Saturday, 26 August 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published: Flatiron Books, January 31, 2017
Pages: 407
Source: Hardcover, purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

How I Felt:  I really enjoyed this book! At first, it was a little hard for me to get used to the writing style but once I did I felt it really worked for the whimsy and mystery of the book. I didn't expect to love this because I'd heard a lot of negative reviews but I was pleasantly surprised! I probably wouldn't have enjoyed this as much if I went into it with higher expectations so I suppose it's a good thing I'd seen those reviews.

This book was full of some awesome plot twists. While reading, I thought I'd already figured everything out and that the book was so predictable but I WAS SO FREAKING WRONG. Some twists I didn't see coming and came out of nowhere and I absolutely loved them. This was so beautifully plotted and I loved every second of this book. There was never a dull moment and I always wanted to continue reading to figure out what happened next. I actually stayed off the internet for most of the day yesterday because all I wanted to do was read this and I didn't care about what was happening online. A CONCEPT, I know. But that's how good this book was to me.

I couldn't give it five stars because the beginning was a bit hard for me to get into and it had a bit of a rocky start but once I got past that and got into the story there was no stopping me!!!

I need to discuss the writing a lil bit. At first (and you can tell by my status update) I found the writing to be a little weird and unnecessarily fluffy. But. I was so wrong because I think it really worked for the story. Caravel is such a whimsical, mysterious place and the writing perfectly complimented that in my opinion. It honestly reminded me a little of Wonderland and reminiscent of how Marissa Meyer built Heartless' Wonderland and I loved that. It was like that but with a much darker twist that made it its own world. The writing really flowed and the world building was really intriguing as well. I'm so glad there's going to be a second book because I thought it was a standalone and Garber can't leave us hanging like this!!! That ending. It crushed my heart, put it back together, and then gave it a punch for good measure. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT THERE'S SO MUCH MYSTERY I MUST KNOW MORE. So, what I'm trying to say is that the cliff hanger at the end was masterfully written and literally made me scream because this book can't end like this these dirty tricksters I must know more.

I really enjoyed Tella's character as well as Scarlett's and I was so emotional getting to see them be free of their wicked father and make their own choices and grow into their own people. Another thing I thought was well done was the crafting of their father's character. He was so complex and well written I feared him just as much as Tella and Scarlett. He was truly wicked and not just a superficial villain. I thought his character was extremely well written. Also, can I just say that I ship Julian and Scarlett so freaking much like they're just so cute and I love them together and want them to be together forever, ok?

For this whole book I kept thinking about how the mystery surrounding Tella and Scarlett's mother was never really addressed and I wondered if that thread was just going to be left hanging but then I read the epilogue and HONEY NO THAT THREAD IS ABOUT TO BE SEWED IN MY BODY IS READY FOR MORE PLOT TWISTS KEEP EM COMING. I'm just really excited for that plotline to be expanded in the second one.

I love a good scavenger hunt so I really enjoyed the game of Caraval and watching Scarlett figure out all the clues. It was so enjoyable and I really liked how it was full of mystery and nothing was as it seemed. SO well written!

Overall, I think you might be able to say I loved this book. I thought the writing, plot, and characters were all done excellently and I can't wait to read more of Garber's work in the future! I can not wait for the second book. I must know everything!!! This book completely surprised me and I think it's going to be one of my favourites of the year. I highly recommend this if you're a fan of dark, mysterious, whimsical fantasies. Amazing!



Thanks for reading!
~Birdie

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Published: V&R Editoras, April 2016
Pages: 328
Source: Paperback, library
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5

How I Felt:  This book took me by surprise and I enjoyed it more than I expected to! For starters, I read this in less than a day because the writing was really easy to fly through and there was a lot going on and I wanted to know what'd happen next.

