Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch Book Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

I tried. I really did. I don’t DNF a lot of books, but this was one of the books that I actually couldn’t finish. There are only two things (normally) that put me off a book: a bad plot or terrible romance.

A lot YA fantasy books have romance, and I’m okay with that. I adore a great (especially slow-burning) romance. I can put up with a slightly cliché romance. The two things about romance that I cannot stand are insta-love and love triangles. Now, it depends on the love triangle. For example, I thought the love triangle in The Infernal Devices trilogy was a good love triangle. Love triangles that are either extremely cliché, ridiculous, or both are what bother me.

Unfortunately, that was the case with Snow Like Ashes. This book had a great plot. I was enjoying the book a lot before the love triangle was introduced. In fact, I was absolutely immersed in the world and story. When the romantic tension between Meira and Mather grew more prominent, I didn’t mind because they didn’t spend too much time being mushy gushy.

Then, we were introduced to Theron. This is where I bang my head on the wall *insert image of me doing that here*.

Not only was there a love triangle, but there was insta-love. My two biggest pet-peeves when it comes to YA romance. Theron himself wasn’t too bad (other than seemingly being obsessed with being incredibly bulked up like the Hulk), but the insta-love was terrible. Don’t even get me started.

Then, the love triangle was even worse. Of course the two guys have to get extremely possessive. I CANNOT STAND when guys get so possessive. It is absolutely unnecessary and ridiculous. I was ready to jump into the book myself and shake some sense into Mather and Theron. I tried to push on, but just couldn’t. With the direction it seemed to be going in, I had the feeling that I would have to endure an entire book’s worth of horrible manly possessiveness.

I could be wrong. I didn’t finish the book, so I don’t know what really happens in the end, but if the romance continues to be like that, I can’t continue. Even if the story is absolutely amazing, I will perpetually be thinking about the awful love triangle.

I don’t think I can continue the series since I couldn’t even get through the first book, which I’m very disappointed about because I had really high hopes for this trilogy.

Of course, everyone has different opinions, so maybe you’ll be able to dismiss the love triangle and enjoy the book.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Thanks for reading!

A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey Book Review

16059442Rating: 3.75 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

A lot of the reviews on Goodreads very positive—including the reviews of reviewers who are normally quite critical with their ratings. So, I was incredibly excited to read this book because if even those reviewers liked this book so much, then surely I would love it.

Well, I actually didn’t end up loving it. I’m not saying I didn’t like it; there were still many parts of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed. But, if I’m being honest here, I skimmed through some of the first half of the book.

Now, I’m not usually a skimmer, except when I really am not into the book but am still considering giving it a chance. That’s what happened in this book.

Before I continue, I want to say that this review is going to have quite a few spoilers, so if you have yet to read this book and don’t want to be spoiled, then sorry, but you can’t read on. Hopefully you can read the book soon so you can read this review! Anyway, for those of you who have read this book or don’t care if you get spoiled, then let’s continue. 

First though, I want to bring up Cormac, Emma’s love interest. I won’t talk about the cliché-ness of their romance because it actually wasn’t as bad as the romance in a lot of other YA books, but I will start by saying that I wasn’t a big fan of Cormac.

First of all, he decided to ignore Emma completely after kissing her which is absolutely ridiculous—even if he had his reasons, which we will get to.

Second of all, at the beginning of the book, he was already coddling her because she was “weak” since she was a woman. I mean, later in the book he realizes that she’s definitely not weak, but he still constantly underestimates her even after she has proved herself time and time again (ironic if you ask me because that’s exactly how the Order—basically a group of witches who think they’re all high and mighty—treats him).

Lastly, even when we find out that Cormac only ignored Emma because the Order wouldn’t approve (to put it lightly) since Emma’s name was tainted and also because both he and Emma would end up in some sort of witch jail, he still won’t be seen with her.

That is positively absurd! They finally admit their undying love for each other (blah, blah, blah) and then he still does not want to be seen with her anywhere. Ever. I almost wanted to bang my head on the book after reading that.

