WWW Wednesday – June 28

WWWWednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and was formerly hosted by A Daily Rhythm. It is open for anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answers. It is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas. Even though I was utterly bored and annoyed by the first book in this series, Throne of Glass, I still decided to give the second book a try after several recommendations to do so. So far it is definitely better than the first of the series but I still want to punch Chaol in the face. How can he act so seemingly innocent and kind when he is a king’s guard who has had to kill people in his service? It doesn’t jive with me.


What did you recently finish reading?

ClockworkAngel

“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare. My full review of this book will be up next week but for now I will say that I will not be continuing with this series. Nothing is going to change my mind on this one. I am one of those people who usually feels the need to finish a series even if the books aren’t particularly great but not doing it this time. Tessa is one of the top ten most annoying literary creatures ever created. The other characters weren’t much better.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Sigh. I’m not even sure. Everything I’ve picked up lately has been a let down. I’m starting to think it’s me and not the books themselves. Maybe a little reading break is in order. Help a girl out, recommend me a good book without flimsy, wishy washy characters that in no way has a love story attached and doesn’t delve too far into the sci-fi realm. I’m good with horror, mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction. I also have a weirdly specific love of historical mysteries. Happy reading, everybody!

Top Ten Tuesday – Best Reads of 2017

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Hello, and welcome again to Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s theme is Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far. 2017 has been an amazing year of reading for me, there are so many books I’ve truly enjoyed! On a side note, the hosts of Top Ten Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish, have chosen to take a break until August so that means no organized themes in July. I think I’ll still try to come up with my own but we will see how that goes.


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The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…

This is the third book in Shannon’s The Bone Season series and to say I loved it would be an understatement. I had been looking forward to this book for ages and completely devoured it the moment it was in my hot little hands. Wonderful read.


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A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

London, 1887. After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

I stumbled across this book entirely by accident early this year and I am ever so glad I did. I love historical fiction and I love mysteries and this book is both. Throw in that the main character is a strong willed, intelligent woman and you’ve got yourself a winner.


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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I read my first Schwab book this year and it made me sad that I had been missing out on her books up until this point. A Darker Shade of Magic is the stuff dreams are made of.


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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I debated whether to put this one on the list. When I read it, I LOVED it. However, I feel like if I read it now, months later, I’d DNF it. I’m a grumpy goat that wouldn’t be able to tolerate the love story at this point.


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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

I read this book twice the week that I got it. It’s ridiculous, I know, this book is a monster, but I couldn’t help myself. The story pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I only wish the third book hadn’t been such a horribly mediocre conclusion to the trilogy.


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Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

I’m a big ole softy for good historical fiction. Just can’t seem to help myself. Victoria is well written and the story stuck with me long after I set this book down.


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The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

The Invisible Library was an easy read but that made it no less engrossing. How could I resist a story about a magical library and a librarian spy?


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Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

You know a book is excellent when, after finishing it, you literally hug it and don’t want to let it go. Golden son is quite simply amazing.


 

This week ended up being a Top Eight Tuesday instead but no matter. These eight books are the ones I’ve enjoyed most this year. No, most of them weren’t released in 2017 but there is nothing wrong with reading books a year or more old.

What books have been your favorites in 2017?

Down the TBR Hole #1

I’ve been seeing Down the TBR hole around the bloggosphere for a while and have been tempted to do it. For whatever reason, I hadn’t yet. So, armed with a pot of coffee, I’m going down the hole on this dreary Monday morning.


This meme is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Here is what you do:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

This book could either be completely amazing or epicly horrible. I just don’t think there is room for a middle ground on it.

Verdict: KEEP


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Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

I hate the cover of this book with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. Hate it so much it makes me tempted to not read it. That is some serious cover hate. Despite that, it still sounds like it could be a good book.

Verdict: Keep


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Everless (Untitled #1) by Sara Holland

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

Jules sounds like she is going to be dreadfully dull and single minded. I want nothing to do with her.

Verdict:  tenor


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Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.

I like storied that include the potential for a badass female lead. It sounds like there may be a bit of a love triangle in this one, which is usually frustrating, but I’ll still give it a shot.

