January Wrap-Up | 2017

I am the worst book blogger in the entire universe. Seriously. I’ve had the worst reading slump ever and I’m trying so hard to break out of it, but I’m struggling. I only read two books in January and let me tell you, it sucks. We’ve all been there. I keep buying books, but I haven’t been reading them. I have issues, guys.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
4.5/5 Stars

*Best book of the month*

It’s not that hard to pick a “best book of the month” when you only read two. But I’m giving it to this one anyways. I’ve come to expect a pretty high level of quality when it comes to Victoria Schwab since she is forever my favorite author, and this didn’t disappoint at all. The concept, the characters and the initial hook were all first class. The whole concept that when you commit an act of violence it creates an immediate physical consequence (a monster) is so beyond what a lot of other YA books would even dare to dream up. I only took off a half of a star because there were parts that I found tedious. I really loved reading about a pair of characters that had no romantic involvement with one another even though it could have so easily gone down that path. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel and conclusion of this series.
This Savage Song Goodread’s Page

 


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Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
3/5 Stars  2/5 Stars
*Audiobook & Montly Book Club Pick*

I think I was being a bit generous when I rated this now that I’m thinking back to it, because my recollections are not very positive. Before I started the audiobook, I tried reading this in it’s physical form. Instantly I was irritated because the book is written as if the protagonist is telling you a story. There are no quotations to indicate when dialogue begins and ends and the grammar is very peculiar to say the least. I knew I would struggle with it, so I bought it on audible, moved on from there. I thought maybe if the story was being read to me, then I would be okay with it. I was very wrong.
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I had so many issues with this book. It took me a month and a half to finish it. It’s a pretty decent sized book, but it should not have taken as long as it did. I was intrigued in the beginning with the start of this opera singer’s childhood and how she joined a circus. That was all pretty exciting and held my attention for about the first quarter of the book, but once you actually start to get in to the parts that actually involve opera, it gets extremely boring and tedious. There are several cases of insta-love with characters that are barely mentioned for more than two pages, a protagonist who clearly has never made an adult decision in her life and  decides to deal with everything by running away from it and then crying about it for almost an entire chapter. The protagonist literally ruins everyone’s life that she comes in contact with in one way or another, then pretends like she’s completely blameless. I seriously was begging for someone to murder her about halfway through the book.

Here’s my biggest gripe. I’m a huge fan of opera, an even bigger fan of historical fiction and am borderline obsessed with French history. This book should have blown me away. It left me so irritated that I probably would give this book away if the spine wasn’t ridiculously beautiful. Now that I’m thinking of it, I’m docking this book a star. Just typing about it is actually making me mad.
Queen of the Night Goodread’s Page


Let me know down below if you’ve read either of these and what you thought of them!
(No spoilers please)

December Wrap-Up | 2016

Another month where I didn’t read as much as I should, another year where I didn’t meet my reading goal. It’s tough when you love stories in so many different mediums. Video games, TV Shows, Movies, etc. All in all, I had an okay month. The books that I did manage to read were pretty fantastic for the most part. Even though I only read two. So I’m going to treat this post more like two short book reviews since there are so few.
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*Favorite Book of the Year*
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
5/5 Stars

Where do I even begin with this book? It put me in a huge slump after I finished it. All I could think about were the characters and how the story left off and how there’s no way there will be another book. I just kind of wanted to lay on the floor for several hours heartbroken after I finished the last page. Even almost three weeks later I’m still kind of stuck in that twisted beautiful world. And daydreaming about the very dashing leading man, Jest.

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I think about halfway through I knew the book was going to be on my favorites list, by the end it was my favorite of the year (beating Stalking Jack the Ripper by the smallest bit). Meyer not only adds on to the already existing lore of Wonderland but she made it even more vibrant and beautiful with her wonderful characters. I especially loved how she created a world of high society within Wonderland that worked so incredibly well and it added so much depth to the plot by weaving in court politics.

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*Audiobook*
The Final Empire (Mistborn Book #1) by Brandon Sanderson
4.5/5 Stars

I’ll be honest, the reason I docked half of a star was because I felt like the book didn’t live up to the hype. I really loved it, but I feel like I didn’t love it as much as I should have. It was a lot harder to actually get in to than I anticipated. I really didn’t enjoy it until about a quarter of the way through the book if I’m being completely honest, which is really unusual for me when it comes to fantasy. I found the magic system confusing and I found the characters very lackluster. Then it took a turn for the better. The characters began to grow on me and the “metal burning” was less convoluted than I first anticipated. In the last part of the book I couldn’t listen to it fast enough, I had to know what was going to happen, I had to know the answers to the burning questions that started at the very beginning.

