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)

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

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

September Wrap-Up and Reading Update 2016

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*MONTHLY BOOKCLUB PICK*
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatti
3/5 Stars

I didn’t necessarily love this book, but I didn’t really hate it either. It certainly had a creepy feel to it and had a very dark and mysterious story. But for some reason I just got irritated with it at certain points. Yes, it was a middle grade book. But even for a middle grade I found the “big reveals” at the end to be far too obvious and felt like parts of it were entirely unnecessary. Her country accent sort of got to me by the end of the book. There were also parts that I enjoyed too though, mostly that our heroine wasn’t the “naturally clever bookworm from a middle class family”. She was a lower class girl with little to no education. That was certainly different, especially in a setting that oozed wealth and excess. The writing was quite good, but in the end I don’t think it interested me enough for me to continue with the series. 

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Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
4/5 Stars

This was one of those books I kept beside my bed and would read little by little before I went to sleep. The book consists of bits of wisdom and advice from Marcus Aurelius taken from letters and speeches. For those not familiar, he was one of the great Roman Emperor’s widely revered for his wisdom and goodness. As a scholar of history, I found it endlessly fascinating that all of wisdom and observations still hold up to this day.

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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J Maas
5/5 Stars

As always, I enjoyed this book immensely. It opened up whole new horizons in the story line and even had me loving a character I was previously ambivalent about. I’m of course talking about Manon. I previously tolerated her chapters, but in this one I really looked forward to them. But I still enjoyed every moment of Celaena vs. (enter male character) banter and the nail biting action. The downside is, as much as I really love the TOG books, it always takes me FOREVER to read them. I can’t seem to just sit down and read them within a few days. It takes me at least two weeks per book in the series. 

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*FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH*
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
3.5/5 Stars

This was another recommendation from Regan over at Peruseproject on Youtube. This was the optional bookclub book (We choose two a month. One mandatory, one optional). I was pretty pumped going in to it. The writing was the star of this book. It was descriptive and interesting without being overly pretentious. Harry August was an incredibly dynamic character that very visibly grows as a person as he dies and is reborn again repeatedly, each time learning from the previous life. What’s really cool about this story is that each life is drastically different from the last. The downside was that this book was pretty heavy on physics. You can follow it pretty easily, but I felt it really took away from the story as a whole and had me incredibly uninterested at times. The book also took me about two weeks to read because every time the scientific verbal frenzies took the main focus of the story, I found reasons to get distracted and not read it. I was instantly interested at the start, it lagged in the middle, but the end was ultimately intriguing and very satisfying. If you don’t mind some science heavy language, I’d recommend picking this one up. 

Currently Reading

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Have you read any of the books I mentioned or am currently reading? Let me know what you thought of them below! What was your favorite book of the month? Let me know! 

Pokemon Go Book Tag!

I’m sure a little part of the reason why I haven’t been accomplishing some of my reading goals is due to Pokemon Go. Especially when it first came out, that’s all I wanted to do. Not as much now, but I’m sure when they add all the new Pokemon, it will start all over again. I first saw this tag on HardbackHoarder’s channel. Please go check out her video! 🙂

Starter Pokemon:
The book that started your love of reading
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Pikachu:
An Iconic Classic you’ll always love
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Zubat:
A book you lost interest in because it’s everywhere
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Ditto:
A book that reminds you of countless others, but you love anyway
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Snorlax:
A book/series you have yet to start because of it’s size
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Gengar:
A book that kept you up all night
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Nidoking/Nidoqueen:
Your favorite bookish OTP
Clockwork Princess
Will and Tessa forever

Rapidash:
A fire-hot, fast paced read
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Eevee:
A series you’ll never get tired of seeing spin-off’s from
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Magikarp:
A book/series that was surprisingly awesome
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Legendary Pokemon:
An overhyped book series you’re still excited to read
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Mew/Mewtwo:
A collector’s edition you wish you owned
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Poke Egg:
A debut novel you’re very excited for
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Lure Moduel:
An auto-buy author
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Server’s Down:
A book release you’ve been waiting on forever
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That’s it for the Pokemon Go booktag. Feel free to do the tag yourself, just make sure you tag me so I can see you answers! 🙂