I'm not sure if this is marketed as a Rapunzel retelling but that's exactly what I thought of when reading this. It actually reminded me a lot of Tangled (the Disney movie) which I loved. For starters, Luna is the princess who was kept in the safety of a tower in the woods since she was a baby and then Fowler (the Flynn Rider type) helps her on her quest to save her kingdom/learn more about herself. There's even a scene where Fowler cuts her hair because it's getting too long and she needs to be disguised as a boy for a bit. Basically Rapunzel and I loved it!!!

This book is very mysterious with a dark (no pun intended) mood to it that drew me in and made me extremely interested in the world. It's an incredibly unique topic to me; an eclipse began 17 years ago and the world has been in darkness ever since. I thought that was so interesting and I really enjoyed how it was described.

Sivo was such a great character and I really liked getting to see how much he cared for and wanted to protect Luna. Perla was also great but something about her character got on my nerves a bit. I hope Luna gets to reunite with them in the future even though I know it's unlikely.

I really enjoyed getting to read from both Luna and Fowler's points of view. Luna's blind but she doesn't let that stop her from being incredibly smart, strong, independent, and an overall butt-kicker. I enjoyed her perspective because it focused a lot on sounds and smells and it was so cool to see her navigate new surroundings to her in that way. But I found that she was incredibly immature and naïve for a lot of this book. I get that it's expected considering she's been locked in a tower all night, but that scene at the beginning of the book where the soldiers were at the tower and Fowler was trying to hide her but she kept fighting and making noise really frustrated me because she almost put everyone in danger and didn't care/realize it. I also enjoyed Fowler's P.O.V. because getting to see him go from a heartless "tough guy" to this soft smol precious bean who'd do anything for Luna was so sweet. They're so cute together and I ship it so hard.

Now for the few issues I had. I wish there was more world building. I get the story about the eclipse but I wanted to learn more about the history of this world since it seemed so intricate and interesting. I was expecting maybe insight into the religion (if there is or isn't one since the Oracle's mentioned a bunch but I have no idea what she does besides "prophesize") or what the heck those dwellers actually are. I couldn't picture them at all and I wish they were described more or explained where they came from and how they live because at first I pictured zombie type things but then I started thinking they looked more like aliens. Honestly, I have no clue what those things are and I wish they were explained a little better. There was just so much potential where world building's concerned and I wish it was explained in depth a little more. There's definitely room for it seeing as this book's fairly short (just under 300 pages).

Another teeny tiny problem I had with this was that it was very predictable. I say teeny tiny problem because while I knew what would happen for almost every plot twist, it was still an enjoyable read. For example, I saw the whole reveal about who Fowler really was coming from the very beginning of the book but I still enjoyed seeing it all play out and watching Luna realize who he was. Other that those two things I didn't really have any other issues with this.

Ortley was such a cool city. It was really interesting to see how they lived in the trees and kept safe from the dwellers. That Glagos guy was mega creepy though. The whole lake sequence had me on the edge of my seat and I was a little disappointed when the outcome of Fowler's little swim was glossed over. I wish we could've seen what was lurking under the water because there was such a big build up of suspense for it. On the other hand, I really liked Mirelya's character. Her sass gave me life and I love how she always interrupted Luna and Fowler at exactly the wrong times XD.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it exceeded my expectations. There's definitely potential for this to become a great fantasy series and I can't wait to see where the story goes. I don't really have the urge to rush out and find the sequel but eventually I'd like to get to it to see what happens. I highly recommend this if you're looking for a book to get you into fantasy because it's really fast-paced and filled to the brim with mystery.



Thanks for reading!
~Birdie

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Published: Feiwel and Friends, November 8th, 2016
Pages: 453
Source: Hardcover, library
Genre: Fairy-tale retelling
Rating: 4.5/5

How I Felt: This book was phenomenal. It surpassed all my expectations and blew me out of the water. I didn't expect to love this book as much as I do; I was just looking for a fairy-tale retelling standalone that I could read quickly and enjoy. Marissa Meyer is the queen of fairy-tale retellings in my opinion and I want her to write one for every fairy-tale ever please and thank you.

