A Court of Wings and Ruin: Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin: Review

*Spoilers*

ACOTAR Review  (GoodReads)

ACOMAF Review (Bitchy Fantasy)

This book is probably the most interesting one in Sarah J Maas’s career because it’s her first attempt at completing a story. Yes, there is the second trilogy coming (give it to me now!), but from what I’ve heard, it will be from a new perspective. New storyline. Same characters? But different story. I think. I’ve been reading Maas’s books for years now, but I’ve never heard her say “the end”. The end is the most important part. It determines if you have a good or bad taste in your mouth when you close the book for the last time.

So what did I taste? Read more

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The Assistants-Book Review

The Assistants-Book Review

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The Assistants by Camille Perri is porn for the millennial. It’s a cathartic romp into a debt-free world that every 20-30-something fantasizes about. We follow Tina, a 30-something assistant to one of the most power men in media, and she is a woman caught between a rock and a hard place–still lingering student debt and a job with no chance of upward advancement. She is stuck in a sink hole created by the choices she made all in the name of a college education. yassss the higher the debt the higher the education!! yassss Read more

The Worst Books of 2016

The Worst Books of 2016

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Let us take a cathartic dive into the trash heap that was 2016 and look back at the three worst books I read this year.  I found them so atrocious that I wouldn’t mind traveling to a Fahrenheit 451 reality with all the known copies. They were so horrendous to the eye, and they would be lovely additions to Satan’s library. Please no tagging the authors. I love to talk about people behind their backs not to their faces. I am a coward. Open eyes and tight lips, people.

The Girl Before by Rena Olsen. This book is literally the toilet paper Gillian Flynn wipes her ass with. Actually, it is the toilet paper that Gillian Flynn uses to clean up her dog’s shits. Okay, okay. This book is about a girl who is kidnapped into a strange Midwestern-mafia style family where she is groomed to become a prostitute. She ends up becoming the wife to the boss’s son, and she helps groom the other children with a strange level of naiveté and pride. The book doesn’t have traditional chapters, which borders the line of gimmick, and switches between the past and the main character’s current captivity with the FBI. This book felt like a crap, short story I would have read in one of my creative writing classes. Honestly, this might be the worst book I read this year, but I did read to the end. It’s only like 200 pages, so it doesn’t waste TOO much of your day.

The Merciless II by Danielle Vega. I won’t spend too much time tearing this book down because I already did that once in my review. Review here. I will say that this is one of the worst books I have ever read. It is like if you took the worst story line of Gossip Girl and added a demon. Well, I guess Chuck was kind of always a demon, but like a real demon who kills people. Oh wait, Chuck killed his dad…okay well like a demon who possess girl’s bodies. I was actually very enthusiastic about the first book, but this book had too much Catholic fetishism for my taste. Maybe the whole book was a metaphor for puberty?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Review here. I know that everyone has joined the Sarah J Maas is over party, but really the party started for me with this book. This book is HIGHLY dangerous and manipulative to its very young audience. It romanticized abuse, and don’t give me any of that “the second book explains everything” crap. I’m not here for your excuses. I don’t have as large of a bone to pick with Maas as other people do (mostly because I have never taken her writing to heart), but that doesn’t mean I don’t see why people hate her and her books. I will still finish this series and her ToG series because I can’t bring myself to quit right in the middle. I have to know what happens to these burning trash piles.

Fin.

The Fate of the Tearling: Book Review

The Fate of the Tearling: Book Review

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*Spoilers for the whole trilogy*

*Seriously, spoilers*

This has been the weekend of great cultural experiences. I finished The Fate of the Tearling, and I saw La La Land. I’ve been through an emotional roller coaster with both, so I don’t know if my review will make much sense. Honestly, my reviews never make sense, but I like to imagine they are endearing. Both book and film took me to another plane of human existence, and I will forever be grateful to them.  On the surface the stories are not very similar, but when you scratch off the cover and cinema-scope, you are left with two worlds of fantasy that don’t necessarily end the way you want them to. Yes, I am building this book up at a grand level, but there is a long way to fall. I might as well enjoy it.

Fate is the third and final book in the Tearling trilogy. We follow Kelsea from her humble beginnings as a hidden princess to the queen of a dying kingdom. Erica Johansen creates a unique world with traditional, old world fantasy landscapes and modern day influences. Honestly, it is a wild ride, and when I realized that the people of the Tearling were essentially pilgrims from an alternate dystopian world, I about shit my pants. The Tearling is SO creative. The characters are tough but endearing, and Johansen, especially in this third book, really honed her craft at switching between perspectives. I found every story line and character very entertaining and likable, even at their worst.