Before I continue my long rant about why I didn’t like Cormac, perhaps we should get to the book itself first.

As I said earlier, I basically skimmed 50% of the book. Unfortunately, I felt the first half was quite boring. Nothing really happened. And even if something did happen, it didn’t have much action. For example, the beginning started with a murder, but it wasn’t that exciting. I was expecting something more from the murder, not just Emma (the main character) finding an injured girl who, when she checks back on her, turns out to be dead. A bit anti-climactic.

But, I definitely devoured the second half of the book. That was when the real action started, and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. There were cliffhangers at the end of nearly every chapter.

Would I say it was totally worth it? Maybe not 100% worth it, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on the book. Otherwise, I never would have gotten to the action-packed parts. I definitely do not regret reading on.

Now, let me finish my rant about Cormac.

I don’t care how much he loves Emma. Emma deserves much better than a guy who won’t be seen with her just to preserve his reputation. (Of course, there is one other reason, but still.)

I am still thinking of picking up the next book because though this one wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, it grew on me as I continued reading, so I’m thinking I’ll give the second book a chance—especially since it’s focused on Gretchen, who I really loved since she didn’t need a guy at all and just was super badass (but, I am aware that she will end up with a love interest anyway from reading the synopsis).

I know I was a bit harsh with this review, but there were still parts I enjoyed a lot. Maybe I wasn’t the most enormous fan of this book, but maybe you guys will like it more.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I’m super sorry about that! I’ve been really busy lately, but I’m trying to figure a posting schedule. I know I’ve been posting sporadically, but hopefully I can work out a schedule soon. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Love Triangles

Hi!

Just a warning: This might turn into a rather long rant. You should probably grab a snack and a cup of tea (or coffee).

I am going to say this outright: I despise love triangles. I absolutely hate love triangles. They ruin a perfectly good book.

Love triangles are different from breaking up and finding a new person. I’m totally fine with that. That happens all the time in real life. But love triangles definitely don’t. At least, not love triangles like the ones in books.

Reasons Why I Despise Love Triangles

  1. They are extremely unrealistic. Who in their right mind would say or think: “I’m in love with this person, but he/she also is in love with someone else. That’s okay. We’ll just split our time with him/her. He/she can pick.”
  2. The main character NEVER picks the person I want him/her to end up with!
  3. Even if the main character picks the person I like, I still have to suffer through the ridiculous love triangle for the whole book (or even series).

Let me start with my first point. In every single book with a love triangle, the main character has to choose between two people. In the process, the main goes on “dates,” or at least spends time with, both people at the same time. Essentially, that is cheating. And, what is so infuriating is that the two people never seem to mind. They are totally fine with the person they’re in love with kissing and hanging out with another person.

Even if they aren’t really fine with it, the most they would do is complain a little bit. Never a lot. No, maybe a few tiny complaints here and there, but in the end, the main character can still spend time with both of them.

That has got to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

Now, let me get to the second point. The main character NEVER picks the one I want him/her to end up with! EVER!

Examples (among thousands of others):

  • Will, Jem, and Tessa. (Spoiler) I know Tessa ended up marrying Will, but she still got back together with Jem at the end! Technically, Will was her second choice. She only picked him because Jem became a Silent Brother. So, she actually picked Jem. I wanted her to be with WILL.
  • Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol. Now, I’m aware they weren’t totally a love triangle as there are many other guys, but I’m just talking about the first book for now. I really wanted Celaena to choose Dorian, but obviously that didn’t happen. Sigh. I never liked Chaol. No offense to him (and Chaol lovers out there).
  • Lila, Kell, and Alucard. Well, Lila didn’t exactly choose anyone and some would say it isn’t really a love triangle, but I just don’t like Alucard, so I have to include this here.

I can’t really think of anymore love triangles off the top of my head, but these are the ones I’ve thought of for now.

But, I must rant about the love triangle that prompted me to come up with this post in the first place.