Verdict: Keep


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Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome #1) by Kate Quinn

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress’s rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor’s mistress.

I have a love affair with good historical fiction and this one certainly sounds like it has the potential to be great.

Verdict: Keep


 

That is it for my first Down the TBR Hole post. Only gave one book the axe but it is still nice to weed the TBR garden from time to time. Have a lovely day!

Unique Blogger Award

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Thank you so much to Stephanie’s Novel Fiction for nominating me for the Unique Blogger Award!

I very much enjoy getting nominated for these. It allows you to share a little bit of yourself that is not specifically book related to all of you other lovely bloggers.

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions

Questions from Stephanie:

  1. What’s the funniest book you’ve ever read or movie/tv show you’ve ever watched? Or both?

-My husband will tell you straight up that my sense of humor leaves a lot to be desired. Apparently when I’m trying to be funny I sound like a big meany. Whoops. That being said, I have to choose a recorded stand up comedian act for this one. I love love LOVE Eddie Izzard. His Glorious stand up is a thing of beauty. Perhaps not strictly a movie/tv show but it is filmed and I can pull it up on Netflix so it counts to me! I got to watch him live a few years back in Connecticut and he is amazing.

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2. What is something that you’ve always dreamed of doing but never have?

-I want to go on a cruise. I want to sit on the deck, be served frilly drinks, and devour book after book while being rocked by the waves. These drinks are to be served by either a handsome fellow with a mid day beard or a busty deck wench, I’m not picky. I want to go to the lunch buffet and eat whatever I want without guilt. Then, after stuffing myself beyond reason, return to the deck and my book. I want to lean along the railing and watch the moon come up from among the waves. Or perhaps a river cruise where I can get off every now and then and explore a new city. Either way, the idea of days at a time without a to-do list or agenda just sounds completely divine. No phones. No outside contact. Just blessed peace.

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3. What author, living or dead, would you like to spend an entire day with? Why?

– Edgar Allan Poe. Don’t even have to think about it. I’d love to see his tortured mind in action. Can you imagine being present as he puts pen to paper and writes The Fall of the House of Usher? I know the saying goes, “Never meet your idles,” but I can’t fathom being disappointed by Poe. Can you imagine that I lived in Baltimore for years and never went to see his grave? I feel like such a fraud. One of these days…

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My three questions:

  1. You have the opportunity to visit either the future or the past and you must choose either or, not both. Which do you choose and why? Where do you go?
  2. You are in a Matrix type situation being offered a red pill or a blue pill. The red pill will allow you to go back to a certain point in your life and have a do-over such as correcting a horrible mistake that has affected the rest of your life negatively. The blue pill just lets you continue you on as is. Which do you pick?
  3. You are a pilgrim heading to a far off land and may only take one book with you on your journey. Which book would you take and why?

 

I tag:

Judith @ Chain Interaction

Stephanie @ Adventures of a Bibliophile

Angelica and Rosie @ The Book Cover Girls

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

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“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

Throne of Glass is the fourth Maas book that I’ve read, the first three being her A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. Those three books had a varying amount of success in entertaining me. The best, at least in my opinion, was the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury. While the conclusion, A Court of Wings and Ruin, fell well short of my expectations I still decided to give her Throne of Glass series a chance. I had high hopes that this book would contain the same spark that I had found with Mist and Fury or at least something close to it.

Throne of Glass begins in a labor camp with the prisoner Celaena. Celaena, we quickly come to find out, is a very successful assassin that was sentenced to the prison camp for her deeds. This is something I like about Maas. She isn’t afraid to make her main characters powerful females. It is certainly something that has been happening more and more across the genre but credit where credit is due.

Our assassin is recruited from the camp by the crown prince to participate in a series of tests set forth by the king. The winner of these tests will be given a contract under the king as a killer/spy/whatever need be for his kingdom. After the contract is fulfilled, this champion will be granted their freedom.

“Second place is a nice title for the first loser.”

