February Wrap-Up

The end of February is already here, and I’m in denial. But it’s the end of the month, which means it’s time for a monthly recap. Without further ado…


As you might recall, this was my TBR for February 2017:

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My final count for books read this month is five. Out of the books pictured here, I read four and DNF’d six.


Books I Read This Month

20698530P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #2) by Jenny Han

I really liked this book. Relationships aren’t perfect–romantic or otherwise–and this book shows that, while still managing to make me smile. I’m looking forward to book three. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

11235712Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer

Unpopular opinion time: I thought this was just okay. Imaginative, but not as cool as everyone made it out to be. I’ll continue the series, but I’m a little disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

10429045Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) by Tahereh Mafi

 

Eh. The only thing remarkable about this was the writing style, and it was nice, but not Book Thief nice. However, Adam is a character with a lot of potential, and Juliette is a character I definitely sympathize with and root for. Warner is a melodramatic creep, but I have the next two books, so I’ll probably read on. (And yes, I know how the series ends.

 

 

 

 

26114463Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

This book took forever to read, but I very much enjoyed it! Vivid, imaginative world-building, fun characters, and an enchanting writing style have me looking forward to book two. 🙂

 

 

 

24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

This came in at the library after I’d formed my TBR, but I picked it up anyway, only to be disappointed. I wanted to enjoy this book so much, but it fell very flat for me; the world-building and character and plot development were underwhelming.

 

 

 

 

 


Books I DNF’d This Month

248704It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

It just wasn’t interesting me. The main character was too quirky for me to connect with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1379696Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

I don’t know; this one was just boring. I put it down shortly after starting it. :/

 

 

 

 

 

 

23848113The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore

After getting a little past…50 pages, I think?…I was still not invested in this book, so I put it down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

26116425This Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

The protagonist’s quirkiness was endearing at first, but it quickly became overbearing and frustrating to read about. I didn’t really care about what was going on in the book, so I set it aside.

 

 

 

 

 

27414397Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

The writing style in this book was not for me, and I’m just not interested in reading it anymore, to be honest.

20958632The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

This was possibly my greatest disappointment this month. I quit just 100 pages from the end, hoping that I would enjoy it, but eventually realizing that there was no point in finishing if I was bored and didn’t care about what I was reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe these books are good–maybe you’ll like them. But I couldn’t get invested in them, and life’s too short to spend it reading books you don’t enjoy. (Unless you’re doing it for class, of course.)


Overall, I’m a little discouraged about the fact that I DNF’d half the books I’d planned to read this month, but I think I made the right decision. Maybe March will be better.

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Mood & Music Monday: 2/27/17

Hello, and welcome this week’s Mood and Music Monday!

Mood and Music Monday is a weekly meme I’ve started, wherein I’ll post a song and talk about how it relates to my day/week, as well as a few other things. (And, in case anyone’s wondering, this meme has no relation to Lauren’s [from Always Me] “Music Mondays.”) Feel free to participate and to leave a link to your posts down in the comments!

Here’s the update for this week:

SONG(S) OF THE WEEK

What are you listening to? Great and Holy Lent just started for the Orthodox Christians, and I decided to give up secular music this year. So, instead, I’m listening to church hymns. The hymn above is “Now the Powers of Heaven” (a hymn from the Presanctified Liturgy) by the Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir. I believe this arrangement is composed by Grigory Lvovsky, who just so happens to be one of my favorite four-part church composers. This video leaves me breathless every time.

What are you reading? I finally finished Nevernight! (Yaaay!) I also started RoseBlood; I’m only around 40 pages in, so we’ll see where it goes.

What are you drinking? Kombucha, water, and, because it’s raining where I am, we’re making tea! 😀

Any goals for this week? Staying alive this week–and for the next seven/eight weeks in general, to be honest. Lent means more services, which is wonderful, but, when you have homework and beta reading to do, things can get stressful really quickly. I’m balancing a lot this week, and I hope to do it successfully.

How about you?

  • What song(s) are you listening to today?
  • What is your current read? Are you enjoying it?
  • Do you have any plans or goals for this week?

MY SOUL TO SAVE (Soul Screamers, #2): Review

6763961My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, #2) by Rachel Vincent
Published by Harlequin Teen on December 29, 2009
Genres: young adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Pages: 279
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

Rating: ★★½  


Uh oh. I’m in trouble.

I’m reviewing this book, and I can barely remember a thing about it.

Granted, I didn’t exactly read this yesterday, so it might be that time is working against my memory. But I think the more likely reason why I couldn’t remember much about this book is there’s not much worth remembering.

The idea itself was super cool: teenagers selling their souls for things like fame and fortune and immortality. I enjoyed how we got to see more of Tod and the reaper world. But everything else is dull and underwhelming, and, as much as I wanted to like the idea of hellions and the Underworld, I grew more bored and tired of it than intrigued.

The characters weren’t very special, either; again, I liked Tod, and I liked how we got to see more of Nash’s mom (she’s so cool) and Kaylee’s (I had to look up her name again) dad, but most of the book is spent in the company of Kaylee, Nash, Addison, and Emma, and they just weren’t exciting enough to hold my attention or interest.