I just started reading Snow Like Ashes and I loved it as soon I picked it up. I couldn’t stop reading. Then, I HAD TO PUT IT DOWN BECAUSE THIS HAPPENED:

First,

“It’s not Mather’s full-face smile, but it still disarms me, making my legs weak under the layers of skirts and petticoats.”

Then,

“‘Well, I hope we get plenty of time alone together so you can convince me of your charm.'”

And finally,

“I place my hand in Theron’s, and his warm fingers tighten around mine as we move toward the staircase. Having him hold on to me gives me strength I didn’t expect.”

If this isn’t the start of a love triangle, then I don’t know what is.

Meira belongs with MATHER. NOT Theron. I repeat: she belongs with MATHER. End of story.

Perhaps sometimes the character picks the one I want him/her to pick. But, that just makes me hate love triangles more. If you’re going to make the main character choose someone, why make the reader suffer through the awful love triangle in the first place? Couldn’t you have just stuck with that person? WHY???

As for the budding love triangle in Snow Like Ashes, I still have the hope that Meira doesn’t end up actually falling for Theron and having to choose between him and Mather.

Someone please spoil that part for me. I just need to know who Meira ends up with. (Had to put that in bold so you guys would notice it.)

Whew. That was a pretty long rant.

Anyone else feel this way?


Image Disclaimer: The image above does not belong to me.

 

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg Book Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has – I can’t believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! – and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes…

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.

I was really excited to read this book. Zoella (Zoe Sugg) is a really popular Youtuber and people look up to her, so I thought it would be fun to pick up the book she wrote.

Which is why I was, unfortunately, disappointed.

We’ll start with the positives. 🙂

I loved the fact that Penny had a blog. It was really fun reading her posts and the comments that were left under her posts. It was also quite inspiring and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside that she had so many followers who cared about her. Her blog, GirlOnline, drives me to appreciate having my own blog, where I can share my thoughts on books with you guys.

Also, I loved that the book mentioned panic attacks, as teens (and adults) suffer from them, and it is important that people don’t think they’re not as “serious” because they are.

(Slight Spoiler) Penny had to deal with hate from people online as well, so I’m glad the book addressed hate on the internet and a bit of cyberbullying.

Now, we have to get negatives. 😦

Something you should know about me: I cannot stand insta-love. AT ALL.

This case of insta-love was pretty terrible. I was really disappointed because I thought the romance could have been adorable and sweet—and yes, it was, but it was also extremely cliché. 

See, Penny and Noah (her love interest) make each other feel safe. The classic “no-one-makes-me-feel-safe-but-somehow-you-do” syndrome in a lot of YA books:

“There’s something about Noah that makes me feel safe to be myself.” 
Then, the always touching “the-one-person-I-can-truly-connect-to.”
” ‘ We spent most of the day together and we really connected. ‘ “
And finally, the best of all: “the-moment-we-fall-in-love-after-knowing-each-other-for-less-24-hours.”  

They’ve been together for “a whole one hour, fifty-seven minutes.” Then this happens. 

“There are some people you officially fall in love with, within seconds of meeting them.”

And after knowing each other for basically one week (maybe less): 

” ‘ I think I like you so much it might even be love too. ‘ “
In between, there are the cheesiest and most cliché scenes, including the ever-wonderful:
Moonlit Picnic.
The romance was incredibly unrealistic. It wasn’t as cute as it was supposed to be because many of the conversations they had were filled with extremely cheesy and cliché lines.

The romance basically took over the book, which wouldn’t have been too bad if it hadn’t been for the cliché-ness.

Whew. Thanks for listening to me rant.

I do not mean to offend lovers of this book or Zoella. Just had to let off some steam about the romance. I just really don’t like insta-love because it makes the book unrealistic and kind of ruins the effect.

Plus, the issues they had were quite cheesy and cliché too, unfortunately.

Therefore, I gave this book 2.5 stars out of 5.

But, you could still read this book if you want to.

Everyone has different tastes, so just because this book wasn’t my favorite doesn’t mean it can’t be yours. 🙂

My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2016

Hi! It is now 2017 (I can’t believe it—the year flew by so quickly), so I thought I’d finally post my top favorite books of 2016 list.