Now, this premise certainly sounds wonderful. I expected all of the different champions to brutally demonstrate the attributes that got them selected to participate in these tests. With every turn of the page I anticipated a blood bath with swords and fists. Despite all of these trained killers all being in the same place, everything was really pretty tame. What violence there was is mostly given to us second hand. There are slightly vague and watery descriptions of gore and mutilated remains but no first hand accounts of fights to the death. No heroic swordplay or quietly slit throats. Just, “Oh, look at that blood in that hallway over there. How interesting.” Not exactly interesting, no.

What did this book focus on instead of bawdy dialogue and clashing blades? A love triangle.

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I wasn’t feeling it either, Dean

There is no way for me to make this sound interesting so I’ll just throw it to you as it is. Celaena, our would be daring assassin, may be able to kill people but she is frightfully boring. She likes puppies and frilly dresses and pouts like a petulant child. For some reason the prince is enamored with her and so is her guard. The prince is a womanizer and the guard is a pansy. I do, however, like the prince more than the guard. He at least doesn’t try to hide the fact that he enjoys the company of females enthusiastically. While I appreciate his unapologetic attitude, it doesn’t make him any less boring.

Other stuff happens. Magic is involved. And a badass lady with a staff. And a ghost. You’d think those things would make the story great but all it did was salvage an otherwise dying plot.

While I did find this book predictable and average, Swetlana @ Reading Through The Nights has convinced me to give the next book in the series a shot. I’m told the second one is much better. I could feel the makings of a good story in this book it just never quite got there. Hopefully Crown of Midnight has that spark I was hoping for in this series.

 

Throwback Thursday – June 22

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Renee began this Throwback Thursday meme at Its Book Talk as a way to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books that she wants to read that were published over a year ago. Books that were published over a year ago are almost always easier to find at libraries or at a discounted sale price. As I have been sifting through my TBR list and purging those books that no longer hold my interest, I came across several from years past that I’d love to share with you!


 

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Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor
Published: August 2012
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.04


“Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.”

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought


 

I know it’s not just me that sees Laini Taylor’s books everywhere. Her newest release, Strange the Dreamer, appears to be incredibly popular. But you know what? I was being shallow and a little odd and refused to look up books by Taylor because I hate the cover (US) of Strange the Dreamer so much. I mean, it is an intense hate. Don’t ask me why, I can’t figure it out myself. I’m being a terrible person and judging a book by it’s horrendous cover.

However, I stumbled across Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the story synopsis certainly interests me. My local library currently has it on hold for me and I’ll be picking it up today. I’m trying not to judge it by the fact that the Goodreads description compares it to Twilight. How did the publishers ever think that comparison was a good selling point? Boy, I’m being a negative Nancy. I think I’ll go brew some coffee and read a few pages of my current book before the day has to begin. Happy Thursday, everyone!

WWW Wednesday – June 21

WWWWednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and was formerly hosted by A Daily Rhythm. It is open for anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answers. It is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

ClockworkAngel

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare. I don’t think I have had a single person say something bad to me about this book. Everyone seem to be absolutely beaming about it! I admit, I am having trouble getting through the world building bit but I’ll get there. I want to enjoy this. Nearly all of the reading community can’t be wrong so I know it has to get better.

What did you recently finish reading?

ThroneOfGlass

“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas. I didn’t enjoy this one nearly as much as I hoped I would. The story felt like more of a love triangle disaster than anything else. Sigh. I’m still going to give the next book in the series a shot but, I admit, I don’t have high hopes. Maas can do better than this.

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“Justice isn’t about fixing the past, it’s about fixing the future. We’re not fighting for the dead. We’re fighting for the living. And for those who aren’t yet born.”

Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown. After the miraculous wonder that was Golden Son, this book was a bit of a drag. I actually made a pro/con list of everything I liked and disliked about it which will go up with the review next week. Hint- the con list is longer. Despite that, I still liked the book. I think. I’m still working it out. It didn’t meet the same standards as Golden Son but still…

What do you think you’ll read next?

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“You fought and fought to keep all the cruelty locked up in your head, and for what? None of them ever loved you, because none of them ever knew you”

Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe #1) by Rosamund Hodge. Currently, I have this one as a requested hold at the library so hopefully it comes in soon. Since it was released it has certainly had mixed reviews but I’m still interested. It seems that the consensus is that this book is a dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast and that could be a lot of fun.


 

What are you reading this week?