softer than the Celaena we know and love. I am not saying that Aelin can’t be softer because of everything that she has been through, I just don’t want the badass side of her to completely disappear. One of these reasons is the way she fawns over Rowan. Don't get me wrong, I think Rowan and Celaena are great for one another. But the transition in which they went from platonic friends to wanting to be all over each other was not like the Aelin/Celaena I have come to know. Their fascination with one another in this book bordered between admiration and obsession to the point where it was just too much. From time to time, they were adorable and I enjoyed it but at other moments I was thinking please slow down and let me enjoy their relationship growth. The bottom line is I like Aelin and Rowan together, they're adorable and badass together, I just wish their relationship from friends to more than friends had a little more time to grow before falling head over heels for each other. Another aspect that made me upset about Aelin was her willingness to kill Dorian. This wasn’t necessarily something caused by a shift in her character, but it definitely made me upset that she was going to give up on the fact that Dorian was still in there somewhere. (SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the book yet, don’t read the next 2 sentences.) In the previous books, she would have never given up on Dorian, therefore, it was quite a shock for me when she held the sword over his head only to be stopped by Nesryn’s arrow. Her reasoning was logical; he had been possessed by a demon, but it still was hard for me to read that she actually contemplated and was seconds away from ending one of her best friends lives. The Chaol and Celaena dynamic of this book was rough to read. They had a lot of things happen to them in their past, but the fact that they never agreed on anything and were barely even friends throughout Queen of Shadows bothered me because they were so close in every other book. Their differences resulted in a strong bond when they worked and planned together. But in Queen of Shadows it seems like their differences and the past they shared between them had finally become too much for one another to handle. Fortunately by the end they seemed to be on much better terms again because a world without Chaol and Celaena caring about each other is just not acceptable.

Now that I've gotten my whining out of the way let me tell you about all of the reasons about why this book is so AMAZING. First of all, let me just say I jumped up and down upon discovering that this book was 656 pages long. I know some people get annoyed when the book is super long, but it fills me up with happiness and excitement. The more pages there are the more I get to read about my favorite characters and their adventures. Honestly, I never feel like the book is long enough. If it was up to me authors would write stories about the characters until they were gone from their world. I want to hear their whole story, from beginning to end and until then I will never stop wondering about their lives. The characters in my favorite books become a part of my life and I become invested, so the more I get to learn about them the better for the book nerd in me.

So did I mention how attached I get to the characters? Buckle down and get reading because I have some wonderful things to say about the lovely characters in Queen of Shadows. Sarah J. Maas has an entrancing way in which she writes her characters that just makes me want to be friends with each and every one of them. I literally want to be their best friends. Earlier I complained a little bit about Rowan and Aelin’s fast moving relationship, but I want to be clear that Rowan is a fantastic character and he adds to the greatness of this book. The way Rowan pushed and challenged Celaena in Heir of Fire as well as the way he began to care for her, I knew even then that their relationship was essential  to the story. Celaena/Aelin never opened up to anyone because of everything she had been through and everything she had lost, but that changed with Rowan as their relationship blossomed and that in itself is something significant. And although I still wish Rowan and Aelin’s relationship had been allowed to develop at a slower pace, the way that they interact with one another is special and intoxicating in a way that only two people who cared for each other very deeply could portray. Aedion Ashryver, Wolf of the North, is a man and a friend anyone would be lucky to have in their life. His dedication to serving his queen and being a friend to Aelin no matter what her past had been is moving and valiant. Plus I mean he’s kinda like a big, strong, awesome teddy bear. I love his relationship with Aelin and how much he cares for her but also how he messes with Aelin like when they were children. The closeness of their relationship and the way they bond and interact throughout the whole book really shows just how special their relationship is. Aelin needs her friends after everything she has been through and being able to reconnect with her cousin was really good for her. Aelin is a badass and doesn’t need others to protect her, but it is important for her to have friends again who she can trust to have her back and support her when she becomes queen. The male characters in this book were phenomenal and kick ass, but the female characters in this book definitely take the cake. I hope to one day be half as fierce, strong, and brave as Aelin, Lysandra, Manon, and Elide. Sarah J. Maas’ female characters, though all have their own individuals flaws and struggles that they have had to overcome, they are some of the most courageous female characters I have ever read about and I wish to embody their characters. Celaena/Aelin has been to hell and back and she is still going strong and fighting for everything that she believes in. She has lost so much and yet she still strives to not only survive but to live and fight for her people and her friends. Though going through a different kind of hell, Lysandra stood strong just like Aelin. Her life was changed when she was very young because of her abilities and this caused her to have strenuous obstacles to overcome that she took head on. The friendship between Lysandra and Aelin that developed throughout this book was like watching two people who thought they were so very different realize that they weren’t so different at all. They not only had an ally in one another but a good friend. I could go on and on for pages about the characters in this book, but honestly my words won’t allow you to fully understand them and just how amazing they are.