I don’t want to bore you, too, so I’ll be brief: I was disappointed by this one, but in the this-is-kind-of-boring-and-I’m-not-invested way. I’m seriously considering not reading the next book.

Mood & Music Monday: 2/20/17

Hello, and welcome this week’s Mood and Music Monday!

Mood and Music Monday is a weekly meme I’ve started, wherein I’ll post a song and talk about how it relates to my day/week, as well as a few other things. (And, in case anyone’s wondering, this meme has no relation to Lauren’s [from Always Me] “Music Mondays.”) Feel free to participate and to leave a link to your posts down in the comments!

Here’s the update for this week:

SONG(S) OF THE WEEK

What are you listening to? HOW DID I JUST DISCOVER THIS SONG NOW? I’ve been a fan of Lana’s for years, and apparently she released a new song, “Love,” two days ago. It kind of sounds like her older stuff (which I really loved)–atmospheric, but simple and stripped-down in its beauty (like the demo for “Black Beauty”). I can’t wait to hear more new releases, Lana! Hurry up!

What are you reading? Still making my way through Nevernight, and hoping to start Blood Red, Snow White tomorrow.

What are you drinking? The usual. (I’ll let you guess what that is.)

Any goals for this week? Keeping pace with beta reading. 0_0

How about you?

  • What song(s) are you listening to today?
  • What is your current read? Are you enjoying it?
  • Do you have any plans or goals for this week?

Mood & Music Monday: 2/13/17

Hello, and welcome this week’s Mood and Music Monday!

Mood and Music Monday is a weekly meme I’ve started, wherein I’ll post a song and talk about how it relates to my day/week, as well as a few other things. (And, in case anyone’s wondering, this meme has no relation to Lauren’s [from Always Me] “Music Mondays.”) Feel free to participate and to leave a link to your posts down in the comments!

Here’s the update for this week:

SONG(S) OF THE WEEK

What are you listening to? I enjoy Angus & Julia Stone’s “Big Jet Plane,” but I think this is my favorite of theirs. It’s so soothing and sweet.

What are you reading? I’ve finished Shatter Me, and I’m curently working through Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.

What are you drinking? Water and Kombucha and my daily dose of oxygen.

Any goals for this week? Staying on top of my TBR pile for this month. (Is it really for leisure if I pace myself?) I don’t want to have to return a book/several books to the library because I didn’t have time to finish them. :/

How about you?

  • What song(s) are you listening to today?
  • What is your current read? Are you enjoying it?
  • Do you have any plans or goals for this week?

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1): Review

16096824A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)  by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 5, 2015
Genres: young adult/new adult, romance, fantasy, retellings
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

Rating: ★★★


If I had to use one word to describe this novel, I think it’d be “tepid.”

Others don’t seem to fit right. “Bland” implies I didn’t enjoy this novel. “Dull” makes it sound like this book was disagreeable. It’s not that I didn’t like A Court of Thorns and Roses. It’s that I didn’t love it.

I’d heard mixed reviews about this book from my peers, so I was a little wary of starting the series. But the people I knew who’d liked it had loved it. These people lauded Maas as a masterful writer. Fae combined with a Beauty and the Beast retelling seemed more appealing than assassins to me, so I picked ACOTAR up first.

I will say that Maas definitely isn’t a bad writer. Her descriptions are vivid without being overbearing, and she does a good job of establishing the setting, whether it’s the forest during the winter, Feyre’s home village, or Tamlin’s Spring Court. She’s a good world-builder (which is further evidenced in ACOMAF, but I digress), and that’s something difficult to get right in YA fantasy.

The world Maas has created here is intruiging and mysterious. I want to more about the Fae and other nonhuman creatures in this world. I want to know more about Fae politics and dynamics between the High Fae of each court. This novel does a great job of setting up all these elements for future installments, and it’s one of my favorite aspects of this book. I can’t wait to see what Maas does with this world in later books.

I also enjoyed the relationship Feyre had with her sisters. She’s angry and upset that she’s the only one providing for them (which is understandable), and, though their relationships are strained, you can see that these siblings care for each other in their own ways. I also liked how Feyre was the youngest, which flips the “older sister=family provider” trope on its head (a trope which, if you’ve read my review for The Stars Never Rise, you’ll know is a trope I’m very tired of). It was nice to see something different for a change.

In regards Beauty and the Beast undertones, this is a very loose retelling. I got vibes of the original from ACOTAR via certain elements included, but this story is very much its own tale. (Speaking of which, one of my fellow bloggers wrote a short post comparing the abusive elements in Beauty and the Beast to the same elements in ACOTAR. If you’re interested, the link is here.)

Unfortunately, though I liked all of these things about ACOTAR, I failed to fully invest in the book as a whole. It’s 416 pages long, and, for at least 150 of those pages, we’re with Feyre in Tamlin’s house, where she does little more than explore the grounds and paint. Rounded up, that’s about 36% of the book where she’s doing pretty much nothing, and, honestly, it’s pretty boring to read. I had to push myself through first two thirds of the book in hopes that I would get invested soon.

