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!)

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!

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!

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!

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!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Ruined by Amy Tintera

Ruined by Amy Tintera
Published: HarperTeen, May 3rd, 2016
Pages: 368
Source: hardcover, purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5

How I Felt: I'm not sure how I feel about this book. This is one of those books where I put down and just felt confused. And not confused about the story or what was going on with the plot, just confused because I felt like I was playing a game of tennis and I was the ball. I honestly don't know how I feel about this book as a whole.

This book was told from 2 P.O.V.s, Em and Cas in alternating chapters told in third person narrative. I honestly felt like each character was completely different when they were being described by the other. For example, when Cas would talk about Em, I just felt like there was a total disconnect because that wasn't the vibe I was getting from reading her perspective at all. I don't just felt a little weird, to be honest. There was also this one scene where the chapter was in Em's P.O.V. but then all of a sudden in the SAME PARAGRAPH, was a single line with a thought from Cas's perspective and that made me so confused I had to go back a few pages and start reading again but yup, he just decided to bust Em's brain bubble, say a line of thought, and then let her continue. Again...weird.

Also, there was little to no world building. It was just like, here are some people with powers, and here are some humans. They don't like each other. Cue the battle sequence. I have no idea how the Ruined developed their powers or how these different cities came to be and I don't know if I missed it but I'm pretty sure it was never mentioned.

There was also just so many mistakes and typos within this book as well. I understand that it happens occasionally with the first printing of a book but there had to have been at least three or four per chapter and it was just getting on my nerves after a while.

A lot of the writing/characters also fell flat to me. I felt like it was trying too hard to be this rich, lush, magical and mysterious fantasy world but the writing and the world-building/plotting just let it all fall flat. Also, many of the characters just felt one-dimensional and were only there to serve a specific purpose and then who cares what happened next. Damian especially. He was just there to provide drama in Em's past and then he was just cast aside. Justice for Damian. Aren as well, his only characteristic is that he's Em's protector friend who will be there for her no matter what. I wish there was more depth to his character; that we got to see more of his emotions and learn more about his past.

And Olivia...another weird thing in this book. We are literally told by the author for like 90% of the book how amazing Olivia is and how Em must save her because their sisterly bond is eternal and they need each other. Then we meet Olivia and the only way I can describe her is deranged. She's just so blood-thirsty and power-hungry and I couldn't understand how the person we've come to know as Em, someone who wants peace and change and acceptance among Ruina and Lera and all other kingdoms, can be so obsessed with the idea of rescuing a person who's just going to go on a killing spree when she's released. Olivia is just so similar to Wenda to me and something is just off about this for me. Even though Em has proved herself to be a butt-kicking female lead, it just didn't seem like it fit her character and something about this whole situation just felt a bit off to me and didn't flow right while I was reading.

Speaking of Wenda, I wish there would've been more flashbacks about her and her husband so we can learn more about Em's upbringing. Usually, I want less flashbacks in books because they tend to be boring, but I felt one was necessary here because again, we're constantly TOLD how scary she is and how bad of a person she is but we really only get one flashback and it isn't even her in action.

Overall, I didn't really like this book too much. It's a good, quick read if you're looking for something to get you out of a slump but I wouldn't go into this expecting an amazing fantasy read. I will be continuing on with the sequel because I'm interested in seeing where this continues. All in all, it was a little disappointing and very weird but I did like this author's previous series so I'll give this one a second chance.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West
Published: HarperTeen, January 31st, 2017
Pages: 342
Source: paperback, purchased
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 3.75/5

How I Felt: Kasie West is the contemporary queen. She is just able to write such amazing, cute contemporary romance reads that I can literally fly through and are guaranteed to make me feel better.

I don't know how I'd compare this to her other contemporaries, though, because this one was a little different for me. This one had a much more serious vibe and I was definitely able to relate to the main character more. I definitely connected with her about her struggles with anxiety and I just constantly felt so happy in a way while reading this because I just felt so understood. Most of the things Autumn experienced were things I've experienced in the past and it was just so nice to read a character who's going through the same thing. I'm so glad she was able to sort things out for herself by the end and is really starting to work on improving her mental health. So if I were to rank all of Kasie West's books I've read so far in terms of enjoyment I don't think I'd include this one just because it holds a special place in my heart and I think differently of it. I will say that I think this, relationship-wise, is the most realistic and relatable of all her contemporaries published so far.

I will have to say that I'm a little disappointed that this book didn't include more of being trapped in the library. If you're going into this expecting it to just be about a girl and a guy stuck in a library together, it isn't. They're stuck in there for maybe a third of the book and then the rest is both of the main characters dealing with the consequences after their release. It's a much more serious book than the synopsis led me to believe and definitely deals with a lot of tough topics, which I can appreciate.

I really liked how things worked out with Autumn and Jeff. I thought it was going to be a big dramatic mess but he was a stand-up guy and that was pretty refreshing to see in a contemporary YA love triangle. I thought West did a great job of really developing his character and there were parts where I felt undecided, like Autumn, because he really was a good guy and didn't deserve to be crushed.

Can I just say that the romance in this book is spot. On. I love Autumn and Dax together and I ship them like nobody's business. They just have the absolute best chemistry and I just want an infinite amount of books about them. They're just so CUTE together, especially at the end when they're getting ready for that party and then are at the party. I just love them together because I feel like they do such a good job at balancing each other out and calming each other down and it was just so sweet to see. I definitely loved the scene where she was teaching him how to drive. Gah! The cuteness.

One thing I would've liked to see more of in this book would be more involvement of Autumn's family in the overall story. They were present, but I'm just used to Kasie West books having a big emphasis on the importance of family and getting to see the family actually play a major part in the story so I was a little disappointed that we only got to see them a couple of times, especially because she writes that dynamic so well and it's rarely seen in YA.

I also just want to say that I love Autumn's friend Lisa so much. I love how loyal she is to Autumn. There's this one scene in particular where she says that no matter what happens, she'll always be team Autumn and I just couldn't help but tear up. Their friendship is so beautiful to see and I'm so happy nothing came between them and they are just as strong as ever.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely connected with it so much personally, but I also enjoyed the story and the writing. I only gave it 3.75 stars but that in no way means it wasn't a bad book. There were just a few things missing for me but I still really enjoyed it. I finished it in just over a day because I couldn't put it down. I definitely recommend this, or any of Kasie West's other contemporaries if you're looking for a cute, realistic romance to either get you out of a slump, or to just make you happy. I will read her books for as long as she writes them and I can't wait for her next contemporary to come out!

Thanks for reading!

Popular Posts