I’m definitely going to be continuing on with this series, the first book was definitely enough to keep my interest. People have assured me that the second and third books are more interesting since the world building is over to which I have no doubt. Vin definitely started to grow on me quickly, I found her to be very unique for a female fantasy protagonist. I really love how Sanderson wrote a very soft spoken character who didn’t have to change in order to become interesting and powerful. I also love how he makes a lot of his characters very deeply flawed, especially Kelsier.

Let me know in the comments below what you read this month or what you thought of the books I read!
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The Bookish Academy Awards | 2016

A resolution of mine is to actually blog more. I’ve been awful at it in 2016. Let’s be real. But this was one of my favorite posts to do last year. So I figured on the last days of 2016, I’d go over my favorites. Please comment below on your thoughts on any books or opinions mentioned. Please feel free to steal this tag, I didn’t originate it. And keep in mind these are books I READ in 2016, they didn’t all come out in 2016.

Best Male Protagonist
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Jest (Hartless by Marissa Meyer)
Daniel (Shadow of the Wind)
Kazz (Six of Crows)
Rowan (Queen of Shadows)
Kelsier (The Final Empire)

Best Female Protagonist
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Audrey Rose (Stalking Jack the Ripper)
Blue Sargent (The Raven Cycle)
Delilah Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic)
Kady (Illuminae)
Iseult (Truthwitch)

Best Plot Twist
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Illuminae
Everything, Everything
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Before I Fall
The Diviners

Best Book Cover
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The Raven King
Heartless
Everything, Everything
The Witch of Painted Sorrows
Six of Crows

Best Supporting Character
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Noah Czerny (The Raven Cycle Series)
Hatta (Heartless)
Memphis (The Diviners)
Theta (The Diviners)
Manon (Queen of Shadows)

Most Unique World
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A Court of Mist and Fury
Mistborn
The Raven Cycle
Illuminae
Truthwitch

Best “New-to-you” Author
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Brandon Sanderson
Kerri Maniscalco
Melissa Meyer
Emily St. John Mandel
Jay Kristoff

Worst Book of the Year
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Before I Fall
The Nest
My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

Best Book of the Year
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Heartless by Marissa Meyer
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Keri Maniscalco
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Illuminae by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Let me know your favorites of this year and if you agree or disagree with my choices down below!
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Top 5 Wednesday | Books you want to finally read in 2017

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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
(Outlander #2)

I’ve been thinking of starting Season 2 of the TV show, but my book loving brain will not let me do so without reading the book first.

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Fallen Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
(Fallen Kingdoms #1)

I recently got this for a friend for her birthday and shocker, I haven’t even read it. It’s almost a finished series and I still haven’t gotten my act together. What is wrong with me.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
(Monsters of Verity #1)

My favorite author wrote a new book. I haven’t read it yet.
Problems.

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
(Six of Crows #2) 

I’m afraid. Don’t yell at me.

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
(Passenger #1)

At least I’ll read it right before the second one comes out? Does that work as an excuse?

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what books you want to finally get to in 2017.

November Wrap Up 2016

Wow, I’ve really sucked at actually writing in my blog. But, I’ve put in notes in my planner to remind myself to post tags and start doing Top 5 Wednesdays again. Maybe some Top 10 Tuesdays as well. Anyways, on with the wrap up.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
4/5 Stars

Compliments:
Multiple perspectives that were not hard to follow and ultimately added to the story.
An original and well thought out plot.
Several realistic and thought provoking characters.
Did not give in to common post-apocalyptic tropes.
A very quick and enjoyable read.
Very diverse cast of characters.

Criticisms:
Not enough information/time spent on certain characters.
Abrupt ending.

I would recommend this book to:
People who feel like they need a new take on dystopian.
Fans of Shakespeare and  theater.

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The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
3/5 Stars
*Monthly Book Club Pick*

Compliments:
“Guilty Pleasure” story that focuses on a family full of broken characters.
The story delves in to important adult topics such as grief and fear of poverty.
Has an open ending that leaves you satisfied.

Criticisms:
Extremely frustrating characters.
Story dragged on at certain parts and lacked in others.
Missing that “hook” that’s typically associated with family drama fiction.
Very slow pacing through out the entire book.

I would recommend this book to:
Fans of “Running with Scissors”
Anyone who prefers to read in short sprints.