Can I just say how much I love the writing. It's been a few years since I read Cress (the third installment in her other series, The Lunar Chronicles) and haven't read any of her other books since. I don't remember loving her writing this much. Obviously, I enjoyed those books too but the writing in this was so whimsical, dark, not overly descriptive, and atmospheric. I found it extremely easy to read and kept a great pace that left me wanting more after every chapter. I carried this book with me everywhere I went because I wanted to use any free time I had to find out what happened next.

Another thing that was great about the writing is that going into this, I already knew how things would end up for the Queen of Hearts and yet this book was written in such a way that I still had hope for a twist at the end that would end in happiness. I was still rooting for and shipping Catherine and Jest so hard yet I already knew how it'd end up for them. That is some freaking awesome writing.

I must admit that I have never read the original Alice in Wonderland by Carroll but after reading this I have the strong desire to pick it up and read it immediately. I've been told this book is supposed to be a direct prequel so the original story picks up where this left off and I will say that while reading this, I noticed many things being set up to come into play in the original that takes place after this.

All the descriptions and mentions of talking animals and objects was so fun and magical and made reading this all the better. It was hard to grasp at first because I kept picturing people but after a while I got used to it.

It needs to be said. I. Love. Jest. New book-boyfriend alert. My heart cannot contain all the feels. Can I just say that Marissa Meyer is a MASTER at romance because not once did it feel like insta-love and she was able to build up so much tension, chemistry and romance between Jest and Catherine even though they didn't kiss until like 300 pages into the book. I didn't even feel the need to complain once because it was written in a way that felt so natural and just worked perfectly.

The three sisters were such an interesting addition to the story and I quite enjoyed getting to see their prophecies and how they'd play into the plot. It added to the darkness and mystery that was already building toward the end. Also, Peter Peter and his wife were also a great creepy addition to the story. Although, I did find the reveal about Mrs. Peter to be a bit predictable.

The one complaint I have about this book is that Catherine's wicked turn seemed a bit abrupt to me and I thought the change was a little sudden. I think I would've enjoyed it more if it was slowly worked into the story and then fully came out at the end. But otherwise, I liked everything about it. It was a phenomenal villain origin story in my opinion, although I have heard a lot of negative reviews for this book.

Honestly, I have the biggest sweet tooth and reading this book didn't help at all because Catherine was always baking and everything sounded so good and it just made me so hungry while reading XD

I enjoyed that there was a lot of talk about the history of Rock Turtle Cove. I found that very interesting and enjoyed those scenes where Cath's father recounted the history. It never dragged for me or felt boring; I was intrigued and yearning for more information.

Overall, I completely adored this book! This is my favourite book of Marissa Meyer's so far (although I haven't read Winter yet so that might change). I love this book with every fiber of my being and it's definitely one of my favourite books of the year. I highly recommend this if you're a fan of the Lunar Chronicles or if you're looking for a great standalone fairy-tale retelling. This definitely didn't disappoint.

Thanks for reading!
(Sorry for the long absence, I'm horrible I know!)
~Birdie

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Published: Greenwillow, September 20th, 2011
Pages: 423
Source: Paperback, library
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

How I Felt: I loved this book! I heard nothing but good things about it and wanted to give it a try because it sounded so unique and interesting.

This is one of those books where the writing is very slow-burn and takes a while to build up and usually I don't have the patience for that and don't enjoy it very much but for this book it really worked! Instead of losing patience, I was caught in suspense and couldn't wait to find out what happened next for the majority of the book. Of course, there were a few sections that were slow and hard to get through but I'll discuss that more later on in the review.

I really loved Elisa as a character. She was such a strong woman and I enjoyed getting to see her grow into her own and learn to love and accept herself for who she is. Her journey from the beginning of this book to the end was long and she went through some major changes and I'm so proud of her as a character. She was just so realistic and I really enjoyed getting to see from her perspective.