I browsed a few reviews after finishing, and I have to be honest. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but some of you are completely wrong about the ending. I am trying to find the least offensive way of saying it, but you are so  dead wrong. The ending was perfect, and though there were more neat, conventional endings that could have happened, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(For everyone that doesn’t care about spoilers and are just reading the review, wanting to know what happens: Kelsea uses magical sapphires to go back in time to a critical moment in the Tearling’s past. She, along with the help of two women from the past, change history, this includes crawling out of one character’s mouth and killing (?) the bad guy, and Kelsea wakes up in a Utopian society. None of her friends remember her, and she is no longer queen because there is no royal family. I know, when you break it down to its simplest form it sounds bonkers. Trust me, though. Trust me.)

Kelsea makes a queen-sized sacrifice, and her isolation and depression at the end of the novel was real and heartbreaking. It’s very easy to write the ending off as cheap, but when you really think about all the struggles Kelsea has endured and the sacrifices she is willing to make for her country, isn’t losing her country and identity the hardest thing?  We all have that selfish want for recognition for our deeds, but Kelsea’s whole life is gone. The people she cared for are happy and healthy, but they do not remember her. She is forced to live in a world of peace while a storm still rages inside of her, and finding that semblance of peace will be a lifelong struggle for her now. It appears to be a happy ending, a world without violence and greed, but Kelsea’s struggle shows that there will always be strife within. It’s an eerie ending that deserves further consideration, and should not be written off just because we don’t get all the answers and Kelsea doesn’t end up happy with Pen and the Mace (kind of still bitter about that, but I get it). Yes, we still don’t know what the fuck was up with those sapphires, but I am okay with that. I am okay with the ambiguity of the magic. Magic isn’t science, and it doesn’t always need Brandon Sanderson level glossaries at the end of the book to explain everything.

In conclusion: it’s not the ending that we wanted, but it is the ending that we needed. I will follow Erica Johansen to the depths of hell.

Three Dark Crowns: Book Review

Three Dark Crowns: Book Review

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*Spoiler Free*

Three Dark Crowns is the book that got me out of this post-Trump election slump. It lifted me from the bowels of the patriarchy and sheathed me in dazzling armor to slay everyone in my wake. Now, I wait patiently for the second book. Alright, not that patiently.

The book follows three young sisters born with three unique gifts. Poisoner. Elemental. Naturalist. Each sister grows up apart on the far reaches of the island nation, Fennbirn. They are raised to sharpen their powers because they will one day fight each other to the death to be crowned the one,true queen. I know. Woah. It’s like Hunger Games but at a family reunion. AND IT IS AMAZING. Guys, I have not had this much enthusiasm about a first book in a series since…. since Truthwitch, and I fucking loooved Truthwitch. This is like Truthwitch’s dangerous cousin who has no qualms about cutting off your head and putting it on a spike with Christmas dinner. I actually had true emotions after finishing. The ending was so surprising and satisfying that I went on a run right after because I had to let off some of the adrenaline. This book MADE ME RUN. And not a lot of things make me run, besides knife-wielding maniacs (it’s happened a time or two to everyone).

I’ve heard some criticism about the pacing and overall confusion of the first half of the book. Honestly, DO NOT LISTEN TO THOSE FOOLS. I loved the slow burn of the first half. A fantasy should be a slow burn. You should be confused and second guessing yourself because you are literally in a different world…with magic. (I have very strong opinions of people who use that excuse in fantasy reviews, if you couldn’t already tell.)

My only gripe was the love interests. More specially Joseph. Joseph is literally the worst character in existence, and I wouldn’t mind seeing his head on a spike. The girls, though. Oh man, the sisters (and the companions) in this book are amazing, and I would to love drink wine with all the ladies and watch Bravo shows with them.

Three Dark Crowns is not a cheap date. Kendare Blake doesn’t spoon feed you mushy peas. She doesn’t hold your hand through the hard bits. She treats you like the goddamn #girlboss that you are and creates the bomb, matriarchal fantasy you have been waiting for since reading Lord of the Rings in middle school, even then knowing there were not enough vaginas in Middle Earth.

Read it.

Six of Crows: Book Review

Six of Crows: Book Review

Six crows walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What the hell! How did all these birds get in here?” The bartender tries to swat them out the front door and yells to a patron, “Call the caw-ps!”

Okay, I really liked this book. I have been wondering why my gut reaction was to give it 3 stars (only on Goodreads because I don’t use star ratings to my blog). I thought about changing it to 4 stars, but I think I am sticking with 3.