Thank you, Sarah J. Maas, for once again blowing me away with your exceptional fantasy writing. You have allowed me to travel into a world unbeknownst to us humans and make it and the wonderful characters seem real. Queen of Shadows has been added to my collection of favorites along with all the other Throne of Glass books. Though this book was not flawless, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and will be counting down the days until the next one hits the shelves. If you haven’t read Queen of Shadows or you haven’t read Throne of Glass, make sure they are next on your to be read list and allow those books to take you on an adventure.

My rating for Queen of Shadows is 5 out of 5 palm trees

Ready to travel to Erilea?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: The Ugly StepSister Strikes Back

Before I start my review I would like to say thank you to Sariah Wilson for sending me a copy of her book to review!
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson is one of the best chick-lit, romance novels that I have read in a while. I usually don’t read books that are just categorized as romance because they tend to be very similar to one another and I can always predict what is going to happen next and this usually takes away some of the magic from the book. Sariah Wilson’s book The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back takes a fresh new look at the classic fairytale of Cinderella and is not what one would usually expect. Although it took me a little while to get into it, once I got into The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back I was totally hooked.
When first reading the title of this book I automatically assumed that it would be about a stepsister of some kind taking revenge on their super-sweet nice sister that everybody likes. Then after reading the excerpt I had a completely different prediction of what would happen in this book. I thought it would simply be one of those classic “stepsister turns into being nice girl and gets the guy” and I was astonished yet again (in a good way) while reading, that my predictions were not correct. For a hardcore action/adventure reader like myself, I quickly get bored of the same kind of plot constantly used by romance writers. So I was pleasantly surprised when reading to find out that The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back was not a super predictable read and instead there were more than a few times when I was completely caught off guard by what had happened.
Mattie Lowe was not the typical evil stepsister, and her sister wasn't your average “Cinderella” they actually seemed to get along for the most part until Ella started dating Jake, the boy that Mattie had been in love with since she was 9. The story is being told in Mattie’s point of view and she starts out the story by stating all the reasons that she doesn't like her step sister. After reading this, I really didn’t want to like Ella or Mattie because Ella sounded way too nice and that seemed weird and Mattie seemed to have a case of the green jealousy monster. But a piece of me couldn't help but like them because of how I could relate to the both of them in different ways.
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is full of classic love story characters. There is mean girls, best friends, annoying teachers, and gorgeous/sweet guys. All these characters mesh together well and this makes the story flow smoothly and still be entertaining. I don’t want to give anything away but Ella’s actions throughout the story prove her to be more than just the pretty stepsister. Mattie’s artistic and stubborn personality make for an interesting and unique “ugly stepsister” that you will love by the end of the story.
The relationships between characters were wonderfully written. Whether it was characters who loved one another or ones who couldn't stand the sight of each other, Sariah Wilson writes these character interaction scenes wonderfully. One of my favorite relationships was of course Mattie and Jake. I loved how they each grew throughout the story and came to terms with themselves. I don’t wanna give anything away so I can’t elaborate on them too much, but the synergy between Ella and Trent was adorable even if it was a little cheesy. Mattie and her mom’s relationship was probably the saddest relationship of the whole book for me. I am super close with my mom, so seeing the way she and her mom acted towards one another made me hurt for Mattie.
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is a classic Cinderella tale that has unexpected twists. This book will make you wish you had an “ugly stepsister” or a “perfect Cinderella”. The characters are intriguing and this book will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