The books on this list were not necessarily published in 2016—these are just the ones I read this year.

Also, this list is in no particular order except for #1, which was obviously my favorite.

1. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

You guys are probably tired of hearing me say how much I love this book, but let me just say it again: I love this book. I love how it combines historical fiction with fantasy. I guess it would be called… Histasy? Okay, that sounds a bit weird. 😛 I love how this book has demon hunters, like Cassandra Clare’s books. I loved the writing style of this book. What more can I possibly say?

2. The Archived by Victoria Schwab 

At some point during the year, I was in a major Victoria Schwab/V.E Schwab kick. And The Archived was what started it all. The story was unlike anything I had heard of! It was completely unique, and I appreciated that a lot.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 

I loved the writing. Simple, yet complex. Perhaps it was a bit hard to get into at first, but when I really started getting into the book, I couldn’t stop reading. I was absorbed in the story and the characters. The world building was great, and I love how there were 4 different Londons.

4. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

As you guys should probably know by now, I love Cassandra Clare’s books. Her writing has become better and better with each new series, and Lady Midnight was the best yet. I felt like I waited for ever for it to come out, and definitely wasn’t disappointed. Now, I have to wait for the next book in the series! 😭

5. My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier 

It was the perfect psychological thriller. Chilling and unnerving, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to get to the next scene or conflict. Also—what a family. Wow. And that twist. I had no idea (well, maybe some; it was a sneaking suspicion).

6. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff  

It was amazing. While The Archived was unique in its content, Illuminae was incredibly unique in its style—and the content was pretty unique, too. The whole entire book was told through emails, messages, documents, diagrams, among many other things. You should definitely check it out. It was quite an experience.

7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 

I was so touched by this book. It made me cry so much. I have no words.

8. My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

This book was hilarious! I loved how they followed history at first, then completely threw it out the window. I learned a bit about England’s history, though a lot of it was… skewed in this book, to say the least. And I adored the authors’ commentary in parts of the story. I couldn’t stop laughing. They made me smile. 🙂 Plus, the writing really blended together well, almost to the point that I practically couldn’t tell the book was written by three different authors.

9. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Let me start with this: The world building was incredible. The characters development was wonderful. And, there was no romance. In a YA book. That’s almost unheard of. This book was so fantastic I can’t even describe it.

10. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This is a graphic novel. It’s a big deal that a graphic novel made its way on to this list because though I love a lot of mangas, they don’t usually make it to my top list. This graphic novel’s story was fun, very fascinating, and was actually quite dark. At first glance you think it would just be a fun action/adventure graphic novel where an orphan teams up with a villain, but it’s not. It’s so much deeper than that. I definitely suggest you guys to pick up this graphic novel.

So, that’s my list!

2016 was a pretty good reading year (perhaps not my best, but definitely not my worst). I read some pretty good books in that year. Hopefully 2017 turns out to be even better (in terms of reading, but also in terms of life in general)! 😊😊😊

 

 

 

Stolen by Lucy Christopher Book Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.

Okay, so let me start by saying this: This book made me rethink my thoughts on nature. I am not a big fan of the outdoors. In fact, I avoid going outside as much as I can. But, after reading this book, I’ve realized that there is beauty in nature too. Maybe there are bugs, and venomous snakes, and yes, there’s extremely harsh weather, but that doesn’t mean nature isn’t beautiful. Maybe when I actually decide to go outside (usually during the summer), I’ll actually appreciate the sun and the vibrant colors and the fresh air. Though, I do love how snow looks. And it’s snowing where I am, so it looks like a pristine, white landscape.

I also really want to go to the desert they were in (but only for two days because I would probably suffocate and burn in the heat). I just want to see the sand and experience the moment when the sun was setting that they experienced.