I found the role religion played in this book to be quite interesting since it isn't something found much in YA. Getting to see Elisa learn more about her religion and grow in faith was an interesting journey I haven't read about a character before and I definitely appreciated getting to read that. I can't wait to learn more about the mysteries behind this religion and the Godstones in the next books.

Rosario is such a precious lil boy and must be protected at all costs I love him so much pls spare my child in the rest of the books.

Okay, I gotta talk about ships here. It needs to be done. I can't not talk about my thoughts here. From the second Hector was introduced I was like SIGN ME UP SOMEONE GIVE ME A PEN DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER AND HE HAS A FUNKY MUSTACHE. I ship him with Elisa so hard and I don't know if this is going to be a thing but I don't care I immediately supported this the minute he and Elisa interacted with each other. Alejandro and Humberto were pretty cool too, and they each helped Elisa grow in their own way but THERE AIN'T NO MAN LIKE HECTOR. And I was beginning to slightly ship her with Alejandro but then his reaction when Elisa came back to court just annoyed me so much and that ship sank.

I really liked all the side characters in this. They were just so well developed and I cared about them all so much. Especially Cosme. She was such a complex character and I really enjoyed getting to know her more.

I couldn't give this book a full 5 stars because I found the middle of the book to really drag on. There was just too much wandering throughout the desert with nothing really going on and it was just boring me and I put the book down for a few days to take a break. But other than that I really enjoyed the writing.

Overall, I really loved this book. I'm so happy I picked it up and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. I can't wait to see what Elisa discovers next because that ending was amazing! Although, there wasn't much of a huge cliff-hanger, I'd say it wrapped up pretty nicely but I still NEED to know what happens next. I definitely recommend this if you're a fan of high fantasy!

Thanks for reading!
~Birdie

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
Published: Harper Collins, January 5th, 2016
Pages: 352
Source: Hardcover, library
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal
Rating: 4/5

How I Felt: This book completely took me by surprise! Going into this, I didn't expect to love it as much as I now do. The writing was just fantastic, the concept was so unique and interesting. It was just an excellent combination and I really really enjoyed this.

Before going into this, I haven't read any of the Bronte's works (I know, I know! I'm the worst!), but now that I've read this, I have such an urge to pick them up to see how Coakley's connections to sisters' books play out. Therefore, since I'm not familiar with the original books, I don't know how this measure up in terms up authenticity but she mentions in the afterword and in the acknowledgments how much research she did for this novel. Personally, I thought it was so interesting and well done how she connected the fantastical elements of her own creation with the works and lives of the family's books.

The writing in this book was just phenomenal to me. It was so atmospheric; I could completely picture everything that was happening in my mind which rarely happens when I read because there's usually a scene or two I just can't envision. I loved how this book just flowed. The writing was very descriptive and the dialogue was authentic to the time but it in no way slowed down my reading or lessened my enjoyment of the book which is another amazing thing. I flew through this book in a day and I never expected that. But I just couldn't put it down and when I had to, I was constantly thinking about what might happen next.

I thought the concept of jumping back and forth between the real world and a made up fictional world was so interesting and this book did not disappoint! I thought the chapters of getting to live in these fictional worlds and seeing the Bronte's control, write, and re-write the stories was so cool and interesting to read about. Eek! It was all just so good, I loved it!

The reason why I couldn't give this a full 5 star rating was because I thought the part when the master villain was revealed was really predictable and was foreshadowed heavily. I could tell who the mastermind was from the beginning but I was hoping to be surprised but sadly I was not.

I loved getting to read and see the relationships between the siblings and all the other characters. I thought the multiple POV structure of the story really worked. Each sibling had a distinct voice and I enjoyed being in each of their heads. On this note, I also thought Coakley did a fantastic job of developing all the characters. None of them felt one-dimensional or flat. They all had a distinct personality that made watching them all interact incredibly amusing. Rogue and Zomorna were definitely my favourites of the side characters. Especially Rogue's wit, I was smiling into my hand a lot whenever he gave a sarcastic speech. I especially loved seeing him and Emily together and I will admit I began to ship them in the end even though he's such a morally grey character. I just love their chemistry.