My rating for The Ugly StepSister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson is 4 out of 5 palm trees

Enchanted to read The Ugly StepSister Strikes Back?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review: Starters

With a captivating excerpt and unique plot line Starters by Lissa Price had me drawn in from the start. Callie lost her parents to the Spore Wars and may lose her little brother soon. To prevent herself from losing him she signs up at Prime Destinations.   This a business that rents out teen bodies to people called Enders who are senior citizens that want to experience being young again.   While renting out the body to one customer something strange happens and this changes Callie’s life forever.
One of my favorite things about this book was definitely the interesting plot.  Since dystopians are popping up all over the place, they each have to have something about them that draws in the readers and Starters was one of them that caught my eye and my interest.  Who would have ever thought of elders buying out teens bodies to be young again?  Certainly not me still a teenager myself.  I could never even begin to imagine this happening and for Callie to have dealt with it all gave me a whole lot of respect for her. I loved the way the plot was laid out and how the story flowed.  With so many different things happening throughout the book, there was almost never a dull moment.  It was a complete mix of action, compassion, and science fiction.  If I had one complaint about the plot it would probably have been all the unanswered questions I was left with at the end of the book.  Some of the questions may have been left unanswered so that they can be answered in the sequel, but I felt like there were too many questions that I wanted answers to.
The science fiction part of this book was great! The whole elders renting out teen bodies scenario was creepy, yet realistic which made it even creepier. I loved the way Lissa Price built her Starters world around the Spore Wars and the Enders. From the way she described it the reader could definitely tell that the part of the world where Callie lived was controlled by the Enders and that people outside of that area didn’t seem to notice or care.
Character development and character relationships in this book were a little all over the place for me. There were some characters that I enjoyed reading about and there were others that were bland. As for the relationships characters had there were some that I was fond of while others were awkward and unsatisfactory.  Callie our main character in Starters, had pretty good character development throughout the book. There were points in the story where I questioned some of her decisions and actions, but after everything she went through and experienced the fact that she was still holding it all together was something. Michael who was a friend of Callies and helped her look after her little brother was an interesting character. At times he seemed really sweet and it seemed as if he genuinely cared about Callie and her little brother, but at other times it seemed as if he could care less.  As for character relationships, I don’t wanna give away too much about who all Callie interacted with, but I will say this not everyone was who they said they were and this made for some super interesting twists that you will not be expecting
Starters is a great book to read if you love dystopians and science fiction mixed with some thrills! Once you get into it you will not be able to put it down because of all the mysterious happenings it has in store. Even after you’ve reached the end you will be wanting more and dying to know what happens next.    

My rating for Starters by Lissa Price is 4.5 out of 5 palm trees

Enticed by the world of Starters?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Goddess Interrupted

There are books that I find that I truly enjoy and devour them, but then there are the books that although they keep me intrigued they aren’t my favorite. Most readers highly enjoyed this book and thought it was absolutely wonderful. But, although I enjoyed it, Goddess Interrupted was not a favorite.
The first book in the series, The Goddess Test was okay, but sadly did not meet the expectations that I had expected. Nevertheless it was good enough for me to want to continue on with the series and read the second book. Goddess Interrupted turned out to be a lot more interesting than its predecessor and succeeded in making the read enjoyable and captivating. 
In The Goddess Test, Kate, the main character was one of my favorite characters throughout the book. I loved how emotionally strong she was and how she dealt with all the problems/challenges she was faced with. To my disappointment, Kate was completely different in this book. She got back from her 6 month break hoping that Henry would be more open to her and would act more lovingly toward her. Because Henry was not acting the way that Kate had wanted she began to become unsure of herself and was somewhat annoying by obsessing about Henry’s feelings for her. On the other hand, Henry’s character was portrayed much better in this book and I liked his character a lot more than before and I really like how he was written as having more emotion. He was so distant in The Goddess Test and I didn’t get to know him very well which resulted in me not liking him.  
I love books that incorporate action into them while also having romance. In The Goddess Test the excerpt of the book misled me into thinking that it would have more action in it than it actually did. Goddess Interrupted, I am happy to say was more action oriented and I liked it more. It wasn’t completely action oriented, so romance lovers don’t worry, but it was enough for an action lover like me to enjoy the story as well. 
Although there were many aspects of this story I enjoyed, my favorite part of the story was probably the plot and Aimee Carter’s description/explanation of the Underworld. I have read many greek mythology based books and the plot for Goddess Interrupted was very unique and original. I loved the twist that one of the gods betrayed the others and helped the titans! It was unexpected for me, especially since in Greek myths the gods always seem to be fighting against the titans, not with them.  
In most writers descriptions of the Underworld, the writers describe it as grey, dreary, gross, and sometimes gruesome. I loved Aimee Carter's description of the Underworld. It was one of the most interesting and one of my favorite takes on it.  
Overall, I thought Goddess Interrupted was a good read and the writing was well done, but it just wasn’t for me. I think that others who enjoy more romance would like this book a lot more than I did, but readers should definitely give it a chance.
 My rating for Goddess Interuptted is 3.5 out 5 palm trees