It’s almost unfair to rate this book. People have said over and over, “Oh, you don’t have to read the original trilogy to read Six of Crows.” At the end of the day, I am not so sure about that. I had a lot of disconnect to the story and world in the beginning. It took a very long time to understand or care about any of these characters’ motivations. I felt like someone gave me the gooey insides of an apple pie but forgot to include the pie shell–still enjoyable but a pie is not a pie without the shell.

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Picture of the six Crows breaking into the Ice Court. (If you don’t get this reference then we can no longer be friends because I spent way too much time on this joke for it to go unnoticed [See: The Crow, 1994].)

Don’t let this discourage you. The story was still really, really good. It follows Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and an ensemble cast as they try to steal from a Las Vegas casino. Oh, did I just describe the plot of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven? Sorry. Six of Crows follows six moody teenagers (da crows), hardened by lives of crime and tragedy, who attempt to perform an impossible heist. Each chapter switches between 5 of the crows (where are the Wylan chapters?!), and the plot unravels quickly and precisely. I would recommend this book to anyone who is getting over a reading slump or has a free weekend ahead of them because this book does move very quickly. I felt like one second we were strolling through Ketterdam, and the next, ships were exploding and people were dying. Because the writing is very cinematic, some of the writing does fall short. The character development was generic at times. They felt like every other teenager I’ve ever read about, BUT that doesn’t mean I wasn’t obsessed with them. Inej? Good god, what a sorceress of emotions. NINA? Stole my heart. Matthias, hubba hubba. Wylan? I wanted more. Jesper? I WANTED MORE! Kaz? Well, Kaz was honestly the least interesting character (he’s the generic I was referring to earlier). I’m just really bored of the internal struggle of bad boys, but I did imagine Joe Cole from Peaky Blinders as Kaz which made the reading experience VERY enjoyable. Honestly, if Leigh Bardugo did not base Kaz’s character off Peaky Blinders, then I will eat my own words (I will eat my computer).

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Please, try to tell me this is not Kaz. Try me. TRY!

Bardugo does that annoying thing with Kaz that Sarah J Maas does with Aelin in Throne of Glass, where one character seems to know EVERYTHING, and everyone is always in awe that this person knows everything. It is a sloppy way of revealing plot twists.

I will read Crooked Kingdom, at some point, but I didn’t have that immediate need to read the sequel when I finished. I do want to know what happens to these little baby (what is the word for infant crow*?) cinnamon rolls, but I can wait.

*I looked it up. The word for baby crow is chick. Six of Chicks sounds like an amazing book or girl band.

The Day of the Triffids: Book Review

The Day of the Triffids: Book Review

*Spoiler Free*

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to sit down and write this review. I’ve been battling my way through so much YA fantasy recently, and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham was a nice, horrific change of pace. Let me just say, I never get scared by books, there might be a quick jolt of excitement or giddy nervousness, but nothing has ever frightened me. This book’s portrayal of blindness is frightening.

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TDOTT is a book that kind of floated in the literature aether, something I recognized, knowing there was some importance, but no idea what it was all about.

Walking plants and blindness.

That’s essentially what is boils down to. Russians have created a  sentient plant that can walk and eats flesh. Others attempt to steal the triffids for commercial gain. Whoops, those plants fall into the ocean and now we’ve got baby triffids in backyards. Everyone is able to keep the dangerous plants at bay, until a comet makes a pit stop one night and blinds the majority of the humans who come out to gawk at it.

Our main character (I can’t be bothered to remember his name) wakes up in a hospital alone with bandages wrapped around his head from a previous injury. No doctors or nurses answer his call. The hallways and streets are silent except for the occasional yell into the void. Bob (let’s call him Bob) pulls the bandages off and finds that he can see, and no one else can. From there, we spiral into a The-Walking-Dead-28-Days-Later-every-apocalypse-movie-or-book-you-have-ever-seen-or-read experience. The difference being that this is the original. In fact, the opening scene is one that has directly influenced both opening scenes in The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later.

Why do we love the hospital scene? Well, we see someone at their most vulnerable point. They have come to an institution that we rely on to keep us safe, and the character now has to scramble to make sense of the broken, puzzle pieces of an apocalyptic world. Though the opening is one that has seen recreated many times, it was is very, very effective in this book.

Bob meets a wide variety of survivors and the barely-hanging-on. People handle the end of the world in many different ways (naturally). As interesting and introspective as the second half tried to be, nothing could beat the first half. I guess that is why so many creators copy it.