Overall, I'm really surprised by how much I love this book. I picked it up from the library on a whim because it looked interesting and now it's a contestant to be one of my favourite books of the year! I loved the writing so much and I'm definitely interested in reading more of Lena Coakley's books in the future. The characters and the plot were just amazing! I loved jumping back and forth between reality and fiction; it was definitely a fun adventure. I highly recommend you pick up this book if you haven't already. Even if you aren't familiar with the Bronte's work this is still a very enjoyable read filled with historically accurate facts, magic portals, imagination, and fictional worlds. Loved it!



Thanks for reading!
~Birdie

Friday, 28 April 2017

7 Signs You're Addicted to Reading




Welcome! Today, I thought I'd do a more fun, creative post. I'm a little rusty but I'm going to give it a shot! Here are seven signs that show you mighhtttt be addicted to reading.


1. You prefer reading over human interaction.

Sometimes those pesky humans just get on your every nerve and you have no choice but to retreat into a book. The small talk and personal questions just don't live up to your capabilities. Your standards include slaying dragons, saving the world, etc. Therefore, you must read to nurture your active imagination. It's self preservation, really.



2. You take a book with you everywhere you go.

There is no way you're gonna miss the perfect opportunity to catch up on your reading. Also, if you're sporting a hardcover, it doubles as a great method of self-defence.


3. You treat your books more like children and less like inanimate objects.

Kids are much more whiny then books anyway. And books don't complain. I mean, you practically raised your book. Who is the one who adopted it from the big, loud, unpredictable bookstore? You that's who. It's now your responsibility to read it and nurture it so it can grow into a glorious tome. Also, books love it when you dress them up all pretty for Instagram pictures.


4. Everywhere you go, all you can think about is the book you're reading.

Thoughts of the world you're reading about constantly consume every waking minute of your life from the time you pick it up, to way long after you put it down. Plotting theories for what can happen next is your new hobby, real people don't even matter anymore. What even is Earth? How can you live a normal life without knowing what happens after Chapter 55???



5. You confuse memories with what happened to a character in a book.

Okay, this one might just be me because I might be a tad crazy when it comes to books. That great trip you went on with your friends the summer after your senior year? Didn't happen. You just read about it. Talk about Freaky Friday. That favourite childhood memory you have? Nope. Not yours. You were so invested in your book when you read it, you became the character and are now completely immersed in their life. Being a booknerd is dangerous business.


6. No one understands your references to your favourite book and characters.

After spending hours coming up with amazing jokes and references that relate to your favourite book series, the perfect opportunity arises in a conversation your having with someone so you decide to use it only to be faced with... (gasp!) blank stares. No one understands that awesome reference. You're left having to explain what you meant and how it's funny and them bam! Opportunity missed; the joke has flat lined.



7. You are severely sleep deprived.

Just one more chapter! Just let me get to the end of this page! One more paragraph! Please, we've all been there.
Image result for tired gif


Well, I hope you found this post some-what funny and enjoyable. It was definitely fun to make and I definitely want to make more comedic posts in the future if I have any more inspiration. How many of these did you relate to?

Thanks for reading!
~Birdie

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Another Birdie's Books Update

I just wanted to take the time to apologize for being such a bad and infrequent blogger this year. These past few months haven't been too good for me in terms of school and my personal life so it's kind of taken a toll on me and I haven't been motivated to post much. I'm trying to make more of an effort and carve out a specific time during the day for me to write some posts so bare with me as I try to figure out a schedule XD. I have a couple posts that I'm currently working on and really excited about so look out for those in the future! If you're interested in seeing what I've been reading lately I leave a link to my Goodreads page here.

Thanks for reading!
~Birdie

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