Now, to the actual critique of the novel. I loved the author’s description of the desert and nature in general and appreciated the fact that she actually brought up Stockholm Syndrome (unlike in some YA books where the main character falls for their attacker/kidnapper, or someone who treated them terribly—*cough* Obsidian *cough*—and no one brings up the fact that it could be Stockholm Syndrome). All in all, I enjoyed the story and loved learning about Ty (the kidnapper—I was quite fascinated with his twisted-ness and… different views and opinions) (he was an incredibly interesting character).

Reading about a kidnapping from the victim’s point of view really helped me understand more. I got to see the true struggles, both emotional and physical, the character faced.

The only issue I had with the book was that the main character, Gemma, was so squeamish. And whiny. Okay, I would be kind of squeamish too, but (slight spoiler) I wouldn’t start screaming and moving around a lot if I were specifically told not to move at all when there’s a snake in front of me.

Also, I felt Gemma was a bit generic. Kind of like all the other girls in YA realistic fiction books. (But, I suppose that was the point because she kept trying to tell Ty she wasn’t special.)

Lastly, about the writing. Or, at least, about what was described. I was glad that the author actually included daily occurrences in life like having to use the bathroom. Look—everyone does it. It’s no secret, so why do authors just decide to leave out that aspect in practically all realistic fiction books?

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it. I would recommend it, especially if you want to start to appreciate nature more (like me).

I know this review was kind of short, but I don’t want to ramble, and this is my first book review.

If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts on it?

Since this was my first book review, feedback would be appreciated! 🙂

 

Winter Biannual Bibliothon 2017 TBR

Hi!

The Winter Biannual Bibliothon is coming up on January 7, and this is the first time I’m “participating.” Obviously, I can’t enter the giveaway because I don’t have a Youtube channel, but I still thought it’d be fun to try and complete the challenges!

1. Read the group book: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

So, as you guys can see from the challenge, the first book on my TBR is Stalking Jack the Ripper. I’ve recently become interested in reading psychological thrillers, so reading a book focused on Jack the Ripper, a never-identified serial killer from London in the 1800s, is definitely up my alley.

2. Throwback: Pick any past Bibliothon reading challenge

I chose the free choice/wildcard challenge from last year. I’m not sure which book I’ll choose, but I’ll either be reading Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (a fantasy book where the main character is part of the LGBT community, which I’ve never heard of before) or Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, also known as the popular Youtuber Zoella. I really want to read Girl Online because it sounds interesting and I want to see if I like it or not, as it has mixed reviews.

3. Read a 2016 new release

Starflight by Melissa Landers. I’m excited to pick this one up. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now, and just never managed to start it. Though the synopsis makes it sound like a cliché YA science fiction romance (I know, lots of genres there), I read the reviews and many say the book actually is nothing like that. Thank goodness. This just makes me even more excited!

4. Read a book a booktuber recommended

Well, I was going to read Stolen, but I started reading it this week (hey, I couldn’t help it), so I guess I’ll have to think of something else to read… (I’m planning on posting my first book review on Stolen.) I mean, some booktubers have recommended Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, but I’m just worried about the love triangle. I really can’t stand love triangles. A lot of them are unrealistic. Why would two guys allow even the person they like to spend time with the other person? It’s not exactly cheating, but it’s not right. Plus, more importantly, the main character never chooses the one I want them to end up with!

5. Read a book you were really excited for but never picked up

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I don’t know why I never picked it up. I really liked Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy (the Darkling was the best 🙂 ), and so many people said Six of Crows was just as good, if not better, so obviously now I have to read it.

6. Read a retelling

Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Do I even need to say anything? This book has been all over the booktubing and book blogging community. I absolutely adored The Lunar Chronicles, so I can’t wait to pick up Marissa Meyer’s newest book!

7. Read a diverse book

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. I’ve heard so much about the diversity in this book. I’ve never read (or ever known about) any books that focus on Latin American culture and fantasy! I know this definitely has LGBTQ in it, which is definitely exciting for a fantasy book.

I can’t wait until this readathon begins! 🙂

Is anyone else participating? 


Image Disclaimer: The featured image (top of page) does not belong to me.