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: Wanderlove

Out of all the books I have ever read, I have never read one the made me want to travel and experience the world as much as Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.  Beautifully written and completely awe-inspiring, Kristen Hubbard wrote an amazing novel about figuring out who one really is and who one really wants to be.
Before reading Wanderlove I wanted to travel, but after reading it, I want to travel even more.  The reason for this is because Bria, the main character in Wanderlove inspired me.  Bria, at the beginning was somewhat of a mess.  She is trying to run from her past and her future at the same time.  She is stuck not knowing exactly what to do and decides on a whim to take a trip to Central America with a tour group.  Soon after arriving she ditches the tour group and goes off with two backpackers she has just met in the hope that she can somehow embrace her wild side and get off of her own beaten path. As you watch Bria’s character grow throughout the story and learn more about her you as the reader also grow along with Bria by realizing that there are so many things that sometimes we miss out on because of focusing on the big things instead of the little things.
The writing in this book is phenomenal.   Even if you’ve never been to the places that Kirsten Hubbards mentions in the book you will feel as if you are there experiencing and seeing some of the amazing experiences that Bria saw and lived.  Although this book was so captivating that I didn’t want to put it down, I did, because I wanted to savor the story and I wanted to enjoy it.  Each place I read about was new and exciting.   Each location she wrote about I wanted to jump on a plane and go there right away just so I could experience it in its full beauty. 
Although the writing was amazing and the storyline equally awesome, one of my favorite things about this book was the drawings done by the author herself that were placed all throughout the book. The drawings are breathtaking.  Not only does Kirsten Hubbard seem to have brilliant writing skills, but she also seems to have a talent for drawing. Each of the different drawings matched perfectly with the scene she was describing and they were simple, yet elaborate enough to still be impressive. 
I enjoy books with romance in them.  Not the ones where the whole story is solely based on the romantic aspect, but ones like Wanderlove that let the characters get to know each other and the romance just creeps up on you and happens at the perfect time.  Rowan, the male interest in Wanderlove isn’t what you would call the perfect guy, though he ends up being perfect for Bria.   Rowan’s past is a little sketchy and like Bria, he is running from his past.  The two help each other piece back together their lives and put each other back on the right path. 
Wanderlove is magical, heartbreaking, and awe-inspiring.  Kirsten Hubbard has made her way onto my list of favorites with Wanderlove and I will be eagerly awaiting a new book from her.