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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
3.5/5 Stars

Compliments:
Very much a “pick-me-up” book. If you need something warm and fuzzy to take your mind off things, this can easily do that.
Admirable female protagonist with a sharp mind and a kind heart.
A great example of diversity in YA.
Realistic depiction of teenage romance.
Great balance of humor and drama.

Criticisms:
Unrealistic at times, especially towards the end.

I would recommend this book to:
Fans of “Anna and the French Kiss”
Anyone in a reading slump

Currently Loving:
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Let me know what you thought any of the books mentioned above! Comment below if you want to talk about them, I’m always ecstatic when someone else has read the same book(s) as me.

~The Grisha Lieutenant

October Wrap-Up | 2016

It was an okay month for me. I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to. I’ve been adjusting to my new schedule, getting in the the routine of my new job and having more trouble staying up passed ten or eleven at night. Adulting is hard, keeping up with reading is even harder.

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The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
(Audiobook)

4.5/5 Stars

If you’re like me, and enjoy history almost as much as fictional narratives, then this books is definitely for you. I won’t lie, it’s a big commitment even for the most ambitious readers. It’s over a thousand pages in print and 50 hours on audiobook. I took my time with it and I think that’s what made me love it so much. It chronicles the family line of our main character through hundreds of years of magic and scandal. Anne Rice has a real talent for writing deeply flawed characters that you still love unconditionally. And let me tell you, the flaws they have are pretty hard to get over. Some of course, more than others. And of course, in true Anne Rice fashion, both the family history and the two main characters meet perfectly at the end leaving you ready for more. My only criticism was that it took so long to finish this audiobook that towards the end I felt a lot of the content in the last three or four hours was a bit unnecessary.  

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
4.5/5 Stars
** Favorite Book of the Month**

This was an excellent spooky October read. It had a perfect balance of history, early forensic medicine and narrative. I really enjoyed the main character, especially her cleverness, bravery and intellect. I loved how she actually questioned everyone around her, even those closest to her. I guessed the culprit about midway through the book, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of watching the story unwind.It was the motive that was a surprise to me and it brought a whole other element to the book.

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Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by Various Authors (Selected by April Genevieve Tucholke)
Monthly Book Club Selection
5/5 Stars

This was my perfect rating book this month. I read one every few nights throughout the month and that ended up being a perfect speed to fully enjoy each story as it’s own. Of course, there were a few I hold in higher regard than others, but only one ended up boring me so much that I didn’t even finish it. A few of them surprised me with how scary they were, especially the second story in the anthology based on Alice in Wonderland. But my favorite by far was Sleepless by Jay Kristoff. No surprise there. Even though Halloween is passed, consider giving this one a read for those cold nights.

Currently Reading:
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Let me know down below what your favorite book was this month or if you read any of the ones I mentioned!

~The Grisha Lieutenant

 

 

Halloween Book Tag!

Tis’ the season to be spooky!!!

Carving Pumpkins:
What book would you carve up and light on fire?

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Normally I don’t condone mutilation of books. But I had so many issues with this one I wouldn’t be even slightly irked if someone destroyed it. I’d warm my hands knowing the world has been rid of another copy of this piece of junk. 

Trick or Treat:
What character is a trick? What character is a treat?
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My precious child Noah Czerny is the treat. Can you honestly think of a more precious character in this book? Can you? No, you can’t.
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As for the trick? AIDEN. 

Candy Corn:
What’s a book that’s always sweet?
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I always think of this book around Halloween. It’s such a beautifully written book and so original. It has the feel of a fairy tale, the charm of a contemporary and the suspense of a mystery. And it’s all in one book. 

Ghost: 
What character would you love to visit you as a ghost?
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Fred. He would be the best ghost to be haunted by.

Dressing up in a costume:
What character would you want to be for a day?
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Tessa Gray! Victorian era Shadowhunter. I’m just saying that’d be amazing for just a single day.

Wizards and Witches:
What is your favorite Harry Potter moment?
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The Weasley’s epic exit from Hogwarts. The swamp. Do I need to say anymore?

Blood and Gore:
What book was so creepy you had to take a break from it?
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I’ve been reading this book one story at a time. It’s a lot creepier than I originally anticipated. But I’m really enjoying it. Especially the short stories “Emmeline” and “Sleepless”. Highly recommend it if you want something actually creepy.

I tag:
Eve Messenger
River Moose
Book Slayer Reads

 

Thanks for reading as always! Have an awesome Halloween.
~The Grisha Lieutenant