So yeah, this was a weird one folks. I could write more, but I think this is one that you have to experience for yourself. There are a lot of questions about being human. When do you let go of the civility of human nature in an apocalyptic circumstance? Honestly, I feel like it wouldn’t take much for me to a let go of my human side. There is also some talk about science blindly (hint hint) looking to progression and not weighing the consequences, but you guys should just read it because the plants eat people.

And I Darken: Book Review (And an Introspection on Being a Sister)

And I Darken: Book Review (And an Introspection on Being a Sister)

*Spoiler Free*

First and foremost, let me get my biggest (and really only) gripe out of the way. I had the hardest time remembering the title. It’s like I have late onset dyslexia. I Am Darken. And I Darken. I’ve Been Drankin (*Beyonce voice*). Those are just a few of the names I had for it while reading. Anyone else have this problem? Am I alone?

Now that we’ve handled that business…

And I Darken is a retelling of Vlad Dracula AKA Vlad the Impaler, the notorious prince of Wallachia, who had a fondness for a good ol’ human kabob (See: Impaling). His name was made famous by Mr. Bram Stoker (*vampire hiss*), and the last name has been associated with our blood-sucking friends ever since. What if someone decided to replace that finely mustachioed man pictured below with a badass female named Lada?

[Enter stage left] Kiersten White.

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The story switches between Lada, the ruthless princess of Wallachia, and her sensitive, intelligent brother, Radu. Their father trades the pair as collateral to the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and they are forced to grow up quickly in a foreign land. Where Lada feels like a caged tiger, Radu flourishes into a beautiful bird of the court. They both develop very intense and dependent relationships with the sultan’s son, Mehmed. The young Wallachian royalty must fight their own battles and survive in a society and time period that does not accept who they are.

I LOVED this book! It was dark(en). It was compelling. It was thoughtful. And I Darken is the first in a new series, and I would recommend this book to anyone who loves characters with skewed moralities, a reversal of societal gender norms, and a focus on familial love instead of romantic love. The relationship between Lada and Radu was the most interesting component, the glue that held the story together, so I am going to talk exclusively about their relationship.

Jealousy and hatred can run parallel to love and loyalty in a family. Like Lada, I have a younger brother, and I can admit from a (semi) adult perspective that I was horrible to him at times. My brother was closed off when I was loud. My brother was stoic when I was emotional. My brother was forgiving when I was bitter. I can still vividly remember pushing a girl who yelled at my brother in elementary school. I can also remember throwing a shoe at him; though, I can’t remember what I was mad about. Love and hate. Loving and hating yourself. Loving your father but hating him for his betrayal. Loving your mother but hating her because father left. Loving your brother but hating him because he is just a kid (remember that you are just a kid,too). Life is confusing. We have come a long way from where we once were. Honestly, I think that time and space helps mend some of the animosity of living in close quarters together for 18 years.

Growing up is hard enough but to eat, sleep, and live right next to someone going through a similarly confusing time can be difficult.You don’t know yourself. How are you suppose to know someone else? Lada and Radu go through a lot of those growing pains. Both are looking for acceptance, but they don’t realize they can find it in each other. Love is a powerful weapon in this book, but the danger is worth it.

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Empire of Storms: Book Review

Empire of Storms: Book Review

I know why the pages in Empire of Storms are bible thin, so you can rip them out and use as tissues for all your goddamn tears. How does SJM do this? There is nothing particularly stunning about her writing or characters. There is actually a lot to criticize. A LOT. But I always find myself in this position after finishing one of her books. I am running on limited sleep because I stayed up until 4:30 A.M. to finish this book. I will warn you not to start the last 200 pages if you have an early flight in the morning or any other event that requires you to set an alarm because you will spend half the night trying to finish with an erratic level of mania and fear.

Here is a three sentence, spoiler-free review because I am not spending a second longer on a freaking review that is spoiler-free (nobody’s got time for that): Empire of Storms is better than the first three books but on the same plain as Queen of Shadows. SJM does not learn from her mistakes, but I am almost willing to look past that for the excellent side characters and the frequently changing perspectives. If you were 100% against QoS then I don’t think this book is going to change your mind, but if you are willing to suspend your disbelief, you’re in for a roller coaster.

Okay, that is it. Spoilers from here on out. You’ve been warned.

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The Girls: Book Review

The Girls: Book Review

As stated on my Instagram story (plug: you should follow me on Instagram), the writing in Emma Cline’s The Girls is disgustingly good. It is the kind of good you don’t believe at first–quick to judge any new “It” book at the top of every list–but this book has it. If you have even a passing knowledge of the Manson Family then I don’t think there is anyway I can spoil it for you. This story ends in blood.

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