My rating for Wanderlove is 5 out of 5 palm trees

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Friends of mine had been persuading me to read a book by John Green because they thought his previous books were amazing. I finally agreed and picked up John Green’s newest book The Fault in Our Stars. This book was absolutely breathtaking and heartfelt.  Never have I read a book with characters that had such real, raw emotions and experiences. Reading this book makes you look at life with a different perspective and shows you how to enjoy some of the little things/experiences that we have in our short time on earth.
The Fault in Our Stars begins the story with Hazel, a girl who has been diagnosed with cancer. When first diagnosed she thought she was going to die, but then a miracle happened. Her doctor found something to help prevent her cancer.   At the age of 16, Hazel has been homeschooled since being diagnosed with cancer and instead of going out with friends stays home a lot. Her mother, trying to get her out of the house to meet new people and not waste her life convinces her to go to a cancer support group. This is where she meets Augustus Waters.
I knew this book was going to be sad. In the excerpt it tells you that Hazel has cancer and you assume that the book will be sad. What I didn’t assume was that this book was going to be funny and heart-wrenching and magical all at the same time. I assumed that this book would be about dying and how Hazel and Augustus coped with it. I was wrong yet again. This book is about the opposite of dying, it’s about living. The Fault in Our Stars shows us about just how beautiful and amazing life really is. It shows us that life is sad but there are more important things to be doing and experiences we could be having instead of worrying about little things like dying.
The thing I think I like most about this book is just how real the whole story is. John Green portrays the characters so well and doesn’t hide anything even the not so happy parts within the story. This aspect makes the story even more enjoyable because you feel what the characters are feeling and you experience their experiences.
There are some books that after you have read them, they leave you thinking about them for days. The Fault in Our Stars is one of those book for me. As it goes through the story and Hazel and Augustus think about life and death and all the things that they want and wished they could do. This continually makes me think about everything that I want to do and what I would do in their place; how I would handle having cancer and figuring out what to do with myself when I didn’t know how much more time I had.
This is such an amazing book that I think that any kind of reader would enjoy diving into it. It shows such an honest view of cancer and life; how much having a sickness really sucks and how life doesn’t have to be miserable because of it. Hazel and Augustus teach us that being sick doesn’t have to ruin your life and that life is worth living no matter what.

My rating for The Fault in Our Stars is 5 out of 5 palm trees

Friday, March 2, 2012

Special Review: The Lorax

In honor of The Lorax  movie coming out in theaters today I am doing a special review on the book The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.   I love Dr. Seuss books, therefore what a good excuse to review one of his books --  after all, his books have great messages for small children, young adults and even seniors.The messages are good for all.
My generation grew up reading Dr. Seuss’ stories. All those rhymes and silly things in them made the books a favorite to read. Rereading The Lorax  as a teenager made me realize Dr. Seuss’ books teach the readers something important that we don’t necessarily realize as kids. These golden nuggets of wisdom are ordinary ideas like saving the trees that Dr. Seuss turned into extraordinary stories of fiction with amazingly unique characters.
The Lorax speaks for the trees, for they have no tongues. He speaks for the Bar-ba-Loots (bear like creatures), which eat the truffula fruits and use them for shade. He speaks for the Swomee Swans who love to play in the clear air above the truffula trees. He speaks for the Humming fish who love to hum in the pond. The Lorax speaks for all the creatures living in the truffula forest and he tries to convince The Once-ler or the villian in this story to stop cutting down all the truffula trees for these lovely trees provide homes, shelter,shade and food for many creatures.....the trees are all these animals habitats.
While the book looks at the destruction of natural habitats, the book also pokes at the greed of big business and nonsensical material goods that are created that waste our planets natural resources. The Once-ler, when he finds the truffula forest decides to cut them down for his own greedy purposes and create an article of clothing called thneeds which look like footy pajamas. The Lorax predicts that these thneeds will not sell and no one will like them, but they instead become a become a big hit as lots of people buy the thneeds. The popularity of the thneeds causes the Once-ler to continue to ruin not only the lorax’s home, but also the other animals.
    The Lorax  was first published in 1971. Although this book was written such a long time ago it has touched on subjects happening right now. Things that we should be trying to prevent.  Dr. Seuss predicted the future on how things might be for us and by writing this wonderful childrens book, he created a reminder for all of us that trees and animals natural habitats should be preserved and taken care of so they do not disappear altogether.
    The Lorax  is an amazing children book that everyone should read to their children to encourage the value of little things like trees and animals that can’t speak for themselves.  Help speak for the truffula trees, the bar-ba-loot, the swamee swans, and the humming fish or they might not be here soon.

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is ever going to change. It’s not.” -The Lorax

 My rating for The Lorax  is a forest of truffula trees out of 5 trees