There’s almost nothing to keep you reading during that time, either, besides the mystery behind Tamlin’s mannerisms and the world of the Fae. But for readers hoping for some sort of romantic tension, there really isn’t much until about halfway through the book. (I’d estimate it at about 55% in.)

After the big twist, of course, things get interesting, but they took such a drastic turn that it seemed I was reading a totally different book, and I felt a little disoriented. We went from admiring the various rooms and flowers on Tamlin’s estate to battling giant carnivorous worms in front of almost all the High Fae, and that was a rough transition for me.

(Also, people might argue with me, but I actually found Rhysand to be kind of creepy in this book. One could use his situation Under the Mountain to justify these behaviors, but, where some readers say they liked him immediately, my first impression of him was “typical cocky, good-looking bad boy.” So, obviously, I wasn’t endeared to him immediately.)

The main thing this book is betting on is the romance. In order to be invested in the story enough to want to keep reading, you have to be interested in Tamlin and Feyre’s relationship. But again, there’s little romantic tension or anything to keep readers going in the beginning, and, by the big twist, all of the sudden we have several “I love you”s. I just wanted more build-up, and we didn’t get it. Thus, by the end of the story, I wasn’t fully convinced that Feyre and Tamlin really were in love with each other, and I felt I couldn’t fully root for them as a couple, which was kind of disappointing. (Or maybe it wasn’t, because of what happens in ACOMAF? Jury’s still out on that one.)

While we’re talking about the romance, some readers have taken issue with Tamlin and Feyre’s romance in this book, and, while I see the red flags in retrospect, I didn’t take an issue with the dynamics while reading (probably because I’m oblivious, haha).

In conclusion, ACOTAR provides an intriguing new fantasy world full of potential, but this novel is lacking in both plot and romantic development, which made the roses in this court look wilted. (But it’s okay, because ACOMAF exists.) If you need one reason to read this book, read it so you can enjoy ACOMAF.

EVOLUTION (Extraction, #3): Review

20734195Evolution (Extraction, #3) by Stephanie Diaz
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on September 8, 2015
Genres: young adult romance, dystopian, science fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

Rating: ★★★★


If you know me, you know my luck with trilogies. You know how I warm up to a series, and, just when things start to get good, the third book comes along and pulverizes me with disappointment. It’s happened so many times (with some of my favorite series, too) that I actually get antsy when reading the third book in a trilogy, because I know how they end, and I know that they usually disappoint me.

But I can say with confidence that Evolution is one of–if not the only–trilogy finale that did not disappoint me. Trust me when I say this is the highest of compliments.

Before I review this book specifically, I want to take a step back and look at the trajectory of the series as a whole. The first book, Extraction, is a dystopian at its heart, with sci-fi undertones–strong ones, but undertones nonetheless. Rebellion saw a step toward the sci-fi end of the spectrum, with spaceships and spying and an undercover resistance (and so many twists and turns my eyes were practically Gorilla-glued to the pages).

In Evolution, we’re full-on sci-fi, complete with more spaceships (Can you hear the nerd in me squealing?) and an alien invasion. Here, Stephanie Diaz really steps into her own and brings everything she’s got to the table, and it shows. I enjoyed every bit of it.

This book starts in a seemingly impossible situation: Aliens are invading Kiel, and Clementine and her friends in the rebellion might have to consider an alliance with Charlie and the Commanders if they want to stand a chance against the Mardenite armies. But knowing that the Commanders have been Clementine’s enemies–the enemies of everyone she’s loved, the threats to her safety and her security and her entire world–how can allying with them even be a possibility? How could it ever be part of the picture? I knew it was going to take a lot of skill to pull of this maneuver.

But Diaz manages it, and she manages it well. This book doesn’t shirk away from character deaths, and it doesn’t back down from the high stakes it sets up. Everything has been leading up to this, and Diaz delivers.

One of my favorite aspects of this series (besides the covers, of course) is the writing: simple and clean and sleek, but still beautiful. It’s theatrical and vivid, but never overbearingly so. We get breathtaking descriptions of space and stars, and I ate them up with a spoon (the descriptions, not the stars).

In Rebellion, Diaz really hit her stride, prose-wise, and, here, her writing shines just as brightly. Diaz is always aware of the mood of each scene, and her writing tone reflects that really well. Quiet scenes are quiet, and intense scenes are just as explosive as they should be. All of them are written beautifully.

All this being said, I did have a little trouble buying one of the big twists in this novel because I felt it made one of the characters a little too much of a special snowflake, but it wasn’t a deal breaker for me. The ending was also wrapped up a little too neatly for me, but, again, a minor complaint. I’m always saying I hate it when I don’t closure at the end of a series, so it was great to have that here.

In conclusion, this was a really fun sci-fi series that got my adrenaline pumping in all the right ways, while just happening to have pretty prose. Between the gorgeous covers, the gripping plots, and the lovely writing, Diaz has captivated me with this series just as much as the stars she so skillfully describes. A stellar (heheh) conclusion to an action-packed sci-fi series that’s just as exciting as it is enthralling.